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Smart Defence

Smart defence is a concept that encourages Allies to cooperate in developing, acquiring and maintaining military capabilities to meet current security problems in accordance with the new NATO strategic concept. Therefore, NATO smart defence means pooling and sharing capabilities, setting priorities and coordinating efforts better.

Some of the factors driving the need for a smart defence NATO capability include the state of the global economy and recent events in the Middle East. From 2008 the world economy has been facing its worst period since the end of the Second World War. Governments are applying budgetary restrictions to tackle this serious recession, which is having a considerable effect on defence spending.

Smart defence NATO

Furthermore, the crisis in Libya underlined the unforeseeable nature of conflicts, and also showed the need for modern systems and facilities and for less reliance on the United States for costly advanced capabilities.

In these crisis times, rebalancing defence spending between the European nations and the United States is more than ever a necessity. The other Allies must reduce the gap with the United States by equipping themselves with capabilities that are deemed to be critical, deployable and sustainable, and must demonstrate political determination to achieve that goal. There must be equitable sharing of the defence burden. Smart defence is NATO's response to this.

NATO smart defence

The Chicago Summit will be a first but essential step in implementing this smart defence concept, with possible agreement between the Allies on a series of concrete multinational projects to develop the smart defence NATO capability. This will require a joint commitment to a new approach and a new mindset as regards the acquisition and maintenance of NATO smart defence capabilities in the long term.

New File
How many million jobs depend on defence in NATO countries? And how many could be cut due to defence cuts? NATO Review looks at some of the figures illustrating the importance of the defence industry not for security, but for the economy.
New File
Imagine being a shop owner and a group of 28 people walks in. How do you clarify one single order for everyone? This can be the challenge for both NATO and industry when dealing together. We ask industry leaders how they see the relationship, what can be done to improve it and how Smart Defence may make a difference.
New File
Defence companies from the EU and US have clear barriers between them. Though companies from either side of the Atlantic work together, this often despite their countries being Allies, not because of it. But new trade initiatives should bring the two major markets closer together. Could this improve defence collaboration - and benefit western countries and NATO?
New File
Football and the defence sector have a lot in common. For example, they both need a strong defence, potent attacks and a capable captain organising everything. NATO Review tries to show how recent changes in the defence industry would look if they were played out on the football pitch.
Day_Italian MoD
How much has Smart Defence been embraced by the men who oversee national armed forces? NATO Review asks two Defence Ministers how they are specialising as part of Smart Defence - and how they see the project.
Getting fuel to and from the right places during operations is one of the areas where NATO has a Smart Defence project. Nathalie Tocabens looks at how the French general staff have taken this project forward.
Day_Italian MoD
Despite often being expensive, high maintenance and tricky to operate, armed forces know they need helicopters. Whether it’s getting troops in, or the wounded out, helicopters are often the ‘go to’ choice. NATO Review looks at nations’ ongoing need for helicopters – and how they’re making it easier to use them together.
Project 8
What's the next activity we can expect from Smart Defence? What difference will real projects make? Here we outline eight projects which are coming online soon and highlight the potential benefits.
NATO is redeploying vast amounts of equipment from Afghanistan, some of it by air. This infographic shows how some countries have used the Ruslan plane to help - and why it is so important.
Day_Italian MoD
A huge array of equipment that has flowed into Afghanistan over more than a decade must now leave in more or less 12 months. This means calling in some specialist kit to get the job done, including massive air transport planes. NATO Review looks at how several countries have worked together to share this kit, saving money and time.
What does the Arab Spring mean for NATO? Jean Loup Samaan looks at whether the Alliance needs to change its approach to Arab countries post-Arab Spring, how these changes could look and how to overcome obstacles.
Inside Out 2
Italian Minister of Defence, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, talks about switching from being at the heart of an international alliance to a minister in a national government.
Chicago 3
NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, explains why he feels there is no better place than Chicago for celebrating the bond between North America and Europe.
Video image
How does NATO's top brass see the Smart Defence project? How much do they see the difficulties, opportunities and importance of it? NATO Review asked NATO's Deputy Secretary General - and Smart Defence envoy - Ambassador Alexander Vershbow to find out.
Daalder military
Ivo Daalder, US Ambassador to NATO, has crossed many divides. From being a European to an American, an academic to a diplomat - and more. Here he explains how it’s helped him at NATO
Image Hobbs
Smart Defence will suffer if it doesn't get the national parliaments to sign up to it. So how is the project seen in these nations? NATO Review asked NATO Parliamentary Assembly Secretary General David Hobbs for his view.
Kendry - smart defence image
Smart Defence is not all about the economy. But the economic crisis has certainly played its part. How does the economic landscape look now. And what effect could this have on the development of Smart Defence. NATO Review asks NATO's Senior Defence Economist for his insights.
New File
How do those outside see Smart Defence? And do they see it working? Dr Bastian Giegerich of the International Institute for Security Studies has already written a brief paper analysing Smart Defence. Here NATO Review asks him about the main points.
Smart Defence image Greece Turkey
How easy would it be for two very different neighbours to engage in Smart Defence? One has economic problems while the other has growing influence in the region. Greek and Turkish analysts look at how and if this could work?
When it comes to explaining Smart Defence, there's probably nobody more qualified than Ludwig Decamps. He heads up NATO's Smart Defence team. Here NATO Review quizzes him on what the project means, how it could work and why it's important.
3. cyber
For a truly modern approach to bringing NATO up to speed on 21st century security threats, the Alliance needs smart spending, more commitment and clearer planning, argues Dr Jacquelyn Davis.
Dr Tim Fox
Could engineering hold the solutions to the growing storm of more people, increased climate change and greater food and water stress?
Karel Lanoo
We asked six people, with excellent insights into their respective areas, two simple questions about 2009: what and who would be key in the security arena. Here, we publish their answers.
Australian soldiers
Ron Asmus argues that NATO's partnerships have to evolve as much, and as quickly, as the security threats they tackle.
James Thomas Snyder reviews three recent books examining what's at stake in Iraq.
Peter van Ham examines the challenges NATO is facing as it takes on an increasingly global role.
2 Military and civilian personnel as % of labour force
The statistics represented graphically come from the document Financial and Economic Data Relating to NATO Defence that the Alliance releases once a year
Siegfried Sassoon
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