|Updated: 09-Oct-2002||NATO IMS Speeches|
5 Oct. 2002
NATO’s New Capabilities
After-dinner speech by General Harald Kujat
Gen Shalikashvili, General Ralston, General Rogers, VAdm Sanfelice di Monteforte, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Before I go on I would like to thank Vice Admiral (Ferdinando) SANFELICE di MONTEFORTE for his kind and warm invitation to address you this evening. Also to General Ralston, thank you for your words of introduction.
To you all, the very fact of your presence here tonight is a great sign of one of the most fundamental and enduring characteristic of the Alliance – Its cohesion. You, ladies and gentlemen, represent and symbolise this unity. Unity of thought, unity of purpose and above all, unity of action. It is indeed an honour and a privilege to have been invited to speak to such an eclectic group of reputed staffs all working at making NATO what it is. For that, you see me filled with pride and I encourage you to continue. Your dedication to our work is essential to our continued success.
The Alliance is at the threshold, once again we might be tempted to say, of a historically very significant event. For the second time in its history, NATO will invite other states to become members, thus enlarging its base for the greatest benefit of all. In a little over six weeks from now, the Heads of State and Government will meet in Prague to invite new members to solidify its base but also to chart a way ahead for new capabilities to strengthen the relevance of NATO and to make it even more capable of tackling the challenges of the new security environment. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the topic I selected for you tonight – NATO’s new capabilities.
Historically, NATO has always been able to rise to challenges and emerge stronger than ever. Just think back 12 years ago after the fall of the Wall…
On 19 September (2002), the Herald Tribune reported that “[…] NATO was in the middle of an identity crisis”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The attacks of September 11th have changed but not replaced the political agenda. As Secretary General Robertson rightly put:
"The core of what we do made sense before September 11th and continues to make sense after September 11th.”
This statement confirms that change is not an end-state in itself. We have to face the fact that new threats have developed in the last decade and indeed, since the delivery of the Strategic Concept at the Washington Summit. Terrorism is the most obvious, but it is not the only one. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is continuing. Instability caused by Ethnic wars attracts organised crime. Unstable regions become transit areas for illicit drugs that end up on our streets. Globalisation makes us increasingly vulnerable to asymmetric attacks. These attacks are cheap, easy and destructive using our own open systems against us.
After September 11th, the broad political support for the United States has shown that there is no substitute for an Euro-Atlantic Alliance based on common values and common interests. Bush said: “NATO remains an anchor of security for both Europe and the United States” .
Europe and North America remain a community of values. A community united by a fundamental belief in freedom, democracy and human rights. A community united in a determination to support and defend those values together.
While true that NATO, as an organisation, only provided a few AWACS aircraft and a Standing Naval Fleet, the NATO Command Structure, as the most visible collective asset, was not involved per se. We should, however, not ignore the considerable efforts of individual NATO nations and their support in our common effort against international terrorism. Virtually every member states, and then some, contribute to the war effort in line with their capacity and policy. ISAF is a success because it is comprised of mostly NATO Nations applying NATO standards and interoperability procedures.
Let’s not forget that the United States is the only nation with a global power projection capability. In Her new force structure construct following transformation, She will maintain sufficient force generation capability to be able to fight in two major critical areas in overlapping timeframes . We should however also not underestimate the fact that it is this Nation that has for the first time in NATO´s history requested support under Article V.
While the US chose to put together an Ad Hoc coalition to fight the campaign, any other NATO nation in a similar situation would have relied much more extensively on Her allies, NATO’s command structure and its common capabilities.
We have always made best use of NATO’s advantages: transatlantic political cohesion, and effective, integrated military capability. I think we are well placed to cope with this new dimension of terrorism if we take the necessary steps and exploit the Alliance’s characteristics and trademarks.
This brings me to the heart of my remarks – Capabilities. In the new security environment I just described, I see NATO’s Armed Forces comprised of strategically relevant forces, agile, with rapidly deployable elements, able to respond timely and with strength to the Alliance’s political guidance in accordance with the strategic concept and that possess common, jointly owned, multinational and nationally specialised capabilities, coherently integrated into force structures that are flexible and modular, either operational and/or functional and commanded by strategic commanders invested with the proper authority. That is, if you will, my vision of the NATO Force Structure.
As you know, the Defence Capabilities Initiative – DCI – endorsed at the Washington Summit in 1999 will come at the end of its lifespan with the Prague Summit. Its end-state was to solve the long-standing military capabilities shortfalls required to address the new security environment. Results have frankly been disappointing. Moreover, only a few DCI decisions are giving the Alliance new capabilities. On the positive side, the DCI has enhanced closer co-operation within the Alliance especially in the area of logistics and ground surveillance.
At the Prague Summit, the Heads of State and Government will sign up to a new capabilities initiative, called the Prague Capabilities Commitment. This commitment will be based on effectiveness, standardisation and interoperability. But what is most important is that it will tackle the most urgent shortfalls through a bottom-up approach. Indeed, many of you here have been involved in assessing the national commitments to the twelve capabilities regrouped in the four broad areas (of Defending against CBRN attacks, Connecting the Force, Improving Interoperability of the Force and Sustaining the Force). SHAPE has been intimately involved in providing us with quantification of these shortfalls. I will not bore you with the details, as you are no doubt more acutely aware of them than me.
However, what is very important, indeed vital, is that we focus on the critical few. The few most important initiatives that will signal that NATO is willing and without a doubt able of addressing the new risks with better capabilities. We need to provide the Heads of State and Government with something that is achievable realistically and that, lets face it, is marketable in our respective nations. These quick hits can go a long way in setting the scene for a Prague Summit that is wholly successful, not only in broadening its base by inviting new members, but also revitalising NATO in the new security environment and actually delivering capabilities decisions.
Some ideas were circulated during the course of the MC Tour in Berlin and Prague – Just to show that all that time was not only wining and dining (humour) - that might make you think and, indeed, I am looking for a few bright ideas! These ideas are currently being assessed both here and in Norfolk and I trust your input in ten days from now will enable us to deliver what is expected of us at Prague.
Furthermore, you might be aware of the US proposals for a NATO response force. This initiative was put forward by Secretary Rumsfeld at Warsaw. I asked the Strategic Commanders to integrate this initiative in their assessment and consider the US intent. Both initiatives (the US one and the current NATO work) are indeed coherent with each other and cannot be considered in isolation. The US initiative should be viewed within the framework of our current work on capabilities and measured as such. In finality, both the US specific and the NATO initiatives aim at reaching consensus and decisions on those capabilities that can be achieved and delivered quickly.
The idea of a NATO Response Force builds both on the Prague Capabilities Commitment and the new NATO Command Structure combined with the new high readiness Force Structure. Our aim is:
Nations have put their bids on addressing the capabilities shortfalls. Whatever the remaining delta is, I honestly and fundamentally believe that the gap between the national commitments and the required capabilities can be filled using the following principles in order of priority:
First, common capabilities should be given priority of effort. Acquisition of jointly owned and jointly operated assets, such as the AWACS, will enable all to benefit from it and, what is more important, will enable small nations to participate in it at relatively low cost. This is not insignificant when most nations are currently restructuring their armed forces. Capabilities established by this formula can become very attractive.
Second priority should be given to multinational and role sharing efforts. Here, the nations contributing could get the best value for their investment reaping the benefits of a major contribution while negating the need for acquiring unnecessary capabilities.
Third priority should be given to national and role specialisation, where a specific nation agrees to undertake a capability for the whole of the Alliance. Again, at the risk of repeating myself, we must concentrate on achievable goals, the fix we can actually deliver relatively quickly.
So, ladies and gentlemen, overhauling NATO’s military capabilities, including its force structure and command arrangements and the new NATO Response Force, is at the heart of our strategy to adapt to the new security environment. Indeed, these capabilities must be framed in a command and force structure that can exploit them better. Two weeks ago, I briefed the Alliance’s Defence Ministers on the work done on the Minimum Military Requirements Report.
This report offers an opportunity to build a leaner, flatter, more operational structure, with close linkage between the Command and Force Structures. If we follow the principles it contains, the future structure will be flexible, robust, and deployable where it needs to be, and will require fewer resources. Naturally, sustainment of deployed operations will be critical as we reduce the number of headquarters; however, I am confident that the principles and numbers we outline will provide a firm basis for the work from here to Prague. While the Warsaw Defence Ministerial Meeting did not deliver much in terms of real guidance for the way ahead, our work has matured sufficiently to allow it to run on its own steam for shaping decisions at the Prague Summit. Warsaw was a useful gathering. While not a decision-making meeting, strong statements were made to the nations. After Warsaw, we need to be ambitious both in terms of substance and timeline. NATO can and will adapt quickly. While the mainstream of reforms is mid to long term, we must take issues forward as much as possible before Prague. That is why the comprehensive package for the new NATO Response Force the strategic commanders are currently working on will be vital to our work.
At this time, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about my thoughts for after-Prague. Once decisions on enlargement have been made, I believe that we will have to “manage their consequences.” Three areas will need special attention and I would like you to be aware of them.
First, we will need to enhance our relations with Russia. Obviously, any enlargement initiative can and will create concerns in Moscow. While these are political in nature, I pledge to do my part. I will travel to Moscow at the end of this month to engage in discussions with their Chief of Defence.
Second, the Partnership for Peace will need to be stimulated to deal with disappointments that are bound to surface.
Third, the Mediterranean Dialogue will have to become much more relevant. While again a political issue, NATO may be needed in accordance with its policy to expand stability. To that effect, bi-lateral discussions in the Mediterranean Basin between NATO members and other countries are welcome.
If there is one thought and one thought only that I would like you to retain from my remarks it is that we must not attempt to achieve a 100% capabilities solution that might be unachievable in a timely fashion. Rather, we must focus on the critical few capabilities that stand the best chance of success and that can actually be delivered realistically and promptly.
I hope my remarks helped you understand my intent, as Chairman of the Military Committee and our way ahead.