NATO Nations discuss Warning Intelligence Reform

  • 26 Mar. 2019 - 28 Mar. 2019
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  • Last updated: 01 Apr. 2019 15:46

From 26 – 28 March 2019, the NATO Joint Intelligence and Security Division (JISD), in conjunction with the Netherlands Defence Intelligence and Security Service (DDIS), hosted the 20th annual NATO Warning Intelligence Working Group and Symposium, in Amsterdam.

Over the course of the three day event, intelligence practitioners and policymakers exchanged their views and insights regarding the diverse threats and challenges currently facing NATO. “Since 2014, there has been a major shift in the global security environment. NATO has responded by implementing major adaptations to ensure that the Alliance remains ready, agile and flexible. However, we continue to face significant challenges to our strategic intelligence interests. Only by adopting a collective, enterprise approach can we truly improve our responsiveness and situational awareness”, stated US Army Major General Raul Escribano, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence in his opening remarks.

The first two days of this Warning Conference were dedicated to discussions between NATO national representatives regarding the NATO Intelligence Warning System (NIWS). For the last two decades, the NIWS has been the Alliance’s collaborative means of providing long term crisis anticipation to the North Atlantic Council. “Intelligence gathering and analysis is central to assessing the level of a potential threat. Thanks to the intelligence provided by Nations, NATO is able to identify potential threats and determine the level of response required. Identifying potential threats is the first line of defence and deterrence employed by the Alliance. Therefore it is imperative that NATO and Allies work together to provide improved strategic early warning for national and NATO leadership”, underscored Major General Escribano.

To mark the anniversary of the new Dutch DDIS Strategic Warning and Intelligence Response Unit, set up in March 2018, the Netherlands organized a high-level, executive symposium on the third day of the NATO Warning conference. Dr. Sebastian Reyn, the Deputy Director of the DDIS, opened the discussion by highlighting the need for early warning analysts to identify not only threats, but also opportunities. Ambassador Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security (ASG JISD), then took the floor to stress the need for continued intelligence reform and the prioritization of Strategic Warning.

The conference concluded with participants agreeing that Intelligence remains central to timely decision-making and a collective effort is in the interest of all.

In recent years, NATO has stepped up its efforts in Intelligence by creating an Assistant Secretary General position and a NATO Intelligence Division to better understand the security threats. NATO continues to optimise NATO intelligence to facilitate timely and relevant support to Allied decision-making and operations, including through improved warning and intelligence sharing, particularly on terrorism, hybrid, and cyber.