Speaking notes

for NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller at the Student Roundtable, Podgorica, Montenegro

  • 02 Nov. 2016 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 04 Nov. 2016 10:54

  • Appreciate opportunity to share a few thoughts about NATO and to update you on decisions made at Warsaw Summit in July.
  • But first want to congratulate Montenegro on the progress is making toward NATO membership. The process is moving along. We don’t know how long this will take. All 28 members need to ratify, 12 countries ratified so far. But it should be relatively soon. And NATO looks forward to welcoming Montenegro as our 29th member. Remember that Montenegro is an important partner. Exercise is a symbol of that. Montenegro has done so much to make it a success, including planning.

History and Role of NATO

  • For nearly 70 years, NATO has helped keep the peace in Europe. Allies bound together by shared values -- including democracy, individual liberty, human rights and the rule of law – and by our solemn pledge under Article 5 of the NATO treaty to regard an attack on one ally as an attack on all.
  • NATO has been adapting to evolving security challenges throughout our history. As the world changes, NATO must continue to change. The Warsaw Summit is part of this evolutionary process.
  • NATO has gone through at least three main phases, broadly speaking. First was the period of the Cold War. That phase lasted about 40 years, starting in 1949 and until roughly 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union a few years later. Phase II lasted about 25 years -- from about 1989 until 2014. And now we’re in the beginning stages of Phase III.
  • 2014 was a watershed year marked by the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea and ongoing destabilization of Ukraine. And by the rise of ISIL, which is spreading terrorism and instability across the Middle East and North Africa. 
  • As a result, NATO today faces the most serious security challenges in a generation: Russia’s aggressive actions to the east and the threat of terrorism, including attacks against innocent civilians in Europe.
  • Not to mention other threats like hybrid warfare, cyber-attacks, weapons of mass destruction and nuclear proliferation.

So what is NATO doing now?

2014 – 2016: Wales and Warsaw Summits

  • We’re well into Phase III, with the Wales and Warsaw Summits.
  • Won’t get into too many details. Basically, NATO has responded over the past two years with the largest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. That effort started with the Wales Summit and continued in Warsaw.
  • There are two major themes from Warsaw will demand ongoing focus and determination among Allies.
    • First, Defence and Deterrence, including Enhanced Forward Presence in the eastern part of our Alliance. Four battalions in the Baltics and Poland. Appropriate presence on land, at sea and in the air in the Black Sea region. And continued presence in and around Turkey. All of this now needs to be worked out in detail, implemented and resourced.
    • Projecting Stability beyond our borders. If our neighbours are more stable, we are more secure. Projecting stability encompasses many overlapping issues: countering terrorism and turmoil, capacity building, working with partners, maritime security – all of which will benefit from closer cooperation with the EU.
  • This also involves NATO’s commitment to increase defence spending. Wales established a 10-year timeframe for reaching 2% of GDP devoted to defence, and we have seen some progress on the part of most Allies. But we can’t ease up. It’s important to keep the momentum going.
  • Key point: want to emphasize all of NATO’s measures are defensive, proportionate and in line with our international obligations. We do not seek confrontation with Russia or any other country. The steps we have taken are designed to prevent conflict, not provoke it. We have an obligation to protect our nearly one billion citizens. I want to underscore success of dialogue.
Importance of Dialogue with Russia
  • Allies agreed in Warsaw that we should continue our two-part strategy toward Russia: Strong defence combined with meaningful dialogue.
  • Dialogue, transparency and risk reduction measures are essential to prevent incidents, accidents and misunderstandings from spiraling out of control.
  • So once again, NATO is committed to both defence and dialogue.

Concluding Thoughts

Wrap up comments:

  • Our 67-year history has taught us the importance of evolving as the threats evolve.  
  • But some things haven’t and shouldn’t change – like our commitment to fundamental values like democracy, individual liberty, human rights and the rule of law. These are NATO’s enduring values that unify and fortify us. 
  • And we’re very pleased that Montenegro will be joining our community of shared values in the near future. And we welcome Montenegro shortly, in few months.