NATO Secretary General sets out strategic vision for a globally connected Alliance

  • 04 Jul. 2012 -
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  • Last updated: 04 Jul. 2012 17:47

Forging closer links with worldwide partners in Asia, Africa and elsewhere will be crucial to guaranteeing future security in the Euro-Atlantic area, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a major policy speech on Wednesday 4 July 2012.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Setting out his strategic vision for the Alliance in the years ahead, the Secretary General said NATO had to step up its ambitions on its cooperative security plans.

He said NATO was well placed to act as a global security hub thanks to decisions made by NATO leaders at their Chicago Summit in May on improving Alliance capabilities. “NATO will be a key part of the answer,” the Secretary General said in a speech at Chatham House in London. “In this time of uncertainty, a strong NATO is a source of confidence.  It is an essential contributor to wider international security and stability.  It means we can face today’s challenges from a position of strength.”

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said Allies had to take a global perspective and work more closely with other nations and organisations around the world _ like Russia, China and the European Union _ to address security challenges such as terrorism, piracy or weapons proliferation. “Security must be a cooperative effort,” the Secretary General said. “We need an Alliance that is globally aware, globally connected and globally capable. That is my vision for NATO.”

On partnerships, the Secretary General called for NATO to expand them through more “frequent, focused and substance-driven” consultations on security concerns. “There is considerable scope for developing clusters of willing and able Allies and partners ready to cooperate in specific areas,” he said. “I see these clusters being flexible enough to accommodate different groups of partners, yet focused enough to deliver concrete results.” The Secretary General said areas of cooperation could include training and education, Smart Defence and cooperating on cyber security.

He said NATO had to seize the opportunity to deepen and widen relationships built with the Alliance’s partners in Afghanistan so that they last well after NATO’s combat and training missions there end.

"We must build on the lessons that we learned together in action in Afghanistan so we can boost our ability to act together in the future,” the Secretary General said.

“Today, many partner countries take the opportunities NATO offers to participate in our military education, training and exercises. But this is largely on an ad-hoc basis,” he added. “I would like to see a much more structured approach and the broadest possible range of nations being involved in such activities.”
The Secretary General said the NATO-Australia Joint Political Declaration, which was signed last month in Canberra, should be used as an example of how NATO can forge stronger ties with non-NATO nations. The accord commits both NATO and Australia to closer security coordination in a range of areas including crisis and conflict management, post-conflict situations, reconstruction and facilitating humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Mr. Fogh Rasmussen said his focus on bolstering global partnerships did not signal a shift of NATO toward Asia or demoting the importance of the transatlantic bond between North American and European members of the Alliance.

“Some see the United States’ pivot to Asia-Pacific as the end of this unique partnership, they are wrong,” the Secretary General said. “The security of America and Europe is indivisible.”

But, he added that NATO Allies had to build on that existing bond by cooperating more closely with non-Allies. “NATO’s partnerships play a key part in meeting the security concerns of today and tomorrow, be they local, regional or global.”