by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană on the 70th anniversary of NATO standardization
Co-chairs, dear colleagues!
Thank you so much for gathering to commemorate 70 years of NATO standardization!
On this significant occasion it is important to take every opportunity to learn from our past, and of course chart the course ahead.
Peace and security have always been core goals of our Alliance. You are many nations who must work as one force, and this is central to NATO's identity.
Our ability to operate integrated together is a foundation for cohesion. To make this as smooth and as effective as possible we need these common standards and common ways of working together.
The fact that standardization was established as a NATO task immediately after our great Alliance was established shows that standardization is part of NATO's DNA, and also is part of our brand, is part of our strength, is part of our identity.
It speaks to great lengths that standardization was one of the very first things that the Alliance saw as necessary, very shortly after creating the organization itself and the Military Committee.
That conclusion is logical, even obvious – without standardization, it is impossible to have interoperability across Allies, today 30 allies.
Today, there are multiple challenges facing our transatlantic community and interoperability is of the utmost importance to counter these challenges and to achieve our strategic objectives together.
Without the effective use of standards, our ability to operate together will be greatly diminished.
This meeting with a strategic, forward looking character is yet another step to achieving the level of interoperability desired by all Allies. And this would not be possible without the engagement of our external participants who offer an essential fresh perspective.
External engagement enables us to capitalize on technologies that are critical to our coalition, that save lives and prepare us for the future.
This is why it is so essential that we cooperate with partner nations, with industry, with other international organizations and standard developing organizations that are part of this ecosystem.
And also part of the broader intergovernmental network that is giving strength to our Alliance.
Our work today will set the scene for years into the future. Never before has it been more important that we learn how to adapt to instability, both in our present environment, but also in the cyber sphere.
We must stand ready and remain vigilant to achieve lasting peace in a constantly changing threat environment.
Such increasing requirements for standardization and interoperability indicate that we must use interoperability tools together in a coordinated way. This means working adaptively and creatively together, also with partners to maximize the value of our shared capabilities.
In 2014, we saw a change in international security environment with Russia's annexation of Crimea. In a major shift of our recent history, Allied heads of state and government made a commitment to spend 2% of their GDP on defense.
In the same concise pledge, they committed to fully implement standards. It makes sense for Allies to pool their resources together to achieve readiness and resilience.
Russia's annexation of Crimea showed us that we must always respond to emerging threats at the speed of relevance. This is today more true than ever.
Allied forces must always remain ready, responsive, adaptable and interoperable. But this cannot become a reality without effective application of standards.
It will be no surprise to anyone here, especially in our community, when I say that both our readiness and resilience depend on our cooperation with the entire standardization community.
And in today's technological environment, there are many opportunities for cooperation with external partners and there is no doubt that NATO must capitalize on emerging and disruptive technologies.
This is key to promoting innovation across the Alliance.
As we speak, China is working to influence the parameters for future developments in these rapid technologies like artificial intelligence and automation.
These technologies are not only shifting our perspectives on daily life but on warfare as well. This whole world has been always interested in this kind of competition.
And let's make no mistake: in the global competition for preeminence, in the geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-technological competition, standards, and the ones controlling this fantastic power of standardization, are becoming part of great power competition and we cannot afford to let go of our technological edge and our military prowess.
This is why we also keep up with the latest advancements and focus our efforts to set global rules across industries. This is essential to our continuous success.
This in turn calls for improvement in standardization, which brings me back to us and to this very conference of ours. NATO should engage within industry to develop and adopt common standards.
As chair of the Innovation Board in NATO, we just had a meeting yesterday. And we were also talking about the triple helix between private, public and academic sectors.
This is the power of convening of NATO. This is the power of the NATO brand. This is the power of our great Alliance.
And I'm convinced that we will continue to work together with industry, with our partners in the academic world in a coordinated manner, and we can capitalize on innovations developed by the civil sector.
There is no reason why an Alliance of competitive and innovative societies should not prevail in all emerging technological fields.
But for this to become and remain a reality we must ensure that standards are not just circulated among allies.
Standards have to be tried and tested across nations and sectors. The practical application of standards is a metric for our innovation.
It shows the spread of technologies and techniques across all members of our Alliance and we must ensure that our education programs, our training opportunities, our multinational exercises, our evaluations, our capacity to motivate, recruit and retain talent across the Alliance are reflecting all this necessities.
These are all reasons for the nations of Europe and North America to engage fully in driving standardization forward.
I invite you to reflect on the contributions of all of us, all our participants here today in the conference. Consider together with all of us the specific ways to work together, to innovate, to cooperate to ensure implementation and interoperability across the board.
And I'm talking to you, our armaments community – tell us how to facilitate the adoption of standards.
I’m talking to you, research community – tell us what we need to do in order to succeed and make NATO that cutting edge technological and military power that we are today and will continue to be in the future.
And I'm also of course talking to you, our military, as the end users of this equipment – tell us about the needs of your intelligent customer and your more profound needs for today and for tomorrow.
All the insights from all this ecosystem around NATO will constitute the building blocks for the future of standardization.
And let me tell you something because you see here behind me the logo of NATO 2030.
Secretary General Stoltenberg launched a few weeks ago a reflection on the vision about where NATO should be in a decade from now. In the next few months, our leaders will meet again, after the successful meeting in London last December.
We are setting the course and this is why we need you and all our community working on standardization to be part of this broader vision on how to keep this NATO Alliance of our strong militarily, cohesive politically, and having a global reach.
This is my invitation to all of you.
We count on you and as an institution within an institution, with 70 years of great work, I'm fully convinced that many many decades of great work together are lying ahead of us!
Congratulations and to many more years to come!