No. 6 - Nov. 1996
Vol. 44 - pp. 11

Focus on NATO

Peter Jenner retires as Editor of NATO Review

by NATO Spokesman Dr. Jamie Shea

Peter Jenner
With this edition of the NATO Review, readers say goodbye to Peter Jenner, Editor of the Review for the past 21 years. Peter retires from the International Staff of NATO at the end of October 1996 and is succeeded by the current Assistant Editor, Keir Bonine.

Peter Jenner's departure brings to an end a long and distinguished NATO career which has been very much concerned with the NATO Review. He came to NATO from the Central Office of Information in London in 1968 to become Assistant Editor and took over as Editor six years later. During this long tenure, Peter never lost his enthusiasm and commitment to the Review, nor his determination to make it a serious and respected forum for the discussion of defence and security issues. The series of articles debating NATO's strategy of flexible response which Peter published in the 1980s was a milestone in this respect. They helped change the image of the Review from one of a conventional in-house publication to one of a vibrant and open journal, certainly supportive of the Alliance but also not shy of challenging on occasion the received wisdom of the day. Many articles that Peter published received widespread academic and media attention. By the late 1980s, he had established the Review as an indispensable reference for every student of contemporary Alliance affairs: a journal that was always comprehensive but never superficial or stuffy.

The second major achievement of Peter's stewardship was his dynamism in adapting the Review to the new environment that the Alliance faced after 1989. He moved quickly to publish quality articles by opinion leaders in the newly democratizing countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia and Ukraine. Many of these authors had not before had a major Western audience. He also modified the format of the publication to make it more relevant and accessible to readers in NATO's new Partner countries, as well as to the younger generation of readers within the Alliance itself. In response to NATO's changing roles and missions, Peter broke new ground by publishing articles on such hitherto absent subjects as peacekeeping, European political integration and civil reconstruction in Bosnia. Senior figures from the United Nations, OSCE or the European Union are perhaps today as likely to appear on the front cover as the NATO Secretary General. In addition to the traditional 12 NATO country languages, a Russian version has now appeared. At the time of his retirement, Peter was working hard to increase the Review's circulation in Russia and Ukraine, so that it can fulfil its role as a key instrument in changing the residual negative perceptions of the Alliance in those two crucial states.

Peter Jenner will long be remembered not for the length of time he did his job but for the constant high professionalism with which he did it. He brought to his work not only an enduring intellectual curiosity and willingness to embrace change, but also the sharp eye and rigorous syntax of the journalist that he was trained to be. No article ever left his desk for inclusion in the Review unless it met his exacting standards for substance and clarity of language. "Ce que l'on conçoit bien s'énonce clairement" wrote the 17th century French grammarian Boileau: a dictum that Peter very much made his own. It will be just as relevant for the NATO Review of the 21st century as it builds on the tradition of excellence that Peter leaves behind. All his many friends and colleagues, both at NATO and beyond, wish him well for a happy retirement.

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