At the

9 Oct. 1997

"Security through NATO in the 21st Century: Vision to Reality"

Opening Remarks

by ASG/DS, Admiral Norman Ray

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here today. I would like to convey warm greetings from the Secretary General, who has asked me to represent him.

The NATO of today is already moving from vision to reality. The transformation process, launched in 1990 at the London Summit, is reaching its culmination. And the host of recent fundamental decisions - leading from the 1994 Brussels Summit through to Madrid last July - attest to this development. They are decisions and initiatives rich in practical implications and activities. The effect of transformation is sufficiently far-reaching that we can justifiably speak today of a new NATO.

Does this mean that the old NATO has disappeared or is irrelevant? Not in the least. NATO will first and foremost remain a military alliance with collective defence as its cornerstone. But that does not rule out considerable adaptation to the new security environment. In fact, the capacity to adapt is both a testament to the resilience of the Alliance as well as to the political will of its members that NATO has not just survived the transition, but is flourishing under new conditions.

And our vision? A new security order in which cooperation and partnership replaces strategic balances and adversarial postures; a security order in which our capacity to work closely and jointly with other countries in the Euro-Atlantic region is expanded and enhanced; a security order in which, together with our Partners, we forge ever-closer ties in our military and defence-related realm; where we develop, exercise and, if need be, deploy peacekeeping and peace support forces in common endeavour; where all can participate according to their own volition; where increasingly we have the capability to work together in developing the means to address challenges to our security, instabilities, and other humanitarian-related tasks and missions.

The new NATO will serve as the lynchpin for these initiatives, not as the sole or "go-it-alone" actor, but in conjunction with other institutions - such as the European Union, the Western European Union, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. All of the above have a significant role to play in European security. We can work together, and with as many countries as are willing to contribute. We have seen that in the concrete example of SFOR's successful deployment of NATO and non-NATO forces in Bosnia. This is the essence of the new cooperative security order.

But as I said earlier, we are not approaching this objective at the expense of an effective, coherent and strong Alliance. The crucial task is to balance the "old" with the new, by using the fundamental political and military expertise of the Alliance and, at the same time, reaching out to meet new challenges. To keep this balance, NATO must remain dependable, solid, resistant to the storms raging around, and - perhaps above all - useful.

As this SACLANT/RUSI meeting is a seminar, let me indulge in some seminar speak. Rather than supply catalogue the decisions made over the past months, or read from the Madrid Summit Declaration, I would like to organise my remarks to follow a particular theme - that is, what are the processes we need to manage to ensure that the new, evolving cooperative security order can fully function. Within this conceptual framework, I will address the specific recent decisions and activities of the Alliance that support these all-important larger processes.

In my opinion, there are three key processes that are central to preserving and enhancing broader security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region - the ongoing European security integrative process; the cooperative process; and the transatlantic relationship.

Let me start with the process of European integration.

The remarkable changes we have witnessed on the European security landscape since the end of the Cold War have given fresh impetus to the integration of this continent. Countries which for too long were excluded from participation in the integrative project were now free at last from the ideological shackles of the Cold War. The possibility of an undivided Europe, a Europe growing together, emerged.

In the early 1990s, a number of countries of Central and Eastern Europe began to press for a place in the structures and organisations from which they had been artificially separated for decades. In particular, they sought to join NATO - to enjoy the stability and security our Allies have enjoyed for decades, and to take up the commitments and obligations that are part and parcel of Alliance membership. These states were spurred on by a deep-seated determination not to have their security dictated by others, as in the past.

In 1994, the Brussels Summit endorsed the principle of new members. In July this year, the Madrid Summit made it a reality. Three countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are now engaged in "accession talks" with the Alliance. Our aim is to complete these talks this Fall, so that Accession Protocols can be signed by NATO Foreign Ministers this December. As these Protocols will constitute amendments to the North Atlantic Treaty, every NATO Ally will have to ratify them. We hope that these ratification procedures can be completed to enable us to welcome the first new members by the time of NATO's 50th anniversary in 1999.

Let us take a moment to consider the resource implications of enlargement. The Alliance's publicly declared policy is that, in the current and foreseeable security environment, NATO will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring a capability for reinforcement rather than by the additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces. This policy declaration was reaffirmed at the Madrid Summit. It means that certain kinds of infrastructure supported by the Alliance's commonly funded investment programme - for example, infrastructure relating to command and control, air defence and reception facilities for reinforcements - will be at the heart of any resource implications for current Allies.

We also know that it is the prime responsibility of the invitees to shoulder the costs associated with the adaptation of their armed forces to NATO standards and levels of interoperability. This has been reaffirmed by the invited states themselves. We are, over the course of this autumn, proceeding with more detailed and refined assessments of what these likely cost implications are. But more to the point, in the present security climate, the costs associated with the inclusion of new members will be manageable and the necessary resources will be provided.

Another point which should be underlined is that NATO enlargement is not a one-time event. It is a continuing process, as clearly stated by Allied Heads of State and Government at the Madrid Summit. Countries invited today to join the Alliance will not be the last. The door to NATO must and will remain open. No European democratic country, regardless of its geographic location, will be excluded from consideration.

Despite some understandable disappointment on the part of those who had hoped to be invited at Madrid, our message of the "open door" is clear. The countries still strongly and avowedly aspiring to NATO membership have declared themselves ready to do all that is necessary to join. The result? Powerful incentives for further reform in these countries. Indeed, without such incentives, would we have seen the many bilateral treaties that have been signed across Central and Eastern Europe, laying to rest old disputes and quarrels once and for all.

For such aspiring countries, our Individual Dialogues will continue. All Partners aspiring to membership or who otherwise wish to pursue a dialogue with NATO on the question of enlargement retain the opportunity to do so. And for those interested Partners who wish to demonstrate their readiness, the Partnership for Peace offers a wide range of opportunities to gain and to demonstrate a greater interoperability with NATO in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

But if NATO membership is one side of the coin to European security integration, there is another. For many years, a number of European Allies have sought to develop a visible European Security and Defence Identity. This is part of a longstanding and legitimate vocation to have a capacity to operate as European Allies on a more autonomous plane. The 1994 Brussels Summit endorsed this vocation and commissioned the development of ways and means to make this vision a reality.

The result? We are today well advanced in developing a visible European arrangement within the Alliance's military structure that could be used by European Allies should they wish to mount operations through the Western European Union. And ever since our Berlin NATO Ministerial of 1996, we know what we want: the possibility of a European operational capacity, without duplicating NATO. In short, the development of separable, but not separate, European operational capabilities by which Europe could in future act in a crisis, even if the United States were to decide not to participate.

So, in these two fundamental ways - through its external adaptation and through the building of a viable, workable European Security and Defence Identity with NATO, the Alliance is contributing to an integrating Europe. It is fashioning the means by which Europeans can take on greater responsibility in security matters. The new NATO will, as a result, be more in line with the political, economic and military realities of the late 1990s and beyond. And just to show that it's not just words - the first military exercise of this sharing of assets, this "building the ESDI within NATO", is scheduled for next year. So - again referring to the theme of my remarks and indeed of this conference - we are moving from vision to reality.

Now, to the second process - partnership and cooperation. Since 1994, when we put together our first ideas about a new approach to military and defence-related working together, the Partnership for Peace has exceeded all expectations. Twenty-seven countries have joined the new cooperative security movement. Even countries with a strongly neutral tradition have been eager to join PfP - ready to help in peace support operations, and increasingly sympathetic to the ideals and goals of our Alliance. Our latest member is none other than Switzerland.

We are now making the PfP even more operational. Already, the number of major PfP exercises has grown: from 3 in 1994 to 24 this year. As a result of decisions taken at the Sintra Ministerial and endorsed at the Madrid Summit, Partners will increasingly be involved in the design, development and planning for PfP operations and activities.

Indeed, to affirm that the Alliance was ready to take the whole Partnership idea on to an altogether new plane, the Sintra Ministerial created the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, which held its first head of State and Government meeting at Madrid.

The creation of the EAPC is a recognition that we have progressed, in fact matured, in our partnership work. No longer is it to be NATO-run, NATO-imposed. The EAPC will, because of its strongly political character, give Partners a deserved say in the work we are doing today and in the future.

Any discussion of the partnership and cooperation process cannot overlook Russia and Ukraine. Last May, at the Paris Summit, Allied leaders and President Yeltsin signed the historic NATO-Russia Founding Act. It is already up and running. Allied Foreign Ministers met with Foreign Minister Primakov a fortnight ago in New York to agree on a work plan of consultative and cooperative activity to take us through the next few months. A couple of items from that plan:

  • we will continue to exchange views on peacekeeping operations, including our joint effort to enforce the peace in Bosnia.

  • we will develop mechanisms for increased military cooperation.

  • and we will continue to develop measures to promote cooperation, transparancy and confidence between NATO and Russia.

Ukraine must also be mentioned. Its size and geo-strategic location made it inescapably a factor for stability and security in Europe. The Madrid Summit agreement between Ukrainian President Kuchma and Allied leaders on a distinctive NATO-Ukraine relationship will give this important country many new opportunities to join with NATO in building a new European security order. The first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will take place tomorrow.

Finally, the third key process - the transatlantic link.

The Atlantic Community - epitomised by NATO - is one of the most successful political projects of this century. Our responsibility is that it remain so in the next. But what is particularly heartening is that this Atlantic community is growing. NATO's enlargement demonstrates this. So, too, does the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. So, too - in spades - are the Implementation Force and now the Stabilisation Force in Bosnia. There is a growing consensus that those who want peace and stability in Europe cannot just sit on the sidelines.

But absolutely key to all this is the transatlantic relationship. We have to strive to preserve, to nurture, to enhance this relationship. The transatlantic link, as embodied in the Alliance, is fundamental. But in today's increasingly interdependent world, our vision must extend beyond NATO alone. Instead, we must embrace the host of relations and practices that bond our continents together and yet which have no direct connection with NATO per se.

This transatlantic process involves our economic, political, financial and cultural relations, as well as security. It brings in the European Union as a key actor.

And our goal here is also in tune with the times. As the world becomes more complex, more interactive, so too do we see more clearly the need to share, to coordinate our ideas, technologies and resources. And we have to do this on an equitable basis.

In my own area of responsibility, that of armaments cooperation, taking a broader perspective regarding the transatlantic process should alert us to the need for healthy defence industrial bases on both sides of the Atlantic. The very possibility, for instance, of a strong and effective European Defence and Security Identity needs a viable European defence technological and industrial base. At the same time, strong US defence capabilities will continue to require a strong technological and industrial base on the other side of the Atlantic.

In conclusion: our agenda is full and rich - ranging from enlargement, to enhanced partnership and cooperation, to new initiatives such as the NATO-Russia Founding Act and the NATO-Ukraine Charter to internal re-structuring and building the European Security and Defence Identity within NATO. And if this is not enough, there is still the Alliance's largest operation ever - the Implementation and now Stabilisation Force in Bosnia.

Our choice is a fragmented Euro-Atlantic area or one that pursues coherent policies for achieving common objectives. The transformed and adapted NATO - the new NATO - gives us the instrument we need to reach and enhance this coherence. If we continue to manage adroitly, competently and with imagination, the three larger processes I have described to you today, then I think we do have a strong, real chance to make the 21st century the first, really secure peace that Europe has sought for so long.

Thank you.

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