To the Konrad
A New NATO For A New Century
by General Klaus Naumann, Chairman of the Military Committee
In less than 18 months, on 4 April 1999, NATO will celebrate its 50th Anniversary. But despite this fact and unlike the proverbial old dog who cannot learn new tricks, NATO has demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to the changing world which surrounds it and to equip itself with the necessary new tools and tricks to ensure that it remains an effective and relevant Euro-Atlantic security institution well into the 21st Century.
My aim this evening is to provide you a bird's eye view of this "new" NATO as it prepares itself for the challenges and rigours of the next century. Not surprisingly, I will primarily use the results from the Madrid Summit as a backdrop to my comments.
Before I expand upon the changes within NATO, however, I would be remiss if I did not highlight some of the basic tenets of this Alliance which have not changed.
As you know, the North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, created an Alliance in 1949 for collective defence based on Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This treaty brought together independent states, of their own free will, with a common interest in maintaining peace and defending their freedom through political solidarity and adequate military means to deter and, if necessary, repel any possible forms of aggression against them. The entire Alliance which, by the way, never was a purely military but a political alliance tailored to defend the NATO Treaty Area collectively, was built on a foundation composed of two fundamental principles; namely that an attack against one member state was an attack against them all and that the United States and Canada were undeniably linked to the security and the stability of Western Europe. 48 years later in Madrid, the NATO Heads of State and Government reconfirmed these principles as the bedrock of the Alliance. NATO is and will remain a Euro-Atlantic defensive alliance, and collective defence will remain NATO's core mission although we do not regard anyone as an enemy.
So, if the fundamental tenets of NATO have not changed, what else has? The answer is simple: it is the mission which is much wider today than it was during the Cold War, the strategic concept, and the means which the Alliance now employ to accomplish its aim of achieving peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region. During the Cold War era, NATO pursued a reactive, defensive strategy and it sought to achieve this aim by focussing virtually all of its efforts with a view to deter, and if necessary, to repel an anticipated Soviet/Warsaw Pact attack. Now, no one can really threaten NATO and the Alliance no longer regards any state as an enemy per se. It is this changed security situation which allowed NATO to change and widen its concept. Moreover, NATO's aim is unchanged but NATO seeks peace through a combination of proactive cooperation and crisis management and reactive defence of the NATO Treaty Area. Thus the Alliance has developed into a transatlantic yet regional organization for collective crisis management and collective defence, functioning and still capable of deterrence and defence, but with a much broader range of missions and with a focus which goes far beyond regional security yet without any attempt to assume a global role. One needs only to examine the ramifications of NATO's relatively new crisis management and projection of stability missions, the driving forces behind NATO's Internal and External Adaptation initiatives respectively, to see how much the Alliance has adapted to the times. These were certainly all in evidence at the Madrid Summit. Let me start, then, with just one such initiative which stole much of the media and the public attention at Madrid, namely the opening of NATO to new members.
External AdaptationThis opening must, however, not be seen in isolation. It is clearly linked to two other elements of External Adaptation, namely the enhanced Partnership for Peace and the partnership arrangements with Russia and Ukraine respectively. These three elements together form the core of NATO's projection of stability strategy which is not directed against anyone but serves only one purpose: i.e. lasting peace and stability for the Euro-Atlantic Area.
The admission of new members into NATO is not new. After all, Article X of the Washington Treaty allows such actions and it was done repeatedly in the past; Spain in 1982 being the last example. What is new, is that NATO will consider the admission of some countries into its fold which were compelled to be former adversaries. Assuming that the accession talks with the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland will continue to proceed smoothly and that it will be possible to confirm that each of them is able and willing to meet the responsibilities and obligations of the Treaty by December 1997, it is hoped that the ratification process will be complete in time for NATO's 50th Anniversary in April 1999. As a first step, however, we will hopefully see the signature of the Accession Protocols in December of this year. At the moment I have little doubt that this will happen.
That said, the Heads of State and Government at Madrid also reaffirmed that the door remains open to other European nations which aspire to Alliance membership providing they demonstrate they too are able and willing to assume the responsibilities and obligations of the North Atlantic Treaty. ANo European democratic country whose admission would fulfil the objectives of the Treaty will be excluded from consideration. This is particularly significant from my perspective as it demonstrates NATO's continued commitment to achieve a lasting peaceful and stable environment in the Euro-Atlantic area without any pre-ordained dividing lines.
I could continue to speak at length regarding this subject, but given the time and the fact that I anticipate a question or two on this topic later, I will limit my remarks to the enlargement cost issue which has gained much more prominence recently than it deserves. The first step to really understand the cost issue is to differentiate the cost categories. There are three: first, the cost for modernizing; second, the cost for reinforcement of the new member defences; and third, the cost to achieve interoperability. The first category falls entirely into the future members responsibility. Costs to modernize new member equipment rests with those future members and it will be their national decision how and when to do it - as it is with the old members. Costs in the second category to reinforce future members that will be borne by the present members should be marginal as the forces to fulfil this role already exist and the capabilities needed are more or less those which are covered by the Force Goals accepted by NATO nations in December last year. This leaves the so called "common costs" as the third, i.e. an amount of approximately 2 billion dollars a year financed by all Alliance members. The additional infrastructure, communication and reception costs required in the future member nations will be spread over 10 years or so and hence the cost of enlargement as such should be manageable. It appears logical, therefore, that the relatively limited costs to the current Alliance members are certainly outweighed by the political and other advantages of getting the three nations aboard. There is simply no alternative to NATO enlargement since a refusal based on the greedy bookkeeper's argument of cost would mean to deny European democratic nations to join Europe. This would be a repetition of 1948 when they were brutally denied the chance to join the Marshall Plan. To act in such a way because of very limited additional costs goes beyond the imagination and I am sure it will not happen.
As hinted earlier, there are several other inter-linked and complimentary elements of NATO's outreach programme, often called External Adaptation, which are driven by the projection of stability mission. Individually and collectively, they all serve to further the NATO aim to achieve a free, peaceful and stable Euro-Atlantic area. The first I will mention is the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) of which we just had a meeting today. It is a welcome development as it constitutes a new dimension in the relations between NATO and its Partners. It provides a flexible, overarching mechanism with a potential for increased political consultation and practical cooperation at levels heretofore unseen. It will build upon the advantages of NATO's previous and current outreach initiatives to promote true cooperation in a transparent manner. As structured, it can foster deep and meaningful discussions on virtually any security-related topic less Alliance Article V, i.e. collective defence issues, thereby enhancing understanding, trust and cooperation. If exploited properly, it can provide opportunities for NATO, in cooperation with its Partners, to help resolve conflicts or potential conflicts even between two Partners. For this to happen, however, the vision which inspired the creation of the EAPC must not be lost lest it become yet another forum where nations just read prepared statements and no real discussion takes place, let alone searches for a real solution. The EAPC holds quite a few advantages provided NATO and its Partners act in full transparency, are willing to talk openly to each other, and are determined to find solutions which all Partners can accept.
Indeed taking our Partners seriously lies at the root of the decisions endorsed at Madrid to enhance the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. The three year old PfP programme became a stand-alone element of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture. After all, it has been and it still remains, on a practical military level, a major contributor to the effectiveness of our Implementation and our Stabilization Forces' missions in the Former Yugoslavia. The Madrid decisions to strengthen the political consultation element, to increase the role Partners play in PfP decision-making and planning, and to make PfP more operationally focussed are, therefore, particularly welcome as they make PfP more meaningful for all concerned. In the military field, for example, the scope of NATO/PfP exercises is changing from what some would term "meet and greet" events to complex and demanding full-scale combat manoeuvres. Another case in point are the military PfP Staff Elements, in our wonderful world of acronyms called PSEs, which would work with their NATO counterparts "inside the fence" in an international function in the planning and conduct of NATO/PfP exercises and operations. Interestingly, these PSEs could be incorporated directly into a Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters being activated for a non-collective defence mission.
The signing of the NATO/Russia Founding Act on 27 May 1997 in the run-up to the Summit was a historic achievement which illustrates what many believe to be the most important Alliance initiative under the aegis of the projection of stability mission. It opens a new era in European security relations, an era of cooperation and consultation between a new NATO and a democratic Russia. It has great potential to enhance the security of all European states and help erase the dividing lines of the past.
With the start of monthly Permanent Joint Council (PJC) meetings at ambassadorial level and, more notably, with the Council at Foreign Ministers' level late last month in New York, the dialogue process has begun in earnest. Discussions to date have focussed on confirming our common approach to Bosnia, peacekeeping operations in general, and a workplan, a rather ambitous workplan I must say, for the remainder of the year.
Despite this positive progress, regrettably, we in the military have been unable to hold our inaugural Permanent Joint Military Committee Meeting in Permanent Session for lack of a designated Russian Military Representative to NATO. I do hope that we will see a Russian Military Representative to NATO before long. Knowing the impressive number of Russian Generals and Admirals, it should not be seen as asking for the impossible if we insist on the nomination of one Military Representative in due time. I will raise this point once again patiently next week when I welcome the Russian Chief of Defence, General Kvashnin. That said, we nevertheless hope the first meeting of the Permanent Joint Military Committee in Chiefs' of Defence Session will occur in early December. In addition to the topics addressed in the PJC, the Military Committee will wish to discuss other topics such as force structure, doctrine, or the changes in Russian strategy. I hope that these discussions will confirm, for instance, that the press reports are wrong which suggest that Russia's military strategy may be shifting more reliance back on nuclear weapons for the defence against external threats. But to find this out, we need to have an open dialogue. We stand ready for this.
The very existence of the Founding Act acknowledges what many in the Alliance have known for years, namely that NATO can achieve its objective of peace and stability in Europe only if it is able to come to a true partnership with Russia. Moreover, its signature heralds a de-facto recognition by the Russians that NATO is, and will remain, the cornerstone of security in Europe for the future, a cornerstone which incorporates the critical transatlantic link. What we in NATO are trying to do is to achieve security with Russia, not against her, and we do sincerely hope that they will accept our genuine offer of cooperation this time after Russia did not fully exploit the opportunities of PFP during the last few years.
The Alliance also accords considerable importance to its relations with Ukraine. NATO is convinced that Ukraine's independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty are key factors to promote continued stability in Europe. To that end and by means of the Charter it signed with Ukraine in Madrid, the Alliance engaged itself to strengthen its relationship and broaden its cooperative endeavours with this important nation, and to continue to support Ukraine as it develops as a democratic nation with a market economy.
When I review the potential risks to the Alliance, I sometimes tend to focus on what I call the "Arc of Instability" from Morocco to India. It is here where one notes attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and one can see proliferation and a preparedness to use terrorism on the rise. It is for these and other reasons why NATO focuses considerable attention on the Mediterranean area and why NATO's Southern Region is, from a military point of view, regarded as NATO's most endangered region. I therefore particularly welcome the Madrid decisions to widen the scope and enhance the ongoing Mediterranean Dialogue and to establish a new committee, the Mediterranean Cooperation Group, to further that end.
Having raised the point about the risks currently foreseen along NATO's periphery, I wish to highlight one aspect; namely the role of Turkey. As the bridge between Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East respectively, a link between cultures, and arguably the most endangered NATO member nation, Turkey is of crucial strategic importance to our Alliance. Collectively, therefore, we must work to keep Turkey firmly anchored in our camp. We, the NATO nations, need Turkey as badly as She needs us.
Internal AdaptationAs the senior Alliance military officer, it will come as no surprise that much of my attention has centred on maintaining the Alliance's military effectiveness and its ability to react to a wide range of contingencies which may arise in the future. Driven by the crisis management mission, these efforts are known as Internal Adaptation and were topics of considerable importance at Madrid and Maastricht. As this is my "bread and butter" so to speak, permit me to provide you an update on where we stand.
First of all, we have essentially achieved consensus on the new military command structure except for two issues specifically limited to the European Strategic Command's proposed Southern Region; namely the proposed nationality of its commander and the number and locations of its Joint Sub-Regional Commands (JSRCs). Thus, we are very close to a final agreement: to reorganize from the current 4-level to a 3-level command structure of Strategic, Regional and Sub-Regional Commands; to reduce the number of headquarters (HQs) from 65 at the moment to under 25; to retain two, US led, Strategic Commands (SCs) and the CA-US Regional Planning Group at the strategic level; to establish 3 Regional Commands (RCs) and 2 Combatant Commands in Strategic Command Atlantic, and to establish 2 RCs in SC Europe, each with 2 region-wide Component Commands, for Air and Naval operations, and a number of JSRCs.
This new structure reflects what most nations seem to be willing to accept and it undoubtedly holds some advantages. It will preserve Alliance solidarity and cohesion with considerably fewer HQs. It will be militarily efficient and cost-effective, provide streamlined command and control capabilities, be able to undertake the full spectrum of Alliance roles and missions, support an enhanced PfP, and accommodate the European Security and Defence Identity, the Combined Joint Task Forces concept implementation, and the accession of new Alliance members. By having mentioned all these factors you can see the task is not a simple one but rather a complex one. Moreover, the new structure will tie together the two SCs much closer, will focus much more on the RC level, and will give the Alliance considerably more flexibility and responsiveness than the existing structure. Despite the difficult problems still to be resolved, I am cautiously optimistic that a consensus will be achieved in time for the Ministerials in December as mandated by Madrid.
Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTFs) (comments on the term) are another element of NATO's Internal Adaptation and should provide the Alliance the means to react quickly and more effectively in times of crisis. CJTFs are multi-national and multi-service task forces which are formed and task-organized for contingency operations which require multi-national and multi-service command and control by a CJTF HQ. This subject is very relevant to most European nations because CJTFs, and indeed crisis management, will often include Partners. This highlights the increasing need to promote the interoperability of Partners with NATO. Work on CJTFs is proceeding well with trials being conducted in the fall of this year and next year. Full CJTF implementation will follow thereafter and the PSEs I mentioned earlier could play an important role therein since they could be seen as augmentation modules for such a CJTF HQ.
Turning to the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI), we have achieved remarkable success to date. Be it in the fields of cooperation and information exchange with the WEU, of making assets and capabilities available to the WEU, of developing outline plans to address WEU scenarios, and of European command arrangements, the results have surpassed expectations. Furthermore, the implementation of the CJTF concept will provide an outstanding instrument for European action. Clearly much has been done already and, once ESDI is complete, NATO will have no difficulty demonstrating that the Europeans will have more responsibilities in the new Alliance structure and more possibilities to act as Europeans, if so desired, and as decided on a case by case basis. I would like to add, however, that the full potential of ESDI can only be fully exploited if all European NATO members eventually participate in NATO's integrated military structure as, from my perspective, a NATO ESDI without the full participation of all European NATO nations is definitely a weakened ESDI.
As an aside, NATO's determination to develop a vibrant and effective ESDI illustrates its commitment to strengthening its relations and cooperation not only with the WEU, but also with other European political and security institutions such as the EU and the OSCE. Our aim here, of course, is to harness the synergy of all these complementary institutions as this can only enhance our shared objective to secure lasting peace and stability in Europe. The wisdom of this approach is highlighted by our collective experience in Bosnia.
Other Key IssuesSpeaking of Bosnia, you are all aware of the outstanding success the NATO and non-NATO soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of both the Implementation and the Stabilization Forces have achieved in executing and enforcing the military provisions of the Dayton Peace Accords (DPA). Securing a lasting peace in Bosnia, however, is much more than just enforcing the military aspects of the DPA. It requires, first and foremost, the collective and sincere desire of the three entities in Bosnia- Herzegovina and their leadership to work for peace. Unfortunately, we see so far little evidence of true reconciliation and there is no self-sustaining stability. Consequently, the longer-term prospects for Bosnia are still very problematic. I do not wish to speculate on future political decisions, but the Former Warring Factions have to understand that the patience of the international community to support Bosnia-Herzegovina will not last endlessly if they are not willing to cooperate and start reconciliation. It is time for them to deliver and to meet their obligations of the DPA. At the same time, they should know that a new war in Bosnia will not be tolerated and that we have the means to stop this. That said, and regardless the final outcome, I would certainly not equate the success NATO's efforts in Bosnia to the success of NATO itself. The Alliance and its partners can, and indeed do, provide a secure environment for the people of Bosnia, but we cannot force reconciliation. That must come from themselves.
You may have seen from my talk that NATO, despite all difficulties, is in pretty good shape. It is an Alliance in full transformation, simultaneously engaged in a highly demanding and complex military operation in Bosnia and very busy with all its projection of stability initiatives. It is a vibrant organization for transatlantic cooperation which simultaneously has the capability and the will to act. And it is this unique combination which makes NATO the bedrock and anchor of stability in Europe. But I would be remiss if I did not mention one deficiency, namely the growing technological gap between the United States and the remaining Allies. Particularly in the domains of Command and Information Systems (CIS), target acquisition and intelligence systems, the Americans are fielding sophisticated equipment and software while, at the same time, continuing to invest heavily in Research and Development (R&D) activities. This can lead, and indeed in some instances has already led, to an interoperability gap between the United States and her NATO Allies. The technological advantage the US enjoys today is remarkable, and we urgently need to find ways to do better. This should not necessarily mean to spend more money for defence, as I know pretty well that in these days of "euro" discussions this is impossible, but rather to cooperate more closely in Europe on the one hand and between Europe and the United States on the other. Collectively, we should share more technology, refrain from further cuts in the R&D field, and adopt procurement "off the shelf" in our national force planning. For their part, duplication of effort and outdated procurement methods are extremely wasteful. To give you an example, we have procurement plans lasting 5 - 8 years but the renovation cycle in software changes every 18 months. We must strive hard to avoid both.
In summary, since the start of this decade, NATO has been going through a period of rapid change and transformation. Its relationship with its Eastern neighbours has changed from confrontation and mistrust to cooperation and partnership. Alliance strategy and forces have been adapted to cope with the new security challenges, most visibly illustrated with its crucial role to maintain peace in Bosnia. Its relations with other European political and security institutions continue to improve significantly. And most recently, NATO's relationships with Ukraine and especially Russia have been put on a very positive and unprecedented foundation. In short, NATO has become a factor of stability far beyond Alliance member states. As such, NATO is, and will remain, the cornerstone of the evolving European security architecture for the beginning of the 21st Century.
The Madrid Summit and the events immediately preceding and following it demonstrate without any doubt that NATO has a unique capability for change and adaptation, thereby ensuring its ability to meet the challenges of a new era. This capability for change is based on its belief that the Euro-Atlantic community remains as vitally important today as it was in the past. Dynamic and forward looking, the Alliance is a community ready to welcome those who share its values and can make their full contribution to a new NATO in a new Europe. Having played alot of ball in my youth and later, I learned very soon never to change a winning team and NATO, ladies and gentlemen, is a winning team.
Thank you very much.