Security and Law Enforcement -
A Look Ahead"
by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It is a great pleasure
to speak to you today, even by such
remote means. I deeply regret that
I am not able to be with you in person.
The events in the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia - a combined
law enforcement and international
security problem - have required me
to be here in Brussels at the time
of your meeting.
As some of you may know, my family
has a long-running connection with
law enforcement. My grandfather, father
and brother were police officers,
as are my son and my nephew. I was
even born in a police station. So
I am familiar with the importance
of law enforcement, as well as the
When I met with President Putin in
Russia, I pointed out these family
connections to him and said that I
was the aberration in the family.
But Putin said, "Oh no, you are
no aberration - you are the Super-policeman!"
An interesting comment, particularly
when you consider the source. Many
journalists, of course, make the same
point about NATO - seeing us as some
kind of "globo-cop."
NATO is not a police force - it
is a military Alliance, designed to
protect its public from military conflict
and, increasingly, to project stability
and security to a much larger area.
It is by no stretch of the imagination
a law enforcement organisation for
its member states. And indeed, because
of its nature, it is not terribly
well-suited to dealing with law enforcement
issues even in areas where NATO leads
large peacekeeping operations.
And yet the comment by President
Putin and so many journalists is understandable.
Not because NATO is taking on domestic
law enforcement responsibilities,
but because the problems of international
security and law enforcement are increasingly
intertwined - or "intertwingled"
as one Defence Minister recently said
at a meeting in Brussels.
There are three aspects to this.
First, instead of being examples
of state-to-state aggression, contemporary
conflicts are most often cases where
at least one of the parties is a societal
group within a state. So in its origins,
the conflict can be characterised
as a breaking of law, rather than
an attack. But the implications quickly
become those of military conflict,
rather than simple street crime.
Second, these conflicts - because
they break down established order
within a state - unleash powerful
forces of lawlessness and organised
crime which have an impact well beyond
the borders of the fighting itself.
And third, in responding to these
conflicts we need to do more than
just deploy a military capability
such as NATO to stop the fighting.
We also need to deploy a civil administration
and law enforcement capability to
restore order and rebuild the underpinnings
of a law-abiding and, ultimately,
We also need close cooperation at
an international level among security,
economic, human rights, democracy-building
and law enforcement organisations
- NATO, the EU, OSCE, UNHCR, INTERPOL,
and the whole world alphabet soup.
Otherwise, the gains of military intervention
will be lost as soon as the troops
These trends - in which the lines
between military security and police
work become blurred - will continue
to grow. To ensure the safety of our
citizens and our wider global community
effectively, we need to look at security
in non-traditional ways -- and to
seek what have to be very non-traditional
The wars in the Balkans serve as
a perfect examples of these trends
- although one could make the same
case about Chechnya, Afghanistan,
Tajikistan, Burma or even Colombia.
The origins of fighting in the Balkans
are well known: ethnic and religious
division, hate-mongering, lawless
oppression by the likes of Milosevic,
and armed extremists seeking to break
apart nations, such as in Bosnia and
Herzegovina ten years ago, or the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Just as with IRA collection of funds
in the pubs of Boston, these conflicts
are often fueled from outside - by
ethnic Albanians in the United States
or Switzerland, by ethnic Serbs and
Croats in Canada and Chicago, and
even by unwitting publics across Europe
and America who believe their charitable
donations will go to supporting human
rights, rather than sponsoring illegal
Even at this level of a conflict,
the organs of law enforcement have
a major role to play. They are, of
course, essential to cutting off illicit
funding of these conflicts.
And at a deeper level, cooperation
and international police training,
based on law-bound standards of police
and government conduct, can help prevent
some conflicts from ever occurring
- such as the ethnic cleansing sponsored
by Milosevic, which prompted an armed
ethnic Albanian reaction.
The other major source of funding
for these conflicts is organised crime.
In a conflict zone, without normal
domestic law enforcement, organised
criminal groups can act with impunity.
And this is what we see in the Balkans.
Some call this the "dark side
of globalisation." Drug smuggling.
Gun running. People smuggling. And
uncontrolled flows of people seeking
safety, or, quite naturally, a better
life in a place where they can live
without feeling terror every time
there is a knock on the door.
There may not be a "single economic
market" in the Balkans - but
there is a "single black market."
And it exports its nefarious products
right to our doorsteps.
Much of the drugs that are run through
the Balkans end up on our streets
and in our schools. The guns are working
their way into the criminal underworld,
and putting our police officers more
at risk. Women tricked into prostitution
are being funneled through the Balkans
and forced into misery and modern-day
slavery in European red-light districts.
And more and more people are seeking
asylum in all NATO countries, because
there is neither peace nor prosperity
in places riven by war and run by
Here again, we must rely on law
enforcement bodies to address these
problems in the first instance. Collecting
intelligence, blocking the flows of
people and money, raising the costs
of such crime in our societies. But
when these activities are directed
from the safe-havens of conflict zones,
a broader response is also required.
Clearly, the main impetus behind
NATO's intervention in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, as in Kosovo, was to
stop the killing of innocents. But
we must be honest - we also knew that
the broader effects of unchecked conflict
would be damage to our own societies.
This is one of the main reasons
why, over the past decade, NATO has
taken on new peacekeeping missions.
Yes, we feel some obligation to stand
up for our values and to help the
victims of a vicious foreign conflict.
But we also see very clearly that
preventing instability from growing
into crisis, and managing crises before
they get too out of hand, are necessary
tools if we wish to prevent the organised
crime spawned by these conflicts from
darkening our doorsteps.
Bosnia and Kosovo taught us that
determined military action can make
a difference. Today, both are on the
road to solid peace. Both are moving
to develop normal, stable societies,
with normal economies. And slowly,
both are taking steps to fight criminality,
including organised crime.
But Bosnia and Kosovo have also
taught us that we need to do better.
Six years on in Bosnia, we still cannot
pull out our forces without the risk
of renewed conflict. In Kosovo - two
years already since the end of the
air campaign - the UN civil administration
is hampered by the lack of an effective
judicial system and criminal justice
On the military side, we are learning
our lessons. The forces we developed
to protect ourselves during the Cold
War are scarcely relevant to the actual
situations requiring the use of military
force today. We no longer need heavy
armoured forces designed for a massive
tank battle in Germany.
Today, such forces are largely a
waste of money. If we can't use them
for the crises we actually face today
then, despite their firepower, they
are important only on paper -- and
paper armies don't stop trouble.
Many NATO governments have therefore
launched far-reaching changes to their
military establishments - and those
which have not are under constant
pressure by me to do so.
To manage 21st Century crises, NATO
needs 21st Century forces. We need
forces that can move quickly to a
conflict area, and that can arrive
in enough force to have an immediate
effect. We need forces that are high-tech
enough to dominate the situation,
to accomplish their mission as quickly
as possible, and with the lowest possible
risk to them and to innocent civilians.
We need forces that are able to stay
in the field for as long as it takes
to accomplish their mission.
And, once we move from the more aggressive
posture of stopping a fight to the
peacekeeping posture of supporting
civil administration, we need at least
some forces which are able to work
flexibly in a wide-range of peacekeeping
tasks. De-mining, distribution of
humanitarian relief, border control,
and providing area security for more
focused international and local police
activity, to name a few.
What NATO's engagement in the Balkans
has shown us it that - from air campaigns
to peacekeeping - we do not have enough
of the right kinds of forces.
The peace dividend, which we all cashed
in when the Soviet Union collapsed,
has been spent. And now we need to
Defence spending is the ultimate
form of insurance. Insurance against
military threats, of course. This
has always been the case and it remains
But in the 21st century, effective
military forces are a part of our
insurance against the kinds of threats
that, in the past, only law enforcement
officers had to handle. That is indeed
a major change from the traditional
relationship between law enforcement
and national security,
But as we are learning the lessons
on the military side, we must learn
them on the civil and police side
as well. Today, the international
community needs not only deployable,
mobile militaries. Increasingly, we
need deployable, mobile civil adminstrators
and law enforcement agents.
This is because military intervention
is simply not enough. Building a self-sustaining
civil society requires civilian architects.
Human rights and development agencies,
to help the most needy Government
experts, to help build the necessary
institutions. Engineers, to help reconstruct
shattered infrastructure. And police,
investigators, prosecutors, judges,
and wardens to create a system of
justice, which can allow people to
trust in their own society and government
Of course, militaries do fill some
of the gap. The NATO-led force in
Kosovo, for example, has certainly
worked hard to maintain law and order.
KFOR soldiers patrol the streets,
they investigate crimes, and they
make arrests. But this is a stop-gap
measure. Soldiers are not police officers.
They are not trained for police work,
nor are they equipped for it.
Several measures are already underway
to help meet the law enforcement gap.
First, progress is being made on developing
an international, rapidly deployable,
law enforcement capability. The United
Nations, the Organisation for Security
and Cooperation in Europe, the European
Union, and the United States are all
working in various ways to the capacity
to deploy units of civilian police
on short notice. They are creating
rosters of available professionals,
or recently retired officers, who
could move to a crisis quickly. And
they are developing the necessary
training to ensure that these officers
can make an instant contribution to
law enforcement when they hit the
Nonetheless, progress is slow. While
militaries enjoy the luxury of large,
standing numbers of people ready and
trained to go on mission, police forces
don't enjoy that same luxury. Their
personnel are already deployed on
the streets at home, and there is
very little spare capacity to send
overseas. Furthermore, police officers
understandably require quite a bit
of new training before they can take
on the demanding tasks of international
policing. These challenges can be
overcome, and doing so must be made
a priority by national governments.
Second, both in Bosnia and Kosovo,
the UN and the OSCE are working hard
to train locals to become police officers.
This is important in part because
the international community cannot
stay there forever, and in part because
the most effective law enforcement
is local. Because the local people
know the lie of the land, and are
seen as most legitimate by their community.
The law enforcement training in Kosovo
is already paying off, as more and
more new police officers are taking
up their duties and conducting joint,
multi-ethnic patrols. Four-thousand
police officers have graduated from
the OSCE organised Kosovo Police Service
school - a remarkable output less
than 24 months after the conflict.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I know you will find it easy to
walk away from this speech thinking
- sure, that's easy. Just invest more
in defence and more in deployable
law enforcement at the same time.
All we need is money.
As a Scot, speaking to a group assembled
in Scotland, only a few minutes away
from the home and constituency of
the Scot who is the Chancellor of
the Exchequer, I am aware that a call
for more spending on almost anything
is a hard sell. Scots are more inclined
to be frugal, and to manage money
Frugality is a must. But safety
is never free. On the military side,
measured in 1995 dollars, NATO nations
were spending nearly four percent
of GDP on defence ten years ago. Now
the figure is down to just over two
During the Cold War, we invested
heavily in the right things because
we had to. Today, we need to make
the same level of commitment to addressing
the existing and emerging security
challenges we now face - and this
means through both military and non-military
In the 21st century, military success
for many peacekeeping missions depends
critically on civilian success - and
vice versa. To quote Harry Truman
out of context, they are "two
halves of the same walnut".
For all these reasons, this conference
is very important indeed, and I congratulate
the organisers for choosing so timely
I encourage you to engage in a very
frank and fruitful debate, and I look
forward with interest to the conclusions
you will draw here.