Updated: 01-Aug-2002 Week of 22-28 July 2002

25 July 2002

NATO Secretary General
calls for improved defence co-operation

A strong transatlantic defence industry has a key role in meeting NATO's defence needs, said NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson in a speech to leading industrialists attending this year's Farnborough Air Show.

About 200 senior defence executives, military leaders and politicians attended the GKN dinner in London on 25 July, and were told by Lord Robertson, who was guest of honour, that NATO's nations had to address the gap in defence capabilities between the United States and other alliance members.

He said if the gap was not addressed, "we will face a political, conceptual and military divergence, which will make the transatlantic alliance ever harder to sustain, on the battlefield and in the conference chamber."

Lord Robertson said close transatlantic industrial co-operation helped improve NATO's defence capabilities, which, "in key areas was more likely to be achieved through common programmes, ideally by providing jointly owned and jointly operated capabilities, such as AWACS."

The Secretary General called for better co-operation on both sides of the Atlantic, including enhanced European procurement to get more value for money, as well as improved US export and security controls on defence equipment. But Lord Robertson said NATO was addressing the new challenges with an improved defence capabilities initiative, and he wanted NATO's Presidents and Prime Ministers "to commit fully to specific programmes of action to correct our critical shortfalls."

Additional information:
  • Remarks by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, at the GKN Farnborough Dinner, RAC Club, London - 25 July 2002