Last update: 21-Jun-2004 18:39 NATO Update

18 June 2004

New missions require new means,
says NATO Secretary General

NATO Istanbul Summit
17/06/2004 - NATO
NATO Secretary General to visit the United Kingdom 18 June 2004
NATO in Afghanistan
18/06/2004 - NATO
NATO's Istanbul Summit: new mission, new means - Speech by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the Royal United Services Institute
Speaking in London on 18 June, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that if NATO is to continue to take on new operations, it has to improve the way it decides on and plans for missions.

In a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, he said the Alliance’s current force generation process was “far from optimal”.

Force generation is the process through which NATO member countries commit troops and equipment for Alliance operations.

New mission, new requirements

“Missions such as Afghanistan present wholly new challenges in terms of generating forces. We have never done anything quite like this before and it should not be a surprise that there are challenges,” he emphasized.

The Secretary General said that the demand for NATO to “project stability” in faraway places like Afghanistan is likely to increase, not diminish, in the future.

This meant that the Alliance had to address three key areas: the way it takes decisions, the way it plans and generates forces, and the way it funds its missions.

Decisions expected at Istanbul

It is anticipated that at the upcoming Istanbul Summit, Heads of State and Government will address these issues. Among other decisions, they are expected to adopt new approaches both to force planning and force generation.

“But, transformation is a process, not a single event. Istanbul is the place where we will make a start,” Mr. De Hoop Scheffer said, “If we are serious about the need to project stability in today’s volatile security environment, we must continue to make sure that our means match our ambitions.”