Updated: 27-jun-08 NATO IMS Speech



27 Jun. 2008


by the new Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Admiral Giampaolo di Paola

Dean, thank you so much for those kind words. Expecially because I know they come from your heart on behalf of the other friends and colleagues.

Tout d’abord, permettez-moi de dire que je suis heureux d’être ici et d’avoir été investi de la responsabilité de présider le Comité militaire. J’ai été honoré que l’Italie ait proposé ma candidature et que vous m’ayez choisi. Cet honneur m’invite à la modestie et je ferai tout ce qui est en mon pouvoir pour garantir que le Comité militaire poursuivra son travail fondamental et irremplaçable à l’appui du Conseil de l’Atlantique Nord.

I do not intend to say very much today, it is, too early in my tenure, but I want to recognise the outstanding contribution of General Henault.

During Ray’s time as CMC, we have seen a significant expansion of our operations, particularly in Afghanistan, we have been engaged in disaster relief missions and we have embarked on structural changes with the PE review, and fundamental process changes with the conceptual work on the Comprehensive Approach.

There is much more, but in three short years, Ray has guided the Military Committee through some fairly rough waters.  His quiet, diplomatic manner has gained consensus across difficult issues and has kept us on track.  We owe a debt of gratitude to him for his outstanding, dedicated work on our behalves.

So, where are we headed?  Firstly the challenges that we face are not going away, they are evolving and we need to be able to answer those challenges.  They are not only military in nature, they go well beyond the pure military dimension, we know this well.

But, how and what can the Military Committee do to make a difference?  Well, there is no doubt that there are some thorny topics that need to be firmly tackled.  Afghanistan, Kosovo, NRF and the PE Review, to name but a few, will continue to challenge us, but such difficult issues need to be addressed and resolved.  In the end, it all turns around the manner in which this Committee, you and me, your representatives, the Strategic Commanders and the IMS, carry out our business, make decisions and then provide timely and professional advice to the North Atlantic Council. Nothing else but this  will define our real role and relevance in NATO.  If we are seen as indecisive, or only capable of severely diluted advice, we will be sidelined. Let me say, rightly so.

So, to pick up on existing work, and to outline my thoughts, there are three principal areas that I believe we will need to focus on.

Avant tout, les opérations resteront notre première priorité. Nos forces armées continueront de servir avec fierté et bravoure dans des circonstances difficiles et je salue leur dévouement et leur engagement. Cependant, si nous souhaitons rallier nos opinions publiques et obtenir leur soutien en ces temps difficiles, nous devons gérer avec beaucoup de soin notre façon d’organiser nos opérations.

If NATO wishes to remain legitimate, then we must operate legitimately, and to be perceived to do so; therefore in countering the threats I outlined we need to be responsive, but remain responsible.  The Comprehensive Approach is all about intelligent application of our capabilities in all we do.

This means using all strategic lines of operation where and as appropriate; the politicians have the lead here, and have a responsibility to provide clear unambiguous guidance to us, so that we can best do our work.

Our Strategic Communications forms an equally critical part of that armoury; we must tell the world what we are doing coherently, clearly and quickly.

The second area is Transformation.  We all have our own understanding of what Transformation means to the Alliance.  In addition to our internal adjustments, I consider that the development of NATO’s new capabilities and new concepts is the key issue to be able to run future missions effectively, but in pursuing them we can not be divorced from our work with Partners and other international players, who will become more and more crucial to our success.

Les capacités croissantes de l’Union européenne devront évidemment être prises en compte dans notre action.  Nous ne pouvons pas permettre que les deux structures s’éloignent, alors qu'un si grand nombre d’entre nous « jouent dans les deux camps ». Nous ne disposons pas des ressources nécessaires pour jouer un rôle utile sur la scène internationale, à moins que nous ne soyons pragmatiques et souples. De nouveau, cela suppose des décisions fermes, et une co-opération de plus en plus étroit et efficace, tant au sein de l’OTAN que de l’UE.

The third area is our co-operation with other states and international actors.  In addition to the EU, we have also to listen to our friends further afield.  The Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative nations that support us in many ways look at the world differently and we must embrace their differences and understand and take care of their concerns.  The partnership and co-operative programmes run by the NATO Defence College , to cite one example, will be key to developing those relationships in a way that supports our capabilities, but also helps those nations become firm allies in our defence against the threats that face us.

Nous ne devons pas oublier que la Russie continue de chercher sa place dans ce monde nouveau ; nous pouvons modestement aider à trouver une solution plutôt que de laisser traîner les problèmes qu’il semble délicat de régler. Je crois que la coopération entre militaires nous a montré un chemin à suivre.  Au moment où le dialogue politique rencontre des difficultés, notre co-opération militaire peut être une fondation solide qui pourra maintenir les liens de confiance.

And beside and beyond Russia there are other actors we should establish relationship an cooperate with.

I said that I would not speak for long at the start, and I intend to keep that promise.  We have much on our MC agenda to tackle and, for some issues, time is running short; this will require flexibility from all of us.  It is a continuation of the work that we have been addressing for over 60 years now; what we address in the months to come will be pivotal to the direction that NATO takes for the future.

I intend to do my part working hard with the Military Committee agenda to continue our efforts in delivering a NATO military component that is:  Effective now, forward looking, responsive and responsible.  Today and tomorrow.

J’attends de vous un engagement personnel et un soutien solides ; je vous le demanderai, je vous en exhorterai, même.  Merci encore une fois pour la confiance que vous m’avez accordée pour agir en votre nom. 

Merci/Thank you.


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