From the Boston Globe: "NATO will simply not be able to meet every challenge that threatens its members. On some issues, NATO will take the lead. But on others, NATO will have to partner with other international institutions, like the United Nations or the European Union. As we rewrite the Strategic Concept to guide the next decade of NATO operations, we must clearly define when NATO should lead, when it should collaborate with other international organizations, and when it should take a back seat."
From defpro.com: "Within the framework of NATO-Ukraine cooperation the meeting of Joint Working Group on Defence Reform (JWGDR) and planning conference on the program of development of civilian staff employed in the defence sector is being held on 13th-15th May 09, as reported by Poland's Ministry of National Defence.
Directors of defence policy departments of NATO member states, partner countries and institutions, such as: Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces and Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) as well as counselors on defence issues from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence and General Staff participate in the meeting co-chaired by Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning Jiry Sedivy and first dpty of the Secretary of the Ukrainian Council of National Security Stepan Havrysz. The goals of the conference will be the assessment of the Ukraine’s way to the integration with NATO structures and its development in security and defence sectors. The talks will concern, among others, the state of implementation of Ukraine’s Annual National Plan and projects run under the Group auspices. This meeting is of great significance for the future of NATO-Ukraine’s cooperation.
This is the first JWGDR meeting on that level organized by a NATO member. Thus far, the sittings were held in Brussels or in Ukraine."
Speaking at the Atlantic Council, NATO's military commander addresses continuing weakness within the alliance.
From the New Atlanticist: "Supreme Allied Commander John Bantz Craddock told the Atlantic Council that 'political leadership in NATO is AWOL' and that fixing the 'imbalance' between an enormous strategic ambition and modest political will is vital for success in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The general acknowledged Afghanistan as the most vital mission of the Alliance and stated that there are three strategic objectives: security and stability, good governance, and reconstruction and development. While NATO has a direct role in only the first, it has an indirect role in the other two. While acknowledging the constant refrain of 'We don't do nation-building,' he said that strengthening Afghan governing institutions was 'the critical path' to operational success. He declared, 'We can be perfect in securing the area but if government fails, we fail.' While this is ultimately the responsibility of the Afghan leaders themselves, Craddock contends NATO has not done enough to help them along.
More fundamentally, the Alliance has not kept its promises. It has not come close to funding the objectives it set for itself in 2006, upon taking control of the mission, and it is clear that the domestic political interests of NATO member states have been paramount over Alliance goals — even though said goals were achieved through painstaking consensus building. Craddock understands that political leaders in democracies have to consider public opinion. At the same time, however, he said 'It's the job of leaders to persuade the citizenry' on important foreign policy goals and that 'often, this has not been the case.'"
<a "Defence Ministers of the Nordic countries will be meeting in Helsinki this coming Tuesday and Wednesday for talks on tighter defence cooperation.
Earlier this year, a report drawn up by a group headed by former Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg proposed that the the Nordic countries jointly take responsibility for Icelandic airspace once the United States closes its base at Keflavik, Iceland.
According to Finnish Defense Minister Jyri Häkämies, participation in such an arrangement would be too expensive for Finland.
'This is primarily a matter of the supervision of the airspace of a NATO country, so it is also a political question. And it would not be free. The air force's budget has just been balanced, and the first order of business is not to send planes off somewhere,' Häkämies told Turun Sanomat."
That is bigger than what NATO countries -- excluding the United States -- are forecast to spend for new naval construction in the same period, said Bob Nugent, vice president of US-based naval consultancy AMI International.
The world's biggest spender will remain the United States at a little above $60 billion between now and 2014, Nugent said here on the eve of IMDEX Asia 2009, Asia's top maritime defense show.
Non-NATO European countries led by Russia are forecast to spend $11 billion on new naval capabilities in the next five years, he added."
"In spite of Russia objections and opposition activities, NATO war games, called Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09, began their active phase in Georgia today. Nineteen countries with 1300 servicemen were invited to participate. Six countries, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Serbia and Armenia, later pulled out of the games, however.
Cooperative Longbow 09 is a command post operation conducted at Georgian military headquarters in Tbilisi, according to Media Monitors Network, while Cooperatives Lancers 09 is a field exercise. Activities have been underway in Georgia since May 6, and the opening ceremony for the weapon-less games took place yesterday. The exercises will last a month in all."
">Helsingin Sanomat - International Edition - Foreign: "Alliance experts to train Finns against online attacks.
There are plans for cooperation with a NATO unit set up in the Estonian capital Tallinn. The unit is specialised in defending data networks against cyber-attacks..."
"A considerable impetus leading to the establishment of NATO’s cyber defence centre came in the spring of 2007 when the dispute over the location of a Soviet war monument in Tallinn led to online denial of service attacks against Estonia, which shut down the web pages of the Estonian government for several days.
Georgia experienced similar attacks during fighting with Russia last year."
Photo of Tallinn statue at center of controversy: Kari Pullinen
Batkuashvili, who was head of defense planning directorate, J-5, at MoD during the August war, was arrested on May 6.
Both the investigators and a defense lawyer have declined to reveal details of the case.
Charges have been brought under part one of article 320 of the Georgian criminal code involving “intentional or negligent disclosure of the state secret,” Batkuashvili’s defense lawyer, Onise Mebonia, told Civil.Ge on May 9.
Batkuashvili was Georgia’s military attaché to the mission in NATO till 2006.
Davit Sikharulidze, the Georgian defense minister, declined to comment details of the case and ongoing investigation citing that it was “not within my competence.”
“It is a very alarming fact for me,” he said in the Rustavi 2 TV’s weekly political talk show, Position, late on May 8. I think that as soon as the investigation is over, all the materials will be unveiled.”
There has been speculation in the press that Batkuashvili’s case could have been linked to the case of Vakhtang Maisaia. The latter has served as counselor at the Georgian mission in NATO in 2004-2008. He was arrested for espionage earlier this week.
From AFP: Russia on Saturday sternly warned its foes not to dare attempt any aggression against the country, as it put on a Soviet-style show of military might in Red Square including nuclear capable missiles.
The display to mark the 64th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II came amid renewed tensions with Georgia after NATO's decision to hold war games in the Caucasus country infuriated Moscow."
"Thousands of soldiers marched past Medvedev and Putin, before dozens of heavy tanks, including the main T-90 battle tank and the Sprut self-propelled anti-tank gun, thundered through Red Square to the sound of martial music.
There was a rare public showing for some of Russia's best known missile systems, including the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, the short range Iskander-M and the medium-range Buk.
As in 2008, Russia proudly showed off a half dozen examples of its nuclear-capable Topol intercontinental ballistic missile which has a range of more than 10,000 kilometres (6,500 miles).
Squadrons of fighter jets also flew over Red Square."