Flournoy previews U.S. priorities for NATO’s Lisbon Summit

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy talks with Marines Lt. Gen. John Paxton on Capital Hill, Feb. 22, 2010.

From Jim Garamone, Armed Force Press Service:  NATO’s roadmap for a new world and its mission in Afghanistan will be the main topics of discussion when the alliance’s leaders gather in Lisbon, Portugal, in November for their annual summit, a senior Pentagon official said yesterday.

Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, said two “main baskets” of issues will be on the table at the summit.

“The first will be revitalizing the alliance for the 21st century,” she said, “and the second will be succeeding as an alliance in Afghanistan. …”

“We have a whole series of reform proposals looking at command structure, NATO agencies and institutions, NATO committees and NATO financial reform,” she explained.

Flournoy said she believes that with many in Europe calling for cutbacks in the face of the world’s economic situation, the impetus is there to reform the alliance. That, she added, sets the stage for organizational changes that suit the alliance’s operational evolution.

“There is a downward pressure to do things more efficiently,” she said. “Secondly, NATO has now had more than a decade of experience in the requirements to do expeditionary operations – to actually have your command structure actually be able to deploy and employ forces in real-world contingencies. …

"We are taking a look at 14 NATO agencies and seeing if we can consolidate them to three,” she said. “There is also a very careful scrub now of the common funding budget for NATO. Again, countries are asking, ‘What am I getting for my money, and are we spending it well?’ That is leading to some serious reform for the first time in a long time.”  (photo: AP)

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