From Sarwar Kashmeri, Huffington Post: As part of trimming the U.S. defense budget Congress should insist that within 3-5 years the responsibility for the defense of Europe and its periphery be transferred to the EU. Specifically,
- America should turn over the leadership of NATO to the EU by replacing Americans with Europeans in key NATO positions throughout the Alliance.
- NATO’s operations and planning division (Allied Command Operations/SHAPE) should be merged into CSDP and serve as the EU’s planning, command, and control staff.
- NATO’s board of directors, the North Atlantic Council (NAC), made up of ambassadors and their staffs from the alliance’s 28 members is no longer fit for purpose. It assumes a non-EU Europe of separate countries, and being primarily a military structure, cannot forge the political consensus to streamline Europe’s military-industrial complex. The NAC should be recast to include one representative each from the EU, United States, Canada, and non-EU members of NATO such as Turkey. It should also be re-missioned to serve as a security bridge across the Atlantic in case of a conflict that requires a combined European-North American response. Such as the recent alliance decision to deploy Patriot missiles to defend Turkey from Syria.
- NATO’s third entity, Allied Command Transformation or ACT, located in Norfolk, Virginia largely duplicates the functions of the EU’s European Defense Agency and should be merged with it.
- Finally, America should take the initiative for this transformation and push the transatlantic allies to set up a high level task-force to redesign the structure of NATO.
The North Atlantic Treaty continues to serve a valuable purpose. It is the "O" in NATO that needs an upgrade. Congress should make this a high American priority in 2013.