NATO Chief: ‘In Chicago, we will make Smart Defence the new way we do business’

NATO members should increase defense cooperation "so that every effort counts, and nothing is wasted"

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  Smart Defence is about lining up national requirements and NATO’s requirements. It is about setting clear priorities. Specialising in a coordinated and deliberate way – by design, not by default. And cooperating between Allies, and with the European Union, so that every effort counts, and nothing is wasted. 

I expect that in Chicago, we will make Smart Defence the new way we do business. And apply it to three strands of work: immediate projects, longer-term projects, and strategic projects .

First, an initial package of more than 20 multinational projects that will address critical capability shortfalls. We already have lead nations assigned to these projects, and we have confirmed participants.

Second, we will look at a number of longer-term multinational projects that are already in the pipeline: Missile Defence, Alliance Ground Surveillance and Air Policing. Air Policing in the Baltic States is a model for Alliance solidarity and a practical example of smart defence.

Third, we will target a number of strategic projects for 2020 and beyond. As our operation in Libya showed, we still face some specific capability gaps, such as air-to-air refuelling and joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. And we know that we will need stronger cooperation, across the Atlantic and in Europe, to fill them. So in Chicago, I will look for a commitment to make sure that this is what we deliver.

Smart Defence is about building capabilities together. But we also need to be able to operate them together. That is why I have launched the Connected Forces Initiative. It puts a premium on training and education, exercises, and better use of technology.

Our operations have given a boost to NATO’s transformation. We must make sure we keep the lessons we have learned, even when those operations end. So we get where we need to be at the end of this decade and beyond. Because Chicago will mark an important chapter in this journey of transformation, but it will not be the end of the story. 

Excerpt from press briefing by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.  (photo: Getty)

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