From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO: I was encouraged by the discussion today. Because there was a shared sense around the table on three very important points:
- First: we must cut fat and not muscle. While seeking savings, we must nevertheless preserve our ability to deter attacks against us and to carry out essential operations. We cannot cut so far to meet immediate demands, that we sacrifice our security; that would be the ultimate false economy.
- Second: salami slicing is the wrong approach. Just cutting a certain percentage from everything would end up hollowing everything out. We must prioritise on what we really need – in a nutshell, on what we can actually deploy, where and when we need it.
- Third: we need to approach this as an Alliance. If we have a coherent approach, we can retain the essential capabilities we need, avoid pointless duplication, and buy together what we couldn’t afford individually. The NATO Defence Planning Process is designed to help produce exactly that kind of coherent approach, and we will be using it.
The bottom line – and now we are really talking about the bottom line – is this: there will be less money for defence for quite some time. That’s the way it is. But we can use this crisis as motivation to make the right changes, to focus on the right things, and to do as much as possible together. And I think we are off to a good start.
Press conference by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following the first formal meeting of NATO Defence Ministers. (photo: NATO)