From NATO: [T]he informal working dinner of the NATO Defence Ministers will begin at 7:30 on Thursday [10/22], 7:30 p.m. It will be Ministers only, so they will have a free exchange of views. The focus of the discussion will be on what we call transformation.

I think there are two areas where the Secretary General is going to want to focus attention. One is on money and the other is on the capability of our armed forces.

The money issue is very simple. Allies have laid out a set of operational priorities and capability priorities in terms of acquisition and operation of capabilities, which we can’t quite afford, and that is based on what we know now. If we take on anything more that gap between what we’ve agreed to do and what we can pay for will grow.

So he will want to draw their attention to that, and discuss how we can better prioritize and ensure that we have the budgets to meet our priorities.

Secondly, we have less than half of the forces in NATO countries that are deployable for operations and an even smaller percentage, I think it’s around 10 to 20 percent, that are sustainable over any significant period of time in operations. That is clearly not enough, and we will wish to discuss… Ministers will wish to discuss how to bring those levels up and to do so again in a realistic timeframe.

Excerpt from press briefing by NATO Spokesman James Appathurai. (photo: NATO)