From Dave Majumdar , Defense News: NATO’s ability to defend member nations against aggression by a conventional enemy force may be atrophying, Norway’s Defense Minister said Jan. 13.
"Article 5 is not in such a good shape," said Espen Barth Eide, speaking before an audience assembled at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "I’m not talking about political will, but the actual ability to deliver if something happens in the trans-Atlantic theater of a more classical type of aggression."
Exercises have shown that NATO’s ability to conduct conventional military operations has markedly declined, Barth Eide said.
Not only is NATO’s ability to defend its member states questionable, it might actually deteriorate further as financial pressures in Europe and the U.S. force cuts in military spending.
"I think we’re getting worse at it because of the many cuts happening in a lot of European countries," the minister said. "If we’re not smart, [defense cuts] may lead to a further weakening of the core ability to defend ourselves."
If NATO’s core ability to defend itself is weakened, the alliance’s ability to conduct out-of-area operations like Afghanistan will also wither away, Barth Eide said.
NATO has to strongly reassert Article 5 of the treaty and the decline of conventional capabilities has to stop, he said. The focus needs to shift away from large armies conducting stability operations to the air and sea, he added. (photo: NATO)