"Transforming the Alliance"

National Security Advisor General James Jones
February 23, 2010

Secretary Clinton, Secretary Gates and General Jones each emphasized different issues under consideration in the Strategic Concept process.  Drawing from his extensive knowledge of NATO, General Jones’s focused on Alliance fundamentals (Article 4 and Article 5) as well as the Alliance’s need to resist false choices between old and new threats, between territorial and expeditionary security capabilities, and between cooperation with other organizations and development of NATO’s intrinsic capabilities in the civil-military arena.

Key Excerpts:

“President Obama has sought a new era of engagement with the world.  Our desire is to work with and through our alliances.  But to do so, even our greatest Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, must be up to the task and commit the resources for its future.”

“NATO must be more lean, agile, and flexible to effectively address the security challenges before it.  NATO must move beyond its doctrine of static defense of the 20th Century to become a more proactive Alliance for the modern era.”

“We must all be confident in our common commitment to collective defense as the core mission of NATO.  This commitment must be the same, even if the threats we face are different and the security environment has become much more complex.”

“NATO must be prepared to address, deny, and deter the full spectrum of threats, whether emanating from within Europe, at NATO’s boundaries, or far beyond NATO’s borders.  Given the complexity of the threat environment, NATO’s assessment of the threat spectrum should remain under review at all times.”

“Some in the current Strategic Concept debate would have us set up false choices between equally important ambitions.  NATO must be able to do several things simultaneously, and reweave the fabric of Alliance political unity while doing so.”

“NATO must address both Traditional and New Threats”

  • NATO must remain prepared for traditional defense missions while also preparing for integrated political, economic, military means to respond to non-traditional threats.
  • NATO should develop the right capabilities for the future; beginning with an Alliance-wide review of current threats and the infrastructure, decision-making, and programs to combat them.
  • NATO should also build on its role as a proven transatlantic forum for security coordination and developing political consensus on security matters by agreeing to apply transatlantic soft power – political pressure, diplomacy, allied and partner economic, democracy-building, and media resources – to developing threats.

“(2) NATO forces must be capable of deploying across the territory of the Alliance to accomplish the full spectrum of NATO missions, as well as to address challenges to the security of the Alliance from other areas”

“(3) NATO must plan to work with other organizations in a comprehensive approach to crisis management but also have the capabilities to deliver these effects by itself on the ground when necessary”

  • Given the multidimensional nature of new security threats, NATO usually will not act alone and should seek to cooperate with other institutions and countries in the planning and execution of its missions.  ISAF is an outstanding example of this reality today.
  • There may, however, also be instances where NATO must act alone, either because of the nature of the action (military) or the absence of other actors in the field.  Under such circumstances NATO must have the necessary capabilities, including civilian capacity, to act at least until such time as it is possible for other institutions to play their roles.

On Resources:  “The threats and challenges of the 21st Century are not going away, and we therefore cannot lower our level of ambition.  We must rise to the challenge that confronts us"

  • As Secretary Gates said this morning, NATO needs new ways to develop and maintain capabilities.  This could be through multinational procurement, more available common funding for NATO missions and capabilities or reallocating resources based on collective rather than national priorities.
  • With few extra dollars and euros to go around, increased reliance on collective efforts is one way to do more with less

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