Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman at the Munich Security Conference began the discussion of the Council’s NATO in an Era of Global Competition conference entitled “The Alliance and the Global Power” shift by noting that Russia is an “important neighbor” whom we can no longer consider a partner but that we will continuously have to put up with as an alliance. He identified the formation of a “European Army” as a proper structure under which members of the European Union should ultimately approach the Kremlin. He also cited NATO as the “single most successful nonproliferation agent in history.”

Fabrice Pothier, Head of Policy Planning at NATO’s Office of the Secretary General, spoke about the global changing security environment in the Middle East and Asia. This “arch of crisis” has broadened and intensified from Sahel to the Middle East, “becoming more worrying everyday.” The Alliance must respond immediately, in his opinion, by maintaining NATO’s “tested and valid” Strategic Concept, adopted in 2010. Julianne Smith, senior fellow and director of the Strategy and Statecraft Program at the Centre for a New American Security expressed concerns that NATO has been “trapped in addressing yesterday’s problems,” which will render the Alliance irrelevant if it does not adapt sufficiently, as the world is entering an “era of compounding complexity”.

Rolf Tamnes, an expert from the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, underlined the need for “stronger US leadership” in Europe to sustain European security. He asserted that NATO should prioritize collective security, deterrence, and managing new and emerging threats such as transnational terrorism, missile threats, and weapons of mass destruction.

Pothier’s proposition’s for long term goals are for NATO to become more than a “one-dimensional alliance” who is “ready for any strategic surprise.” Moderator and Vice President and Director of the the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Barry Pavel asked Pothier, “If the US or Canada faces a threat from the Pacific, would NATO pay attention to this threat?” His response was that “if we don’t go to the Asia pacific, the Asia-Pacific is going to come to us.”