Atlantic Council

Future Leaders Summit: Future NATO and Dynamic Transformation

Barry Pavel,
Vice President and Director of
Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security,
Atlantic Council

Martin Michelot, Program and Research Officer,
German Marshall Fund’s Paris office

General Jean-Paul Palomeros,
Supreme Allied Commander Transformation

Location: 2014 Wales NATO Summit

Time: 9:25 a.m. BST
Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2014

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

BARRY PAVEL: (In progress) – transformation. I also wanted, firstly, to thank ACT for being one of our cornerstone partners for this summit. We really could not have done this without them, and there’s a lot more that we, certainly the Atlantic Council, could not have done without our very long and fruitful partnership with Allied Command Transformation under General Palomeros’ leadership.

As head of NATO Allied Command Transformation, General Palomeros is one of the most important leaders, really dedicated to adapting NATO for 21st century challenges, and that includes for what’s going on today. And he’s had a very significant role in helping NATO develop and mount the response to the Ukraine crisis but also for planning for tomorrow’s crisis, which otherwise tends not to get as much attention in very busy decision-making circles.

General Palomeros’ leadership, vision and inspiring devotion to the trans-Atlantic bond has been a driving force behind NATO’s ongoing reform efforts. He has spearheaded specific smart defense initiatives. He has led greater NATO engagement with strategic partners, and this includes, crucially, efforts to forge stronger NATO-EU ties, as we heard a little bit about already during our summit discussions, and also in playing a very key role, as I said, in crafting NATO’s policies directly related to the Ukraine crisis.

General Palomeros was confirmed as SACT in September 2012 after a highly decorated career in the French military. His decades-long career in the air force included deployments across Europe, from Italy to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he was in charge of coordinating the air-ground campaign during Operation Deliberate Force. He then served as vice chief of staff of the French air force beginning in 2005 and in 2009 was promoted to general and air force chief of staff of France before assuming his current role.

Finally, General Palomeros is also a close friend of the Atlantic Council. We have enjoyed a wonderful working partnership with him and with his staff. General, thank you so much for your support, for your leadership and dedication to the Atlantic community’s values and to its mission, and many thanks for being with us here today. As a reminder, this panel is being live streamed and live tweeted. Please join the conversation with #FutureNATO@AtlanticCouncil and @YoungAtlantic, and please also join me, please, in welcoming General Palomeros to the stage.


GENERAL JEAN-PAUL PALOMEROS: Thank you. (Inaudible.) OK.

First and foremost, it’s a great pleasure to meet you again, for many of you, since our last dinner – working dinner – that we had in DC, which was really fascinating for me and very thought-provocative, so I got a lot out of this contribution. We kept in touch with some of you in the preparation of your work and of this summit. We are in Wales, obviously – look to the weather. But we are well. And we are prepared. And thank you for the hard work that we have put together. I would like, really, to join the secretary-general to thank you for your contribution.

And I thank you not only for your work, but for the nature of your contribution because it has been a – it is a thought-provocative paper, which is not so easy to reach in building a kind of consensus around those ideas, and this is, as you know, a feature of NATO, building a consensus between the 28 members. This is part of our job, and this is the real achievement of us, the political and the military together. And you will not be surprised if I come back on the words of the secretary-general because we are working as a team, I can reassure you.

And this is a unique, I would say, quality or feature of this organization, this close, interconnected, joint work between politics and military. So if you can just keep that in mind for the future, that will be very helpful to force the defense and security dialogue in a very productive way.

So thank you for your thought-provocative, and that’s why I will – I will take one quotation from your work to start with: quote, NATO is at a crossroads. At a time when the world’s most important political military alliance is facing an increasing number of internal and external challenges, its current military posture, political commitment and vision are insufficient, insufficient to maintain the necessary strength, credibility and cohesion needed to overcome these challenges.

This is a good start for a summit. It’s very provocative. I don’t know if the – if the head of states will start like that, but at least it will launch the debate. And this is what we need.

But in the same time that you put forward this quite provocative assessment – statement, you have been able as well, as the secretary-general stressed, to articulate what I will call the very credible and very concrete proposals, which is even better. So thank you for that, and I will really limit my short introduction to discuss a little bit about your proposals and how you see the world, how I see the transformation, and then we can launch the debate afterwards.

First and foremost, a key objective and a key achievement, I think, for the last years of this alliance enterprise, has been the cooperation. It was stressed many times by the secretary-general. And I would like to thank and to welcome the representative of our partner nations. And I think we have Afghan young leaders with us. They should – yeah – we are very – you are very welcome. And I would like to stress the – our support for Afghanistan. It is absolutely crucial, and I hope deeply that we will be able to overcome the current situation. There will be a great discussion today, and we have done a lot together, and the future should be built together. So thank you for your contribution, and be sure that we will do whatever we can to make sure that we can carry on this wonderful mission in advising, training, assisting and supporting these wonderful Afghan people. But obviously, we have some political hurdles.

Cooperation, a key achievement. I think security – cooperative security has been a great challenge, but we have had some good news. But we have learned as well that we could do more and perhaps we could do better. And I will stress that the Ukrainian crisis and the partnership that we have had with Ukraine for a while is – has lessons – we have lessons to learn out of that.

First and foremost, we have built a strong partnership with this country, even in the times where politics were different in Ukraine, where Ukraine was very close to Russia. So it can work. This is good news. But did we do enough? This is still to be debated. But to do more, you need at least to be two to work together. So my point here is that if we want to reinforce this cooperative security, we must work deeper and share the security concerns of those partners who are interested in what – in building that together.

So – and this is my own lesson to learn – I will really advocate for a stronger commitment, stronger interaction, focusing on the security perspective of each partner. And this is perhaps what we are looking in enhancing the partnership and in defense capacity building. We are looking to really touch the real issue there – cooperative security, common security, and not only interoperability – which is fine, which is a good way forward.

Perhaps a second point on cooperation, this cooperation, this partnership doesn’t stop with the nations, but extends to the organizations, as you know. And that has been a great achievement, which is perhaps less visible than the partnership with the nations, but I can tell you that today, obviously with the European Union – but there is some progress to make, and you stressed that in your report. I fully agree with that. We have to overcome some difficulties to change a little bit the mindsets, not only NATO but in the EU as well and in the nations. (Inaudible) – these head of states, the ministers, the chief of defense, they meet in a different format. So they have to make — and we must help them to make their mind how they prioritize and how they organize their priorities to make sure that all these organizations can work together for the benefit of security and defense. This is true with the U.N. We have dramatically improved our relationship with the U.N. I was very surprised to see the move, and that was a two-way street, not immediate. NATO was closer to the U.N., but the U.N. was willing – is more and more willing to work with NATO, which is, as well, good news. So we have a lot opportunities. African Union is there. So, I would say that in a global world, we need a global partnership, and this exactly what we are – what we are working on. And we must capitalize on any single opportunity in capacity development, in Connected Forces Initiative, even in the readiness action plan, where some partners could be involved to reinforce the strengths and the readiness of NATO. Obviously that needs a lot of confidence, a mutual confidence. And I will stress that not only we need to give visibility to our partnership, but we need to give pre-visibility, which means that NATO must be very open and that we have to overcome some political difficulties. We are still resilient in NATO today about those partnerships. So I see this summit as a key – a key step forward in reinforcing not only the need but the way we consider partnership.

Globalization is a key word, and when I – when we look to this environment that we have today, the emerging threats which are – which are already there, they are not – no longer emerging, they are present, we must not be confusing about that – that’s the clear environment in which we live. So yes, NATO can do much, could do, perhaps, more and better, but it cannot do that alone. That was clearly stated by the secretary-general. And what the Ukraine crisis show us, and all the crises at the end of the day of today of this world, is that we need to organize this global approach. And that could be the next step in the role of NATO in the partnership perspective with the organizations, with the nations: how we make sure that everybody can play its role in this – in this environment, how we make sure that there is a kind of global strategy to approach the major problems of this century, how we make sure that we can capitalize on the strengths of each organization and cross-fertilize, in a certain way, optimize, synergize the effects of all the organizations and nations which are involved – NATO, EU, OSCE, et cetera, et cetera, even the International Monetary Fund. Every single organization has a role to play in this global world in the solution of global problems.

So yes, on the one hand, you stressed very clearly in your report that we need to re-concentrate on our core business: Collective defense. And we listened, and we heard that time and again, NATO has to re-concentrate. But I will stress that NATO never lost of sight the fact that collective defense was its core business. Perhaps in the mindset of some leaders, (sometimes ?), and certainly in the mindset of our people, of our citizen, collective defense was a little bit fading away, because they had the impression that there was no more threats (at ?) our borders. That was the words of those days, there is no more threats at our borders and no borders to our threats. This is still true, but I would say that the first proposal is no longer true. Obviously the threats are still there, unfortunately, and the risks are there as well, but not only in the Eastern part of Europe, obviously, and NATO, but in the southern flank as well. And we must keep in mind this global approach, this global perspective for our alliance not to miss the next crisis, if we focus too much on one single direction. So a global approach – global perspective, but dedicated and very adapted measures and answers to the crises of today.

As far as the 2014 program is concerned for exercises, for instance, to give you a flavor of what we are doing for collective defense, before the Ukrainian crisis, we have already planned, and you know that this is part of the mission of my command, (for/four ?) major collective defense exercises. So the bulk, the vast majority of the exercises for 2014 that we planned one year and a half ago, we are focused on collective defense. So we cannot say that NATO is not concentrating on collective defense. But the real problem that we have today and that you stressed, as well, in your report is what is collective defense is in this new environment, what is Article 5, because the nature of the threat, because of the nature of the environment. And this is a crucial questions that we have to ask ourself. On the one hand, NATO remains a nuclear and a conventional forces-based deterrence keeper – a nuclear and conventional-based deterrence, and we must be very cautious to play, I would say, with this concept of Article 5 and with the credibility of Article 5. Because the day when we have to apply and to make it for real, there should be no mistake and no miscalculation from anybody about the will and the credibility and the possibility of NATO to fulfill its mission regarding collective defense in Article Five.

So there is – this is a very important debate. First and foremost, we must make sure that we are able to answer today on the permanent basis, and that was the part of the introduction of the (secretary-general ?), how we improve our responsiveness, our readiness. In fact, readiness has been key for us for a while and that has been my key priority for two years since I took this command, so it doesn’t come as a surprise for me that it is very high in the agenda. But, on the other hand, this is true that we have to face, as well, other form of threats: Hybrid, ambiguous warfare, cyber and – which, in my point of view, as far as the collective defense Article 5 is concerned, stress the need as well for – to reinforce what I would call the continuum between defense and security, which means, at the end of the day, that more and more and more we need to work on the interaction between the nations, their internal perspective, policy, means, not only for defense but as well for security, and how NATO can help, how NATO can support, how NATO can make sure that the nations can really endorse their full sovereignty.

So that raise the question about this new dialogue between – an in-depth dialogue between NATO and the nations, which means, as well, that we have to work with other – even for collective defense, we have to work with other organizations. Because as we deal with the European flanks of NATO, I mean we need to work with the EU, obviously, which is a part of the answers. Because the EU is working very much on security concerns, in the wider sense of the term, and therefore the answer is there in my perspective – more dialogue with the nations, in-depth dialogue with nations and organizations and making sure that we can assess together the situation.

Now focus (for us ?) a little bit more on the Ukrainian crisis and this perspective of the readiness action plan. The readiness action plan is not, per se, a new initiative. It is, I would say, the summary, the addition of, many (strengths ?) of work that we had in mind and it will complete, if I may say so, the wide spectrum of transformation means to move this alliance forward. We have – we have focused on, as you say – as you know, on capability development, and we are moving small defenses there and producing some effects. But we need to carry on and I hope that the head of states will push us to carry on forward this transformation in term of capability. It needs reinvestment, it needs to be smart in procurement, in requirements and how we see the development of our projects. On the other hand, we have focused very much during the last two years on preparing our forces – connected forces initiatives there, a new training concept for NATO, more and more and valuable exercise. We connect – we are connecting more and more the national exercise with NATO exercise, which has been a great contribution to reassurance measure in the eastern part – with the Ukrainian crisis. I mean, we have been able to log more than 50 exercise, national exercise together with NATO exercise since June 2014. That’s a great achievement. And today, for the next year, we are counting around 200 exercise for NATO as a whole and with the nations, which means one exercise every two days to train forces together. This is a great achievement and – if we look to the situation as it was five years ago. So we have improved that. So this is the good news.

But we missed nevertheless, alongside with the capability development and with the CFI, we missed this part of the equation, the responsiveness, how we make sure that we can employ at the best these forces that we are preparing and that we are equipping. And this is the aim of the readiness action plan. So alongside with SACEUR, and I know that General Breedlove will be there soon, and you could ask him a lot of questions about that, we are working as (bi ?) strategic commanders to provide the best answer.

This answer is not simple because we have addressed the question in the past. This is not new. But every time we come into the question of responsiveness, of readiness, the other question was, but what are the resources which are needed? Because this is fine to declare that your forces are ready, but you have to demonstrate, you have to check that, you have to certify what we are doing for the NATO response force, by the way. But if you want to – if you want to increase the responsiveness of these forces, this is another story. You need to really – to make sure that it is ready in the full sense of the term and not only for a few weeks or a few months but on the long term, what I will call the need for resilience in our endeavor.

So we need to do that – to prepare that in a very responsible way, making sure that it is reasonable, sustainable but ambitious enough to answer to the call. So it’s not easy, but with the full support of the head of states for this readiness action plan, I’m sure we will be able to do that.

I will stress as well that we have been able to achieve quite a lot of results in the line of reassurance measures, visible measures for Ukraine. And in the eastern part of NATO, we have – we have to capitalize on what we have done. But the trust, the confidence is there, and we have – I’ve seen – identified what is needed.

Last and not least, you focused in your paper, in your thoughts on the need to – on the call for – what you call a strategic overhaul of NATO. And that was touched by some questions to the (sec-gen ?). And I fully agree. I mean, one organization like ours must look in the future, and this is part of the ACT mission, to look in the future, in the deeper future. That’s why we have launched one year and a half ago the strategic foresight analysis. That’s why we are trying to capitalize on our framework for future operations, alliance operation, and not only focusing on the short-term but what we see today is that what we foresaw more or less two years ago is happening now. So there is a kind of acceleration in the timing, in the process, and then – which is very worrying because we must be able to cope with that.

So what I think is we must carry on pushing and pushing forward, together with all the stakeholders in outreaching a lot of different environment and organization to make sure that we get the best out of the assessment of the experts on the one hand, the more general and the common sense as well of our people to make sure that we are ready for the future.

And last but not least, you stressed the need to reinvest in our people, and I will conclude with that: I cannot agree more. I mean, our people are our best assets. The future starts now. It starts with you, and you are an essential part of the future. So thank you for pleading this cause for our people. It’s been a key priority for us for – at least for two years now.

I’m very pleased to see that many initiatives are in good progress, connected forces initiative for training, education, exercises, is moving forward. The center of excellence is in the different nations. It’s a great concept, and we are connecting all of that, and we can see already the effect of the nations investing in their – in those domains where they decide to do so for the benefit not only of the – not only of the alliance but all the partners which are involved in that, a great enterprise.

We are working more and more as far as the people are concerned on gender, on women, on children in armed conflict, which is perhaps the next step that we have really to capitalize on our relationship with the United Nations. We are working in development of our own people, including the noncommissioned officers, which is a wonderful resource for the forces. And we are working, obviously, with the not only the future leaders but the young leaders, because you have the leaders mindset, and that’s why I will encourage you to carry on.

And I will conclude with one quotation from your work: “These numerous challenges notwithstanding, we believe in NATO’s values, core mission and role as an indispensable alliance. As the institutional embodiment of our community of liberal democracies and the trans-Atlantic bond, NATO is vital to the stability, security and prosperity of current and future generations.” I cannot agree more, and that’s why we must carry on the transformation of this alliance together because it is crucial for peace or security and for the peace and security of future generations. So thank you for your work. Thank you for attention. (Applause.)

MARTIN MICHELOT: Hi, everybody. My name is Martin Michelot. I’m part of the emergent leaders. And I am also a nonresident fellow at the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

General, it’s an absolute pleasure, and we want to thank you very much on behalf of the – of the delegates for having gone through our report so comprehensively and give enough comments. I think this is really essential for us, and we will really, you know, look into this and see how we transform this and how we take your comments into our communities.

I know we have very little time, but I just want to abuse my privilege as the moderator to ask you a few questions and maybe a few comments to the – what you just told us.

You mentioned the importance of enhancing cooperation. And with the readiness action that will eventually be decided today, I wanted to ask you how you envisioned the transformation of the role of the partners in the years to come. I know this was a question that came up – that came up in the – with Secretary-General Rasmussen, but how do you envision this concretely in exercises, in cooperation and interoperability?

GEN. PALOMEROS: Well, to be – to be clear, in the– in these new environments and considering what we have done for cooperation in the last few years, we must put it very clearly – and in Afghanistan and in many other operations, in many exercises, even in the building and the sustainment of the NATO response force, the partners have been involved. And more than that, they have been crucial. They have brought a crucial contribution, not only at the political level, as we have seen in many operations, as we have seen, but as well at the military level, which means that at the end of the day, if we are very clear and very frank with ourselves, NATO today relies on three pillars: the NATO command structures, which has been reformed and I think which is now performant; the NATO force structure, which are provided by the nations – and we have to make sure that in the future, they keep on providing this contribution; and more – and the more – the partners, to answer to your question. So I consider not only the partners as a kind of substitute but a key pillar in the NATO I would say operations, in the NATO enterprise, in the NATO future. Obviously, they are not members. We can – this is obvious, but it is important to stress time and again, and the people ask why you don’t do that in Ukraine, why you don’t do – because membership, partnership is not membership for sure, but partnership, if we go deeper enough in this bilateral relationship, partnership is absolutely essential and a great tool for transformation, a great tool for better understanding and eventually a great tool for integration if there is a will and if the will is shared between the organization, between NATO and those partners.

So that’s why will be launched at this summit this initiative for enhanced partnership. This is a bit tricky. We must admit that defining selected partners is a risk to take. But if we want to move forward, we have to take some risk. So let’s assume the risk that in defining enhanced partners because of many criterias, we can as well support, help, stimulate others to become enhanced partner as well, and that we – at the end the day, we will enhance the overall partnership of NATO and then to see exactly what the nations, the partners are expecting as well from us at the end of the day from this partnership. And obviously the answer will not be a simple, clear-cut answer. It will depend very much on the national perspective. It will depend on the regional perspective. But this is fine. This is how we will build this crucial partnership for the – for the future.

MR. MICHELOT: Coming back to risks, one other question: Just take a little bit of a step back. Have you seen in the years past and do you also expect in the years to come more willingness on the part of the member states to collaborate on capability development? I mean, this – there is the framework nation concept, which is still in the pipeline. There – you mentioned smart defense a few times in your – in your speech. And I wanted to know if you’ve seen a trend that would – that would – that would lead to more cooperation or whether we can expect this to remain at the level that it is now.

GEN. PALOMEROS: There are good signs, positive signs, but from my perspective, not enough. This is my own experience, two years’ experience, and even before. We must be much more – and you stress that in your paper, by the way. We must be more productive, and we must try to get rid of difficulties and to overcome the hurdles that we have.

But I think that – in front of us – but I think that the nations are more ready to do that. So we have improved the confidence. We have some good news, the real concrete projects, and we must focus on that. I was very happy with the deputy’s action to put together a framework paper for the future of smart defense. I – my fear was that smart defense will be a little bit forgotten because it looks as a single initiative, a one-off initiative, which is not the case. Smart defense is both a mindset and a long-term perspective, and we must capitalize on small success but good step forward, small step forward, to reinforce the credibility and, we said, the trust between the nations, because there are a lot of questions behind that. We know that. But on the other hand, the nations understand today that if they are not able to cooperate on any multinational innovative initiative, they will lose a lot of capabilities, and that will be the end of the story.

MR. MICHELOT: You talked about innovation. I want to challenge you a bit on the attractiveness of the alliance. You know, I come from France, and France in the years past has often chosen the EU or often chosen the multilateral framework as a preferred framework for operations. Does this say something about the attractiveness of NATO, the flexibility of NATO, that members can plug into and use the command and use the structures, use the capabilities that are at disposal, and is that something that you have thought of in the lead-up to the – to the summit, how to make this alliance more attractive for all the 28 members and the partners?

GEN. PALOMEROS: I think that there is perhaps a question of a communications strategy, communications – and this is true that NATO looks as a very closed organization, and it’s very difficult to outreach NATO for industry, and we have a lot of discussions. We will have a NATO industry forum very soon in Split. So we are trying to open, open more doors to make sure that the nations and all the stakeholders understand that they can work and they can use NATO at its best, NATO as agencies which are able to fulfill some service for the nations and which are very (performance ?) in many, many standards.

So there is not a single way to develop capabilities. We must be very flexible. And when I see the great relationship, the partnership that we have with the European Defense Agency, for instance, between ACT and European defense agencies, and many other organizations. I think we are – we are moving forward. But it needs more trust, and it needs as well the will to do that from the nations. As I stressed before, we have to make clear for the nations that they have to select one way or the other, and to take the best benefit of each – of each single organization in doing their business.

MR. MICHELOT: Thank you, General.

I want to go to the room, and we have one question here from our Italian colleague. And given that we have time limitations, if there’s another question that we can take at the same time, that would be amazing. So whoever is – Jean (sp) afterwards.

Q: Good morning. Thank you very much, General, for taking the time to come and address us. At the Strategic Military Partner Conference in Sofia a few months ago, you said that one of the biggest challenges going ahead is to capitalize on the gains of 10 years of experiences of working with partners. I would ask you to offer us your take on what is – what should be the lessons that partners take from the whole crisis in Ukraine, what they should gather from how NATO has responded and what they would expect moving forward from NATO in the partnership effort. Thank you.

Q: General, good morning.

GEN. PALOMEROS: Good morning.

Q: To your comments on flexibility, I was wondering – while the framework nation concept has not yet been approved, could we see that type of flexibility that you’re looking for if we had a complementary effort, for example, a framework partnership effort to elevate, for example, the responsibilities, maybe even the stature of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative?

GEN. PALOMEROS: This is – on the partnership, lessons learned and, as I stressed, as you say, in the strategic military partnership, which was a good conference, and that’s how we will move the partnership forward, in a very transparent and in a very clear dialogue with the partners – so we must make clear that what we can achieve together, what could be our ambitions, not to overstate that. And NATO must be – as I stressed in my introduction, NATO must be very clear and very, very frank with the partners on what doors are open, what initiatives are available and how we can move forward. So that’s why I spoke about visibility and pre-visibility. When you discuss with the partners, one key question they ask time and again is why every year you in NATO – you are rediscussing the way in which you can involve partners in Connected Forces Initiative and such and such initiative. This is not a good way forward. If we really want to move forward a partnership, we need to build the confidence and trust, and to open then the doors for long-term planning. And this is, for me, a key objective to stimulate the nations which still are a little bit blocking the process for different reasons, to make sure that they understand that this is – the partnership is at stake, because if we are not able to increase this trust and confidence and the pre-visibility, then we can – we can spoil a lot of good benefits from the partnership. So that – that’s really my first and foremost lesson.

The second lesson, obviously, which came out from the Ukrainian crisis is that we must be very serious in discussing on security issue with partners, and that should be a two-way street. And when we discuss about defense capacity building – this is not a joke – I mean, we need to go deeper and deeper in that. The secretary-general stressed the special, I would say, the initiative with Georgia. This is fascinating, because everybody would understand here the crucial – how crucial it is that we succeed in this partnership with Georgia, for the future and for today.

So I think we have a lot of lessons to learn from what is happening now, how really we help nations to build their capabilities, but this is for the nation themself to decide what is their way forward. So that’s how the discussions should be more productive, if I may say so.

As far as the framework nations concept is concerned, this is fine – on the one hand, this is very good news, because we need nations to take responsibility if we want to move forward. That was the essence of the smart defense project. Smart defense project is not led by NATO. We are trying to facilitate, to organize, to make sure we are a kind of honest broker. But this is for the nations to decide what kind of project they want to move forward. We help. We try to define priorities. And now we have clearly – and that was a great achievement from the last few months – we have defined, and we discussed that in Washington, but it is a – it has been achieved – it’s a list of 16 key priorities for the capabilities of the future. This is great news, because in the past we have different (place ?), different capabilities, different vision, so we achieved that from the military and from the political perspective. So we know where we have to put our money, if I may say so. Where – we know where have to put our efforts.

So – but the list is not exhaustive, obviously, because the shortfalls of today, the short – what is not considered a shortfall today could be a shortfall tomorrow. So we must be very cautious with that.

But nevertheless, the fact that some nations are able and are willing to take that forward is good news. We have some proposals. They will more concrete after this summit.

What we have to take care nevertheless is to keep the overall currency of the alliance. So what we don’t want to see is a group of nation moving so much forward, then they will lose the rest of the group in the process. So – and we must keep interoperability, we must keep standardization, and we must keep this ability of the different nations to interact together. So we will be very interested, we will be very committed, and we’ll be very cautious as well to keep this goal of the overall country in the alliance while fostering this responsibility for the nations.

This is a difficult path, but this is how we will solve our challenges of today. We still have – even if the nations commit more resources, which I hope, we will still have constraints on the resources. So this is not because we will get a little bit more money that we should relax our posture for the future. We need to be more aggressive, more imaginative. We need to figure now the solutions for tomorrow. We cannot relax in transformation. And that will be my last words. Transformation needs to move forward. We need momentum. And ACT is there to keep the momentum but with your support, with the support of the nations, because if the alliance is so successful today, it’s because our predecessors have been able to transform this alliance for the best. So now it’s more challenging perhaps than ever. But it’s more fascinating as well. And seeing you involved in that gave me a great confidence in the future.

Thank you very much.

MR. MICHELOT: Thank you very much, General. (Applause.)


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