Read our provocative essays on the future of NATO
More than two decades after NATO’s inspired decision to invite former adversaries to join its ranks, the Alliance is in need of equally captivating ideas. The serious business of deterring adversaries and fighting this century’s wars has necessarily taken precedence over crafting a forward-looking vision. But developing that vision can’t wait any longer. Rather than getting mired in today’s debates about mundane issues like burden-sharing, NATO must build on its impressive track record of adaptivity, resilience, and achievement.
The essays in this volume are intended to push the Alliance to think boldly and creatively in the service of recapturing the public’s imagination. They are, by design, provocative, occasionally in conflict, and sometimes impractical, at least in the near term. By prescribing ideas that “NATO should” pursue—be it devising new initiatives, course-correcting current policies, or sunsetting troubled endeavors—the volume is an appeal for an Alliance that is more visionary, more capable, and more self-evidently valuable to the security of more people. To achieve that end, we’ve assembled a roster of 38 contributors who reflect a diversity that eludes the NATO community generally. We’ve enlisted nearly as many next-generation viewpoints as established ones, often in combination.
This volume comes on the cusp of the 2020 US presidential election—a natural inflection point that will bear on NATO’s future role and purpose. As the next US administration tackles relentless security challenges ranging from great-power competition to climate change, whether and how NATO contributes to solutions—and how it communicates its effectiveness—will rightly affect its standing with publics in the United States and beyond. By adopting these ideas, NATO can innovate its forms and functions to better accomplish both imperatives. If there is one overarching argument in this volume, it is this: As the complexity and pace of our world intensifies, policymaking and public diplomacy require originality, diversity, and audacity to achieve relevance in the 21st century.
By Christopher Skaluba, director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.
Modernize the kit and the message
by H.E. Dame Karen Pierce DCMG
NATO will only remain successful over the next seventy years if it modernizes its capabilities, takes command of emerging technology, and harmonizes its strategic messaging.
Open a bank
by Max Bergmann and Siena Cicarelli
NATO can fund critical defense investments by bringing the necessary financial tools in house.
Design a Digital Marshall Plan
by the Hon. Ruben Gallego and the Hon. Vicky Hartzler
NATO allies, led by the United States, must cooperate in securing national 5G communications systems in Europe and beyond against malign Chinese influence.
Rethink and replace two percent
by Derek Chollet, Steven Keil, and Christopher Skaluba
NATO’s two percent metric is reductive and politically fraught but offers lessons for better ways to measure burden sharing.
Build an Atlantic-Pacific Partnership
by James Hildebrand, Harry W.S. Lee, Fumika Mizuno, Miyeon Oh, and Monica Michiko Sato
NATO is the only institution capable of organizing transatlantic and transpacific stakeholders to address China’s political, military, and information threats.
Disband the NATO Response Force
by John R. Deni
Replacing the NRF with a plug-and-play interoperability model increases the chance that NATO will employ its high-readiness forces.
Build resilience for an era of shocks
by Jim Townsend and Anca Agachi
NATO needs a fourth core task to protect allied populations from nontraditional threats like COVID and climate change.
‘Game out’ decision making
by AM Sir Christopher Harper, KBE, RAF (Ret.)
In an era where the distinction between peace and conflict is increasingly complex, NATO should retain its competitive advantage by using synthetic environments and virtual worlds to support rapid, efficient, and effective strategic decision making.
Digitalize the enterprise
by Jeffrey Reynolds and Jeffrey Lightfoot
If NATO is to unlock new frontiers of innovation and harness emerging technology, digitalizing how it does business is the key.
Listen to women
by Lisa A. Aronsson
Twenty years after its creation, NATO should affirm the strategic significance of the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda and define what it means for an era of great power competition.
Ramp up on Russia
by Amb. Alexander Vershbow
NATO needs to increase the costs for Russian aggression while building back crucial dialogue if there is any prospect for improved relations with Moscow.
Put NATO back in the narrative
by Bridget Corna and Livia Godaert
NATO can recapture the imagination of allied publics by telling its own story better and in new ways to new audiences.
Seek membership for Mexico
by Christopher Skaluba and Gabriela R. A. Doyle
Mexico’s membership in NATO may be the key to keeping a rapidly changing America invested in European security.
by Safa Shahwan Edwards, William Loomis, and Simon Handler
NATO should adopt a digital .2 percent policy whereby member states commit to spend .2 percent of their gross domestic product on cybersecurity and digital defense modernization.
Christen a carrier strike group
by Michael John Williams
Using the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales as its backbone, a NATO carrier strike group is an opportunity for high-end interoperability under European leadership.
End the Russian veto on Georgian accession
by Luke Coffey and Alexis Mrachek
Admitting Georgia to NATO without extending an Article 5 guarantee to Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region can fulfil the promise of the Bucharest Summit.
Threaten decisive nuclear retaliation
by David Gompert and Hans Binnendijk
NATO should thwart Russian use of nuclear weapons by threatening certain retaliation.
Revitalize NATO’s grand strategy
by Amb. Timo Koster and Ivanka Barzashka
Collective strategic analysis is the pathway to a more inclusive, transparent, and systematic process for creating NATO’s next strategic concept.
Set NATO’s sights on the High North
by Jim Danoy and Marisol Maddox
Security in the Arctic is waiting on no one. NATO needs a strategy for defense and deterrence in the High North before it is outflanked.
The Transatlantic Security Initiative shapes and influences the debate on the greatest security challenges facing the North Atlantic Alliance and its key partners.
Acknowledgements1Put Itself Back in the Narrative: Icon made by Pixel perfect from www.flaticon.com; ‘Game Out’ Decision Making: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Define a Theory of Success: Icon made by monkik from www.flaticon.com; Digitalize the Enterprise: Icon made by Eucalyp from www.flaticon.com; Supersize Cyber: Icon made by Eucalyp from www.flaticon.com; Christen a Carrier Strike Group: Icon made by Selman Design from icon-icons.com; Disband the NATO Response Force: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Threaten Decisive Nuclear Retaliation: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Listen to Women: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Open a Bank: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Reimagine the Washington Treaty: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Design a Digital Marshall Plan: Icon made by Pixel perfect from www.flaticon.com; Build an Atlantic-Pacific Partnership: Icon made by ultimatearm from www.flaticon.com; End the Russian Veto on Georgian Accession: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Ramp up on Russia: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Modernize the Kit and the Message: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Rethink and Replace 2%: Icon made by Kiranshastry from www.flaticon.com; Seek Membership for Mexico: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Set Its Sights on the High North: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com; Build Resilience for an Era of Shocks: Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com.