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December 21, 2012 | NATO's Senior Defense Economist on Security Despite Austerity - Part 2

Editorial Team: Adrian Kendry responds to member questions about NATO capabilities, specialization, and other aspects of smart defense. He also explains NATO’s commitment to energy efficiency and talks about resource wars and terrorist financing.

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December 4, 2012 | Transatlantic Security in Obama II: Gray Clouds, Silver Linings

William C. Fleeson: President Obama won a second term one month ago this week. Transatlantic security experts have predicted everything from the dismal to the miraculous. Here’s a cautiously pessimistic assessment of what the next four years could hold for defense in the Atlantic sphere.

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November 27, 2012 | Defence Specialization: Indispensable or Unachievable?

Alyson JK Bailes: Logically, one of the best ways to get more bang for fewer bucks - while also deepening cooperation - should be for nations to specialize further in their defence roles on a basis of comparative advantage. Yet there are many obstacles.

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November 5, 2012 | Smart Defense: A Eurosubmarine

Balazs Martonffy: The nuclear submarine fleets of Britain and France are in need of replacement. Both countries and their defense industries should build a single co-produced platform. This “Eurosubmarine” might initially be designed to fully replace each nation’s fleet in an economical way, but could eventually lead to a joint European nuclear deterrent.

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July 16, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: A Look Back This Article contains Flash-Video

Editorial Team: Our 2012 policy workshop competition featured many fantastic articles from our members, produced great Atlantic Memos and received enthusiastic feedback from decision makers! Editor-in-Chief Joerg Wolf takes a look back at the five months of “Your Ideas, Your NATO” in this new video.

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June 12, 2012 | Smart Defense: What Does it Mean? This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO Review: Smart defense is a concept that encourages Allies to cooperate in developing, acquiring and maintaining military capabilities to meet current security problems in accordance with the new NATO strategic concept. Therefore, NATO smart defense means pooling and sharing capabilities, setting priorities and coordinating efforts better.

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June 1, 2012 | Looking Beyond Chicago: How to Revitalize NATO

Memo 41: NATO’s Chicago Summit left many observers disappointed. Going forward, the Alliance should focus on concrete and achievable policy objectives. This Memo offers recommendations from members that could strengthen the Alliance’s unity and overall ability to deal with a changing world.

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May 25, 2012 | Insights from the Next Generation: The Presentations

Editorial Team: At the culmination of’s policy workshop competition, the winners Stephanie Baulig, Geoffrey Levin, and Samuel Erickson discussed their team’s policy recommendations with Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense Christian Schmidt and US Ambassador Philip D. Murphy.

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May 22, 2012 | Moving Forward with Smart Defense

Editorial Team: The many good ideas from non-shortlisted authors in the third category of our “Your Ideas, Your NATO” competition have been brought together in this article. A recurring theme was the need for NATO to more precisely define its and the Members’ roles in order for Smart Defense to be implemented successfully.

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May 22, 2012 | Responding to "Your Ideas, Your NATO"

Stefanie Babst: NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy appeared at’s policy debate in Berlin yesterday via video, offering her reaction to the three Atlantic Memos from the policy workshop competition.

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May 19, 2012 | Accepting Our Limits Makes for a Stronger Alliance

Joerg Wolf:’s editor-in-chief was part of a group of 59 politicians, scholars, and other observers invited to take part in the Atlantic Council and Foreign Policy Magazine’s survey on the future of NATO. Here he explains why he answered the way he did and offers some thoughts about why NATO needs to focus on building capabilities, not proving its relevance.

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May 17, 2012 | Improvised Explosive Devices: The War of the Invisible Bombs

NATO: More than half the casualties among the NATO forces in Afghanistan in 2011 were caused by improvised explosive devices (IED). This is also the case for one in three Afghans killed last year. In 2010, NATO adopted an action plan on counter-IED (C-IED) aimed at increasing the detection and neutralization of such devices, as well as the dismantling of the networks that manufacture them.

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May 11, 2012 | Fighter Jets Secure Airspace of the Baltic Countries

NATO: The klaxon shrieks at Tampere Air Base in Finland. Four minutes later, two F-18 Hornet fighter jets from the Finnish Air Force take off. Their mission – to intercept an aircraft that is not complying with international air traffic regulations. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the surveillance of European airspace is a sensitive topic for the Alliance Member states and their partners.

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April 30, 2012 | The Road to Chicago: About the Upcoming NATO Summit

Editorial Team: The NATO Summit in Chicago offers the Alliance a chance to address some of its most pressing issues. Besides subjects such as Afghanistan and defense expenditures, NATO will also have to deal with the possibility of protests during the Summit and the concerns of Chicago citizens.

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April 25, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Insights from the Next Generation

Editorial Team: You are cordially invited to a discussion in Berlin between Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense Christian Schmidt, US Ambassador Philip D. Murphy, and the winners of our policy workshop competition. The dialogue will focus on unity in the Alliance, NATO’s partnerships after the Arab Spring, and Smart Defense.

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April 23, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Smart Defense - The Winners

Editorial Team: is happy to announce the winners of Category 3 of our policy workshop competition. Samuel Eamon Erickson is our first place winner and will present the Atlantic Memo to decision makers at our event in May. Bram Peter De Ridder is our second place winner.

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April 23, 2012 | Get "Smart": Paving the Way to a More Efficient Alliance

Memo 40: NATO’s Smart Defense initiative aims to provide more security for less money. The Alliance can reach this goal by facilitating more cooperation, providing efficiency mechanisms, encouraging cooperation amongst like-minded states, and including non-NATO actors.

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April 20, 2012 | How to Move Forward with Smart Defense

Editorial Team: The third and last category of our “Your Ideas, Your NATO” policy competition dealt with how to encourage NATO Members to invest in Smart Defense. While five articles have already been shortlisted, we wanted to highlight the other high quality submissions and policy ideas.

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April 17, 2012 | Inside NATO's Special Forces Network This Article contains Flash-Video

NATO: Take an inside look at NATO’s Special Operations Headquarters where elite forces from member and partner countries work and train together. By sharing a common understanding these troops build relationships and become part of a multinational Special Forces community.

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April 13, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Smart Defense

Editorial Team: In the third theme week from our policy workshop, we focus on NATO and Smart Defense. How might NATO encourage nations, concerned about diminished sovereignty, to invest in Smart Defense? What mechanisms would make this kind of cooperation efficient and effective? Read our young writers’ top ideas!

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April 13, 2012 | NATO's Smart Sales: Smart Defense as a Product

Samuel Eamon Erickson: Successfully encouraging NATO Members to buy into the Smart Defense project requires proactive efforts to ensure a fair, efficient, and fiscally beneficial product. NATO must then focus on packaging this product in a convincing way.

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April 12, 2012 | Smart Defense through Smart Strategy: The Need for a "Best Deal" Policy

Bram Peter De Ridder: As military integration traditionally has been a sensitive area, Smart Defense will be difficult to enforce. NATO’s best option might be relying on the laws of supply and demand to help meet the need for more efficient defense spending.

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April 11, 2012 | NATO and Russia Need the "Smarts" to Cooperate

Dmitry Stefanovich: Military and technical cooperation with Russia would allow NATO to increase the efficiency of their Smart Defense initiative. A closer look at the areas of cooperation between NATO and Russia reveal they are ideally suited to being part of the Smart Defense concept.

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April 10, 2012 | Solidarity and Sovereignty: A Blueprint for Smart Defense

Moritz Poellath: Only a true and legally secure agreement will make Smart Defense work and sustain NATO as the unique and successful provider of security for the coming decades. Clearly set rules for cooperation in a NATO framework would solve the delicate issues of sovereignty and solidarity.

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April 9, 2012 | Specialization: Creating a Comparative (Defense) Advantage

Max Smeets: Smart Defense needs a framework that aims to mitigate the negative aspects of specialization that impose upon state sovereignty. In the context of Smart Defense, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Setting up NATO Pioneer Groups (NPG) is the way forward.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense through Strategic Dialogue

Scott Michael Moore: The key to a successful Smart Defense strategy is strong leadership in order to address Member concerns. The Strategic Defense initiative will need a more coherent framework than the current ad hoc arrangements while also allowing for diverse Smart Defense groupings.

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April 8, 2012 | On the Path to Smart Defense

Emine Akcadag: The United States should encourage its allies to invest in Smart Defense by strategically cutting NATO military expenditure so that European NATO members shoulder more of the brunt by investing in Smart Defense. Public opinion must also support this and can be mobilized.

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April 8, 2012 | Spending Together, Saving Together

Dirk Siebels: In essence, ‘smart defense‘ is a euphemism, describing the need to achieve ‘greater security for less money‘ as defense budgets are under pressure in almost all NATO member states. Joint spending and common ownership, however, would indeed help NATO and its members to get more.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense with Full Sovereignty

Aaron Menenberg: History is rife with examples of successful multilateral defense efforts that required no loss of individual national sovereignty. Those deeply protective of sovereignty, like myself, need not be concerned about Smart Defense.

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April 8, 2012 | Realizing Smart Defense - Investing in a New Generation of Leadership

Sarah Wagner: In order to ensure the successful implementation and sustainability of Smart Defense policies, NATO needs to focus its attention on the next generation of leaders and officials and invest in their training and cooperation.

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April 8, 2012 | Getting Smart: Foresight, Scalability and Learning

Costinel Anuta: Smart Defense should not envision only joining resources, or jointly developing critical capabilities. A Smart Defense approach needs to be built on foresight, scalability, as well as a sound lessons-learned mechanism in order to be truly smart.

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April 8, 2012 | A New Era for Strategic Issues: For the Creation of a Smart Defense Agency

Thomas Brisson: Smart Defense is about sharing capabilities and coordinating strategies inside NATO. A structured and institutionalized cooperation as the Smart Defense Agency is the only way for it to be efficient, while safeguarding national sovereignty.

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April 8, 2012 | Making Smart Defense Matter for Idling NATO Members

Nico Segers: Authoritative impact analysis and threat resilience studies carried out by scientific boards may sway idling NATO members to recognize the dire need to step up investments. The most important investments would come in areas that cover imminent and multilevel defense and security issues.

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April 8, 2012 | "Smart Defense": Cutting Bureaucracy

Michelle Shevin-Coetzee: The first step to in building up “Smart Defense” is to cut back on the NATO “in country” bureaucracy. Bureaucratic bloat hinders NATO’s operations. The creation of a more unified command structure is the first step in making the Smart Defense initiative a success.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense Op-Ed: Optimizing and Coordinating NATO's Defense Capacity

Andrew Windsor: NATO’s Smart Defense initiative has the potential to restructure NATO in a sustainable way. This article illustrates two main focal points to maximize efficiency returns; refocusing standing NATO forces and a larger leadership role in coordinating defense efforts of member states.

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April 8, 2012 | Spend Better, Move Faster, Punch Harder.

Camlo Kalandra: NATO must seek to cut costs and increase sovereignty sharing through new mechanisms to remain relevant to the global struggle for joint security and peace. The first step is that each state adopts a national specialization for a specific security priority which would be overseen by a Oversight Committee.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: NATO's 21st Century Trident

Yasmin Jeanice Mattox: In order to turn reticent support into bold action, Smart Defense must be an attractive political option for NATO members. I advocate a three-pronged approach that makes Smart Defense palatable by making it a practical and effective strategy from which NATO can achieve its security objectives.

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April 8, 2012 | NATOnalizing Equipment, a Small Reform with a Vast Impact

Igor Leonidovic Fayler: Specialization within NATO will become more viable and sustainable if capabilities are converted into NATO-wide organizational equipment which would comprise of hardware, including armaments, and software such as communication and organization equipment. This will enhance interoperability and make Smart Defense a success.

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April 8, 2012 | NATO: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Smarter Defense

Ashley Ann Clayton Hess: In order to successfully implement NATO’s Smart Defense policy, the alliance must create a new high-ranking position and implement a sustained public relations campaign to encourage continued support of NATO’s Smart Defense reorientation.

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April 8, 2012 | Democratic Legitimacy and Effective Sharing, the Key for Smart Defense

Jonathan Dowdall: Smart Defense cannot succeed with good PR alone. Diminishing military sovereignty in Smart Defense must be accepted by NATO. Real democratic debate and focus on existing “best practice” mechanisms is needed.

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April 8, 2012 | Implementing the Smart Defense Initiative in a Smart Way

Dumitru Minzarari: In order for Smart Defense to be successful, then NATO must first confront the many difficulties of enacting such a policy. The only way to address these challenges is to gradually introduce the concept of Smart Defense while at the same time making it flexible enough for all participants.

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April 8, 2012 | Implementing Smart defense: Cost-Effective Solutions Beyond the Taboos

Alice Pannier: Pooling and sharing defense equipment has become a strategic necessity for NATO members and especially European countries. Limited cooperation among two or three partners is the most flexible and efficient solution, but it requires careful coordination and the breaking of political taboos.

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April 8, 2012 | Incremental Intelligence Sharing for a Smarter Defense

Francesc Pont: No twenty-first century defensive strategy should be deemed complete and truly comprehensive unless a further hitherto purely national element is included in the transnational mix pursued by NATO: incremental intelligence sharing between member states should be the icing on the contemporary security cake.

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April 8, 2012 | NATO Smart Defense: The "Community Approach"

Iliana Panayotova: NATO shall seek a strategic partnership with the EU for the implementation of the smart defense concept on a “community level”. On a national level, the Alliance should enforce the bilateral dialogues with its members and assist them in adopting multilateral and bilateral approaches.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: A Necessary "Bottom-Up" Approach

Jérémy Thirion: NATO should shift from a top-down approach to a “bottom-up” approach: a less centralized NATO, letting its Member States cooperate under its umbrella but with more flexibility. Such approach, allowing Member States to work on a regional or topic basis could be more motivating and satisfactory.

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April 8, 2012 | Atlantic Security Must Get Smart or (It Will) Get Scattered

José Alberto da Silva Almada e Alves Guimarães: Smart Defense not only demands strong political will, but cooperation. To achieve this, NATO must liberalize the European Defense Market, make the EU package of directives pertaining to military goods better assist medium-sized enterprises, as well as utilize the Permanent Structured Cooperation and Smart Defense-related initiatives.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense and Venal Interests

Dmitry Lifatov: NATO has never been an exclusively military organization. But its pretension to playing a political role has also never been particularly appealing to the European NATO members. In this vein, Smart Defense is just another attempt to make the EU a convenient tool for American foreign policy.

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April 8, 2012 | Fostering Real NATO-EU Cooperation through an EU Structural Defense Fund

Georgi Ivanov: Creating an EU Structural Defense Fund is the key to NATO’s Smart Defense initiative. This will ease the fiscal commitment for NATO to do more with less, while providing states with the incentive to spend more on defense without meeting their 2 percent of GDP obligations.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense Success Starts with Common Goals

Tabish Shah: NATO’s Smart Defense initiative requires more than simply technological projects. The success of Smart Defense relies on NATO finding common strategic goals before Members are willing to come together and pool and share their military resources.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: NATO's Reach Should Not Exceed Its Grasp

Zachary B. Toal: In order for Smart Defense to work, NATO member states need to be agree on a new purpose for NATO in the future. NATO members will not concede their monopoly of use of force if they cannot agree on when to use shared capabilities.

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April 8, 2012 | Smart Defense: Define Threats, Adjust Capabilities, Acknowledge Dependence

Moritz Sebastian Eckert: While NATO’s capabilities are increasing in quantity, quality and efficiency, its threat recognition is both outdated and laggard. As the cornerstone of a successful defense, threat recognition determines the benchmarks for national armies and thus requires immediate attention.

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February 26, 2012 | Sharing Values, Sharing Responsibility

Nikola Duric: The sharing of responsibility through redefining the share of financing inside NATO would lead towards an internalization of the NATO idea in the general public of member states. It would promote inter-governmental cooperation and reverse the alienation process between NATO and the citizens of member countries.

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February 14, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: A Closer Look at the Issues

Joshua Clapp: In conjunction with the “Your Ideas Your NATO” competition, we are providing an overview of the three categories of the contest: Values and Community, Partnerships after the Arab Spring, and Smart Defense. The readings below can help you get started on understanding the issues and making your own policy recommendations.

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February 7, 2012 | Defense Cuts Demand Closer Cooperation

NATO: One of the main topics at the Munich Security Conference was America’s defense review and changes to the US military presence in Europe. Political leaders and experts from around the world discussed what this means for international security and the transatlantic partnership.

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January 23, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO: Policy Workshop Competition We are excited to announce our newest policy workshop! We want you to tell us your ideas for promoting NATO values, building partnerships, and engaging members in the Smart Defense initiative. Winners receive a cash prize and a trip to Berlin to present their ideas to policymakers!

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January 23, 2012 | Your Ideas, Your NATO

Policy Workshop Competition: We are excited to announce our newest policy workshop! We want you to tell us your ideas for promoting NATO values, building partnerships, and engaging members in the Smart Defense initiative. Winners receive a cash prize and a trip to Berlin to present their ideas to policymakers!

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December 6, 2011 | General Abrial's Answers: Part 1 - Smart Defense

Editorial Team: General Stéphane Abrial has responded to your questions and policy recommendations! In this first of two installments, the general tackles questions on the ideas, implementation, and transparency of “Smart Defense”. He also offers his thoughts on a recent Atlantic Memo.

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November 22, 2011 | Visions for NATO Transformation: Q&A with General Stéphane Abrial

Editorial Team: Join Atlantic Community for our next Q&A with General Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. We invite you to ask questions about NATO’s ongoing efforts to implement “Smart Defense” and share your own thoughts on how to handle transformation in the 21st century.

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Global Must Read Articles

November 13, 2012 | NATO and the Challenges of Austerity

Abstract provided by RAND: “In the coming decade, NATO faces growing fiscal austerity and
declining defense budgets. This study analyzes the impact of planned defense
budget cuts on the capabilities of seven European members of NATO - the United
Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Poland - that
together represent more than 80 percent of NATO Europe’s defense

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May 18, 2012 | NATO Summit: Looking Beyond Afghanistan

The NATO summit in Chicago needs to be about more than just Afghanistan. ++ The Alliance must also respond to defense cuts, troubled relations with Russia, and the lessons from Libya. ++ There are three main areas for action. ++ First, NATO must help create the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons. ++ Second, the summit is an opportunity for the Alliance to reassure Russia on missile

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April 11, 2012 | How to Make Smart Defense a Success

The financial crisis has hit the defense budgets of NATO members. With no prospects for an economic upturn in sight, NATO has been urging its members to save money through specialization and collaboration, under the ‘smart defense’ initiative. But smart defense has proven difficult given that governments fear giving up certain national capabilities and choose the political safer route of

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April 23, 2012 | It's not only the gradualism, as the published...

February 5, 2012 | About Smart Defense I have a deja vu. In 2002...


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