After the publication of 14 op-eds by atlantic-community.org members on the New Strategic Concept, the authors discussed their policy recommendations with three senior experts in the field of NATO affairs: Dr. Hans-Friedrich von Ploetz, a member of NATO's Group of Experts, Dr. Olaf Theiler, a national specialist in NATO's Operations Division in the International Staff of NATO HQ and Dr. Jorge Benitez, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. The goal of the Strategy Session was to find a community consensus around the key challenges that should be addressed in NATO's new Strategic Concept. More information.
A working draft of the next Atlantic Memo has been created, but there is still work to do. You can be part of the process and provide your input on the recommendations below. How can the Atlantic Memo be made stronger? How can the policy recommendation be made more specific and clearly address key obstacles? Please provide your insight in the comments section.
The final Atlantic Memo will be sent to Ambassador Jiřί Šedivý, NATO's Assistant Secretary General of Defence Policy and Planning, who has agreed to provide feedback.
WORKING DRAFT: ATLANTIC MEMO #25
NATO 2020: A New Strategic Policy for an Alliance in Transition
members from the United States, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Poland,
Finland, Turkey, as well as Russia and Azerbaijan, discussed the future of NATO
in op-eds (special analysis week on NATO's Strategic Concept), as well
as in a one hour Skype Strategy Session, which ended with a vote on the most
important policy recommendations.
As a result of this collaborative process, it was determined that defining and strengthening Alliance capabilities, developing global partnerships, and launching broad public diplomacy initiatives should be the top three priorities for NATO.
1. Align the scope of the Alliance with its capabilities.
The Alliance should focus its operations on the European region (Lawson) and should not aspire to be a global policeman, while still being prepared to take collective action to respond to serious threats that originate outside of Europe (von Ploetz).
Out-of-area missions require a flexible response force, utilizing advanced technologies with a high level of interoperability. In light of limited resources, member states' standing troop volumes should be reduced to allow for the better training and equipping of the NATO Response Force (NRF), and an instrument should be created to ensure equitable and sufficient funding of NRF operations (Spiessberger). While national caveats can hamper mission accomplishment (Deren), they are a product of the democratic process in member states and should not be overturned by enforcing joint rules or abandoning the principle of consensus in Alliance decision making (von Ploetz, Theiler).
Defense priorities can only be set after conducting a realistic analysis of NATO force generation in order to close the gap between expectations and capabilities that undermines Alliance effectiveness (Deren, Ratti).
While NATO can continue to provide limited logistical support in humanitarian crisis, it should maintain its character as a military alliance; development issues and nation-building are functions better suited for other international and regional organizations (Benitez, Theiler).
2. Create Global Partnership Council to institutionalize and deepen cooperations.
NATO must continue to expand its global partnership network, and this process should be institutionalized by creating a Global Partnership Council with military, operational, and political consultation mechanisms (Seidler), even though such an institutionalization will be very difficult to achieve (Theiler). This "Partnership 2.0" approach will serve to pool resources for mutual benefits, enforce the idea of cooperative security and balance the doctrine of deterrence and thereby improving NATO's global image (Christman).
NATO should specifically strengthen the following partnerships:
Russia: NATO must unequivocally state that a strong partnership with Moscow is vital for the Alliance and further develop cooperation within the NATO-Russia Council (Nikolits). However, Russian membership of NATO is not a viable option for the time being (Benitez).
South Caucasus: A "safety zone" framework should be created, similar to the EU Neighborhood policy, to engage states in this region without relying on an eventual path to full membership. Additionally, NATO should mediate frozen conflicts (Sumerinli).
Middle East: The Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) frameworks should be strengthened and combined with public diplomacy programs in the Greater Middle East (Scatamacchia).
European Union: Cooperation with the EU should be improved (Rusila) and eventually the EU should become a NATO member, institutionalizing a two-pillar Alliance, with equal European and American partners sharing burdens and implementing joint security policies (Theiler).
3. Launch broad public diplomacy initiatives to make the case for NATO's existence.
NATO's Public Diplomacy Division should be expanded to focus more on appealing to the general public rather than to specialist circles. In these efforts, the Alliance's civilian structure should be stressed (Spiessberger). Specific attention should be paid to the Greater Middle East for instance by providing more information on the internet in Arabic and hosting annual seminars with MD and ICI states (Scatamacchia). Presently, only two PDFs in Arabic can be found on NATO's website - much more should be done to reach this key geostrategic demographic (Benitez).
Increasing transparency is key to fostering public support for the Alliance. To this end, a working draft of the Strategic Concept (for example, after the mid-October NATO Council meeting) should be published. Alternatively, the new Strategic Concept should be ratified by the parliaments of all 28 member states before it comes into effect (Davis).
This Atlantic Memo DRAFT is based on the op-eds and/or contributions
during the Skype Strategy session by:
Jorge Benitez, Director of NATO Source and a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council - United States
Walter L. Christman, Associate Professor of Global Public Policy at the US Naval Postgraduate School - United States.
Ian Davis, Founding Director of NATO Watch and Senior Advisor to ISIS Europe - United Kingdom.
Jerzy S. Deren, Retired colonel conducting independent research on international security - Poland.
Oya Dursun-Özkanca, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College - Turkey.
Olga Kolesnichenko, Freelance journalist and coordinator for military issues for YATA-Russia - Russia.
Greg Randolph Lawson, Director of Communications for a political advocacy organization - United States
Colette Mazzucelli, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Center for Global Affairs at New York University and in the Department of Political Science at Hofstra University - United States.
Daniel Nikolits, Graduate Student in International Relations at Humboldt University in Berlin - United States.
Luca Ratti, Assistant Professor of International Relations at Roma Tre University and the American University of Rome - Italy.
Ari Rusila, Development project management expert - Finland.
Donatella Scatamacchia, Graduate from the University of Naples with an MA in international relations and with a PhD offer by King's College London - Italy.
Felix F. Seidler, Student of Political Science, Law and History at Wuerzburg University - Germany
Klaus Spiessberger, Member of the German Council on Foreign Relations and currently working for PHOENIXgroup - Germany.
Jasur Mezahir Sumerinli, Head of the Doktrina Center of Journalist Union on Military Research - Azerbaidschan.
Olaf Theiler, National Expert in the Operations Division at NATO HQ in Brussels - Germany.
Hans-Friedrich von Ploetz, Group of Experts, - Germany.
Youth Atlantic Treaty Association, Lake Constance Chapter - Germany: Marcel Raecker, Yves Steinebach, Yann-Lukas Schaefer, Juri Schnoeller, Matthias Garbin, Aylin Matle, Lukas Bresser, Florian Sies, Jonas Massing, Lina Drexler and Nikolina-Romana Milunovic.
Dr. Theiler and Dr. von Ploetz participated in a private capacity and were not speaking for NATO or the Group of Experts.
This is a DRAFT memo and work in progress. Therefore please do not quote it.
Click on the above names to read the author's op-eds. You can also listen to a recording of the one hour Skype Strategy Session in the audio stream below or download the mp3 (50 MB) by right-clicking here.
Please weigh in with your opinion, insight and advice so that we can make the recommendations even more specific and the memo as strong as possible!