After the teams of finalists in the "Your Ideas, Your NATO" policy workshop produced three innovative Atlantic Memos, the editorial team has set out to put them in the hands of policy makers from key NATO Member states. We've received our first wave of responses from Canada, Norway, and the Netherlands discussing the proposals from the Values and Community memo, "One NATO: Strengthening Unity through Transparency and Engagement", and each has been positive about the memo's goals and strongly supported at least one recommendation.
There was particular enthusiasm for the idea to create "NATO Academies" to bring soldiers from throughout the Alliance together to train in a multinational environment, with all three respondents singling it out for their support. Other proposals that gained traction include greater emphasis on citizen cybersecurity and the establishment of a points system to track Member participation in the Alliance.
UPDATE: We've received even more responses!
Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence of Canada: Canada is one of the original signatory nations to the North Atlantic Treaty, and NATO is a cornerstone of Canada's security and defense architectures. Our strong support for the Alliance stems from our recognition that NATO provides a unique political-military hub that allows North America and Europe, together with our international partners, to enable international peace and security... Organizations such as yours, which seek to provide a platform to discuss and analyze the challenges facing the transatlantic community, make an important contribution to the international security dialogue. I wish you the best in your endeavors.
We've also received a commitment from Sen. Pierre Claude Nolan, a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, to bring the policy memos to the attention of the Assembly. In addition, the Deputy Defense Minister of Albania, Arian Starova, commended the "great initiative" and agreed with the Smart Defense memo that the concept goes far beyond just "pooling and sharing".
Feedback on the Values and Community memo:
Percy Downe, Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate of Canada: I agree with [the recommendation to] emphasize the role that all Members must play in securing cyberspace and the Alliance's responsibility as a whole in promoting cyber-security amongst its citizens... While cyber-security is discussed most often in terms of preventing cyber-attacks on critical cyber-infrastructure, another equally important, but less frequently mentioned, component of securing cyberspace is the importance of Internet freedom... NATO Members are well positioned to implement an Internet freedom agenda as we have a strong international reputation for promoting democratic development and good governance in emerging democracies. Read Senator Downe's full response to the memo.
Bert van Steeg, Policy Advisor on Foreign Affairs and Development Aid for the Christian Democratic Party (CDA) in the House of Representatives of The Netherlands: At CDA, we value the importance of NATO. The proposals in the memo all have the goal of "strengthening unity" and this is a goal we endorse wholeheartedly. In this light, I think starting a NATO academy would be an interesting step. These are ideas we can put up in the different debates we are having in the Dutch Parliament. But in the end it is up to all allies to show that they value NATO as much as they say they do. Read Mr. van Steeg's full response to the memo.
Jan Arild Ellingsen, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament: I have read and considered the different suggestions. My choice is to support proposals 1.1 [quantifying member participation through a points system] and 2.1 [developing more comprehensive multinational military exchange programs]. The first one because it is very important to make sure that each member country actually does what it is expected to do and this proposal could do just that. Proposal 2.1 is also to my liking because it makes us co-operate more and on a lower level which is important. My only concern is how to ensure a burden-sharing here that all countries will accept.
Check out even more feedback on "Your Ideas, Your NATO" from US Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy and NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Stefanie Babst.