Center for Strategic Decision Research


Keynote Address

His Excellency Rudolf Scharping
Defense Minister of Germany

I am very pleased to welcome you to Berlin on the occasion of the XVIIth International NATO Workshop. Over the years, this conference has become one of the most prestigious events for discussing NATO's role and the perspectives of Euro-Atlantic security. Time and again, the NATO Workshop has offered us an opportunity to take stock of where we stand and to face up to the challenges that exist for peace and security.

The 17-year-long record of this conference is also a record of the dramatic political and strategic changes in Europe. It reflects the transition from a divided world to a globalized world, from a bipolar, antagonistic world to an unsettled world fraught with multi-dimensional risks, but also from a world marked by mistrust and the need for deterrence to a world characterized by cooperation and integration.

The record of this conference has also clearly shown that the Euro-Atlantic partnership has been the key to managing the far-reaching changes. Common values and a common interest in security, stability, and democracy have turned out to be a sound foundation on which to shape the strategic environment-with our partners in and beyond Europe.


We have now adapted NATO to new missions as well as opened it to new members. We have established new patterns of cooperation with many partner countries, including Russia and Ukraine. We have engaged successfully in international crisis management and political conflict resolution in the Balkans. We have started to give Europe more responsibility for its own defense as part of European integration and in order to forge a more balanced transatlantic partnership.

But building a Europe whole and free is not something you can achieve in a couple of years. On the contrary, it calls for vision, long-term determination, and a readiness to invest in our future. And it calls for consideration of one of the great lessons of our century: that the destinies of North America and Europe are inseparable.

Together, we must shape the path to peace in and beyond Europe.

We have already achieved a great deal. But we are still in the midst of adapting to the new requirements of our security at the beginning of the new century. And we are facing major political challenges in the dynamic security environment. In an ever more complex world we have to ask: What role is there for Europe, NATO, and the transatlantic partnership? What political and defense requirements have to be met to make the Euro-Atlantic area a safer place? What future tasks must be solved by the Euro-Atlantic community? To answer these questions, we should accept the fact that security in the Euro-Atlantic area is indivisible. We can hardly create and maintain special zones of security and stability in this area. Instead, we can be affected by crises in the whole of Europe and in adjacent regions.


This is why our security policy must aim at facilitating foresighted crisis prevention and, whenever necessary, effective crisis management. This is why Europe's role in keeping peace is bound to grow. The new security environment requires Europeans to assume more responsibility in crisis prevention and crisis management when and where European security interests are concerned. The new European spirit in defense matters is a result of progress in European integration.

However, it is inconceivable that we can build a Europe able to cope with the challenges of a globalized world without a more effective foreign and defense policy. In Kosovo, we learned the hard way that we not only want to have a stronger European role in keeping peace, but that we urgently need to have one. That is why we decided to assign it to the European Union. Our goal is clear: We want the EU to have the capability to decide and the capability to act where NATO as a whole is not engaged.

Our ongoing efforts to strengthen Europe's role in political and military crisis management are guided by two principles. First, strengthening the transatlantic link will remain the central part of a policy aimed at achieving peace, security, and democracy throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. The importance of the new NATO and our American Allies to European security will not be reduced when Europe acquires a greater capacity for action. Second, generating a European Security and Defense Identity by strengthening the European pillar of the Alliance on the one hand and on the other creating the political and structural prerequisites for a European Security and Defense Policy as part of European integration are two sides of the same coin.

The new EU will not duplicate existing NATO bodies. But the EU must have at its disposal a minimal politico-military structure that enables it to make the right political and military decisions and allows effective dialogue, consultation, and cooperation with NATO.

As to the necessary military capabilities, let me be clear: While collective defense will remain solely NATO's business, effective crisis management leaves NATO and the EU facing the same military requirements. Our forces must be more mobile to deploy our equipment more rapidly; they must be more sustainable to ensure logistical support over a longer period of time and over long distances; they must have better command and control arrangements for more demanding missions; they must be available to engage effectively in a wider array of missions; they must be more able to survive and, of course, they must be more interoperable for multinational operations.


In Kosovo, shortcomings in command and control, strategic intelligence, strategic airlift, precision-guided munitions, and other fields have highlighted the gap between our responsibilities and goals on the one hand and our real capabilities for comprehensive crisis management on the other. Eliminating this deficit is not simply a matter of spending more money. It is rather a matter of improving the quality of our forces, of rendering them more effective and more deployable for the most likely future scenarios.

NATO's Defense Capabilities Initiative (DCI), the EU's Headline Goal, and the EU's Collective Capability Goals, which were agreed upon in Helsinki, complement each other. All of these approaches will force national governments to do better in adapting their military forces to the requirements of the future. They will lead to more effective forces, more rationalization, more interoperability, and better burden-sharing. They are part of the context in which we soon will make important decisions on the future of the German Bundeswehr.

Allow me to say a few words on these decisions. Generally speaking, they will lay the foundation for nothing less than a comprehensive adaptation of our forces to the new security environment. They will address basic issues, such as conscription, the size and structure of our forces, equipment and materiel, pay, and resources. They will take into account the valuable recommendations of the Commission on Common Security and the Bundeswehr that were submitted in May, as well as the results of our own conceptual work.

Core elements of our reform will be:

  • We will do away with the separation of main defense forces and crisis reaction forces. Our forces will be composed of operational forces and the basic military organization.
  • We will reduce the overall number of our civilian and military personnel by about 100,000. Our armed forces will be 255,000 troops, and the overall strength of the Bundeswehr about 360,000 posts. This includes about 20,000 military posts for various training and qualification purposes and 80,000 to 90,000 civilian posts.
  • We will substantially increase the strength of our operational force component to a figure of 150,000 troops, and adapt its equipment to DCI and European Headline Goal requirements.
  • We will focus on improving key capabilities such as strategic transport, strategic reconnaissance, and command and control.
  • We will tighten up and adapt the command and control organization to the requirements of joint and combined operations by establishing a permanent national joint command that will also be available as an operation headquarters for EU-led operations.
  • We will rationalize the structure of our forces by establishing a joint basic command for all joint, territorial, and supporting functions.
  • We will maintain the system of conscription as a reflection of military requirements in order to give the Bundeswehr the necessary flexibility to respond to enduring external uncertainties. Conscripts will continue to be needed-albeit in fewer numbers than at present. Our plan uses a figure of 77,000 conscripts.
  • We will intensify cooperation with trade and industry in order to improve cost-effectiveness and economic efficiency and to create new financial leeway for investing in equipment, operations, and maintenance.

To sum up, our operational forces will nearly triple, our command structures will be reorganized, and our equipment will be modernized.

In mid-June 2000, the German government will decide on the cornerstones of this reform. The implementation of this reform will begin in April 2001. The decisions will not be easy. But I am confident that we will succeed in giving the Bundeswehr the long-term planning framework it needs. We will strike the right balance between a widened mission spectrum for our forces, our international commitments, and our budgetary framework. In the end, we will have a Bundeswehr that is more efficient and more capable of doing what it is supposed to do: cooperate effectively with Allies and Partners in NATO, the EU, the U.N., and the OCSE in order to maintain peace.


As we enter the 21st century, we see a vital and dynamic North Atlantic Alliance. We also see a dynamic European Union determined to do more for European defense. And we see new Alliance discussions on old issues such as U.S.-European relations, ballistic missile defense, and arms control. But some people say that Europe and America are drifting apart-because the United States is becoming isolationist or turning to other regions and because Europe is not ready to adapt quickly enough to new challenges.

As a matter of fact, there are two contradictory American fears that dominate this debate: On the one hand, the fear of political decoupling due to the EU's wish to become more capable of acting in security matters; and on the other hand, the fear of strategic decoupling due to technological obsolescence and inadequate defense spending in Europe. One commentator put it this way: The transatlantic relationship might be endangered by America's Allies becoming either too equal or too parasitic.

Well, this might be an extreme view of the transatlantic perspectives. But it is certainly legitimate to ask, Where is the European Union heading? Will NATO remain whole and intact? Are both sides doing enough and doing the right things to strengthen the Euro-Atlantic community?

Let me be very clear on one point. There can be no doubt that NATO will remain the cornerstone of our security and defense. It will remain the primary forum for consultation among its members on security issues of transatlantic concern. It will remain the foundation of collective defense.

But NATO has also assumed a vital role in mastering the new challenges to European security. In the New Strategic Concept, it has defined new key areas of action for the Alliance in the Euro-Atlantic area, such as partnership and cooperation, conflict prevention, and crisis management. The Alliance is demonstrating in the real world what the new NATO is all about-by the Partnership for Peace program, the NATO-Russia Council, the NATO-Ukraine Commission, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and by effective crisis response operations in support of peace and stability.

At the same time, however, we have to make sure that the European Union can take action in support of its foreign and security policy. This is imperative with regard to burden-sharing and America's long-term commitment in Europe. A strong European Union will broaden the range of options for solving European security problems. It will not narrow NATO's options to act in European affairs. More European autonomy is not an end in itself, but a sensible reaction to the changing security needs of the continent.

The agenda ahead is ambitious. Allow me to name just a few tasks on the list:

  • Concerning the ambitious but achievable targets of the EU's Headline Goal, Germany will contribute approximately 20 percent. Cooperating with NATO in defining and implementing this goal will be vital.
  • We need to find satisfying arrangements for securing the involvement of the six European non-EU Allies in the tasks of political decision making, military planning, and actual EU-led operations, as well as for ensuring the appropriate involvement of candidates for EU accession and of other European states. We want to be as inclusive as possible.
  • We have to develop, for the first time, efficient mechanisms for political consultation and practical cooperation between NATO and EU.
  • We have to devise practical arrangements that permit NATO plans, capabilities, and assets to be provided to the EU when needed, as decided by NATO at the Washington Summit in 1999.

Investing in Europe is synonymous with investing in the transatlantic alliance. European capabilities will be at the disposal of the Alliance and complement its capacities. For years, indeed for decades, our American friends urged us to do more for the common defense and to strengthen the European pillar. For years, indeed for decades, we Europeans relied too often on America.

Today, we have every chance of bringing about a change, of modernizing Europe's armed forces, of creating effective structures and capabilities not only in academic seminars but in practice, of doing more for our own security. NATO has shown us for several years, particularly at the 1999 Washington Summit, how to adapt to the strategic changes. It has retained and re-emphasized its central role for Euro-Atlantic security. Without the new NATO and its leading nation, we would not have been able to succeed in the Balkans.

I think we Europeans have learned our lesson. We have learned that modern security policy must be comprehensive and preventive, and that Europeans have to eliminate major deficits in order to play the role we want to play for strategic, political, and moral reasons. The European Union is now on the right track. The gap between the union of economic integration and the union of a common foreign, security, and defense policy is beginning to close.

This is the foundation for a future Euro-Atlantic partnership, a partnership that will remain the backbone of security and stability in Europe and one that we simply cannot put at risk. We urgently need it to master a wide spectrum of foreign and defense policy issues.


Our political and military engagement in the Balkans remains an enormous challenge for the Euro-Atlantic community. We are in there for the long haul. Much has been achieved, but much remains to be done. Important long-term goals such as the establishment of normal conditions of life for the entire Albanian population; the return of all refugees, including the Serbs; and the build-up of democratic political structures have not yet been achieved. Real peace and stability will require our long-term engagement. During that time it is essential that we maintain coherence and unity. Any uncertainties will only support Milosevic's policy and destabilize the whole region.

We should also not forget the situation in Bosnia. The success of the international community in the Balkans as a whole is closely connected to the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. And Bosnia-Herzegovina is clearly the cornerstone for stabilizing the region. So it is important to maintain a strong and sufficient military capability there. A secure environment through SFOR is a prerequisite for the civil implementation of Dayton. While NATO's engagement is not indefinite, it is too early yet for a complete exit strategy.

The crises and conflicts in the Balkans highlighted the indivisibility of European security. In today's world, a purely national and territorial view of security interests and security policy is inadequate. Developments and risks in faraway regions can clearly affect our common security. This is the reason why we have to look beyond Bosnia and Kosovo. Our goal is to integrate the whole region into the Europe of the 21st century.

The EU's Stability Pact is a prime example of a forward-looking security policy. By focusing on democratization and human rights, economic reconstruction, development, and cooperation, as well as security issues, it reflects our understanding of modern security. As we implement the Stability Pact, NATO's new Consultative Forum on Security Issues on Southeast Europe, and NATO's Southeast European Initiative, which was launched at the Washington Summit, Europeans and Americans must remain engaged and cooperate closely to achieve success.


Another major challenge for NATO and the Euro-Atlantic community is our relationship with Russia. Building a solid strategic partnership with Russia remains a core element of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. A firm transatlantic partnership and having the United States and its European allies maintain a common political approach are important prerequisites for cooperating successfully with our Russian neighbor.

We know there is no European security without Russia. Kosovo shows how true this is. But cooperation is not a one-way street. Russia must take on responsibility in and around Europe and make its contribution towards Euro-Atlantic security.

Russia and NATO have many common interests-from international crisis management to arms control and non-proliferation. The Kosovo conflict strained Russia's relationship to NATO. In the end, however, Russia became part of the solution. Today, Russian troops are working effectively alongside NATO troops. And recently there have been promising signs from the new man in the Kremlin, President Putin, that Moscow will in its own interests find its way back to pursuing a policy of cooperation and confidence-building.

The resumption of consultation and cooperation in the PJC framework is also encouraging. We must maintain the positive momentum of the Florence Ministerial and work on the strong partnership as foreseen in the NATO-Russian Founding Act.

Our relationship with Russia is also important to overall stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Confidence-building, effective arms control, and non-proliferation agreements are essential instruments for furthering cooperation. All are indispensable to a stable security architecture.

We are now entering a critical but promising phase. Russia seems ready to negotiate even deeper cuts in strategic arms than so far envisaged. Strategic arms control might be back on track. But this is not a purely American-Russian affair. We Europeans are directly affected. Reductions in the still-impressive Russian nuclear arsenal, plus predictability and transparency, are also important objectives from the European point of view. Negotiating confidence-building and transparency measures for dealing with thousands of Russian tactical nuclear weapons is another key objective.

There can be no doubt: Securing the future of nuclear arms control and non-proliferation is an essential political task that requires a pro-active and determined transatlantic partnership. Modifying the ABM Treaty and deploying a limited ballistic missile defense in the United States are also essential political tasks requiring the same kind of partnership. In addition, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their risks is a common key security objective.

We share the concerns of our American friends. We need both sound protection against new threats, major progress in nuclear disarmament, and an effective ABM Treaty for maintaining strategic stability. To achieve all these interrelated goals, we need close contact and the full exchange of opinions within the Alliance. Both Americans and Europeans have a role to play in encouraging the new Russian government to work with us to actively and constructively shape the Euro-Atlantic security structures-something Russia has clearly neglected for too long


I am convinced that the transatlantic debates have become more and more a reflection of U.S.-European interdependence, and not of a widening transatlantic gap. This interdependence is not only a consequence of a more globalized world; it is also a consequence of common values and a common interest in maintaining and strengthening the Euro-Atlantic community-a community that might well remain for some time the most important factor in the furtherance of democratic stability, common security, and economic prosperity in a world of enduring uncertainties-something we should not take too lightly. It is in this spirit of commonality and cooperation that I am sure you will work your way through the ambitious agenda of this Workshop.

I would like to end on a personal note, and wish you the best for your stay in Germany, an interesting time in our capital, and fruitful debates in your panels.


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