In order to set the scene for the candid and fruitful discussions that are the purpose of the NATO Workshop, I would like to describe our present situation in Allied Command Europe (ACE), some challenges facing us now and in the future, and some opportunities I foresee as the Alliance prepares itself for the 21st century. I am fortunate that my major subordinate commanders have agreed to share their expertise through remarks which follow. They will tell you what the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) really meant to say!
Last year, at my first NATO Workshop as SACEUR, I did not offer many answers. Instead, I provided questions and ideas about the future of NATO. I focused my remarks on the implementation of the guidance for a new NATO. At that time, the January Brussels Summit had just occurred a few months before, and its bold, new initiatives such as Partnership for Peace (PFP) and the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) concept were still untested. Moreover, NATO had not quite completed its force restructuring and the streamlining of its integrated military structure. Looking back on that 1994 Workshop, I see that we indeed stood at the beginning of the new NATO, ready to move in new directions, ready to ensure the peace and security of Alliance members, and ready to work with new Partner nations who would join with us in a common effort.
Since the last NATO Workshop, my role as SACEUR--in addition to ongoing operational responsibilities--has been to conclude the changes in NATO's force and command structuring and to engage the new NATO in the building of a stable and peaceful new Europe. This engagement strategy included a rapid implementation of the Brussels Summit initiatives, particularly Partnership for Peace. In doing so, we put theory into practice and prepared ACE for the challenges of the future.
At last year's Workshop, I discussed my mission assessment based on North Atlantic Council (NAC) guidance from the Rome, Oslo, London, and Brussels Summits. The missions given to me include maintaining strategic balance, deterring aggression against defined NATO territory (Article V), and peace-support operations: Partnership for Peace, CJTF, counter-proliferation, and support for U.N. peacekeeping operations. My intent has been to link these disparate missions into a clear vector to which Allied Command Europe can structure itself and train. Clearly, I saw that if through Partnership for Peace we could create the trust and confidence in former adversaries, then NATO might in essence be deterring or preventing an Article V conflict; likewise, if NATO could form a CJTF and respond to a crisis before it became a conflict, then an Article V conflict might be prevented; or if NATO could counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, that too might deter an Article V conflict. In Allied Command Europe, we have been following this concept for over a year with good results.
Nonetheless, our success in creating a new NATO and implementing our engagement strategy has been mixed. Three major points must be made in order to fully explain the challenges and opportunities we have faced in the last year, the circumstances facing us today, and what we must do to prepare for the uncertainties of the future.
Success of Partnership for Peace. First, Partnership for Peace has been a tremendous success and promises to improve greatly military-to-military contacts and capabilities throughout NATO and Partner nations. You will hear a great deal about PFP--and rightly so.
Declining Defense Budgets. Second, since the end of the Cold War, NATO nations have lowered their individual nation's defense expenditures and reduced their contributions to this Alliance to a point where they may have a harmful effect on NATO's ability to carry out its military missions.
The World Is Still Dangerous. Third, Europe is still a dangerous place. Clearly, there is no longer a monolithic threat. Nonetheless, weapons of mass destruction still exist, and the proliferation of these weapons and their delivery systems is an all-too-real occurrence. An even more immediate danger to the credibility and effectiveness of our Alliance, and to all other international organizations involved, is the tragic situation in the former Yugoslavia. Let me elaborate on each of these three points.
Over the last year, Partnership for Peace has grown from a newly approved concept into a bold and vibrant reality. Twenty-six nations, including Russia, have now signed up. Almost all Partnership nations have representatives assigned to Brussels to work with NATO Headquarters. Sixteen nations have liaison officers at the Partnership Coordination Cell (PCC) in Mons.
During June 1995, in fact, the first PFP exercise and activities conference was held in the PCC in Mons. Over 130 representatives from Partnership and NATO countries met in working-level meetings to conduct operational level planning for 1996 and 1997. Among other things, they discussed and arranged the logistics and manning requirements for their ever-expanding exercise schedule. Militaries who, just a few years ago, looked across barbed wire and minefields at each other are now meeting around tables to learn how to work together on a military level for the common good.
In 1994, the first year of PFP's existence, we held three exercises; in 1995, a series of marine, air, and land exercises are planned for the Black, Baltic, and North Seas, as well as for Partnership and NATO countries--including the United States. Over 150 PFP and NATO exercise-related events, as well as numerous bilateral exercises "in the spirit of PFP," will be held in 1995.
The military objective for such exercises is to attain military interoperability for operations in such areas as disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and peacekeeping. To more effectively execute such operations, we want to improve the ability of Partner countries to work with NATO forces and with NATO's command and control structure. As could be expected, this objective has proven to be quite a challenge for all concerned. Some may remember our discussions at the last NATO Workshop on my strategic concept for PFP. With clear political guidance from Brussels, and working with the PCC, ACE is developing an exercise program to tailor programs to individual country needs. Our objective is to expand the ability to work together--Partners and NATO--to common standards, procedures, and doctrine. In 1995, we went from theory to practice in our military cooperation with our new Partners. And we are not just holding exercises between a Partner country and NATO; our PFP exercises include a regional dimension as well. In other words, we have a Partner nation and its neighbors taking part in exercises with NATO. Doing so develops mutual trust and confidence among our Partners, their neighbors, and NATO.
It is well known that interoperability within the Alliance alone has been difficult enough to achieve. Nonetheless, over the years, we have perfected many procedures and doctrines that should greatly enhance the effectiveness of any combined operation conducted by NATO and Partnership nations. Interoperability is a daunting task; but PFP and NATO are engaged in making it happen on a military-to-military level across Europe.
Just as important to the strength and stability of the new Europe, however, are the bonds of mutual trust, confidence, and friendship formed in the day-to-day planning and execution of PFP exercises. The staffs who plan the exercises and the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who conduct them are learning how to work together, live together, and trust each other in a crisis. This trusting brotherhood has been NATO's strongest characteristic and is now expanding throughout the new Europe.
Partnership for Peace is far more than a training program for entry into NATO. It is indeed an engagement strategy in every sense of the word. It ties together NATO and its Partners with common goals, training, and friendship. It includes education and transparency as well as field training exercises. You can see why Secretary General Claes recently said that PFP is fast becoming a "key foundation stone for the new European security architecture." NATO is more than ships, tanks, and planes. We are an organization with shared values, ideals, and interests. Those ideals and values are also being embraced by our new Partners.
My second point is far less encouraging than our successes in PFP and military-to-military contacts. We have witnessed a dangerous decline in national defense budgets and reduced contributions to this Alliance since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. These precipitous drops are harming NATO's capability to carry out its present and future military missions--missions that are every bit as important as those in the past.
Recently, I spoke to NATO's Defense Planning Committee and expressed this same message to them. It is not a new message, but it bears repeating. For 40 years, NATO maintained robust deterrent forces and won a great victory over totalitarianism. Our sacrifice--both in terms of money and manpower--ensured the continued peace and prosperity of Western Europe. Therefore, no one should say the cost was too great.
Unfortunately, in our rush to divert defense funds to other programs, we have failed to appreciate that the desired "peace dividend" is not money, it is peace itself. Our investment of manpower and infrastructure returned a generation of unprecedented peace, prosperity, and stability. Now our nations have shifted resources away from defense programs despite the uncertain future of the European security environment, the ongoing crises in and around Europe, and our mandate to continued peace and security.
Let me highlight some of the alarming trends:
Even so, these reductions in and of themselves are not my greatest concern. The accompanying uncertainty of capability and responsiveness to the dangers that surround Europe concerns me even more.
As SACEUR, everything I do is affected by our diminished funding and future uncertainty. When we do not have a clear decision on future budget allocations, we cannot plan for adequate levels of training. Unknown manpower, equipment, and training levels make our response to major or lesser contingencies an uncertain proposition. When an organization's money runs out, even well-motivated professionals cannot succeed when called upon to act.
Specifically, this uncertainty in funds allocation makes the possible intervention into Bosnia to cover the withdrawal of U.N. forces a difficult exercise in juggling funds. If we implement such an operational plan, we may need to reduce normal Article V activity. This "offset" exercise will then turn into another attempt to squeeze money out of an already constrained budget.
I purposely say "constrained" for several reasons: if our budgets for the upcoming years are based on assumptions that probably will not come to pass, then NATO's capability to perform its assigned missions will be in danger. Let me illustrate what I mean by an analogy. If you can imagine NATO as a locomotive pulling such missions as CJTF, PFP, non-Article V crisis management, and the basic Article V mission of credible deterrence, then the tracks must be laid on a solid bed of adequate resources. In order to keep NATO from derailing, we must have a rock-solid roadbed of robust manpower levels, modern and capable infrastructure, adequate exercise funding levels for both Article V and non-Article V missions, and capable command and control mechanisms. Until we clearly and decisively acknowledge the Alliance's basic military requirements and capabilities--and commit to a future funding plan to cover the costs--uncertainty will continue to erode the capability we now enjoy.
With those thoughts on budget concerns as a background, let me talk specifically about the future as it relates to Allied Command Europe's mission. Allied Command Europe is currently defining its requirements to guarantee accomplishment of our traditional Article V missions, our newer non-Article V roles, as well as our newest outreach initiatives.
To accomplish all this, ACE has adapted its command and control system to accommodate a two-tiered force structure. On one hand, we have small, regular, and readily available reaction forces--principally the ARRC and AMF(L)--as a military response option to lesser regional contingencies. On the other hand, we still train and equip large, mobile forces for our fundamental Article V responsibilities.
This two-tiered approach is sound in theory. However, we will eventually face a crisis if we train and equip only to meet lesser regional contingencies and not to meet our overall strategic responsibilities. What is more, it is our strategic Article V capabilities that have allowed us to respond in a lesser manner. We have only one set of assets in NATO and they must be adequate to accomplish all missions.
Let me be clear. ACE has dropped 25% in its force structure in the past five years. The entire ACE manpower in our Major NATO Command (MNC), Major Subordinate Command (MSC), Principal Subordinate Command (PSC) headquarters is now just over 3,000 personnel. Barely enough to do one CJTF corps, let alone two. And our total military budget is approximately 1% of 16 nations' defense budgets. So we have changed and will continue to do so. But we must stop the free fall or face a "hollow" NATO.
Since 1989, our capability to generate forces in a timely manner has been reduced drastically. Clearly, a drop in our adaptability from Cold War levels is understandable; but a continuing trend downward risks a "hollow force" in NATO and less capability to accomplish our assigned missions.
Therefore, we must match resources with requirements. A failure to do so endangers not only the viability of this great Alliance, but also the security of Partner nations that have committed to close ties with NATO and its component nations.
And those who represent the industrial base of this Alliance have a special role to play. We need their energy, their ideas, their imagination, and their technology. As we get smaller in force structure, NATO must become more capable. We need the best high tech communications systems as well as modernized equipment and precision munitions for our reduced force. We need to properly state the requirements, and our friends in industry must help us say it right the first time. And, if whatever we are developing is not working out, we must quickly determine that so we do not throw good money after bad.
We need to put NATO's high tech community and industrial base to work on engagement in conflicts at the lower end of the spectrum. How can we create the best conditions for success in peace-support operations? How do we train forces in multinational formations using simulation? How should NATO handle the logistical requirements of a 16-nation multinational force that is deployed out of area? What intelligence platforms are needed on these new battlefields? How do we break down the rigid constraints of national intelligence and provide timely, fused intelligence to the multinational commander? These are real needs in today's and tomorrow's NATO.
My final point concerns NATO's role in helping to mitigate the tragedy in the former Yugoslavia. Admiral Smith, CINCSOUTH, provides his views below, so I will not go into details. Let me just say that, in cooperation with the U.N. and many of our Partner nations, NATO has helped limit the conflict and the suffering, and we are prepared to do even more. We truly hope the U.N. remains in the former Yugoslavia. But NATO is ready to assist in the U.N. withdrawal if it becomes necessary or to implement a peace agreement. Let me also reiterate what I have so often said: there is no military solution to the situation in the former Yugoslavia, only a diplomatic/political one.
And if I may offer a personal opinion, we--NATO--must act as an Alliance in confronting the challenges or missions we face. Whenever NATO forces are committed, we must ensure their safety; whenever NATO as an Alliance makes a decision, then NATO must control its own destiny and protect its credibility. And let me urge that as we commit forces to these new challenges, we must maintain the cohesion, solidarity, mutual trust, and confidence within the Alliance.
Let me close with these points:
To do so, we need the help of all those nations, organizations, and individuals who have contributed to the NATO Workshop. The coalition represented at the Workshop of industry and political, diplomatic, and military leadership--both within the Alliance and now with our new Partners--is a powerful force to realize our Workshop's theme: Building Stability, Democracy, and Peace Through Cooperation. We have always been a team in NATO. That team is strengthened by new Partners who bring added vitality and enthusiasm and we are glad that they joined us in Dresden. Together we can participate in and establish a new Europe and a new NATO. In doing so, we will give hope to our children and grandchildren for peace, freedom, and prosperity as we enter the 21st century.
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