NATO in a Changing Europe
General Klaus Naumann
Chairman of NATO Military Committee

Throughout the speeches given at the XIIIth Workshop, there has been one common theme: NATO is the key element for European and transatlantic security. There has also been consensus that we need to maintain the strong and reliable link that ties the U.S. and Canada to Europe, because without the U.S. there is no security for Europe. Fortunately, no one challenges NATO's continuing and growing importance any longer. But NATO does need to adapt to the changed environment.


In times of change, clarity is crucial to charting a proper course. But today, everything is not clear. While we have a European security architecture, it is not a coherent architecture since it does not yet have a design even though Hungarian Foreign Minister Dr. Lá Kóá made stimulating efforts to contribute to one. And while design is not a military task, I believe it is important to consider several issues:

As we work on these challenges, we should take two assumptions into account:

  1. In the long run, no European state can afford to pursue a national security policy without some form of alignment. The forms may vary and definitely will not always involve NATO. Moreover, NATO must remain efficient, and this point must be remembered in discussions concerning the opening up of NATO. The word enlargement has a geostrategic connotation that plays into the arguments of some of those in Russia who are against it.
  2. There is no European security without the U.S., so we must maintain the transatlantic link. NATO serves interests on both sides of the Atlantic since there will always be a need for coalitions. And as Czech President Václav Havel said at the Workshop, NATO is and will remain the safeguard of European security.

The first challenge to European security is the instability that exists as a consequence of the ongoing transformation process. This simultaneous transformation of societies and economies in Central and Eastern Europe will be of long duration and encompass many ups and downs. Regarding the transformation in Russia, we must remember that the people are going from feudalism to democracy without the advantage of going through an age of enlightenment. There will be many temptations to distract attention from domestic problems by portraying outsiders as the causes of these domestic failures. Therefore, we need to work toward a situation using deterrence, containment, arms control, and cooperation in which resorting to force is impossible.

The second challenge is unresolved ethnic and territorial claims combined with a renaissance of nationalistic and religious fervor and a tendency to look inward, which could lead to the renationalization of defense and security policies. To solve this problem, some will wish to rely on indirect NATO protection since some nations believe they are safe in the shade of the NATO umbrella without having to pay the fees. We need to promote NATO's philosophy that a risk to one of us is a risk to all of us. We also need to promote the educational value of NATO's integrated military structure. Thus, our young officers will learn that NATO's interests need to prevail against narrowly defined national interests, and that is very important for the future of Europe.

NATO's principles must prevail: this means no territorial claims will be enforced by military means, conflicts will be settled by peaceful means, and the right of minorities will be respected and protected. Democratic principles need to be transformed into foreign policies; we must ensure that the right of the powerful does not prevail but the power of the right; and domestically, we must make sure that the individual is protected against the power of the state. In the new NATO, all members must subscribe to these principles.

The third challenge I see is the new risks that we face. Today there is no such thing as regional security. Europeans have to look beyond Europe. The decisions of the North Atlantic Council meeting in Berlin announced a turning point in NATO's history in this regard, since now NATO will respond to challenges originating on the periphery of the NATO treaty area if they become a threat to NATO's security. But questions remain whether this step is sufficient to maintain peace in such a complex world as that described by Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello, when he hinted at the gamut of problems connected with humanitarian interventions.

In addition to deciding to respond to challenges on NATO's periphery, the NAC in Berlin also set three objectives. These are, in order of priority,

  1. To improve NATO's efficiency
  2. To strengthen the transatlantic link
  3. To identify the European Security Defense Identity (ESDI)

What does this mean for NATO military authorities It means the need to develop an adapted command and force structure in which all 16 Alliance members participate and which includes Combined Joint Task Force implementation and enables ESDI to develop in one single multinational structure. To do this, ESDI must be properly defined, including the planning and training that will enable the Western European Union (WEU) to conduct missions within the scope of the Petersberg Declaration. As a European, I urge that this be done on a modest scale initially, because the first WEU mission must be a success. The structure that we develop must also be flexible enough to absorb enlargement. Does this mean that we have to square the circle Not quite, but it will be a demanding task for the Military Committee as NATO's supreme military authority and NAC's ultimate source of military advice.


NATO was never a military bloc or just a military alliance. The values shared by 16 nations led to their determination to share risks and responsibilities. However, I disagree with those who feel that during the confrontation period we had high risk and high stability, whereas today we have low risk and low stability. Rather, I believe that we had low risk and high stability then, and, now, at least at the regional level, high risk and low stability. I believe the situation in the former Yugoslavia illustrates my thesis. Therefore today we need both collective defense as well as conflict prevention.

Our old mission of collective defense remains valid and serves many purposes:

Anyone who believes that NATO could provide collective defense with CJTFs alone hurts NATO's cohesion and weakens its protective capabilities.

NATO's new conflict prevention/crisis management mission aims at keeping conflicts at a distance and enables us to act collectively in order to prevent the outbreak of hostilities. Crisis management is also the main driving factor behind NATO's internal adaptation for ESDI, which will foster transatlantic cohesion since the Europeans will be taking more of the burden. The main instrument in this process will be the Combined Joint Task Force. CJTF, as well as crisis management, will often include Cooperation Partners, hence the increasing need to promote interoperability of Partners with NATO.

Crisis management is no longer a reactive, escalatory measure but rather proactive, preventative diplomacy with military means as the last resort. But where military action needs to be taken, centralized planning and decentralized execution are required, along with confidence in the commander, to avoid micro-management. And let us not forget the 3Rs which COMIFOR Admiral Smith discussed at the Workshop: Robustness, Rules of Engagement that are clear, and Resolve.

Along with collective defense and crisis management, we have a third mission: the projection of stability, which includes the opening of NATO, enhancing PFP, and strengthening the special relationships with Russia and Ukraine. Let us be very clear: NATO's opening has been decided upon in principle, and we will stick to that. We will accept neither veto rights nor conditions. NATO's primary objective will be to maintain the Alliance's efficiency and its character as a defensive unit that is based on shared values. It must be capable and willing to act collectively.

New Partners will enjoy the protection of Article V without any limitations, but they must be able and willing to contribute to collective risk and burden sharing. I was very encouraged to hear during the Workshop that Partners are willing to accept that responsibility.

In all three missions, there will be one common principle for the conduct of military activities, be it collective defense, crisis management, or projection of stability, including Partnership for Peace; we need, as mentioned earlier, to have centralized planning and decentralized execution, which should be reflected in our command structure.

Membership will not give new members a free ride on defense, but they will also not have to embark on an ambitious armaments program. We must achieve interoperability for both collective defense and crisis management. We should strive to give our new members security so that they can concentrate on rebuilding their societies and economies. We call on industrialists to use all their creativity to make interoperability happen, although our new Partners will continue to use existing hardware, perhaps with some mid life upgrades.

NATO's opening will certainly take more than a year's time. Ratification in some NATO capitals will take months, if not years. During that time we must enhance and deepen PFP as a stand-alone instrument of European security.


The PFP program was designed by the late Joseph Kruzel, masterminded by Secretary William Perry and General John Shalikashvili, and informally introduced in 1993 at the Trevemunde Meeting of Defense Ministers. Partnership for Peace has now grown into a permanent element of European security arrangements and has succeeded beyond the expectations of those who decided on it at the 1994 Brussels Summit. Today Partnership for Peace, on a practical military level, is also a major contributor to the effectiveness of the IFOR mission.

In the future, we see PFP playing two important roles: The first, in preparing new members for the responsibilities and requirements of NATO membership; and the second, as a means of strengthening relations with Partners who do not join the Alliance early or do not join it at all. Our Ministers have given us direction on enhancing PFP and on expanding cooperation into areas such as civil military relations, defense procurement, air defense, and the development of defense policy and civil emergency planning. The Planning and Review Process will be broadened to include adapting interoperability objectives to cover the entire range of the Alliance's new missions.

To make better use of the experience and talent our Cooperations Partners (CPs) bring to the PFP process, we will be seeking increased opportunities for Partners to assume greater responsibility in the shaping of PFP programs and in the planning and conducting of PFP exercises. But as in crisis management, there is some merit to sticking to centralized planning and decentralized execution. One of the ways in which we plan to increase Partner opportunities is through a joint Allied Partner evaluation and application of lessons learned from the political and military cooperation in IFOR.


In addition to developing stronger ties with all Cooperation Partners, we also wish to further enhance our strong ties with Ukraine and to develop a strong, stable, and enduring relationship with Russia. We are in a critical period now as we await the outcome of the Russian Presidential election runoff, but no matter who wins, our objective will remain the same: to seek a true partnership with Russia in order to arrange for common security and to cope with perceived risks.

To develop this partnership, we can build on the success we have had with Russian forces working within IFOR; but that is just a beginning and definitely at too low a level. NATO is open to a political dialogue to help Russia overcome its tendency to mirror image the former Warsaw Pact onto NATO, which we all know is not appropriate. We also need to look at some of the suggestions put forward by Foreign Minister Primakov at the Berlin Ministerial meeting suggestions that relate to issues on which NATO and Russia can cooperate, such as counter proliferation, Theater Missile Defense, and countering drug trafficking and international crime.

Ukraine's contribution to IFOR is also a worthwhile vehicle for practical military cooperation. We look forward to working with Ukrainian military authorities to find additional ways to enhance our relationship with them. And to address a concern raised by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister regarding the deployment of NATO nuclear weapons onto the territory of new NATO members, I would like to reassure him by quoting from the NATO Enlargement Study, which was given to Partners last fall: "In light of both the current international environment and the current potential threats facing the Alliance, NATO's current nuclear posture will, for the foreseeable future, continue to meet the requirements of an enlarged Alliance. There is, therefore, no need now to change or modify any aspect of NATO's nuclear posture or policy..."

I believe that we can also expect more NAC meetings in the 16+1 format with Russia and Ukraine.


What does all this mean for NATO military authorities

First, it means we need to ensure the efficiency of NATO's command and force structures through greater flexibility and by enhancing our capabilities to reinforce its most threatened region. If necessary, we must also be prepared to project power on a limited scale, which is clearly short of any global capacity

Second, it means we must increase our ability to react to short notice decisions, such as the need to be ready to commit enabling forces and to ensure force deployability.

Third, we need to adapt our force and command structures before the opening of NATO takes place, and do so in great transparency to prove that opening is not directed against anyone

Fourth, it means we must make ESDI happen without any duplication or bifurcation.

And, finally, it means we need to make better use of scarce resources and to concentrate on force multipliers such as C3I, lift, logistics, combat support, and combat service support. We need more multinational efforts and to arrange for them while maintaining steadfast cohesion within NATO.

NATO will continue to serve as the bedrock of stability and security for the Euro Atlantic region but in order to do so, we need to maintain efficiency, which is key to NATO's credibility. As I also just mentioned, we need to maintain cohesion, which we so splendidly did in Bosnia through IFOR. Cohesion and solidarity are crucial as we approach the more thorny issues of adaptation and later in enlargement. NATO threatens no one. NATO is and will remain an Alliance of democratic nations that share values and a common vision that was formulated in 1949 immediately after the darkest years this continent has seen in its thousands of years of history. This vision is of a Europe whole and free, living in peace and stability. It is a vision our generation has the chance to turn into reality.

This should be the message we take home from Warsaw, and it should inspire us to turn the dream into reality for the nations of Central and Eastern Europe that were artificially separated from Western Europe for more than 40 years. I think everyone feels how crucial it is to reintegrate these countries with the West. We will succeed in this important venture if we continue to work hard and remain one team with one mission: peace and stability for all of our nations.

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