Keynote Address of 27th International Workshop


Wolf Rudiger

State Secretary Rüdiger Wolf
German Federal Ministry of Defense

Global Security—the Growing Challenges
Keynote Address

I am very honored to have been invited to address this distinguished assembly here in our capital of Berlin, on behalf of our Minister of Defense Freiherr Dr. zu Guttenberg. Dr. zu Guttenberg regrets being unable to be present today, but asked me to convey his best regards to you and his wishes for successful discussions and an interesting and, in particular, a forward-looking outcome.


Especially in the context of the current development of a new Strategic Concept for NATO, it will be essential to focus on challenges in both the EU and NATO to examine possible enhancements between them. Looking at my expert audience here, I do not need to elaborate on the challenges of the globalized world and the changed security environment we face. In this complex security environment, the international community, with NATO and the EU a part of it, needs suitable concepts and instruments to achieve its security goals.
Analysis of the contemporary threats and risks shows that their cause is not primarily military. Rather, these threats and risks stem first and foremost from society, the economy, culture, and ecology. Their complex, dynamic, and asymmetric nature must therefore be addressed by means of security policy concepts, strategies, institutions, methods, procedures, and instruments.
Above all, there is a requirement to react in a timely manner. Hence, the following assumptions are considered imperative:
Threats to our security must be countered at their origin.
A comprehensive approach is called for that, in addition to military means, includes above all political, diplomatic, economic, and development policy instruments.
Crisis prevention measures must increasingly be used within a multinational, integrated network.
Nowadays, security can no longer be defined purely in terms of geography; it must be defined in terms of function. In that light, let’s briefly look at Afghanistan. The instability provides an ideal breeding ground for terrorism, as we witness almost every day. Only an intelligent, network-based combination of civilian and military initiatives that seek to have an impact on the population and that take into account the country’s distinctive characteristics and structures will lead to stability in the long term and subsequently reduce the threat posed by terrorists.
Military operations can create and maintain a secure environment. But it is only by means of a forward-looking and comprehensive approach, combining diplomatic tools and dialogue with initiatives in development policy and economic support as well as the tenet of “helping people to help themselves,” that self-supporting structures may be created in the long term that provide Afghanistan with the stability it so badly requires. This example demonstrates that a definition of security must go beyond the classical constraints and that security must be understood from a broader perspective.
The second issue contained within the comprehensive concept of security is the realization that tomorrow’s hurdles will not be surmounted by nation-states acting alone. Our common interests are safeguarded primarily via international and supranational institutions such as the U.N. and the OSCE. We should seek to ensure that these institutions are strengthened.


The U.N. and the OSCE are not the only organizations accomplishing this task. NATO and the EU have provided the cornerstone of political stability, security, and prosperity by spreading values within the European region and beyond. Therefore, the primary goal of my presentation today is to focus in detail on the enhancement of a comprehensive approach within NATO and the EU and its possible implications for military requirements.
The basis for further considerations is an internationally agreed-to understanding of the comprehensive approach concept. Everyone must understand his or her role and responsibility. The current challenges facing NATO and the EU also should be considered as equal and both organizations should have an answer as to how to meet these challenges.


I would like to start by taking a look at NATO. Let me emphasize that NATO should not have the lead in comprehensive approach activities on security. That responsibility resides with the international community, represented by the U.N., and should be shared by all relevant multinational, national, and private-sector players. But I would like to emphasize the fact that in 2009 NATO initiated the process for the development of a new Strategic Concept. This will describe our vision to cope with current and upcoming threats and risks in order to promote peace and stability. It is necessary because our 21st century globalized world, with all the previously mentioned security challenges, requires new strategies to achieve security for the Euro-Atlantic area.

Let me also state that in addition to the so-called new threats, interstate conflicts in different regions of the world remain likely. Therefore, Article 5 of the NATO Treaty will continue to be the cornerstone of NATO’s old and new Strategic Concept.

Our security in the coming decades will be increasingly tied to the security of other regions. While interstate conflicts may not directly threaten NATO territory and populations, this must be seen as a possibility and we have to be prepared. In order to perform successfully, NATO requires appropriate military capabilities that we must define today in order to assure tomorrow’s success. Therefore, let me highlight the following preconditions:

- In the future, NATO will continue to constitute an important part of our overall national strategic concept with regard to security, consultation, and deterrence.
- The current transformation process within the Alliance is aimed at closing strategic capability gaps, such as reconnaissance and command and control as well as airlift.
- NATO’s external profile as an integrated organization will be supported by means of a refined partnership policy, which means that the international community will have to establish and maintain an interconnected web of government agencies, including law enforcement, border protection services, judiciaries, and public health authorities, that can work alongside the Alliance.
- NATO needs to have a clear understanding of how it can contribute to a comprehensive approach and which role the Alliance wants to play. This will be the basis from which we can derive military requirements.

At the April 2008 Bucharest Summit, Allied leaders endorsed an Action Plan for the development and implementation of NATO’s contribution to a comprehensive approach, which was confirmed again during the 2009 summit. This plan describes in five key areas how the Alliance could improve its ability to work and coordinate more closely with its partners and other international actors in crisis management. I would like to examine these key areas to develop some ideas concerning military requirements.

Planning and Conducting Operations

NATO takes full account of all military and non-military aspects of a NATO engagement. Therefore, we have to improve practical cooperation at all levels with all relevant organizations and actors already in the planning phase and during conducting of operations. This will require adapting our organizational structures, authorities, and decision-making processes in order to “plug in” all relevant players. Interoperability, transparency of information, and decision-making, as well as common standards and definitions, will be crucial in the face of a common threat. The military should concentrate on key military capabilities in order to achieve military objectives. This includes maintaining the classic war-fighting capabilities necessary for Article 5 operations and contributing to conflict prevention and crisis management through non-Article 5 crisis response operations.

Lessons Learned, Training, Education, and Exercises

We have to make greater use of NATO training, education, and exercise opportunities by offering joint training of civilian and military personnel. This promotes the exchange of lessons learned and also helps build trust and confidence between NATO, its partners, and other international and local actors. Therefore, translating a comprehensive approach into practice must become an integral part of our training and exercises.

Enhancing Cooperation with External Actors

Achieving lasting mutual understanding, trust, confidence, and respect among the relevant organizations and actors will make their respective efforts more effective. Therefore, we have to pursue extensive civil-military interaction with other relevant organizations and actors on a regular basis while respecting the autonomy of each organization’s decision-making. NATO could also contribute to conflict prevention by strengthening areas of good governance by mentoring and advising other nations. In this regard using the Security Sector Reform and enhanced training and exercise tools to strengthen defense reforms could reduce the need to deploy military forces. Concentrated on security for the Euro-Atlantic area, the tools of partnerships, cooperation, and dialogue are key to the comprehensive approach, and partner-nations should be involved more deeply.
Public Messaging or Strategic Communications
We have to ensure that the information strategies of the main actors complement and do not contradict each other.

Stabilization and Reconstruction

NATO has to improve its military support of stabilization and reconstruction in all phases of a conflict. This will involve exploiting the overall range of existing and planned Alliance capabilities relevant to this broad activity. It will require better coordination of NATO’s military efforts in this field with those of its partners and other international and non-governmental organizations, who are the primary providers for the stabilization and reconstruction tasks.
Let me emphasize that Germany is very satisfied with the current report of the Group of Experts to the NAC regarding NATO´s new Strategic Concept, because it provides an in-depth analysis of the strategic environment and the challenges ahead for NATO. It is especially good to see the broad coverage given to partnerships and the clear note that NATO is just one of many actors. Even if the sections of the comprehensive approach or the way to handle international terrorism are shorter than it was assumed they would be, the cooperative and dialogue-driven approach by which the report was written is reflected in all its content. This formal aspect is of key value for NATO with regard to the impression the Alliance makes both on the people in the member-states and on partners such as Russia. All in all, the report is an important contribution to the promotion of strategic debate and provides valuable impetus for the new Strategic Concept.


Let’s turn now to the EU. In the European Security Strategy the EU stated very clearly that none of the new threats we face today can be tackled by purely military means. Rather, it called for a mixture of instruments, tailored to each mission at hand. The EU is the only international organization that has at its disposal instruments covering the whole spectrum of crisis management: Humanitarian aid, economic development, trade, and civilian and military crisis management. In the words of the Security Strategy, “The EU is particularly well equipped to respond to such multi-faceted situations.”

Dimensions of the Comprehensive Approach

I believe there are basically two dimensions we have to look at when we talk about a comprehensive approach, no matter what institutional framework we are working in. The first is the conceptual level and the second is the operational implementation, the question of what is really happening on the ground, which sometimes differs from what we write on paper. Twenty-four operations and missions since 2003 show that there is a real need for EU action and I have no doubt that this demand will stay.
It is also fair to say that each and every task we undertake in the framework of the Common Security and Defense Policy has at its heart a political problem that has to be solved. This realization has led to the concept of civil-military coordination. It is modest in its aspirations, because its primary aim is to enhance cooperation within the EU only. Cross-pillar coordination between the commission, the Common Foreign and Security Policy, as well as the third pillar’s police and justice cooperation have to be brought together.
With the Lisbon Treaty we took a major step toward this aim by bringing together the union’s foreign policy competence under the new High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy. The next step will be to create an effective European External Action Service that will serve as a catalyst for bringing together the different foreign and security policy actors at the EU level. We see it as the future powerhouse of the Common Foreign and Security Policy as well as the Common Defense and Security Policy, as it is called in the Lisbon Treaty.
With the EU Council’s resolution of December 2008, the EU’s level of ambition was further developed along the most likely EU missions and operations toward a more civil-military approach, keeping in mind the adopted elements of the new level of ambition and the fact that, with both Headline Goals approaching their final dates, it will be necessary to formulate a new common civil-military Headline Goal in the coming year. This will further improve civil-military cooperation that creates the added value of the EU in comparison to other organizations such as the U.N. or NATO.

Cooperation and Partnership

Allow me to emphasize at this point that cooperation in the field and at the Brussels level works reasonably well. When we look in the Balkans, for example, the EU has managed to send a clear message through its political, military, and civilian sectors as well as by economic engagement in what we want to achieve. The establishment of a safe and secure environment, which was the main task, was well integrated into the whole EU approach toward the region with the aim of integrating it into the EU in a long-term way. We have diplomatic and economic actors working alongside police advisors and military personnel. It is not only in name but also in effect a truly comprehensive endeavor.
The most important partnership, as well as the one in which progress is most needed, is the partnership between NATO and the EU. This relationship is being held hostage by a rather small number of member-states in both organizations, leading to absurdities in the field, like the problem we have in integrating the members of the EU’s police missions in our Afghanistan PRTs. It has become quite obvious that we need a political solution, and we need it as quickly as possible.
The Berlin Plus arrangements that concluded in 2002 give the EU access to NATO planning assets in carrying out military CSDP operations, and they were concluded in order to put to rest the transatlantic differences regarding the relationship between the EU and NATO. In practice only one ongoing ESDP operation—EUFOR ALTHEA, in Bosnia—is a Berlin Plus operation.
Better and more effective EU–NATO cooperation is required. Therefore, the German government welcomed the talks and discussions of NATO’s “Group of Experts” with high representatives of NATO and EU in order to discuss the outline of NATO’s new Strategic Concept and enhance transparency and visibility. Let me emphasise that, in view of the present financial and budget crisis in almost all the member-states, there will be no alternative to a closer, more in-depth strategic partnership between NATO and the EU.


The key concept needed to establish cooperation mechanisms between different organizations as required by the comprehensive approach is openness—openness in elaborating mandates for missions and operations, in planning and conducting missions and operations, and in the lessons-learned process. Thus the provision of security is not only a military task and can only be a starting point. The combined efforts of the international community are necessary to achieve and secure sustainable peace and stability.
NATO and the EU are committed to taking responsibility and to contributing to a comprehensive approach. In this regard we need to adapt our organizational structures and processes and we have to improve our capabilities in the areas just mentioned. In doing so we have to avoid duplication of capabilities. The organization that is best suited to providing capabilities should take the responsibility. Therefore, we need to not only look at our own organizations but at our partners in the field as well, be they international or government agencies or non-governmental organizations.
We have already taken some steps but more lie ahead of us. I am convinced that we are on the right track, in NATO as well as in the EU. It will be your task to take this matter forward, whether you serve in the Alliance, in the EU, or back home. You need to be successful if we are all to be successful.

Top of page | Home | ©2010 Center for Strategic Decision Research