Center for Strategic Decision Research


The New NATO: The Way Ahead

General George A. Joulwan
Supreme Allied Commander Europe


His Excellency President Havel has reminded us how vital the Czech Republic is to the security structure that is evolving in Europe. As such, it is indeed appropriate that we are holding the 14th NATO Workshop in the historic Prague Castle. Prague has been a European social and cultural center since the ninth century. And the castle has stood for almost 1,000 years as a symbol of the Czech people's desire to live in peace and freedom.

Clearly, the people of Prague have earned the reputation of champions for peace. In 1968, the "Prague Spring" tried to create "socialism with a human face." The "Velvet Revolution" in 1989 marked the peaceful transition to democracy from communism. And in 1993, Czechoslovakia was peacefully divided into the separate nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Let me assure you that the peaceful and democratic NATO nations value the friendship of the Czech Republic and welcome this country as a true partner and a true friend.

As I have been in the past, I am pleased to see so many distinguished participants who believe this Workshop to be as important as I do. Gathered together are political and military authorities from NATO and non-NATO nations alike. There are presidents from NATO's Partner countries and chiefs of defense and senior civilian officials from Alliance and Partner nations. We are also most fortunate to have leaders of our defense industries who bring technology and modernization potential to both NATO and Alliance Partners.

Clearly this Workshop comes at a most appropriate time. It follows an experience of 18 months in Bosnia, where NATO, Partner, and other non-NATO nations have been working together in a real-world peace-support operation, putting theory into practice. And very shortly NATO's political leaders will meet in Madrid for what promises to be a truly historic Summit that will shape the Alliance for the next millennium.

This Workshop is also my fourth, and last, as the SACEUR and CINCEUR. I would like to thank you all for your support and friendship during the time I have held these positions. The challenge during the last four years has been for NATO, and its military arm, to keep pace with the dramatic security changes occurring on the Continent. To that end, my prime goal has been to continue the adaptation started by my predecessors at the end of the Cold War. Our aim has been to create a new NATO, firmly committed to adaptation, that could put into practice the initiatives of Partnership for Peace, Combined Joint Task Force, counterproliferation, a special relationship with Russia and Ukraine, enlargement, and the European Security and Defense Identity.

I believe we are now at a defining moment in history. I also believe that the people gathered here for this conference will play major roles in shaping the future--certainly here in Europe. A recent poll of 13 European nations revealed that, overall, Europeans' prime concern and the greatest international problem is the threat of war. I know that NATO is the best hope to alleviate this fear. For almost 50 years, NATO has maintained the peace, and as we approach the 21st century, it is the best hope for continued peace and stability in Europe.

NATO's mission did not end with the collapse of the Berlin Wall or the "Iron Curtain." The objective never was simply the fall of that wall, but the consolidation of democracy throughout Europe. In June 1997 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan and George Marshall's vision for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. We are now at a time in history in which it is possible to realize Marshall's dream. Truly, the flame of democracy in Europe--the hope for millions of people--burns brighter now than it did at any other time during this century.


The initiatives I mentioned earlier--PFP, CJTF, counterproliferation, adaptation, enlargement and special relationship with Russia and Ukraine--are shaping the new NATO to keep the flame of democracy alive. They are also the ingredients of the new NATO's conflict-prevention strategy. Let me elaborate.

Partnership for Peace. The Partnership for Peace program has made truly extraordinary progress since its inception, and is clearly a huge success. Under NATO's military cooperation program, 27 nations have joined PFP. And most of those nations--the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Austria, Sweden, and many more--now have liaison officers at my Headquarters in Mons. Forty-three flags fly at the entranceway to the Partnership Building--not 16 NATO nations on one side and 27 on the other--but 43 flags arranged alphabetically from Albania to Uzbekistan. This is the new Europe; this is the new NATO. This is the opportunity for the consolidation for democracy.

To maximize NATO's ability to interoperate with these new Partners, we have designed an engagement strategy with PFP to develop common standards, common procedures, and a common doctrine for conducting missions together--missions such as humanitarian and peace-support operations. And the operative word here is missions! The intent was to create conditions that would enable us to work effectively with one another in future operations. For the past two years NATO has conducted about 15 PFP exercises a year as well as hundreds of other exercises, seminars, workshops, and other contacts with our new Partners. Little did I realize in 1994 that the opportunity to put theory into practice would come during NATO's peace-enforcement operation in Bosnia.

Combined Joint Task Force. CJTF is a unique concept developed to tailor a NATO Headquarters that could be used for either a NATO or non-NATO crisis. The Berlin Summit in June 1996 provided the political guidance for CJTF; two of my major subordinate commands will conduct CJTF trials later in 1997. CJTF is an exciting concept that allows for the inclusion of Partners in our exercises and on our staffs. The European Security and Defense Identity is also being developed in conjunction with CJTF to enable the development of a headquarters for WEU or some other organization for which only European troops would be deployed. More details need to be developed, but we have learned a great deal from our experiences in Bosnia.

Adaptation. Internal adaptation at SHAPE has been unprecedented. While Article 5, or collective defense, is still our principal mission, SHAPE has been reorganized for our first priority, which is now conflict prevention or crisis management. During this reorganization, we have streamlined our structure. Allied Command Europe went from four major subordinate commands or regions to three; SHAPE and ACE lost over 25% of their manpower; a German four-star officer took the place of an American chief-of-staff; a three-star Dutch officer is now heading a Bi-MNC Combined and Joint Planning Staff; a two-star Danish general is the head of the Partnership Coordination Cell at Mons; and French and Spanish officers are embedded in SHAPE's operations staff and on the planning staff--not just for liaison. In addition, I have designated the Deputy SACEUR as my representative to the WEU, the WEU Council has been to SHAPE, and I have addressed the WEU Council in Brussels and the assembly in Paris. There is a great deal of excitement at SHAPE as we provide strategic direction for operations in Bosnia and continue to conduct exercises across the conflict spectrum.

Special Relationship with Russia. SHAPE's special relationship with Russia has for me been one of the bright spots in nearly four years of work and my tenure as SACEUR. Since the beginning of NATO's mission to Bosnia, I have been fortunate to have at my headquarters a deputy for Russian Forces in Bosnia--Colonel General Shevtsov. Working together, we have built a true relationship at Mons--indeed we have developed genuine trust and friendship.

Today, Russian and American soldiers are conducting joint patrols in Bosnia in the strategic Posivina Corridor. These soldiers are exchanging logistics supplies and building trust and confidence. Colonel General Shevtsov and I recently visited these troops and saw very clearly that this trust and confidence are taking root.

We have also conducted joint Lessons Learned seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and at the Marshall Center in Germany. They, too, have been superb experiences.

Several Russian representatives have also visited my headquarters in Mons, including General Lebed, when he was Chief of the Russian National Security Council, and most recently Mr. Yuri Baturin, Secretary of the Defense Council of the Russian Federation. These representatives and I always have a great exchange of views--frank, candid, and professional--and they have all been very impressed with our partnership and cooperation strategy and with the concept for use of Russian forces in Bosnia. Though these are small steps, we are building on our relationship--one which will be so important to peace and stability in Europe and which must be based on cooperation, trust, and mutual respect, not on suspicion and fear.

Our emerging relationship with Russia is an essential part of the Alliance's conflict-prevention strategy. We have proven that our forces can operate together to ensure peace and stability, and that must be the foundation on which to deepen NATO-Russia cooperation. I firmly believe that our cooperation at SHAPE and in Bosnia was instrumental in the creation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act, which was signed in May 1997 in Paris. As NATO's Deputy Secretary General said, "Political reality is finally catching up with the progress you at SHAPE had already made." When the Act was signed, President Yeltsin called the agreement "a victory for reason." Our Secretary General added, "It is now time to give full life to the document." Indeed, it is time to build on this important relationship--not just for NATO and Russia, but for all the peoples of Europe.

Enlargement. While there is great interest in enlargement, enlargement is primarily a political decision, not a military one. Issues will be worked out between the sovereign states requesting membership and the 16 current NATO members. I am convinced, however, that building on PFP we will be able to develop military interoperability with the new nations once they are announced. For certain, we will have unity of command, common communications, integrated air defense, and the ability to train together.

A Continuing Process. As you can see, NATO, SHAPE, and Allied Command Europe have definitely adapted to the new security environment in Europe. But the process is not complete. Soon our political leaders will meet in Madrid. At that Summit, our leaders will set the course for NATO's continue adaptation.

Decisions will be made on an enhanced Partnership for Peace; a new, more streamlined command structure; continuing improved relations with Ukraine and Russia; and the accession of nations that will be asked to join the Alliance.


In Bosnia, all of the initiatives I have just discussed have come together. There we have taken the theory of those new initiatives and put them into practice--with good results. I am certain that our political leaders will take what we have learned in Bosnia and incorporate it into new political guidance.

NATO's operation in Bosnia--with Partners and friends--has been a complete military success. The killing has stopped, and the opportunity for peace has never been better. The Bosnia mission was the first operational mission in NATO's history, and it proved that NATO's time-tested procedures and command and control structure--developed over so many years--do indeed work.

The original one-year IFOR mission ended in December 1996. With the new Stabilization Force, we then went from 60,000 to about 30,000 but we still have the same requirements--500 heavy-weapons storage areas, 1,400 kilometers of inter-entity boundary line--as well as the goal of providing a secure environment to build on the success of IFOR. SFOR's specific mission is to deter or prevent a resumption of hostilities, consolidate IFOR's achievements, promote a climate conducive to peace, and provide selective support to those civilian agencies charged with rebuilding the country.

I want to personally thank all of you whose nations have contributed troops or other support to NATO's mission. The troops have performed magnificently. But we have paid the price for our success in blood. Over 60 of my troops from many nations have died; over 350 have been wounded. I ask you all to remember those troops and to never forget their sacrifice.


I would like to reinforce a point I have expressed at the last two Workshops to our friends from industry who have joined us. Your role is unique and is important in helping shape the new Europe and the new NATO. We need your ideas, your imagination, and your energy. Although we speak of enlargement, NATO's force structure continues to grow smaller. We must become more capable--at both ends of the technology spectrum. Our operations in Bosnia demonstrate the need for such an increased capability.

In the future, technology must help us in our new missions with our new partners. Multinational operations are clearly the way we will work. We therefore need the capability for multinational communications, multinational logistics, and multinational intelligence gathering and processing. As we test and put into practice our CJTF concept with NATO and non-NATO nations, these requirements will become more crucial. I ask you to work with us in designing systems that are affordable, reliable, and that will provide the Alliance and its Partners with the tools required for the 21st century.


We also need all nations' assistance to help stop the free fall in our force structure. The requirements for the multinational forces of the future must be met with adequate resources. Clearly, the forces I have been proud to command are truly the best in the world. I ask that you provide the leadership in your countries needed to secure the resources to keep them that way.


Let me conclude by thanking His Excellency President Havel and the Czech government for their hospitality and friendship. As I prepare to leave my post as the SACEUR, I do so with great optimism about the future of our great Alliance and the prospects for lasting peace in Europe. Together, we can continue to build a new Alliance and a new Europe where hope, peace, freedom, and prosperity are possible for all of our nations. And we can create a climate where the dignity and worth of the individual are respected and protected. We can build a Europe that will be better for our children and grandchildren.


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