Center for Strategic Decision Research


The Need for a Broader Approach to Security

Admiral Giampaolo di Paola
Secretary General of Defense and National Armaments Director of Italy

The world has changed since September 11, 2001. We are now confronted with terrible new mobile and transnational threats that are difficult to identify. This new scenario demands a systematic, conceptual review of our security and defense policies in order to tailor them to the new global environment. 


To provide stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area and to keep from being tempted to re-nationalize our defenses, we must define a defense and security approach that broadens our present narrow regional focus. From a transatlantic point of view, therefore, we must uphold the importance of this alliance of nations that is dedicated to freedom through common defense and collective security. We must also foster a new, enlarged framework in which the North American Allies, the Europeans, and Russia can play more effective roles and more equitably share burdens. 

In my view, a wider global security and defense framework should be based on a strong transatlantic bond supported by two main pillars: NATO and the EU. This alliance has already demonstrated a formidable political cohesion and a strong capacity for operational mobilization. NATO's response to September 11 in particular demonstrated that this alliance of democracies can deal with uncertainty and unforeseen events in addition to its proven capacity to tackle worldwide crises and conflict to restore peace or avoid war. 


I believe it is our collective responsibility to bring stability and peace to all areas of conflict, since we can no longer afford to leave "political vacuums" unfilled anywhere in the world. To do so clearly requires a well-thought-out list of priorities and a combination of diplomatic initiatives, deterrence operations, and engagement in areas of concern. We must think beyond military responses to terrorism if we wish to build a more solid foundation for global peace and security in the new century. 

Strengthening and enlarging NATO and establishing a new relationship with Russia are both key to building that foundation in Europe and beyond. But we must also resolve the problem of how to reduce the imbalance between the United States' military capabilities and those of Europe. Indeed, the new global defense and security tasks that are needed are on such a scale that they cannot be managed by the United States alone, and require Europe to make a greater contribution. 

Even superpowers need allies and coalitions, and mechanisms and experience to integrate their forces into a single, coherent military capability. This means that Europe needs to become security-wise, less inward looking, and more outward reaching. But so far this concept has only resulted in exporting security to areas that border the European Union. 

Global challenges, however, cannot be tackled only where we choose. A debate, therefore, should be initiated on how to enable our regional defense forces to respond to the new demands for a larger European contribution to the stability of broader areas of concern. 

At present, we Europeans lack the operational capabilities necessary to support this broader security and defense strategy and to meet global challenges. The European Headline Goal is a first step, not an end in itself. It is therefore time to consider wider-ranging missions in our military-resource planning. It will take time to acquire the needed capabilities, but the EU must add effective military capabilities to its array of financial, cultural, and development policies. 

Everybody in the security business must adapt to the new context of global security. We must try to use our military's unique skills and capabilities more effectively, protect our population against the new threats of terrorism, and assist civilians in emergency situations. European forces must be able to take on a greater share of the burden of maintaining our common security, so that the United States has partners who can contribute their fair share to operations that will benefit the entire Euro-Atlantic community. 

Europe will attain strength and credibility by establishing a more balanced relationship with the United States, which in turn will enable us to make a tangible and wider contribution to the world's security. Achieving such a relationship will entail a far greater increase in military and security spending than anyone could possibly have foreseen only a short time ago. However, broader and more closely integrated international cooperation could alleviate the burden carried by the individual countries. 


We are in a new era and facing new risks, so we must have new capabilities. We should focus on exploiting these capabilities to leverage our technological and military edge. This is the essence of a capabilities-based approach to defense planning, which must be developed jointly by the Alliance and Europeans. That means that the European Defense Initiative and the DCI must be seen as mutually reinforcing processes. DCI and ESDP must continue as the driving factors of our strategic planning. 

Investing More in Technology. The new technology that is coming in must be at the service of our defense planning. Therefore, we need to invest more in technology and in technology cooperation. Such cooperation-across the Atlantic and within Europe-is, to me, a key to this new vision. Fair technology cooperation across the Atlantic will also result in a better Alliance. Europeans want to invest more in technology and are prepared to do so. While finding the needed resources will not be easy, September 11 changed our security sensitivity, and I am confident that new resources will eventually be found. 

Consolidating the European Defense Identity. One key to technology cooperation is the consolidation of the European defense industry. Such consolidation would not be undertaken in order to build a Fortress Europe, but to be in a better position to cooperate and partner with the U.S. Cooperation cannot take place between two very unequal partners, so Europe must strive to become more equal with the U.S. I am not blaming the U.S. for the current situation; I am saying that Europe must become a better partner. But the U.S. must understand the situation and do what it can to facilitate the process. 

In Europe, we are working to improve our position. We are consolidating at the industry level. We are building transnational instruments to facilitate technological research. We have also started to discuss innovative financial tools to sustain defense expenditures. Certainly we must spend more, but we also must spend better, which means pooling our financial resources. Consolidating the European defense industry will pool our economic resources as well as enable us to be more effective in our spending and better deliver our output. Joint Defense Planning is another sound, indispensable way to improve European operational effectiveness. 


The message I want to get across is that the events of September 11 have changed our vision of security and our operational requirements. They have added two new dimensions: the global threat of terrorism and of weapons of mass destruction, and the need for a wider operational reach. 

While we plan to counter the new threats on a global scale, we must be aware that a military response to those threats is just one of several responses, and not necessarily the most effective in most situations. Collective engagement and wider outreach, supported by responsive and effective operational capabilities, can be a smarter answer to the post-September 11 security environment. 



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