Center for Strategic Decision Research


European Responses to September 11

Dr. Hans-Heinrich Weise
Deputy Director General of Armaments of Germany

While international terrorism has long been on the list of political dangers and the fight against it part of NATO's agenda, on 11 September 2001 we realized how terribly real and imminent this threat is. The analysis of the events of September 11 also disclosed some new dimensions of the threats we are confronted with, not only on the military level but on the political, civil, and societal levels as well. We saw governments supporting terrorist organizations, and militarily trained and organized terrorist organizations taking advantage of global financial and economic networks as well as the inherent advantages of our open multicultural and interdependent society. We realized that our territories and societies play decisive roles as logistical and organizational bases for the global terrorist network. 


The multidimensional nature of the threat from international terrorism without any question requires multidimensional responses. We need responses beyond the capabilities and responsibilities of individual nations-including the United States-and even beyond those of existing structures and organizations. On the first day of this workshop we heard thought-provoking presentations to that end. 

However, above all the weapons and all the supporting structures involved in the fight against terrorism are NATO's irreplaceable capabilities. NATO Europe promptly offered military support after September 11 and proved that the Article V commitment is real and reciprocal. 

NATO Actions

Following September 11, NATO quickly granted a range of measures to aid in the fight against terrorism, including intelligence sharing, overflight clearances, increased security for U.S. facilities in Europe, access to airfields, the deployment of standing NATO naval forces to the eastern Mediterranean, and the deployment of AWACS to secure U.S. airspace. While NATO is not directly involved in the war, European NATO allies are providing substantial military contributions. 

In Afghanistan, more than 90% of the 4,500 ISAF troops are European NATO troops, and this while NATO is still involved in three ongoing Balkan missions. In Kosovo more than 70% of the 38,000 troops are from European NATO countries. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, more than 65% of the 18,000 troops are European NATO troops and in Macedonia nearly all the troops are. 

This would not be possible without the decades of cooperation NATO countries have experienced, which has led to trusting relations, a unique cohesion, and outstanding skills that are used for the betterment of all members. It would also not be possible without the decades of building integrated force and command structures in NATO. And it would not be possible without Europe's willingness to share the risks, burdens, and responsibilities with the transatlantic allies. 

German Anti-Terrorism Measures

The German government has raised additional funds of 1.5 billion Euros each year for measures to fight terrorism-half the amount for military measures and half to go to non-military measures that are the responsibility of the minister for interior affairs. On the military side, we spent the money substantially to accelerate the rapid reaction capability of the German armed forces, which has already become part of the ongoing reform of the Bundeswehr-an effort directly aimed at creating the capabilities for coalition operations. The new priorities for capabilities in intelligence and reconnaissance, in C3I and Strategic Air Transport, as well as in mobility, combat effectiveness, and survivability, meet the military requirements of the spectrum of new tasks and challenges. This includes our effort towards a common missile defense capability-RRE (MEADS)-supposed to create the basis for a decision. The military element of the fight against terrorism will require adapting to this concept but the process was initiated some time before September 11. 

Hand in hand with the new priorities in procurement and those in research and development, including NBC detection and protection with a special focus on biological and chemical agents and infrastructure protection against terrorist attacks, goes the establishment of new German armed forces structures for improving the availability of rapidly deployable forces. Let me just mention the establishment of a Joint Forces Command, the increase in the number of reaction forces by a factor of three, the buildup of a division of airmobile forces, a Division of Special Operations and a Command of Special Forces that, in a limited way, is already taking part in military operations in Afghanistan. 

These developments indicate a fundamental change in the future capabilities of the German armed forces, including the capability to fully participate in the military fight against international terrorism. Toward this end Germany currently has more than 10,000 soldiers deployed in international operations, up to 3,900 alone in Operation Enduring Freedom. 

But there is also the non-military side of the effort to eliminate the logistical and organizational bases of terrorism in our countries. As I already mentioned, Germany spends the same amount of additional money on non-military measures as on military measures. Minister Schönbohm has already spoken about some of the activities and measures in this area. These measures require considerable turnaround concerning the ongoing liberalization of our societies. 


It is in the best interests of our future safety and security that we introduce barriers to prevent the infiltration of terrorists into our countries and their unhindered use of our liberal way of life. We have initiated powerful new measures to do so inside Germany and fully support the action plan adopted by the European Union in September 2001 that reflects the basic need to fight terrorism at its roots-inside and outside our territories. 
















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