January 30, 2009
A new report by four Washington think tanks calls for a reinvigorated Atlantic partnership to tackle global challenges and urgent shifts in NATO strategy in Afghanistan and relations with Russia. It proposes that NATO rebalance its “home and away missions”; restructure its military capabilities and command arrangements; adjust decisionmaking, spending, and management practices; and develop a fuller partnership with the European Union and other institutions.
As the Obama administration reviews its plans for Afghanistan and prepares for NATO’s 60th Anniversary Summit in April, this report advances concrete policy and defense planning recommendations concerning the Alliance’s evolving missions, capabilities, partnerships, and operational practices. It draws on discussions among a wide range of European and North American officials and experts over the past five months.
The report notes that NATO is busier than ever with five current operations. Yet in the wake of much transatlantic discord and mounting troubles in Afghanistan, many are questioning its future. NATO’s three-fold purpose remains: to provide for the collective defense of its members; to serve as the preeminent transatlantic forum for deliberations on security and strategy; and to make war in Europe unthinkable. NATO will be indispensable but insufficient to meet current and future security challenges. It must stretch its missions and connect better with partners, sometimes in the lead, often playing a supporting role, and sometimes joining a broader ensemble.
The Washington NATO Project is a partnership among the Atlantic Council of the United States, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Center for Technology and National Security Policy, National Defense University, and the Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University SAIS.
Read Executive Summary