Transforming NATO Defense Capabilities
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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The transatlantic relationship created by the Washington Treaty of 1949 has been uniquely enduring and successful in warding off common dangers. However, this achievement has resulted in a new era that cannot be characterized in bipolar terms. Ethnic conflict, political instability, and territorial disputes are mounting around the NATO periphery. We face a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, increases in the lethality of terrorism, non-state sponsored adventurism, and other asymmetric challenges. These dangers have forced us to reconsider the definitions of peace, territorial integrity, and security--concepts that are the raison detre of the Alliance. NATO accepts the fact that it must change to remain as relevant as it has been for 50 years. Politically, programs such as the Founding Act with Russia, a distinct relationship with Ukraine, the Mediterranean Dialogue, and the Partnership for Peace program evidence this development and extend transparency to the east and south. The most discernible new mission is the assumption of peacekeeping responsibilities as leader of Implementation and Stabilization Force. Bosnia has been a success in both humanitarian and geopolitical terms and demonstrated that the transformation of the Alliance from a fixed defense posture to flexible mobile operations is well underway. NATO force levels have been reduced by 35 percent and shifted from high-readiness, forward-deployed heavy units to a mix of lower-readiness and core rapid reaction forces. Significant progress also is being made in doctrine, organization, and technology to ensure that NATO forces can serve as an effective crisis management tool whenever the collective interest of the allies is threatened.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics