Building Future Transatlantic Interoperability Around a Robust NATO Response Force
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV FORT MCNAIR DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Interoperability is as much or more about human teamwork than it is about compatible machines and processes. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO operational deployments, without respite since 1992,1 have spawned a nascent culture of multinational planning and operational teamwork among a host of militaries. This coalition culture is emerging in the same way as the joint operations culture has grown across the U.S. military since the watershed Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. A generation of military leaders has become knowledgeable, comfortable, and successful though often under great stress in multinational operations. By 2014, when NATO anticipates turning over its operations in Afghanistan to national responsibility, allied militaries will have been deployed together in combat and postconflict land, maritime, and air operations for more than 20 years. Junior through senior leaders will have experience in planning operations and commanding forces in life and death situations. A substantial percentage of these will have experienced multiple deployments alongside the U.S. military. Arguably, the Alliance has reached a high water mark in interoperability. All this experience has generated a wealth of allied forces capable of working with the United States across a broad range of missions. Many Allies have made at least their most capable forces interoperable with counterparts in the U.S. military. There is now a multinational reservoir of military leaders skilled at planning and commanding in NATO- and U.S.-led operations. U.S. leaders and forces have likewise gotten much better at operating with other nations. Even U.S. special operations forces SOF now operate with allied SOF units. In short, multinational skills have reached an all time high, though there is more road ahead than already traveled.
- Military Forces and Organizations