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Volume 3 - Issue 2, February 2013

NATO Interoperability and New Capabilities NATO’s strategic objectives over the past several years have been to enhance and better coordinate its operational capabilities to address emerging threats while adhering to the growing fiscal constraints of its members and the need to downsize military budgets. The key goals have been to acquire new capabilities that can maintain NATO’s strategic edge while increasing interoperability amongst its members in order to maximize cooperation and efficiency. Essential to achieving these goals is coordinating military and technical specializations between member states that seek to capitalize on each

F35 Joint Strike Fighter (Photo - A-A Military Aviation News and Media)


members area of expertise within the Alli-

Implications of Broken Promises on NATO’s 2% Rule


Quint Hoekstra examines the consequences of the ongoing inequality between the financial

The rapidly changing international securi-

commitments of NATO members and the impact this will have on future operations. He

ty environment brings added emphasis to

analyzes how NATO’s goals of attaining greater interoperability and new capabilities are ef-

NATO’s need to ensure that its goals are not

fected by ongoing budget constraints and that these goals can be jeopardized if defense spend-

jeopardized in the face of emerging threats

ing between European nations and the US is not rebalanced.

and financial crisis. Accomplishing these ob-

Engaging Young Thinkers on the Euro-Atlantic Security Debate

jectives rests heavily on effectively coordinat-

The ATA hosted a one-day workshop with Master’s Students in Political Science and Interna-

ing future NATO campaigns and facilitating

tional Relations on Euro-Atlantic foreign policy and its implications for the Alliance. A group

better cooperation in acquiring new capabili-

of selected students were engaged in a meaningful debate on the future of Euro-Atlantic secu-

ties that are critical, sustainable, and rapidly

rity. Together with ATA experts, they outlined a new vision and set of priorities for the

deployable.- Jason Wiseman

Transatlantic community to ensure that NATO remains prepared for future challenges.

Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


Implications of Broken Promises on NATO’s 2% Rule NATO utilizes peer-pressure by reporting annually on member

by Quint Hoekstra


states´ military spending. Using NATO´s own definition and or decades, NATO member states have pledged to

report, in 2011 only three members – Greece, the United King-

commit at least two percent of their gross domestic

dom, and the United States – spent more than two percent of

product (GDP) to their armed forces. Unfortunately,

their GDP on their armed forces.3 Nearly three quarters of

this promise has often been broken. In fact, in 2011, only

NATO member states spent between one and two percent.

three out of 27 members complied.1 This article investigates

There are two outliers: At the low end is Iceland, which has no

the implications of non-compliance with these self-determined

armed forces; at the high end is the United States, contributing

rules and opens the debate on whether the old rule should be

nearly five percent. As will be explained later, this discrepancy

modified. It consists of five parts: observations on the current

has caused friction between member states.

size of member states’ budgets; a theoretical approach to explaining member states’ behaviour; a short overview of historical developments around this issue; implications for the growing gap between US and European defence spending; and finally, conclusions on how to proceed. This article argues that interoperability programmes should be limited to areas where all parties benefit; that it is in the interest of NATO and its members to lower the

Scholars of international relations have a long history of explaining the difficulty of international cooperation. There are three relevant theories to the NATO case: The prisoner’s dilem-

In 2011, only three members— Greece, the UK, and the US—spent more than two percent of their GDP on their armed forces.

spending rule to one-and-a-half percent of GDP; that Europe is likely to focus on security in the greater European area only; and that the US might find itself without its European allies should it get into a conflict in the Far East. Comparing Military Budgets The initial goal of NATO, founded in reaction to the Warsaw Pact, was to contain Soviet aggression and to deter the USSR from invading Europe. In order for the deterrence strategy to be credible, European states had to maintain large standing armies ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. The two percent rule functioned as a means to ensure states pulled their weight. European member states meanwhile saw the rule as a way to make sure the US would not abandon them. Contrary to security integration in the EU, NATO´s intergovernmental nature prohibits the secretariat from developing an autonomous mechanism to ensure state compliance.2 Furthermore, divergence between member states´ expenditure calculations have complicated transparency. Therefore, using what little power the NATO secretariat does have, Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


ma, which expects no cooperation; Olson’s theory, which expects small states to benefit the most; and the hegemonic stability theory, which expects great powers to gain most from cooperation. Each theory will

first be examined and then tested in an analysis of the development of military budgets. The first theory is the prisoner’s dilemma4 (PD) and is the one most commonly used. In this scenario, each member state is portrayed as a player seeking to maximize relative gains over all others. The situation shows how individual rationality leads to collective irrationality. All states pursue the same strategy: they want all others to cooperate with the regime whilst defecting themselves. Applied to the NATO case, this means that all states want the others to stick to the two percent benchmark whilst spending a lot less themselves. The Pareto-optimum would be if all states chose to cooperate, as this way they would form the best deterrence. PD theorists expect states not to end here but with a more likely scenario called the Pareto-deficient Nash equilibrium. This is the situation where no player has the incentive to defect. In the NATO case, this equilibrium means all states choose to defect and ignore the benchmark. The second relevant theory comes from the late Ameri2





Using EU membership to

Olson5, who illustrated how the

incorporate former communist

small powers try to exploit the

states in Eastern Europe into their

great. A way to do this would be


for small European states to defect

materialist Western Europe had

whilst hoping the US will keep up

managed to rule out war altogeth-

its own forces for other unrelated

er. They weren’t keen on getting

strategic interests. Smaller states

involved militarily either within

can also seek to free ride or band-

Europe or abroad. However, the

wagon with stronger states. After

rest of the world didn’t share that

all, defence spending by the small-

vision. The end of hostilities be-

est states has no significant effect

tween great powers unfortunately

on the total NATO military force,

did not mean the end of hostilities

although it does have an effect on their budgets.

U.S. Naval Ship (Photo: US Department of Defense)




altogether. The Cold War had long



A third and final theory is the hegemonic stability theory.6

disputes and regional tensions, and kept the lid on many lin-

It explains the benefit of having a powerful and dominant state to

gering conflicts. These now flared up, with the war in the

lead the cooperation. The hegemon, in this case the US, can incur

former Yugoslavia serving as a prime example. The US was

transaction costs associated with the defence regime in return for

subsequently charged with a new role: that of global police-

the privileged position of laying down the rules for all others. It

man. This required the US to maintain a large and readily de-

can then use its power advantage to coerce unwilling states to

ployable military force which had the side benefit of discour-


aging new powers to challenge it. The result was that Europe,

Historical development

dipping its average under the two percent rule for the first

During the Cold War, the US had similar strategic interests to its European counterparts as the hegemon in the NATO

time11, cut its military budgets much more than the US, marking the beginning of a US-European divide.

alliance. The alliance was united against the Soviet threat, seeking

The 9/11 attacks and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan

to contain communism and prevent a war on European soil.

and Iraq temporarily illustrated to some NATO members the

Smaller European states were safe under the nuclear umbrella of

necessity of military spending. Yet the terrorist attacks had

the US, Britain and France. Some, such as the Netherlands, also

complex effects on military spending. NATO data shows that

had (and still have) nuclear weapons stored on their territory.


US spending went up from an average of 3.3% of GDP during

This functioned as an insurance policy of American assistance.

the second half of the 1990’s to 5.4% at its peak in 2010.12 In

Military spending was largely similar between members, hovering

Spain, after the Madrid bombings, the opposite happened. The

around three percent of GDP.8 This all changed dramatically after

Spanish cut their spending by a quarter from 1.2% to 0.9% in

the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the USSR as the US

2011. Interestingly, the London bombings caused no signifi-

took up a new role: that of the sole global superpower. With the

cant change in the United Kingdom’s spending. Overall, the

main threat now gone, military budgets were slashed around the

European average dropped from 2.5% in the early nineties to

world. For example, the UK’s portion of military spending as a

1.6% in 2011.13 From this data it can be said that, generally

percent of GDP halved between the early 1980’s and 2000.9 For

speaking, the longer ago the terrorist attack, the less pressured

the first time in over a century, Western European NATO mem-

European states feel to keep up military spending. This rule

ber states no longer had to live under the looming threat of a land

does not apply to the US, thus increasing the US-European

invasion from the East. Some states abolished conscription10 and


many reduced the size of their standing armies. Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


A contributing factor to the growth of the divide may have

The NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 to oust Colonel

been the recent global financial crisis (GFC).14 With govern-

Gaddafi served as a wake-up call to NATO members for two

ments seeking to remedy large deficits incurred by bank bailouts

reasons. First, it showed that European budget cuts have weak-

and a shrinking economy, military budgets have come under

ened their operational capabilities. The Asia-oriented US felt

pressure once more. Worryingly, Brookings Institution research

that it should only ‘lead from behind’ in missions with more

fellow Clara Marina O’Donnell remarks that this happens with-

European than American relevance, leaving Europe to do the

out consultation with allies.15 NATO has responded with ‘smart

job.20 However, military chiefs of staff soon realized Europe

defence strategies’ where member states seek to cooperate to

was unable to carry out this relatively small mission without

boost efficiency in an attempt to maintain operational capabilities

US assistance. Not wanting to see the mission fail, eventually

with reduced budgets. However, results are likely to be modest

the US reluctantly agreed to take up a larger role. What this

due to states’ unwillingness to relinquish sovereignty in the field

shows is that by 2011, the US-European divide had grown so

of security for economic gains.16 The GFC also announced the

large that this inhibited their willingness to cooperate.

rise of China as a global player in the security sphere. In 2009,

The second wake-up call is that the divide has severe

US President Barack Obama responded on this by proclaiming

consequences for NATO´s much emphasized interoperability

himself the first ‘Pacific President’.17 European states have fewer

goals. The idea of interoperability is that making national mili-

strategic interests in that region, again causing an increase in the

taries more compatible with each other can yield significant

US-European divide.

benefits in the battlefield. For example, interoperability in-

Implications of the US-European Divide

volves synchronizing communication systems or installing the

The US and Europe have long disagreed on whether NATO should stick to the protection of their member states or if it should operate globally.

same air-to-air refueling systems. In

In an era with increased threats and shrinking budgets the goal is to be able to do more with less.

an era with increased threats and shrinking budgets the goal is to be able to do more with less. Not only can NATO use this to improve its

The US, which favours a global NATO, has kept up their mili-

operations, but it can also reduce costs by collective bargain-

tary budgets and now accounts for 41% of the world’s military

ing. A crucial way to improve interoperability is to freely ex-

spending. It rightfully views itself as a global actor, able to in-

change information relevant to other allies, allowing them to

tervene anywhere in the world. Europe, taking on a more re-

streamline their adaptation to new systems. In Libya however,

gional focus, favours a more modest role for the military alli-

the US, leader in military technology, was unwilling to share

ance. European countries have much smaller budgets, constrain-

some of its new cyber capacities with its European counter-

ing the scope and breadth of their intervention options. It has no

parts out of fear that Europe would free-ride on its technologi-

interest in pursuing large scale missions in faraway places. Ra-

cal achievements. Indeed, the US considered mounting a cyber

ther, it seeks to undertake limited missions in the greater Euro-

attack on Libya, but the problem with deploying cyber weap-

pean area, such as the current mission in Turkey. The deploy-

ons is that they can only be used once.21 As soon as cyber

ment of Patriot missiles to the Syrian border shows that, contra-

weapons are exposed, other states have relatively easy access

ry to Western European public opinion, security in Europe still

to knowledge on how these systems work and how to build

is not a given and remains a top priority for European states.

their own protection systems for them. The US chose not to

With limited aspirations, European member states are reluctant

deploy the system out of fear that their unique capabilities

to maintain forces to the two percent rule, despite public prom-

would end up in European states for free. Coming back to

ises. The American economist and Research Fellow at the U.S.

interoperability, NATO should not overestimate the willing-

Business and Industry Council Alan Tonelson even goes as far to

ness of its members to exchange information if they feel other

say that Europe has been breaking these promises for over 50

militaries gain an unfair advantage out of it. Rather than boost-


ing the overall level of knowledge and capabilities, interopera-



Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


bility programmes can lead to states seeking to free-ride on each

secretariat is attempting to resolve the issue, with Secre-

other, as the cyber example shows.

tary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen repeatedly urging

The Libyan intervention and the European military con-

member states to comply with the two percent rule and

straints have furthered the Pentagon’s doubts on European

increase military budgets.25 Europe however, hasn’t been

capabilities and intentions further from home. This is particu-

receptive to such calls and insists on making its own strate-

larly important considering the rise of China. China’s leaders

gic decisions.

might insist on a ‘peaceful rise’, but the security dilemma of


the growing Chinese armed forces puts this optimistic vision

From this study, there are two discernible conclu-

in doubt. An inherent problem with growing armies is that

sions. The first concerns the three theories, while the sec-

for outsiders it is unclear if they serve a defensive or offensive

ond concerns NATO’s options to resolve the US-European

purpose. Faced with uncertainty, militaries work based on

divide and enhance greater interoperability. Regarding the

worst-case scenarios. The US would therefore be tempted to

theories, the prisoner’s dilemma does not apply well to the

increase its presence in the South China Sea, threatening Chi-

Cold War scenario, in which the Soviet threat was para-

na’s dominance there. Making matters worse, NATO mem-

mount and was deemed more significant than another state

bers are deeply divided on policy towards China. The US has

getting a relative gain over an ally. States largely followed

the capacity to engage China while European members are

the two percent rule. However, with the disappearance of

much more hesitant to engage in such an adventure, leading

this existential threat, European states started their race to

one to the aforementioned O’Donnell to conclude that Eu-

the bottom, per the theory’s provisions.

rope´s military strength might become irrelevant.22

Therefore, the prisoner’s dilemma theory is applicable

The US-European divide on China, as well as on mili-

only in situations where there is no existential threat. The

tary missions and budgets in general, threatens NATO unity.

second theory, that of Olson that the small exploit the great,

It comes then as no sur-

seems plausible. Indeed, the US has

prise that the US has long

incurred the vast majority of defence

tried to convince Europe

costs; however, because the US spends at a rate far above two percent, it seems

to broaden its horizon and


they may have alternative motives for


this. Thus, US defence spending is likely

spending. In 2011, then

more of the US’s own volition rather

US Secretary of Defence Robert


than exploitation by smaller members.


Finally, hegemonic stability theory ex-

warned NATO that it

plains how the US has been successful in

would have a “dim if not

leading and shaping NATO, despite

dismal future” if defence spending


failing to coerce European members to


spend more. Further investigation is

crease.23 At last year’s

necessary to see whether this was be-



cause European states were unable to

decline of military budg-

spend more or were simply unwilling to

ets was mentioned as one

do so. Moreover, there is a growing rift

of the most important

due to the inability of the US to prevent


challenges to NATO.


Meanwhile, the NATO

the US-European divide from overlapUS Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (Photo: US Department of Deping into different military strategies. fense

Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


There are two considerations for NATO as it determines a

military operations in the area will be conducted without its

course of action to resolve this divide. First, the imbalance of

European allies.

military spending in the Alliance can harm interoperability goals, as states are tempted to free-ride on others. It is there-

About the author

fore recommended to only pursue it in those areas where all parties benefit, rather than a select few. Second, the disagreement concerning the appropriate size of the national armed forces currently undermines

Quint Hoekstra is Political Science Major with a specialization in International Relations at Leiden University (the Netherlands) and writes about global security issues.

NATO unity. Decisions must be made in funding and opera1. Financial and Economic Data Relating to NATO Defence (Brussels: NATO, 2012). 2. Jolyon Howorth, “Decision-making in members to adhere to the two persecurity and defense policy: Towards supranational inter-governmentalism?” Coopcent rule. This generates the money eration and Conflict 2012 : 433-453. NATO can show its strength by ac3. NATO, Data, 2012. for European states to independently 4. Robert Jervis, “Realism, Game Theory knowledging and managing the differ- and Cooperation.” World Politics 1988 (3): execute operations in the European 317-319 ence of US and European interests. 5. John R. Oneal and Paul F. Diehl, “The neighbourhood, leaving the US to Theory of Collective Action and NATO Defense Burdens: New Empirical Tests,” focus on containing China. This outPolitical Research Quarterly 1994 (2): 373396 come is unlikely to occur considering popular European re6. Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981). 7. “Kernwapens Tijdlijn [Nuclear weapons timeline],” NOS, sistance to large military spending, especially in an age of April 22, 2010, austerity. The second option is to maintain the current spend8. Ibid 9. Ibid ing structure. The US will keep spending more than other 10. Christopher Jehn and Zachary Selden. “The End of Conscription in Europe?” (paper presented at the Western Economic members but in return Europe has to support the US in the Association International Annual Meeting, July 5-8, 2002). NATO, Data, 2012. Far East with what little capacity they have. The difficulty 11. Ibid 12. Ibid here is that sovereign states are unlikely to operate outside of 13. Clara Marina O’Donnell, “The Implications of Military Spending Cuts for NATO’s Largest Members.” Brookings Centheir strategic interest. The third and best option is to lower tre on the United States and Europe (2012), 3. 14. Ibid the currently ignored benchmark to one-and-a-half percent of 15. Jakob Henius and Jacopo Leone McDonald, “Smart Defence: A Critical Appraisal” (paper presented at the NATO DeGDP. Each member is free and encouraged to stay above it, fence College Forum, Rome, March 2012). 16. “Remarks by President Barack Obama at Suntory Hall,” The but this would at least stem the decline of military budgets. White House, last modified November 14, 2009, http:// attainable goals makes states considerably more likely barack-obama-suntory-hall. 17. “Recent trends in military expenditure,” SIPRI, accessed to pursue them. This way, NATO can remain relevant, seFebruary, 20 2013, armaments/milex/resultoutput/trends. cure peace in the greater European area, and engage in small18. Alan Tonelson, “NATO Burden-sharing: Promises, promises,” Journal of Strategic Studies 2000 (3): 29-58, 52. scale missions globally. 19. Helene Cooper and Steven Lee Myers, “U.S. Tactics in Libya May Be a Model for Other Efforts,” The New York Times, August 28, 2011, With the end of two ground wars in the Middle East africa/29diplo.html?pagewanted=all. 20. Eric Schmitt and Tom Shanker, “U.S. Debated Cyberwarfare and a new focus on cyber and drone technology, NATO has in Attack Plan on Libya,” New York Times, October 17, 2011, begun to reduce its footprint. Adapting to a change in warfare-against-libya-was-debated-by-us.html?_r=0. 21. O’Donnell, Spending Cuts, 2012, 6. military budgets, NATO can show its strength by acknowl22. Thom Shanker, “Defense Secretary Warns NATO of ‘Dim’ Future,” New York Times, June 10, 2011, http:// edging and managing the difference of US and European _r=0. terests. Europe can be expected to focus primarily on bring23. Lisa Aronsson and Molly O’Donnell, “Smart Defense and the Future of NATO: Can the Alliance Meet the Challenges of the ing security to the greater European area, while the US is Twenty-First Century?” (paper presented at the NATO Chicago Conference, March 28-30, 2012). likely to continue its Asian focus under the pretext that any 24. “Why we need to invest in defence,” NATO, last modified November 13, 2012, natolive/ news_91256.htm.

tions. In terms of funding, the first option is to encourage all

Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


Engaging Young Thinkers on the Euro-Atlantic Security Debate


he ATA hosted a one day workshop with Mas-

ternational Organization and military alliance, should en-

ter’s Students in Political Science and Interna-

courage Member and Partner states to reduce their energy

tional Relations on Euro-Atlantic foreign policy

demands; aspire for renewable supplies; and, most im-

and its implications for the Atlantic Alliance. A group of

portantly, constrain the energy consumption in their mili-

selected students were engaged in a meaningful debate on

taries. This shall be done by adopting educational and R&D

the future of Euro-Atlantic security. Their proposals and

programs that aim to develop new energy-efficient solu-

priorities for a renewed transatlantic partnership have been

tions in their militaries. Investment in ‘green’ military

discussed with ATA experts and are being presented to

solutions will not only serve Members and Partner states, but the international community as

NATO officials. These are the students’ own ideas, developed on the basis of materials (NATO Manuals + NATO history videos) provided beforehand by

NATO members are among some of the most advanced countries when it comes to green technology

the ATA.

a whole. NATO members are among some of the most advanced countries when it comes to green technology. This

This workshop represents an active contribution by the

puts NATO at a prime position to work with its Science

Post-Cold War Generation to the strategic thinking cur-

and Technology Organization (STO) to invest in furthering

rently in place amongst Allied countries over the future of

green technology research.


Training and Education in the Balkans

Green Military (by Alon Gilboa)

(by Enitsa Gabrovska)

In light of the global need to adopt sustainable policies

A local qualified workforce is an integral part of the

and reduce the use of fossil fuels, NATO, as a leading In-

sustainable civilian-military structure necessary for NATO accession. While NATO puts emphasis on military capabilities, a civilian workforce is indispensable for the comprehensive approach towards capacity building that the Alliance strives for. Therefore, NATO should partner with the European Union on this



which includes strengthening of police structures; the rule of law and law enforcement; civilian administration; and Two US Marines discussing energy (Photo: PEW Charitable Trusts: Environmental Initiatives) Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


The two organizations

health risks, and transnational threats to security. NATO

should invest in local capacity, in particular, by developing

identified climate change as a challenge to the security of

educational programmes for students to receive higher

NATO members in 2010; however, it has not taken practi-

education in NATO/EU Member countries (for example,

cal measures to prevent the advancement of climate

American and European universities and academies) on

change, due to a lack of political will. With the past decade

these specific topics. This way, NATO can ensure continu-

being the hottest on record, it is now time for NATO to

ity in the development process, while re-focusing on a

establish substantive steps to stabilize this increasingly

much-overlooked gap in its partnership programmes,

problematic issue. By doing so, it will galvanize other na-

namely the civilian component.

tions around the world to follow NATO’s lead in reducing

overall monitoring capabilities.

Energy Security/Article 4 (by Alon Gilboa) The temporary cut-offs of Russian gas supply to Europe in 2006 and 2009 illustrated that

the damage to the environment.

NATO should begin the process of planning for instability in key regions caused by climate change

the unstable flow of energy is a

In addition, NATO should begin the process of planning for instability in key regions caused by climate change. The rising of the Arab Spring was in part a result of food

strategic weapon that can affect the lives of millions of citi-

scarcity from the year before. Many have attributed this

zens in Europe. Therefore, NATO should not only assist in

food scarcity to the droughts in the U.S. and Russia. A lack

diversifying its members’ gas supplies and aspire for alter-

of resources culminating into instability in regions around

native energies, but also to establish clear security mecha-

the globe will become the new normal. It is imperative

nisms that will prevent such incidents from occurring in

that NATO members begin discussions on potential mili-

the future. These mechanisms should firstly emphasize

tary and political strategies that will lead to an institutional

strategic cooperation and open dialogue between NATO

framework to prepare for these events.

and the supplying states. And secondly, threats on energy security, which go under the threshold of violence, should invoke Article 4 of the NATO founding treaty that calls for consultation when the security of the Parties is threatened. Global Warming (by Fouzia Bencheikh) In a 2011 editorial piece in the Huffington Post, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen declared that taking the appropriate steps to combat climate change is “…not a choice. It is an urgent necessity.” However, since 2011, NATO has not taken the practical measures to combat this devastating problem. Blizzards in Northern Europe, drought in the American Midwest, torrential rains in Central Europe and disruptive storms along the eastern coast of the U.S are examples of events that are becoming increasingly intense and are results of climate change. It affects all NATO nations differently and in complex ways; including food shortages, Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2

The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC) rehearses in Croatia 2007 (Photo: NATO) 8

Capacity Building in the Balkans (by Enitsa Gabrovska) In the process of preparing for NATO membership, it is crucial for the countries of the Western Balkans to develop and modernize their military capabilities to conform to NATO’s requirements. In achieving this, Member and Partner (MAP) countries might benefit substantially by establishing topic-specific programmes not only with NATO headquarters but within institutionalized channels for cooperation. Indi-

Flags bearers from 19 nations rehearse their march (Photo: US Department of Defense)

vidual NATO Members and their respective military struc-

Program (APRP). These countries have shown a dedication

tures can be a valuable source of soft power in the process

to the NATO mission in Afghanistan; however, NATO has

of developing military capabilities in the West Balkan

not taken the steps to formalize bilateral partnerships after

countries. This can best be achieved through information-

the end of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. NATO should

sharing platforms, joint capacity-building projects, best-

begin discussions to invite nations outside of the Western

practice learning, and assistance on a bilateral level. These

Hemisphere into the Partnerships for Peace program. This

partnerships allow for a more bottom-up approach in ca-

regional forum would have political consultations on sig-

pacity development within the individual aspirant states.

nificant security threats in that region and would put forth

Partnerships Across the Globe (by Fouzia Bencheikh) The days of clearly identifying your enemy are long gone. NATO members now face threats from terrorist groups and cells from around the world. It is of strategic

practical steps to combat such threats. Therefore, as NATO evolves in the 21st century, it should diversity its partnerships for the sake of maintaining global security. NATO/EU Common Security Strategy (by Dario Sabbioni)

importance to institutionalize bilateral relations between

European Union foreign policy has always determined

NATO and countries that have contributed to missions and

divisions among Member States when they were dealing

exemplify NATO’s core values. The idea of formalizing

with thorny issues. Since the very beginning of the Europe-

bilateral relationships between NATO and non-member

an Political Community (1970) the force of the main trans-

countries is not a new one; however, NATO has not put

atlantic ally was an excuse for most of the countries to

forth measures to diversify its partnership programs or

refuse to have a common strategy and common policies.

provided partners with the tailor made partnership they

The early forums in which foreign policy was debated were


not very structured ones and suffered from a weak focus

Countries like Australia and New Zealand have contributed a significant amount of troops and resources to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Additionally, Japan has donated more then 50 million dollars in 2012 to the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2

on how the discussed relevant issues should evolve. When the EU began to have a stronger voice in international affairs (i.e. after Maastricht and the establishment of the second pillar, CFSP) it became clear that the previous status quo would be reformed. 9

Today, there is a new starting point for reflection on

tania, Morocco and Tunisia in order to promote coopera-

EU issues and transatlantic security integration. The roles

tion and ensure regional security and stability. Its tools

of NATO and the EU have been colliding over the last

include information sharing; funding through the Trust

several years, as the cases of the Former Yugoslav Republic

Fund mechanism; and joint responses to terrorism (PAP-

of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bosnia and Herzegovina

T) at the governmental and civil level. This initiative was

demonstrate when the EU took over a previously estab-

followed in 2004 by the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative

lished NATO mission. In the most important strategic the-

(ICI) which extended a similar type of dialogue to the Gulf

atres for military and civilian operations of the last ten

region, namely to Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United

years (i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan) cooperation between the

Arab Emirates.

two actors has been a key factor in fostering future partnerships. On the institutional level, an EU cell has been established in the NATO SHAPE HQ in Brussels in March 2006 and on the other hand, a NATO Permanent Liaison Team has been working side by side with EU officials in the EU Military Staff. A truly new security environment can be created with a simple move that nevertheless requires a very high political consensus. The creation of a common NATO-EU strategy upon which to create a shared view of what security means in terms of capabilities and knowledge is necessary. This Joint Strategy between NATO and the EU would make it possible to tackle the same problems that plague both institutions more effectively, namely: instability of the MENA region, post-conflict resolution and democracy building measures in Afghanistan, improving global energy security and creating an international cyber security strategy. The review of the European Security Strategy which is expected this year, and the always higher number of Strategies by NATO, could be combined in a joint paper aimed at speaking with the same voice in the international arena.

However, while improving joint training operations and raising contributions by some MENA partners to NATO operations (e.g. Qatar and the UAE provision of air assets in NATO’s intervention in Libya), the main objective of better mutual understanding – a problem which the EU’s Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is also facing has not been achieved. This is to a large extent owed to the ongoing ArabIsraeli conflict and accusations of double-standards in Western democracy promotion after having prominently supported North African and Middle Eastern authoritarian leaders in repressing their populations over the past decades. It is therefore seen as crucial by the workshop participants to work around political restrictions at the governmental levels which have oftentimes led to the calling off of joint discussions or summits. Instead it is seen as necessary to encourage dialogue among the civil society and especially the youth to ensure that the negative rhetoric towards NATO and its Member States is met by a realistic perspective on NATO missions and objectives. We therefore suggest setting up a comprehensive forum for dialogue

Establishing a high-level panel whose task should be

including young people from NATO and MENA countries

dealing with the reflection of common security policies

who will then be able to further promote a realistic image

will increase the responsibility of ambassadors and repre-

of NATO into its respective national communities. Fur-

sentatives, with the focus being on cooperation rather than

thermore, the outcome of these workshops – which may

allocating scarce goods amongst themselves.

be conducted to some extent via online communications –

Mediterranean and Middle East Partnerships/ Youth Inclusion (by Tobey Metzger)

could be generating suggestions on improving the partner-

In 1994 NATO initiated the Mediterranean Dialogue

Collective Cyber Defense (by Tobias Metzger)

(MD) comprised of Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, MauriAtlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2

ship from the eyes of the youth.

Since the 2007 cyber attacks on Estonia and the use of 10

cyber attacks in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, cyber

Legislation and the question of attribution: NATO should

threats have emerged as a new potential domain of warfare

encourage the political and judiciary processes

next to land, sea, air and space. Since then, multiple ac-

necessary to shape a future legislation going be-

tors, including online activists or “hacktivists”, have used

yond the Tallinn Manual on Cyber Warfare

the internet for means of disturbance, propaganda, espio-

which is intended as a mere expression of opin-

nage as well as acts of destruction as seen in the 2010 Stux-

ions. The difficulty will be to create a frame-

net attack destroying centrifuges in Iranian nuclear facili-

work of rules which are flexible enough to cope

ties. According to internet security provider Symantec,

with the quickly evolving and somewhat unpre-

more than 5 billion cyber attacks were blocked in 2011

dictable technology. This process will also have

alone. The main difficulties in countering any of these in-

to define whether technical changes are going to

trusions are on the one hand the difficulty of definite at-

be necessary in order to ensure future attribu-

tribution (although news reports have been suggested that

tion to clearly identify perpetrators – with all of

some of the recent acts of cyber espionage have been con-

the implications for issues of loss of anonymity

ducted from Chinese computers) and the unclear legality

and privacy.

of the cyber domain. Whereas the Geneva Convention clearly outlines the “jus in bello” – the techniques allowed to be used in warfare – a similar “cyber Geneva Convention” is far from existent.

Pooling and sharing: The current budgetary situation has led, within NATO as well as within the EU, to new strategies of smart defense (NATO) or pooling and sharing (EDA). All stages of cyber

Media and political attention has increased and cyber

defense from R&D to cyber investigations need

security and defense have been on the agenda of all NATO

to be clearly aligned across the institutions over-

Summits since 2004 in Istanbul. In addition, the European

coming the jealousy and competition occasional-

Union has recently presented its own European Cyber

ly visible in previous high level discussions.

Security Strategy highlighting the need for enhanced cooperation with the civil society and the private sector.

About the author

During the workshop discussions three areas of activity in cyber defense have emerged:

Fouzia Bencheikh is an LLM candidate at the University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies in Brussels, Belgium.

Information sharing: NATO needs to work closely

Alon Gilboa is a graduate student of Political Science and International Relations at Leiden University, The Netherlands.

with the EU, the Member States and the private sector to ensure an effective division of labor each focusing on its core competencies. This means that NATO and the EU should develop joint approaches for intelligence sharing in order to create a truly comprehensive approach across the private and public sectors. The difficulties lie in generating enough political will to ensure

Tobias Metzger is a graduate student of “International Conflict and Security” at the University of Kent, Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) in Brussels, Belgium. Enitsa Gabrovska is currently pursuing an MSc degree in Political Science with specialization in International Relations at Leiden University, The Netherlands. Dario Sabbioni is currently a Political Strategy and Communication Master’s student at the Brussels School of International Studies of the University of Kent.

sufficient transparency in every Member State since the overall security of the internet is determined by its weakest link.

Atlantic Voices, Volume 3, Issue 2


ATA Programs From 14-15 March, the Armenian Atlantic Association together with its youth branch Armenian Youth Atlantic Association will

Atlantic Voices is the monthly publication of the Atlantic Treaty Association. It aims to inform the debate on key issues that affect the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, its goals and its future. The work published in Atlantic Voices is written by young professionals and researchers.

host a youth conference “The Black Sea Region: Bringing Future Decision Makers Together in the Changing World.”

The Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) is an international nongovernmental organization based in Brussels working to facilitate global networks and the sharing of knowledge on transatlantic cooperation and

From 4-6 April, the Estonian Atlantic Treaty Association

security. By convening political, diplomatic and military leaders with

(EATA) will host a NATO-EU Roundtable in Tallinn to discuss

academics, media representatives and young professionals, the ATA promotes

various topics related to the

the values set forth in the North Atlantic Treaty: Democracy, Freedom,

work and cooperation of

Liberty, Peace, Security and Rule of Law. The ATA membership extends to 37

NATO and the EU. This

countries from North America to the Caucasus throughout Europe. In 1996,

event will bring together 60

the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA) was created to specifially

students in order to in-

include to the successor generation in our work.

crease the knowledge of

Since 1954, the ATA has advanced the public’s knowledge and

young people in foreign and security policy to discuss the working

understanding of the importance of joint efforts to transatlantic security

principles of NATO.

through its international programs, such as the Central and South Eastern European Security Forum, the Ukraine Dialogue and its Educational Platform.

Visit to learn more about the

In 2011, the ATA adopted a new set of strategic goals that reflects the

Slovak Atlantic Commission’s upcoming Globsec Conference on

constantly evolving dynamics of international cooperation. These goals include:

18-20 April. Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for the Young

Leaders Forum and join one of the leading security and foreign policy forums in the world. Atlantic Voices is always seeking new material. If you are a young researcher, subject expert or professional and feel you have a valuable contribution to make to the debate, then please get in touch. We are looking for papers, essays, and book reviews on issues of importance to the NATO Alliance. For details of how to submit your work please see our website. Further enquiries can also be directed to the ATA Secretariat at the address listed below. Editor: Jason Wiseman Images should not be reproduced without permission from sources listed, and remain the sole property of those sources. Unless otherwise stated, all images are the property of NATO.

the establishment of new and competitive programs on international security issues.

the development of research initiatives and security-related events for its members.

the expansion of ATA’s international network of experts to countries in Northern Africa and Asia. The ATA is realizing these goals through new programs, more policy

activism and greater emphasis on joint research initiatives. These programs will also aid in the establishment of a network of international policy experts and professionals engaged in a dialogue with NATO.

The views expressed in this article are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the Atlantic Treaty Association, its members, affiliates or staff.

Atlantic Voices Vol 3. no. 2  

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