Flournoy: NATO Action Must Follow Lisbon Vision

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2010 — Agree­ments reached at the Nov. 19–20 NATO sum­mit in Lis­bon, Por­tu­gal, rep­re­sent a blue­print the alliance must fol­low with “long-term con­struc­tion projects,” a top Defense Depart­ment pol­i­cy offi­cial said today.
In remarks at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies, Michele Flournoy, under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, sum­ma­rized the summit’s key agree­ments and the work the alliance faces to imple­ment them.

“While the Lis­bon sum­mit was cer­tain­ly a major mile­stone for the alliance with a num­ber of achieve­ments, the … hard work of imple­men­ta­tion still lies ahead of us,” Flournoy said, “whether you’re talk­ing about NATO’s work in Afghanistan, about rebal­anc­ing to meet the new chal­lenges, or about our rela­tion­ship with Russia.” 

Afghanistan is the most imme­di­ate and con­se­quen­tial issue fac­ing the alliance, she said, and sum­mit agree­ments on a NATO-Afghanistan strate­gic part­ner­ship and a frame­work for secu­ri­ty tran­si­tion demon­strate long-term com­mit­ment on the part of par­tic­i­pat­ing nations. 

“Train­ers are the tick­et to tran­si­tion” in Afghanistan, Flournoy said, not­ing that NATO must con­tin­ue to assist Afghanistan’s devel­op­ment of “cred­i­ble and effec­tive” secu­ri­ty forces if that nation is to meet the goal of assum­ing full respon­si­bil­i­ty for its own secu­ri­ty in 2014. 

The Afghan army and police are suc­cess­ful­ly build­ing num­bers, qual­i­ty and reten­tion in their ranks, and they need the sup­port of NATO train­ers to sus­tain that trend, she said. “I espe­cial­ly want to tip my hat here to our Cana­di­an friends, who announced just before the sum­mit that they would be pro­vid­ing 750 train­ers and 200 sup­port troops,” she said. “We expect many oth­ers to come for­ward with addi­tion­al such com­mit­ments in the force-gen­er­a­tion con­fer­ence that began today.” 

“There’s a long way to go in Afghanistan, … but we have seen before what hap­pens when we aban­don it,” she added. “In Lis­bon, we saw a real com­mit­ment on the part of the NATO allies to ensure that we do not make that mis­take again.” 

The sec­ond key sum­mit top­ic was rebal­anc­ing NATO forces to meet cur­rent and future chal­lenges, Flournoy said. 

“The cen­ter­piece of this effort was, of course, the new strate­gic con­cept, essen­tial­ly the new mis­sion state­ment for NATO,” she said, not­ing this is the first such doc­u­ment for the alliance since 1999. The doc­u­ment lays out a bal­anced con­cept for NATO’s future that reaf­firms the cen­tral­i­ty of the alliance’s mutu­al secu­ri­ty guar­an­tee, she said. 

“Cru­cial­ly, this strate­gic con­cept also includes mis­sile defense as a new mis­sion for the alliance,” she said, call­ing that pro­vi­sion, “a great exam­ple of a theme that runs through­out the strate­gic con­cept – the need for this great alliance to adapt to address new threats.” 

The strate­gic con­cept “clear­ly artic­u­lates the real threats” to NATO’s col­lec­tive secu­ri­ty, she said: ter­ror­ism, nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion, cyber war­fare, destruc­tion of the glob­al com­mons, envi­ron­men­tal and resource con­straints, and “the chron­ic insta­bil­i­ty that can fos­ter extrem­ism and erode the rule of law.” 

The cyber threat defies estab­lished secu­ri­ty con­cepts such as esca­la­tion con­trol and mil­i­tary notions of offense and defense, she said. 

“Unfor­tu­nate­ly, NATO’s abil­i­ty to defend its own cyber net­works is not what it needs to be,” Flournoy said. “This is why we agreed to under­take a cyber pol­i­cy review … [that] should result in a plan of action to improve the pro­tec­tion of our systems.” 

While NATO works to address cur­rent and emerg­ing threats, Flournoy said, the glob­al eco­nom­ic down­turn requires that mem­ber nations find cre­ative ways to redi­rect spend­ing and pool resources. 

“In Lis­bon, the allies took mean­ing­ful steps … to strip out some of the bureau­crat­ic lay­ers in order to make more funds avail­able for vital oper­a­tions and capa­bil­i­ty invest­ments,” she said. “Specif­i­cal­ly, the allies agreed to … the elim­i­na­tion of some sev­en head­quar­ters and the reduc­tion of head­quar­ters per­son­nel by about 4,000 people.” 

A notable exam­ple of pool­ing defense resources, she added, can be found in the recent treaty signed by France and the Unit­ed King­dom allow­ing for coop­er­a­tion in nuclear testing. 

“The U.S. ful­ly sup­ports this coop­er­a­tion between two of our staunchest and most capa­ble mil­i­tary allies, and we call upon oth­er mem­bers of the alliance to see sim­i­lar oppor­tu­ni­ties where appro­pri­ate,” she said. 

Flournoy then touched on what she termed the third key sum­mit out­come, a NATO “reset” with Russia. 

First, she said, NATO and Rus­sia signed a joint review focused on com­mon secu­ri­ty chal­lenges includ­ing counter-ter­ror­ism, com­bat­ing weapons of mass destruc­tion, dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness, pira­cy and Afghanistan. 

“This doc­u­ment charts the way ahead for con­crete coop­er­a­tion between NATO and Rus­sia,” Flournoy said.

Sec­ond, Rus­sia agreed to “even greater coop­er­a­tion” on Afghanistan, she said, in areas includ­ing enhanced ship­ment of coali­tion sup­plies through Russ­ian ter­ri­to­ry, expan­sion of joint coun­ternar­cotics train­ing, and a new ini­tia­tive to help Afghanistan main­tain its heli­copter fleet. 

Final­ly, Rus­sia and NATO also agreed to restart their the­ater mis­sile defense coop­er­a­tion pro­gram, stalled since 2008, and to “devel­op a com­pre­hen­sive frame­work for future mis­sile defense coop­er­a­tion in time for the June min­is­te­r­i­al [con­fer­ence],” Flournoy said. 

In the NATO-Rus­sia reset, as with oth­er areas of progress com­ing out of Lis­bon, Flournoy empha­sized, true suc­cess will only come with follow-through. 

“We have to back up our words and our agree­ments with real action,” she said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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