Obama Praises Acceptance of NATO’s New Strategic Concept

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2010 — Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma said deci­sions NATO heads of state made in Lis­bon today have ful­ly aligned the alliance’s vision and approach to col­lec­tive secu­ri­ty for the 21st cen­tu­ry.
As part of the new Strate­gic Con­cept for NATO, the lead­ers agreed to a mis­sile defense ini­tia­tive, to beef up cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and to face the threats of ter­ror­ism.
The pres­i­dent also used the lectern at Lis­bon to push for pas­sage of the New Strate­gic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty this year.

“After a year of dis­cus­sions – and some­times debate – the new Strate­gic Con­cept that we are embrac­ing shows that NATO is ful­ly unit­ed about the way for­ward and com­mit­ting to address­ing the full range of secu­ri­ty chal­lenges of this cen­tu­ry,” the pres­i­dent said dur­ing a press avail­abil­i­ty fol­low­ing the first set of meet­ings in the Por­tuguese cap­i­tal.

The alliance reaf­firmed its cen­ter­piece – the Arti­cle 5 com­mit­ment an attack on one NATO mem­ber is an attack on all. “Just as we will always back up that com­mit­ment with the con­ven­tion­al and nuclear strength that is nec­es­sary to defend our allies, we are now back­ing up that com­mit­ment with new capa­bil­i­ties as well,” the pres­i­dent said.

NATO lead­ers agreed to devel­op mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ty large enough to cov­er all NATO Euro­pean ter­ri­to­ry and pop­u­la­tions, as well as the Unit­ed States, he said. “This impor­tant step for­ward builds on the new phased adap­tive approach to mis­sile defense that I announced for the Unit­ed States last year,” Oba­ma said. “It offers a role for all of our allies. It responds to the threats of our times. It shows our deter­mi­na­tion to pro­tect our cit­i­zens from the threat of bal­lis­tic mis­siles.”

The pres­i­dent said the alliance will meet with Rus­sia tomor­row to build mis­sile defense coop­er­a­tion with the under­stand­ing that Rus­sia and NATO share many of the same threats. The alliance also will look at devel­op­ing more deploy­able forces and to com­bat cyberthreats.

Oba­ma said the New START treaty is a U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty imper­a­tive. “We need to rat­i­fy New START to put in place on-the-ground inspec­tions of Russ­ian nuclear arse­nals, to reduce our deployed weapons and launch­ers, and to build on our coop­er­a­tion with Rus­sia, which has helped us put pres­sure on Iran and helped us to equip our mis­sion in Afghanistan,” he said.

He said fel­low lead­ers at the NATO meet­ing also stressed the need for the new pact. “The mes­sage that I’ve received since I’ve arrived from my fel­low lead­ers here at NATO could not be clear­er: New START will strength­en our alliance and it will strength­en Euro­pean secu­ri­ty,” he said.

Fail­ure to rat­i­fy the treaty will risk the sub­stan­tial progress that has been made in advanc­ing nuclear secu­ri­ty and the U.S. part­ner­ship with Rus­sia on behalf of glob­al secu­ri­ty, Oba­ma said.

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

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