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Research Report

Transforming Nato Forces:: European Perspectives

C. Richard Nelson
Jason S. Purcell
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2003
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 158
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-vi)
    Christopher J. Makins

    The papers in this compendium were prepared for a conference in October 2002 designed to illuminate European perspectives on the growing transatlantic military capabilities gap and on how this gap might be bridged. The conference was organized into four panels: the first focused broadly on capabilities, the second on “Spending More Wisely” initiatives, the third on obstacles to closing the gap and the fourth on the role of defense industry. The papers prepared for each panel are grouped together and preceded by remarks from the panel’s chair, where available. The compendium also features the text of a speech delivered at...

  2. (pp. 1-6)
    Ian Forbes

    I have been asked here today to discuss with you the thorny issue of “Transforming NATO Forces”. As the Interim Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, I come with a NATO view primarily. As a UK officer stationed in the United States and who has been a close observer of the U.S. national scene over the last year, I hope that I will come from an angle that may offer a slightly different European, but nonetheless, informed perspective.

    Mine will also be a practitioner’s perspective, because over 37 years of military experience, in hotspots around the world, I have been constantly reassured...

  3. Section 1: Capabilities for a Full Range of Threats

    • (pp. 7-12)
      Richard Kugler

      The first panel addressed three key issues: NATO’s need for defense transformation in order to acquire new military capabilities for new missions; goals and plans to be adopted at the Prague Summit; and the attitudes of European countries regarding this agenda. The two speakers were Klaus Becher, Helmut Schmidt Senior Fellow for European Security at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and Adrian Kendry, Senior Defence Economist for NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The moderator was Richard Kugler of the National Defense University, Department of Defense.

      Mr. Becher provided a general overview of European political attitudes toward North Atlantic...

    • (pp. 13-28)
      Klaus Becher

      The year 2002 has brought the transatlantic security relationship to a critical point. Decisions will have to be taken in the next years that determine if the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in its military integration aspect, remains a vital institution and continues to provide a framework for further defense integration across the Atlantic and among Europeans – or if military cooperation between the United States and individual European allies is rather going to be based on bilateral and ad-hoc links in the future.

      In 2002 there were mixed signals, ranging from the political and operational closeness displayed and practiced...

  4. Section 2: Spending More Wisely

    • (pp. 29-34)
      Jacques S. Gansler

      The first panel of the 18 October 2002 Atlantic Council conference, Transforming NATO Forces: European Perspectives, demonstrated the need for increased capability on the part of NATO Europe forces. The second panel then took this point as a “given” and focused instead on the ways in which such increased capability can be achieved. In general, there were two broad themes that emerged from the discussions and papers: first, there is relatively broad agreement on the directions available for improving capability; second, there is considerable consensus about the importance of recognizing the differences in perspective, and political will, present among the...

    • (pp. 35-50)
      D. Arnold

      Transatlantic cooperation in defence matters is hardly a new topic. The number of conferences, exchanges of delegations, and initiatives set in motion are countless. Every meeting invariably concludes with good intentions and promises to strengthen cooperation. Regrettably, results have so far failed to materialise. Therefore, before launching into full consideration of the possibilities for transatlantic cooperation between the United States and Europe in the technical field, it is advisable to analyse why such cooperation has not yet become reality.

      The principal causes of this can be identified: different political viewpoints, purely economic hindrances and the absence of any necessity for...

    • (pp. 51-58)
      Daniel Bastien

      The purpose of this paper, within the framework of the October 18, 2002 Atlantic Council conference on “Transforming NATO Forces: European Perspectives”, is to address, from the French perspective, the issue of “spending more wisely”. In other words, it will seek to answer the question, “How should we proceed to improve NATO capabilities given European budgetary constraints?”

      Before elaborating on the issue of “spending more wisely” within NATO, it might be useful to discuss the special position of France within NATO. France was one of the founding members of the Atlantic Alliance and, though it is not part of the...

  5. Section 3: Opportunities and Obstacles

    • (pp. 59-78)
      Reiner K. Huber

      Based on the results of comparative defense budget analyses, it has been argued that by further downsizing military forces and instituting structural changes, Europeans would be able to reduce considerably the transatlantic gap in military capabilities – provided that they coordinate national defense and armaments planning processes and operate expensive major items jointly. However, closing the gap will require both a sizeable increase in defense spending and an integration of European national militaries into one common European military force.

      In order to pave the way for making this vision a reality, Europeans should agree on conversion criteria for the transformation...

    • (pp. 79-92)
      Robert Mroziewicz

      The turning point in the NATO enlargement process came with the decision, taken by the Clinton administration in autumn 1996 and endorsed by the Allies at the Madrid summit in July 1997, to invite Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to start accession talks. The door was left open for the eventual admission of other candidates. In March 1999 these three countries were admitted into the Alliance. The enlargement of NATO strengthened U.S. leadership in the Alliance and consolidated its position as the chief “playmaker” in the Eurasian area. This is because the entry of the three Central European countries...

  6. Section 4: The European Defense Industrial Base

    • (pp. 93-96)
      Pierre A. Chao

      It is fair to say that the role of the transatlantic defense industrial base is often overlooked in policy debates over NATO’s “strategic” issues. Yet, there is perhaps no more enduring representation of the transatlantic relationship than the day-to-day interaction between the U.S. and European defense industries. The claim can be made that the ebbs and flows in these links provide a better sense of the true strength of the Alliance than most grand speeches or pronouncements. The recent focus on the “revolution in military affairs/transformation” has generated the opportunity to once again re-examine (and for some to question) the...

    • (pp. 97-112)
      Andrew D. James

      The imbalance in European and U.S. military capabilities has been an issue for NATO throughout its history, but the last decade has seen rising concerns that this gap could grow to such an extent that U.S. and European armed forces will find it increasingly difficult to operate effectively together as the 21st century progresses. At the heart of these concerns lies the conviction that the United States is well on the road to exploiting new technology for the purpose of implementing a Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), while the Europeans lack the strategic vision as well as the resources to...

    • (pp. 113-136)
      Martin Lundmark

      Influential individuals on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean confess to the gospel of more transatlantic integration, yet there is not much. This paper will discuss why there is indeed little transatlantic integration and suggest that the behavior of the market is the result of compromise among politics, corporate goals and sound market forces.

      The defense industry is an industry strongly affected and regulated by government policies. Company networks are intricately connected to national networks – an important aspect for this paper to consider is therefore how the interaction between these networks affects corporate strategy.

      Concerned governments and defense companies...