Alliance Revitalized: NATO for a New Era

The NATO Alliance faces simultaneous dangers to its east, to its south, and from a series of security challenges unbounded by geography, at a time when disparate allied responses to a host of challenges are tearing the seams of European unity and American political figures have even questioned the need for NATO. Europe risks turning from an exporter of stability to an importer of instability. The vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace is challenged by a Europe fractured and anxious.
The Alliance must be revitalized for the new world rising before us. An overarching Alliance strategy must rely on NATO’s ability to provide a full spectrum of deterrent and defense tools to provide collective defense for all of its members, together with an ability to project stability and resilience beyond its borders using an array of tools for crisis management. Looking to the July 2016 Warsaw Summit and beyond, we offer the following recommendations.
Ends: Strategies for the East, North and the South

  • Advance a Three-Track Russia Policy: Western nations should act to deter Russia where necessary; maintain continuous communication and interact selectively with the regime where useful; and engage actively with the broadest range of Russian societal actors as possible.
  • Conduct a High-Level Arctic Review to address security challenges in the region.
  • Initiate a Southern Strategy of ”Comprehensive Support” that should include NATO support for lead nation and coalition operations; collective defense incorporating missile and air defenses and new maritime approaches; continued investment in NATO’s Readiness Action Plan; crisis management capabilities; closer NATO-EU ties; strengthened regional partners; and focus on deterrence and defense measures, particularly along the Turkish-Syrian border.

Ways: A Top Ten for NATO
For the past 20 years NATO’s mantra has been ”out of area or out of business.” Today’s mantra must be ”in area or in trouble.” NATO must:

  1. Build “full spectrum” deterrence and defense as the keystone of the Warsaw Summit.
  2. Move beyond the Readiness Action Plan to enhance defense and deterrence in NATO’s east.
  3. Be prepared for immediate deployments in extremis.
  4. Meet anti-access area denial (A2/AD) challenges.
  5. Refocus NATO’s maritime capabilities on collective defense and flexible deployments.
  6. Maintain nuclear deterrence and continue apace with missile defenses.
  7. Enhance NATO’S core task of crisis management.
  8.  Maximize resilience.
  9. Bolster NATO’s cyber defenses.
  10.  Create continuous strategic awareness and procedures for rapid decision-making.

Means: Four Paths to Deliver Capabilities
If NATO is to reform along the lines we propose, it must:

  1.  Match means to missions.
  2.  Develop stronger Framework Nation concepts to drive smart defense and encourage role specialization by design.
  3. Facilitate innovation.
  4. Strengthen partnerships.