How can NATO rebrand itself as a security provider for the twenty-first century?

By Alejandro Gamboa*
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the relevance of NATO in today’s global security environment has continuously been questioned. As an Alliance formed after the Second World War to deter any threats to the Trans-Atlantic community, NATO focused its attention for many decades on the threat posed by the Soviet Union. But as the Cold War came to an end, the Allies found themselves for the first time in a new dynamic security environment without a primary adversary. War and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans gave NATO an opportunity to act on behalf of the international community via its KFOR mission to Kosovo, where it has remained, providing security and facilitating development efforts. Naval and other security forces of the Alliance have been involved in maritime security and counter-piracy operations in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa through Operation Active Endeavour and Operation Ocean Shield.
Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, invoked for the first time in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, led to the Alliance’s largest mission: the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The mandate of the ISAF mission is to tackle the insurgency, provide training to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), assist with governmental institution building, and facilitate the improvement of socio-economic conditions for the population.2 Nearly twelve years have passed since the mission began, and the Alliance has proven largely unable to fulfill its mission. While there have been many successes, the insurgency remains active, the ANSF is dependent upon funding from the international community, the government finds itself lacking the resources and capacity to govern large sections of the country, and while economic conditions have improved with the injection of billions of dollars in development aid, much of the population remains tied to the illicit opium trade or is unemployed. NATO member countries have made clear their intention to end military operations in the next few years. Some, like Canada and Poland, have already removed their contingents. The Obama administration has announced its intention of ending offensive military operations by 2014, and reducing the number of military personnel in the country to just those involved in advisory and training positions. In his State of the Union address in February 2013, President Obama indicated his intention to reduce the U.S. contingent in Afghanistan by 34,000 troops by February of next year, and officials have indicated that the post-2014 contingent will likely number fewer than 9,000.3 On June 18, 2013, NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, visited Kabul for a historic ceremony alongside President Hamid Karzai, to oversee the total transfer of responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to the ANSF, recognizing that Afghan forces—whether they are ready or not—are now taking the lead in providing security in all parts of the country.4
With NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan winding down, many are again beginning to ask the question “what’s next?” This paper puts forth a set of recommended trajectories and projects the Alliance can now engage in that will better align its capabilities with the changing global security environment and the challenges posed by shrinking defense budgets. All NATO member states are democracies with finite resources, therefore the Alliance cannot simply implement changes to improve its capabilities – it must also convince policy makers and their populations of the need to have a strong NATO. Building and maintaining positive perceptions of the Alliance’s future requires on-going public relations efforts and a reasonable degree of transparency so that civilians are aware of the operations and capabilities their taxes fund. On both sides of the Atlantic, policy makers must determine how best to allocate national defense spending, and today NATO competes for funding due to organizations such as the European Defence Agency and policy changes such as the Obama administration’s pivot toward Asia. In this competitive atmosphere, NATO must rebrand itself as a competent security provider for the 21st century in order to secure the funding it needs to retain its conventional and nuclear deterrent options, and continuously shape its capabilities to match the current threat environment.
The recommendations that follow also take into consideration the Alliance’s purpose and values as stated in the Treaty, its close association with the United Nations as a purveyor of global security and a defender of human rights, as well as current structural and political factors that shape and constrain the opportunities facing NATO member states. In this way the rebranding of the Alliance will neither undermine its values, nor alter its mandate. The two recommendations that follow do not represent a departure from the trajectory set by the Alliance in its 2010 Strategic Concept,5 but rather they focus on multiple components of the Concept and intend to explain what the Alliance should do in realistic terms to match its intentions to the threat environment.
This paper presents two primary recommended courses of action that will allow the Alliance to improve and grow its ability to provide for the security of its members and to maintain its status as the vanguard of human rights, all the while rebranding the organization in a way that makes its relevance in today’s world unquestionable:
1. In line with the 2010 Strategic Concept and the Smart Defense mantra, NATO should become a global provider of security sector training by increasing the size of its special forces,6 auxiliary forces,7 and law enforcement units in order for these units to become interoperable and capable of conducting training missions outside the Euro- Atlantic region. These units should be ready to engage in combat operations around the globe, but should primarily be engaged in extensive training and capacity building programs with their counterparts in NATO partner countries. The Alliance should incorporate all relevant educational, training, threat assessment, and operational institutions into a single network to provide the necessary support for training personnel so that they are capable of creating and managing successful training missions around the globe.
2. The looming threats posed by intractable non-state actors both within and outside of the Trans-Atlantic community demand that states maintain robust intelligence services in order to safeguard against these threats. NATO should commit to becoming an organizational platform capable of facilitating intimate cooperation between the intelligence services of member states, and with partner countries as well.
In the two sections that follow, this article will break down each recommended strategy for rebranding, explaining the intended goal and what practical changes can be put in place to support it. In other words, each section will present a set of proposed reforms that would assist the Alliance in enhancing its capabilities in the ways noted here.
NATO as global provider of training to partner countries
Initially, NATO’s strategic objective was to prevent the spread of the Soviet Army into Europe during the Cold War. Today the threat of Soviet invasion no longer looms over the trans-atlantic community, but a lasting legacy of NATO’s Cold War years is the notion that the Alliance is meant to operate within its geographical confines. The Alliance’s involvement in conflicts in the Balkans, North Africa, off the Horn of Africa, and in Afghanistan have done much to erode this old notion of the Alliance being restricted to operating only within its borders. Furthermore, NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept offers a broadened notion of the geographic scope in which the Alliance can operate: However, the notion that NATO is not a global actor persists to the degree that it remains a primary consideration shaping debates on its involvement in areas outside its borders; NATO must change perceptions among policy makers, its own staff, and the public abroad in order for it to effectively safeguard the Alliance from the full range of threats it faces today.
While improvements to its capabilities need to be made, the Alliance has proven itself to be the most capable multinational military organization on the globe, able to engage in sustained operations throughout the world. But just because it can conduct global operations does not justify why the Alliance should fill that role. Today’s global security environment necessitates that the Alliance play a key role in ensuring security and stability around the globe in order to uphold the security and sovereignty of its member states, and serve as a force capable of enforcing the will of the international community. It is no secret to policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic that today their states face an increased threat from non-state actors – terrorists, criminals, proliferators, and narco traffickers who operate in the shadows and are largely intractable. Additionally, such non-state actors are immune to the deterrent NATO possesses through its conventional and nuclear capabilities. The mere presence of the combined conventional forces of the member states is unable to present a credible threat to these groups and prevent them from infiltrating the Alliance’s territory. Apart from non-state actors, NATO also recognizes—and policy makers and the populations of member states are beginning to recognize—that conflicts, crises, and instability in other parts of the world have the potential to generate threats to member states, and these threats can often be addressed by playing a positive role in the regions most affected. NATO’s recognition of this reality is embodied in the 2010 Strategic Concept, which largely places NATO at the center of an emerging global cooperative security regime by emphasizing the need to enlarge NATO and build strong networks with its partners through the Partnership for Peace program and its affiliation with organizations such as the European Union and the United Nations.9 Through its collaboration with partners, and direct involvement when necessary, NATO seeks to prevent conflicts, ameliorate crises, and mitigate threats across the globe.
Within this new strategic framework, NATO will maintain its robust conventional military capabilities, but will also focus heavily on alleviating threats posted by non-state actors.10 Alliance forces have engaged in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, anti-piracy operations in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Somalia, and have fought against organized crime in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, not to mention numerous instances of collaboration with partner countries on these issues and others. But this recommendation purports that as the Alliance deepens its ties with partners in the PfP program, and forges ties with new partners around the world, it should take on the role of a global training force that helps states develop strong security and defense assets through instruction given by special operations, auxiliary, and law enforcement personnel. The network of partner countries would give NATO the ability to collaborate on security issues on a global scale, and importantly, would provide partner states with the knowledge and skills needed for them to take on internal and regional threats head on.
NATO leadership already sees the Alliance as an effective provider of training and advisory support to partner countries, as demonstrated on October 10, 2012, when member state Defense Ministers met at NATO HQ in Brussels to show their countries’ commitment to an ongoing presence in Afghanistan past 2014 in a mission aimed at providing further training and advice to the Afghan state and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).11 The creation of the ANSF has been fraught with problems—ranging from Taliban infiltrators killing trainers to widespread corruption among the army and police—but it remains nonetheless remarkable that ISAF has been able to recruit and train nearly 352,000 army, police, and air force personnel that are now responsible for the security of Afghanistan.12 This endeavor has provided the Alliance with invaluable lessons for establishing similar training missions going forward.
ISAF’s role in training the ANSF provided NATO personnel with an opportunity to learn how to provide needed training in a setting where many (if not most) recruits were almost completely uneducated and illiterate. Western military forces have become accustomed to receiving training through oral, written, and online mediums. The latter two kinds of resources are either unavailable or ineffective in countries like Afghanistan where many security personnel cannot read. This reality necessitated creative solutions and extensive literacy courses for new recruits. Certain activities needed to maintain a standing army, such as the procurement of weapons and supplies from foreign manufacturers, can pose a serious challenge when many personnel are unable to even decipher the serial numbers on their rifles.13 Lessons learned in terms of pairing formal military and law enforcement training with basic education in the local language must be institutionalized so that Alliance forces involved in future training missions can generate rapid successes in countries with similar demographic conditions. This is made all the more critical given the correlation between illiteracy and instability. Countries and regions facing instability, or at risk of becoming unstable, will continue to be breading grounds for non-state actors for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the Alliance, in its role as a provider of security and stability through training local forces, must be ready to establish training missions around the world and in circumstances that may be similar to those found in Afghanistan.
In order for NATO to become the preeminent provider of critical training to partner states around the world, it must leverage its resources and personnel to institutionalize a diverse and comprehensive set of training opportunities that would first provide NATO personnel with the training they need to then become trainers themselves in the field, and second, would provide personnel from partner states with opportunities to pursue advanced training beyond the programs established alongside NATO within their home countries. Training missions ideally seek to bestow trainees with the skills, resources, and knowledge needed for them to mitigate the particular security threats their country faces, while operating in a manner that is self- sustaining.14 Partner states face diverse threats, therefore the scope of training options the Alliance can provide to its own personnel and those of partner states must be equally diverse. To meet this need, NATO will need to connect its disparate institutions that currently are key providers of training into a unified network. Such a network would need to include NATO’s newly founded Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ), the Joint Warfare Centre in Norway (JWC), the Joint Forces Training Centre (JFTC), the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC), the various NATO Schools, NATO’s Centers of Excellence,15 and the myriad educational institutions that form the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes.16 The goal of creating such a network would be to provide member states’ special forces, auxiliary forces, and law enforcement personnel with a customized and comprehensive training package to enable these units to establish and manage NATO training missions around the globe as the need arises. Training packages would be customized to fulfill the training needs of partner countries in order to best close the gaps in each state’s security apparatus. Simultaneously, the network would provide a vast array of out-of-country opportunities for training for the personnel of the countries in which NATO training missions are established.
Such a proposed training network would exist under the direction of Allied Command Transformation (ACT), which acquired authority over collective training and exercises in July 2012.17 Because this rebranding strategy focuses primarily on expanding NATO’s role in providing in-country training opportunities versus out-of-country opportunities, the ACT would need to coordinate extensively with Allied Command Operations (and indeed is required to follow ACO’s requirements when implementing training missions) in order to have the logistical and resource support to operationalize the creation and maintenance of all in-country training missions. As it has done in the past in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO should, whenever feasible, package its training missions within larger assistance programs that include security sector reform (SSR) and other features aimed at placing the armed forces of partner countries under the democratic control of the state. This way the Alliance can assure the advancement of its core values among partner states at the same time as it helps strengthen their ability to manage threats and crises.
Among the institutions in the proposed network, the new Special Operations Headquarters is uniquely positioned among them to take a major role in building the Alliance’s training capability. Currently the institution specializes in providing training and a forum for dialogue between the special forces units of member states and several partner countries, but in order to establish effective training missions these special forces units must be trained in how to establish and conduct training missions of their counterparts in partner states. Special operations forces are becoming an increasingly important military unit in today’s security environment. These units can be adept at combating against terrorists, insurgents, conventional forces, and organized criminals, making them one of the most effective resources in a state’s arsenal. Importantly, these units also are capable of having the equivalent impact as a larger conventional force, and due to their reduced numbers, tend to leave a smaller footprint – characteristics that are attractive in an era when states are hoping to keep defense budgets low and populations are weary of having their soldiers engaged in combat operations. By sending small contingents of NATO special forces units to train their counter parts in partner states, the Alliance can reduce the likelihood of threats developing outside its borders while avoiding having to deploy combat-ready units outside its borders. This way the Alliance can foster increased global stability without fueling counterproductive perceptions of the Alliance serving as a “global police force”. As NATO strengthens existing partnerships and forges new ones with states around the globe, it will be important for the Special Operations Headquarters to provide Alliance special forces units with the training needed for them to establish and carry out training missions in partner countries so that their counterparts in those countries are left better able to take on threats on an ongoing basis.
In today’s security environment, where non-state actors have become an increasingly salient threat to global stability, NATO’s new Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) can play a critical role in the early stages of designing new NATO training missions, by identifying those states that are most vulnerable to malignant non-state actors. The ESCD’s guidance through careful analysis and assessment would be instrumental in providing the ACT with the information needed to decide where and when to establish training missions, especially before on the ground assessments can be done. The scope and organization of specific training missions would then be determined based off of evaluations made by the ESCD, NATO assessments conducted with the partner state, and other intelligence.
The current recommendation may also reduce anxieties within the Alliance that were brought to the fore when some member states decided not to assist with NATO’s military mission in Libya in 2011. Only fourteen member states actively engaged in the mission, giving rise to the concern that NATO’s effectiveness could be undermined by some member states deciding to sit on the sidelines when a mission did not directly affect their national security. In analyzing this problem, Ellen Hallams and Benjamin Schreer note that the Alliance seems divided into four camps: “those that have the right troops and weapons and view the given mission as central to their security; those with the right means but which take part out of solidarity; those which have real military forces but choose not to take part because they disagree with the mission; and those which simply do not have any meaningful forces to contribute”.18 If NATO becomes a global provider of training to its partner states, then this would allow three of the four groups to participate in a meaningful way (leaving out those member states that disagree with the mission) since even those member states will less capable militaries would be able to contribute trainers to NATO’s missions in areas such as counterterrorism, law enforcement, or crisis management. This presents added value to an organization seeking to secure its relevancy and improve the cohesion among its members.
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest obstacles to realizing this capability is financing of training missions. As Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch and Lt. Co. Phillip Janzen of the U.S. Army indicate, the NATO training mission in Iraq, which was terminated in 2011, was continuously plagued by funding problems largely associated with the trust fund mechanism that exists for member states to allocate funding to those portions of a mission they view to be most critical or most politically favorable.19 In the case of the training mission in Iraq, many NATO members favored out-of-country training for Iraqi officers, and thus allocated money to the trust fund covering the costs of out-of-country training. However, no money was allocated to the transportation trust fund that was needed to send the Iraqi officers to receive out-of-country training. Additionally, the trust fund mechanism allows member states to place caveats on the funds they give, which restricts the way in which their funds can be spent on the mission. Training missions often face unexpected challenges and shifting priorities; placing caveats on funds reduces the Alliance’s ability to match those challenges and address changing priorities. As with all NATO operations, training missions will always require a sufficient amount of operational, political, and monetary support to be successful. In an era when not all member states see eye to eye and all are tightening their belts, obtaining this needed support can be difficult. Therefore, the Alliance must seek alternative funding mechanisms that ensure resources are committed in a timely manner by member states and partner countries, and that those funds are not earmarked for limited uses that leave other portion of a mission underfunded. But countering this problem is the broad recognition that with training missions a modest investment can yield big returns. Speaking on the issue of special forces training, U.S. Adm. James Stavridis, NATO’s supreme commander, stated, “They [elite units] are very cost-effective because it is a relatively small number of people who create enormous effect.”20
As stated in the 2010 Strategic Concept, NATO aims to expand its global network of strategic partners.21 As NATO’s global security network grows, new and existing partner countries should be encouraged to participate in—as part of their partnership with NATO—training missions with Alliance special forces, auxiliary, or law enforcement units along with their own so that together they can develop effective response forces armed with the training, knowledge, and perhaps even equipment necessary to take on non-state threats head on. Indeed, by conducting training missions around the world the Alliance can help bolster stability and maintain security without the need to deploy expensive conventional forces. Simultaneously, such training programs would leave partner countries able to provide security in a self-sufficient manner. A further outcome of NATO training missions would be to augment the interoperability between NATO and partner forces. Ultimately, the result of this new role for the Alliance would be a reduction in the aggregate threat presented to the Alliance members by non-state actors operating in and outside of NATO. Notably, this rebranding would coincide with the Alliance’s Smart Defense mantra, as the increased security and stability gained from the implementation of training missions would have been achieved—in all likelihood—with small expenditures by member states in comparison to the large costs associated with the deployment of conventional forces.
NATO as a broad spectrum intelligence-sharing facilitator
As has been discussed, the threat environment in which NATO exists has transitioned from one focused on the conventional and nuclear threat posed by a single bloc, to one where the threats posed by non-state actors to the Alliance’s security and to global stability has become increasingly salient. The realm of intelligence offers the Alliance an opportunity to improve its understanding and responsiveness to a complex security environment. While many lessons have been learned through NATO’s operations since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Alliance’s intelligence capabilities remain focused on supporting its conventional forces and providing battlefield intelligence of a tactical nature. It is critical that the Alliance maintain its conventional capabilities, but it must also match its intelligence gathering, sharing, and analysis capabilities to the current threat environment. Terrorism, insurgency, piracy, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber attack, and organized crime networks demand an expansion of the scope of intelligence the Alliance collects and brings to bear to assess and address threats. NATO should now develop into an organizational platform that promotes the collection, sharing, and analysis of the intelligence needed for Alliance to identify threats to its security and find ways of mitigating them. The imminent creation of a centralized intelligence hub within the Alliance will undoubtedly assist in this rebranding, but NATO must also integrate its technical capabilities, increase trust among member states, break down barriers to sharing intelligence, and broaden the scope of its intelligence capabilities to include human intelligence if it is to become an intelligence-sharing facilitator.
Developments in the last few years have suggested that the Alliance is taking the task of improving its technical capabilities seriously, but improvements have largely been aimed at developing joint IMINT, SIGINT, and battlefield information superiority capabilities. Evidence for these developments comes in the form of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system, the purchasing and sharing of 17 AWACS aircraft, and the creation of the Bi- Strategic Command Automated Information Systems (Bi-SC AIS). The pooling of these resources and the sharing of the intelligence they can provide is critical to shaping strategy and providing tactical intelligence for operations, but the Alliance’s ISR capabilities leave gaps in the collection of intelligence, namely in the area of human intelligence (HUMINT). NATO’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Interoperability Architecture (NIIA) provides Alliance personnel with a guide outlining the Standardization Agreements (STANAGs) that have been established to ensure interoperability in ISR collecting and sharing.22 The scope of the NIIA covers IMINT and SIGINT-related SOPs, and also goes into detail about agreements concerning the sharing of tactical intelligence for combat operations. Its focus on these areas is in no way surprising – indeed, these comprise the Alliance’s bread and butter when it comes to ISR. However, the NIIA does not address the HUMINT dimension at all. Without a robust HUMINT gathering and sharing structure, the Alliance will remain incapable of identifying and neutralizing the full range of threats it faces in the current global security environment. This is not to say that member states do not already share HUMINT with one another. Indeed, on December 3, 1952, the North Atlantic Council created the NATO Special Committee (also known as AC/46), which brings together the heads of each member’s intelligence community to advise the Alliance on espionage, terrorism, and other non-military threats.23 AC/46 has also served as a key forum through which member states and NATO officials share intelligence, including HUMINT.
The appointment of Sandor Laborc to become chairman of the AC/46 when Hungary took the lead in early 2008 revealed the difficulties in sharing intelligence among member states within the Alliance and the lack of trust that exists between some states. According to a New York Times article published during that time, Laborc’s training with the KGB during the 1980s worried many NATO diplomats, and one even admitted that the Alliance is “a very leaky organization.”24 This institutional reputation presents a serious challenge for generating the trust needed for member states to share intelligence and sources with one another. All intelligence officials—especially those working with HUMINT—are protective of their information and sources, and sharing generally only occurs after officials have conscientiously developed a working relationship with their counterparts in other institutions and states. Another challenge for the Alliance is the technological and resource gap that exists between the member states. Central and Eastern European member states’ intelligence communities pale in size and capabilities compared with the U.S. or the UK. This discrepancy makes interoperability a serious challenge among some of the states, and led to frustration in Afghanistan.25 The U.S., of course, has always played the role of the primary provider of intelligence to the Alliance, and will continue to play that role in the foreseeable future.
One last, albeit substantial, challenge regarding building a HUMINT capacity is its cost. From the documents leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden, the public now knows that the Central Intelligence Agency (the organization charged with the collection of HUMINT) received almost one third of the funding allocated to the National Intelligence Program in 2013, more than any other intelligence agency in the U.S.26 The substantial resources that the US has committed to maintain a robust HUMINT capability suggests that NATO would also need to invest heavily to build its own capability.
The lack of trust and interoperability that currently hampers NATO’s intelligence sharing can be improved by member states agreeing to implement an overhaul of current C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence-Information) and COMSEC- INFOSEC (communications-information security) technologies. This standardization of technologies and systems would improve interoperability of intelligence organizations and would secure any sharing of resources, which would help patch up the “leaks” in the Alliance.
American officials should concurrently consider the feasibility of sharing access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) with more member states (it already shares access with the UK). SIPRNet is the network the U.S. intelligence community uses to post and share intelligence; sharing access to the network would put vast intelligence at the disposal of member states in an effective and timely manner that would allow the Alliance to respond quickly to identified threats. Ideally, the U.S. would establish a roadmap for member states to gain access to SIPRNet, providing specific steps and requirements that would need to be met by the intelligence services of member states in order to be granted access. SIPRNet also can be arranged to have filters so that designated users can access only information that they are permitted to view,27 thus the United States can share intelligence via the network but be simultaneously able to post information that it does not wish to share with NATO member states.
At the February 2013 Munich Security Conference, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen articulated that as part of the Smart Defense mantra, the Alliance will create a hub to centralize intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) so that more accurate information can be provided in a timely manner to decision makers.28 As the Transatlantic Alliance works to establish this new ISR hub, it should bear in mind its commitment, as articulated in the 2010 Strategic Concept, to take on all threats to the Alliance, including non- state actors, and to work in a preventive manner to improve security and stability throughout the world. Taking this commitment into consideration, NATO should establish a hub that not only serves to promote the sharing of ISR in its conventional areas (IMING, SIGINT, and battlefield intelligence), but also encourages the development of collecting and sharing mechanisms between member states as relating to HUMINT. In this way the hub would serve as an invaluable forum for the Alliance to serve as an organizational platform for the sharing of a broad range of types of intelligence that directly relate to the security of the Alliance and its partners. The centralization of intelligence under the hub should also have the added benefits of closing gaps in intelligence sharing, and will reduce redundancy as coordination is improved between member states
As Adam Svendsen, of the University of Warwick, has indicated, the post-9/11 world has ushered in an era of unprecedented intelligence sharing among organizations and states, and one consequence this has had has been a gradual push for the standardization of intelligence practices.29 Usually initiated at the request of policy makers, standardization is achieved by international intelligence liaisons working together. Therefore, the recommendation to overhaul and standardize the Alliance’s technologies and security processes, and for the Alliance to serve as a platform for the sharing of all forms of intelligence among its members, is presented in an environment that is currently conducive to such efforts, which will help reduce pushback from member states that may be opposed to such changes.
As NATO’s major military operations come to a close in the coming years, many will again begin to question the Alliance’s relevance in today’s world. The leaders of the largest military alliance in modern history must seek ways of rebranding the Alliance as a security provider that can match its capabilities to the threats posed to its member states within the current security environment. This rebranding is needed to guarantee NATO’s relevance in the eyes of the leaders and populations of its member states and partner countries. The previous two recommended rebranding strategies offer the Alliance two routes it can take to this effect. Without any major military operations, the Alliance should concentrate its efforts in establishing training missions with its partner countries, and should emphasize the improvements that can be achieved by training special forces, auxiliary forces, and law enforcement personnel so that partner states can address current security threats in a sustainable manner. NATO should also seek to become the primary organizational platform where the intelligence services of the Transatlantic community can come together to establish improved intelligence sharing mechanisms under a centralized institution and broaden the scope of intelligence capabilities that the Alliance can bring to bear in its efforts provide security and stability throughout the world in times of shrinking budgets and general war- weariness.


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