NATO The Prague Summit and Beyond by forrests


									RESEARCH PAPER 03/05

16 JANUARY 2003

NATO: The Prague Summit and Beyond

This paper examines the main conclusions of the NATO Heads of State and Government Summit in Prague on 21 and 22 November 2002, and the prospects for the Alliance’s future. It addresses the implications of enlargement, NATO’s response to new threats and challenges, the Prague Capabilities Commitment and the NATO Response Force. It also analyses the attitudes of some member states towards the Alliance.

Claire Taylor

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Summary of main points
In the aftermath of 11 September 2001, there has been much debate over the continued relevance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the new strategic security environment. The NATO Heads of State and Government Summit on 21 and 22 November 2002 has been seen as a pivotal point for the Alliance. Originally promoted as an enlargement summit, Prague offered the opportunity for NATO’s leaders to either transform the Alliance and its ability to adapt to the challenges of the modern world, or risk becoming marginalised. At Prague seven new members were invited to join the Alliance. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia will continue to work towards fulfilling their Membership Action Plan (MAP) obligations as part of accession negotiations, with a view to gaining formal membership in 2004. The Prague Summit updated the Alliance’s Strategic Concept to take account of the changes in threat assessment. The new Concept included a commitment to the campaign against terrorism, “out of area” operations and the establishment of a NATO Response Force, capable of rapid deployment for a period of up to 30 days in areas of high intensity conflict. In order to underpin the New Strategic Concept, the Prague Capabilities Commitment (PCC) was launched to address, conclusively, the ongoing shortfalls in Alliance capability. Under the initiative, NATO member states are committed to improving key capabilities within a specified timeframe. Measures were also taken at Prague to streamline the Alliance’s military command structure, to improve its ability to respond to nuclear, biological or chemical (NBC) threats, to assess the need for strategic missile defence, and to enhance co-operation with partners. Yet, the question remains as to whether NATO will deliver on the commitments made at Prague. Some have argued that enlargement has the potential to undermine the Alliance’s cohesion by making the political decision-making structure more complex. The military effectiveness of the accession states has also been called into question. The rate of progress in the accession negotiations, and the pace of NATO’s internal reform, will be important factors. The enhanced role for NATO envisaged in the New Strategic Concept is at present hypothetical. How that role materialises in practice will be determined by international events over the next six months. The extent to which the United States dictates policy and the willingness of European members of the Alliance to engage in areas outside of NATO’s traditional sphere of influence will determine NATO’s military relevance for the future. Underpinning the rhetorical commitment towards the NATO Response Force and improving capabilities under the PCC will help shape that debate. The application of political will and the ability of member states to utilise domestic defence budgets effectively will be crucial elements in determining the future success of NATO as a military alliance rather than a political club.



Background The Prague Summit A. Enlargement
1. Options for Enlargement 2. Enlargement to 26

7 9 9
11 13


New Threats and Challenges
1. The Prague Vision



1. Capability Commitments 2. The NATO Response Force 3. The New Command Structure 4. Defence against Terrorism 5. Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons 6. Missile Defence

21 27 30 31 32 33


Co-operation with Partners


1. Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and Partnership for Peace (PfP) 36 2. NATO-Russia Council (NRC) 3. Mediterranean Dialogue 4. NATO-Ukraine Commission 5. European Union 38 40 41 42


Will NATO Deliver? A. The Implications of Enlargement
1. Status of the Accession States 2. Military Effectiveness 3. NATO’s Open Door Policy

44 44
44 52 55


Future Theatres of Operation


1. Afghanistan 2. Iraq

59 60


1. Financial Considerations



Future Relationships
1. EU/ ESDP 2. NATO-Russia Council

64 68


National Attitudes A. B. C. D. E. United States United Kingdom France Germany Russia

70 70 72 74 75 77




The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was formed in 1949 with the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington. The Treaty created an alliance of ten European and two North American nations, dedicated to ensuring their collective security and preservation and intended to counter the perceived threat from the Soviet Union and later the countries of the Warsaw Pact.1 Four more European countries joined the Alliance between 1952 and 1982, followed by the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland at the Washington Summit in 1999, bringing the number of NATO members to 19.2 The main tenet of the Alliance is Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which sets out the principle of collective security as laid down by the UN Charter. It states unequivocally that an armed attack against one or more members shall be considered an attack against them all. Prior to 12 September 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, Article 5 had never been invoked. NATO is not solely a military organisation. The Washington Treaty contains a number of articles and provisions which envisage a political and diplomatic role for the Alliance. Specifically, under Article 2, member states are committed to contributing to the development of a peaceful and friendly international community through the strengthening of free institutions and promoting conditions of stability. The Treaty also calls for efforts towards eliminating conflict in the international economic policies of member countries and encouraging co-operation between them. When the Cold War ended in 1989 and the threat of the Soviet Union diminished, some began to question NATO’s continued relevance. However, conflict in the Balkans and instability throughout the former Soviet bloc countries in the early 1990s led NATO to develop a new role. In addition to its original purpose of collective security, NATO became a catalyst for extending security and stability throughout Europe via its peacekeeping and peace-support operations. In response to the changing security environment, the Alliance developed a new Strategic Concept, which was adopted at the Rome Summit in 1991. Radically different to all NATO strategic concepts that had gone before it, this evolved strategy maintained the notion of collective security but also emphasised co-operation with former adversaries and a commitment to improving and expanding security in Europe as a whole. The North Atlantic Co-operation Council (NACC) was launched in 1991, bringing together NATO allies with former Warsaw Pact countries in a forum for security dialogue and cooperation. In 1994 the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established to enable

1 2

A full copy of the Treaty can be accessed online at: NATO’s members are: Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.



NATO’s partner countries to develop individual programmes of practical co-operation with NATO as a complement to the opportunities for multilateral political dialogue afforded by the NACC. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was created in 1997 to replace the NACC and build on its achievements. Extending the “hand of friendship” to Central and Eastern Europe in this way laid the groundwork for later enlargement of the Alliance. In 1997 the NATO-Russia Joint Permanent Council (PJC) was also established to foster dialogue and co-operation between the Alliance and its former adversary.3 By the Madrid summit in 1997, NATO leaders also agreed that the Strategic Concept should be re-examined and updated to reflect the changes that had taken place in Europe since its inception and to address the security challenges of the 21st century. At the Washington Summit in 1999 a New Strategic Concept was adopted. This provided an “authoritative statement of the Alliance’s objectives and provided the highest level guidance on the political and military means to be used in achieving them”.4 It reaffirmed the importance of collective security, the transatlantic link and maintaining the Alliance’s military capabilities. It also examined the role of other key elements in NATO’s security strategy, namely conflict prevention and crisis management, partnership, co-operation and dialogue, enlargement, arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. As part of the New Strategic Concept the Defence Capabilities Initiative was also launched to help the military forces of Alliance members become more interoperable, sustainable and effective. Specifically, the DCI sought to strengthen European defence capabilities, thereby reinforcing the European pillar of NATO and addressing the perceived capability gap between the US and Europe. The Washington Summit also reaffirmed the Alliance’s commitment to the PfP programme, the EAPC and partnership between NATO and a number of countries, including the Ukraine, Russia and those on the southern Mediterranean flank of the Alliance area, through the NATO-Ukraine Commission, the NATO-Russia Council and the Mediterranean Dialogue. Under the ‘Berlin-plus’ arrangements agreed at Washington, the first steps towards the EU use of NATO assets were also made.



Information on the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) can be accessed online at: NATO Fact Sheet Background to the Strategic Concept, 9 August 2000. Available online at




The Prague Summit

Since the Washington Summit in 1999, the international arena has altered. The events of 11 September 2001 marked a watershed in international relations that challenged the parameters of strategic thinking and led to a fundamental shift in threat assessment, with the rise to predominance of the concept of asymmetric warfare.5 For NATO, the immediate consequences have been remarkably similar to those in 1990, when the end of the Cold War raised questions over the Alliance’s continued credibility and legitimacy. The Prague Summit on 21 and 22 November 2002 was regarded as a defining moment for NATO. It represented the opportunity to enlarge the Alliance, while also giving it the chance to reinvent itself and carve out a new security role for the future. Alternatively, the Alliance faced the risk of becoming marginalised and ineffective. At the previous NATO Summit in Reykjavik on 14 May 2002, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson summed up this challenge:
NATO must change radically if it is to be effective…it must modernise or be marginalised.6



Since the signing of the Washington Treaty in 1949, seven additional countries have joined the original twelve member states of the Alliance.7 Greece and Turkey joined in 1952, Germany in 1955, Spain in 1982, and at the Washington Summit in 1999 the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became members. NATO has continued to maintain, under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, an “open door” policy whereby “any European country in a position to further the principles of the Washington Treaty and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area can become a member of the Alliance”.8 However, countries aspiring to NATO membership are also expected to meet certain political, economic and military goals. At the Washington Summit in 1999, NATO launched its Membership Action Plan (MAP) as part of this “open door” commitment. Building on the dialogue process and experience of integrating Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into the Alliance, the MAP is designed to assist aspirant countries in their preparations by providing advice, assistance and practical support on all aspects of NATO membership. Specifically, under the MAP:


6 7


The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter, Cm 5566, p.7 defines asymmetric warfare as “attack by unconventional methods which would have a disproportionate effect”. “Time for NATO to Adapt” Jane’s Defence Review, 22 May 2002, p.21 The original twelve members were: USA, Canada, UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal. Prague Summit Fact Sheet Enlarging the Alliance, 16 September 2002. Available online at




Aspirant countries must submit, on an annual basis, a programme of their preparations for possible future membership, covering political, economic, defence, resource, security and legal aspects. These include settling any international, ethnic or external territorial disputes by peaceful means, demonstrating a commitment to the rule of law and human rights, establishing democratic control of their armed forces and promoting stability and well-being through economic liberty, social justice and environmental responsibility. Procedures must be in place to ensure the security of sensitive information, while legal arrangements and agreements that govern cooperation within NATO must be compatible with domestic legislation. Each country sets its own objectives, targets and work schedules.

b) Focused and candid feedback is provided on aspirant countries’ progress, including both political and technical advice as well as annual 19+1 meetings at Council level9 in order to assess progress. Throughout the year, meetings and workshops are also arranged with NATO civilian and military experts in order to address the entire spectrum of issues relevant to membership. An annual progress report is presented to the NATO foreign and defence ministers every spring. c) Assistance in the defence field is provided by NATO and by member states to aspirant countries. The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, of which all aspirant countries are members, allows candidate states to meet the military obligations of the MAP, including the development of interoperability with NATO forces through joint exercises and the preparation of their force structures and capabilities.10 The allocation of resources to meet the defence and security commitments that future membership of NATO would bring is also addressed. Agreed targets are reviewed on a regular basis. 11

However, participation in the MAP is not a guarantee of future membership. Decisions to invite aspirant countries to participate in accession talks are taken by consensus within NATO and are determined on a case-by-case basis. Each aspirant country is assessed against its MAP criteria, although prior to Prague some analysts suggested that the attitude of candidates to the situation in Iraq and the International Criminal Court (ICC) could have shaped political thinking, particularly in the US. In an article in The Washington Times, US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns refuted these allegations:

9 10


19 + 1 refers to a meeting between all 19 NATO members and the aspirant country. For more information on the Partnership for Peace programme, refer to the NATO Fact Sheet Partnership and Co-operation, 20 February 2002. Available online at NATO Fact Sheet NATO’s Membership Action Plan, 6 September 2000



We are taking great care to make sure that the decision is based on such criteria as the applicants’ military readiness, institutional strength and human rights record…We are not judging candidates on other issues like Iraq.12

Since its inception, ten countries have so far participated in the MAP process: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 1. Options for Enlargement

Although they were formal candidates for NATO membership, Albania, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were regarded as unlikely to be offered membership in this round of enlargement in view of ongoing instability in the Balkan region and the relative newness of their candidacies. Therefore, prior to the Prague summit, many analysts considered that two options for enlargement remained open to the Alliance. a. A core group

On the basis of the achievements made in reforming both military and civil institutions, a core group of five countries was considered certain to be accepted for NATO membership. Following an informal meeting of NATO defence ministers on 24-25 September 2002, US diplomats were reported in the media as commenting:
Five countries– Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia are certain to be admitted to the 19-strong Alliance.13

Inviting a core group to begin accession negotiations was viewed as essential for maintaining political momentum and reinforcing NATO’s “open door” policy, but such an approach was also viewed as problematic, in that it would have raised the challenge of dealing with the remaining uninvited candidates, in particular Bulgaria and Romania. Both countries had invested a lot of political capital in the reform process and in the case of Romania, which was not admitted in 1997, the failure to gain membership for a second time was considered by many analysts as a potential catalyst for creating disillusionment with the enlargement process and undermining future co-operation with the Alliance. An article in Jane’s Intelligence Review commented:
However problematic these countries’ [Bulgaria and Romania] early accession might be owing to their relatively low level of preparedness, it is preferable to

12 13

“NATO candidates aim to please US and Europe” The Washington Times, 13 September 2002 p.1 “NATO’s big push east will take in up to seven states” The Daily Telegraph, 27 September 2002



alienating their electorates and political class and leave them vulnerable to increasing Russia influence. 14

Jeffrey Simon, writing in the Strategic Forum, also argued:
NATO would need to persuade the excluded MAP partners that the invited nations had actually achieved reforms that justified inclusion.15


A ‘Big Bang’ Approach

The accession of seven members to the Alliance, which had been dubbed a ‘Big Bang’ approach, was reported to be the favoured option of a number of NATO members, including the United States. Leaders of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly issued a Declaration on NATO Transformation on 6 October 2002, which stated:
The leaders of the Assembly’s 19 member delegations have called on NATO to invite seven nations– Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia– to join the Alliance at the NATO Prague Summit in November. The Declaration on NATO Transformation agreed by the Standing Committee of the Assembly…argues that the seven countries have proved their progress towards NATO membership by pushing through radical reforms at home, supporting NATO operations in the Balkans and contributing to the fight against terrorism.16

The report on NATO enlargement by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations also recommended the accession of all seven prominent MAP candidates. However, the committee expressed several concerns and recommended that:
The MAP process continues for those countries who receive an invitation in Prague as was stated in the Reykjavik Final Communiqué (May 2002). Such a programme would ensure that there is no back-sliding in the significant reforms that have been made by each of the countries.17

These sentiments were shared by the Defence Select Committee in its report The Future of NATO:
We see no obstacle in principle to the issuing of invitations to each of the seven applicants (although in Slovakia’s case this must be with the caveat of the

14 15 16


“NATO looks forward to a big bang” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002 p.9 Jeffrey Simon “The Next Round of NATO Enlargement” Strategic Forum, No.176 October 2000 NATO Parliamentary Assembly Press Communiqué Declaration on NATO Transformation, 6 October 2002 United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Letter to the Chairman on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002



outcome of the September elections) with the proviso that applicants continue to work hard on defence and political reforms up to and beyond any invitation issued at Prague.18

In the January 2002 CER Bulletin, Andrew Cottey highlighted some of the advantages of large-scale enlargement of the Alliance:
Such a ‘big bang’ would consolidate pro-Western democratic politics, encourage co-operation among the states of the region, help them to reform their armed forces and provide reassurance that they will never again fall under Russia’s sway. Further advantages of a Big Bang would be to avoid the divisive issue of choosing among the candidates, and to remove once and for all a potential thorn in NATO-Russia relations. The Alliance could then forget about enlargement and focus on priorities such as peacekeeping in the Balkans, military reform and addressing global security challenges.19

However, opponents of such a robust approach to enlargement argued that it would dilute NATO’s military capability, threaten its cohesion and ability to take decisions and increase the debate over its relevance. Neil Barnett summed up NATO’s dilemma in the July 2002 edition of Jane’s Intelligence Review:
The simultaneous expansion of its roles and membership has caused some disquiet within the Alliance over issues of decision making and unity…The coming enlargement presents a dilemma. On the one hand, it serves a political role of consolidating the liberal-democratic identity of former communist states, and underwriting their territorial security. On the other, it complicates decision making at a time when NATO should be grasping the opportunity to take a leading role in countering emerging threats such as terrorism, and expanding outof-area operations.20

Observers believed that, for enlargement of NATO to be effective and provide new impetus to the Alliance, a ‘big bang’ approach would have to be accompanied by institutional reform, new initiatives for addressing the capability gap and consensus on the future of NATO’s remit and role. 2. Enlargement to 26

A fifth enlargement of NATO was confirmed at the Prague Summit on 21 November 2002. This decision, involving the largest expansion of the Alliance in its history, will allow Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to begin

18 19 20

Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC 914 24 July 2002, p.64 Andrew Cottey “NATO’s Big Bang” CER Bulletin, Issue 21 January 2002 “NATO looks forward to big bang” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002 p.8



accession negotiations with a view to ratification and formal membership of NATO in May 2004. Announcing the decision, the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, stated:
We can say with complete confidence that this round of enlargement will maintain and increase NATO’s strength, cohesion and vitality, and that it is not directed against the security interests of any partner state…This is a crucially important decision where consensus among Allies has emerged gradually over the last few months. I believe that consensus has now been reached.21

The Prague Summit Declaration, issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, also stated:
During the period leading up to accession, the Alliance will involve the invited countries in Alliance activities to the greatest extent possible. We pledge our continued support and assistance, including through the Membership Action Plan (MAP). We look forward to receiving the invitees’ timetables for reforms, upon which further progress will be expected before and after accession in order to enhance their contribution to the Alliance.22

US President George W. Bush welcomed the decision, but cautioned:
All NATO members– both new and old– must contribute military strength to the alliance, even if it means increasing defence spending.23

In a Statement to the Commons on 25 November 2002, the Prime Minister stated:
The summit reflected the extraordinary changes in the global security environment in which all nations now operate. NATO itself has changed. We decided on seven new members: I congratulate Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia on their invitations; they are well deserved, and they reflect the progress in reform that all seven countries have made since the end of the cold war. All are on course to be in the Alliance by the next summit in 18 months’ time, and to be contributors to European security. That enlargement will strengthen NATO and make the whole continent of Europe more secure…24



23 24

Prague Summit Announcement on Enlargement by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, 21 November 2002. The full text of the speech is available online at: Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at: “NATO embraces new members”, BBC News Online, 21 November 2002 HC Deb 25 November 2002, c35



On the implications of NATO enlargement, BBC News Online commented:
Although enlargement will be trumpeted as a sign of security and democracy in Europe, to some, it will be seen as proof that NATO is less a top-notch military alliance and more just a political club.25

John Simpson, former Foreign Affairs Editor at the BBC, also expressed scepticism:
As a result of the Prague summit last week, NATO is even more an alliance built according to an American blueprint[…] NATO is now entirely dominant. It includes virtually all the most powerful and prosperous countries on earth. Unlike the United Nations, it can be relied on – no matter how unenthusiastically at times – to do what Washington wants. Sure, it can hobble American policy; the Greeks, the French and the Italians made it much more difficult for the Pentagon to attack Serbia as hard as it wanted in 1999[…] Overall though, if the Americans want NATO to do something, NATO does it. Much less pressure is required than persuading the UN Security Council to accept American leadership, for instance. The new candidates, coming as they do from the old Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and the Yugoslav Federation, all understand that they owe their membership to the Americans[…] Their loyalty will be to Washington, not to Paris, London or Berlin.26


New Threats and Challenges

Following the demise of the Soviet Union, NATO’s strategic landscape has been defined by ethnic conflict and civil war, migration, organised crime, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction technology and the rise of asymmetric warfare.27 In a speech on 3 October 2002 NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson highlighted what he believed to be the threats and challenges for the next decade:
My first prediction: more instability[…] the Caucasus, Central Asia, Northern Africa and the Middle East all offer a rich current and potential cocktail of instability…My second prediction: more spillover[…] through migration, rising numbers of people seeking asylum, a booming industry in people smuggling and all that goes with it…My third prediction: more terrorism[…] a special breed of terrorism has come to the fore – driven not by achievable political aims but by fanatical extremism[…] My fourth prediction: more failed states[…] My next prediction: more proliferation[…] the spread of weapons of mass destruction will be a defining security challenge of this new century.28

25 26 27


“NATO embraces new members”, BBC News Online, 21 November 2002 “NATO marches on– to the beat of the US drum”, The Sunday Telegraph, 24 November 2002, p.32 The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter defines asymmetric warfare as “attack by unconventional methods which would have a disproportionate effect”. p.7 “NATO: A Vision for 2012” Speech by Lord Robertson to the NATO/GMFUS Conference, 3 October 2002



The search for a new role for the Alliance was initially addressed at the Rome Summit in 1991, with the adoption of a new Strategic Concept. This was developed eight years later at the Washington Summit with a re-assessment of the challenges and priorities facing the Alliance at the beginning of the 21st century. Three years on, the strategic basis on which that Concept was founded has again shifted fundamentally and, as a result, has raised questions over NATO’s role in the world. That shift has also highlighted the disparities in national perceptions within the Alliance, particularly in terms of its military effectiveness. The lessons of Kosovo, which were largely focused on the deficiencies in decisionmaking and the US-European capabilities gap, have shaped thinking, particularly in the US, that the multilateral institutional structure of NATO is a hindrance to military and operational effectiveness. As a consequence, the US has pursued a largely unilateralist strategy, supported by only a few key allies, in its military operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Gen. Klaus Naumann, former Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, commented:
European Allies see NATO as a collective defence and crisis management organisation, whereas the United States, its most powerful and indeed indispensable member, no longer looks at the Alliance as the military instrument of choice to use in conflict and war.29

US Republican Senator, Richard Lugar, supported this view:
Rightly or wrongly, the legacy of Kosovo has reinforced the concern that NATO is not up to the job of fighting a modern war.30

Henry Nau, writing in the Royal Institute of International Affairs publication, The World Today, stated:
The United States made a mistake by not using NATO in some capacity in the Afghanistan war. After September 11, for the first time, NATO invoked Article 5 to declare the attack against American territory as an attack against the territory of all its members. This decision expressed the deepest ties that bind the members and constitute the Alliance. America failed to validate these ties […] This decision will come back to haunt the United States. NATO is being progressively weakened as a military organisation.31

NATO has been called on to provide little more than political support in the ongoing campaign against terrorism, a development that some commentators believe to be

29 30 31

“Crunch time for the Alliance” NATO Review, Summer 2002 “NATO Obviously has to Move Ahead” BASIC Newsletter on International Security, April 2002 “Alliance at Risk” The World Today, May 2002 p.18



indicative of the current prominence of the political and diplomatic role of the Alliance, at the expense of the military dimension. An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly of 22 May 2002 commented that:
Despite constant public prodding of its European allies to increase military capabilities, the Bush administration has probably accepted that real defence budget growth in Europe is unlikely to happen. NATO’s value then becomes increasingly important as a mechanism for conflict management and security in Europe by virtue of its inclusiveness. Membership in NATO carries responsibilities and ties member countries into a system based on Western, democratic principles and transparent operating procedures. By co-opting Eastern Europe and the Balkans through membership, the West can better influence the political and economic development there and further the maturity of civilmilitary relations. This does not mean that NATO’s military role is consigned to history but it does imply that its diplomatic role becomes paramount.32

These questions over NATO’s military competence, and suggestions that it has been facing a crisis of confidence, have been an impetus for the Alliance to establish a new and definitive role for itself at Prague. In the run-up to the November 2002 summit, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson had been forthright in laying down the challenge to reestablish NATO’s military and political credibility. In his opening statement to the informal meeting of NATO defence ministers on 24 September he stated:
As we approach the Prague summit, we need therefore to think very carefully about the role of this Alliance in the future, not least in protecting our citizens from criminal terrorists and criminal states, especially where they are armed with weapons designed for massive and indiscriminate destruction…NATO played the key role in defeating the threats of the Cold War and the instability that followed it. We must now transform our Alliance so it can play an equally pivotal part in the war against terrorism and the dangers of weapons of mass destruction.33

In a speech to the NATO/German Marshall Fund of the United States conference in Brussels on 3 October 2002, he went further:
It is hard to overestimate the importance of our Prague summit. It will invite new members to join, ending Europe’s Cold War division for good, and setting the stage for a wider NATO. It will deepen NATO’s partnerships with our neighbours to our East and South. It will give NATO a clearer profile in combating terrorism, and in responding to the challenges posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And it will meet the challenge of

32 33

“Time for NATO to adapt” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 22 May 2002 p.21 Statement by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, to the Informal Meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, 24 September 2002. Available online at



improving NATO’s defence capabilities, with new commitments, new targets and concrete new improvements.34


The Prague Vision

The evolution of the NATO Strategic Concept has not been as profound at Prague as it was at the Washington Summit in 1999. Rather than re-define a strategic vision for the Alliance, the decisions taken at the Prague Summit sought to build on, and strengthen, the premises of the 1999 Strategic Concept. The Prague Summit Declaration, issued by the North Atlantic Council, stated:
Recalling the tragic events of 11 September 2001 and our subsequent decision to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, we have approved a comprehensive package of measures, based on NATO’s Strategic Concept, to strengthen our ability to meet the challenges to the security of our forces, populations and territory, from wherever they may come […] We underscore that our efforts to transform and adapt NATO should not be perceived as a threat by any country or organisation, but rather as a demonstration of our determination to protect our populations, territory and forces from any armed attack, including terrorist attack, directed from abroad. We are determined to deter, disrupt, defend and protect against any attack on us, in accordance with the Washington Treaty and the Charter of the United Nations.35

In a speech at the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on 12 December 2002, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson reaffirmed this commitment:
When it came to defining the threats and challenges this Alliance faces, and the missions NATO should take on, there was no disagreement whatsoever. NATO’s members all agreed completely that NATO must address head-on the threat posed by terrorism…the key feature of this new terrorism is the mass murder of civilians– which is why the NATO countries also agreed to co-operate on defence against weapons of mass destruction…Prague also put an end to transatlantic debate on the “out-of-area” question. Allies agreed that in facing new threats, artificial geographical limitations make no sense. They agreed that NATO should deter, disrupt, defend and protect against threats from wherever they come. And that our forces must be able to go wherever they are required to carry out their mission.36




Speech by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson to the NATO/ GMFUS conference on 3 October 2002. Available online at: Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at: Speech by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on 12 December 2002



Specifically, the comprehensive package of measures agreed at Prague focused on boosting capabilities. These included: • • • • • • Creating a NATO Response Force (NRF), capable of rapid deployment to any theatre of operation. Streamlining NATO’s military command arrangements. Approving the Prague Capabilities Commitment (PCC) as a successor to the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI). Endorsing the military concept for defence against terrorism. Endorsing the implementation of five nuclear, biological and chemical weapons defence initiatives. Examining the options for addressing the missile threat to Alliance territory, forces and population centres.

All of these issues are dealt with in more detail in Section C below. Attitudes to the new proposals have generally been mixed. In his statement to the North Atlantic Council meeting on 21 November 2002, the British Prime Minister stated:
NATO’s founders had an unprecedented vision of how free nations could work together in the common cause of freedom and democracy. Some might question whether NATO can still play that vital role. I believe it can. Together with our new Allies and our renewed Alliance, we can be confident that we are ready to meet the many challenges we face.37

Yet, many analysts have questioned whether the Prague summit really established a longterm vision and role for the Alliance. On 23 November 2002 an article in The Financial Times argued:
After Prague there is an ominous sense of anti-climax. There is no big vision…The trouble is that neither the Americans nor their allies have a clear concept. To the extent that they do, they differ. For Europe, the primary purpose of the alliance is to bind the US to Europe. For Washington, that is not a priority, for Europe is no longer the prime area of insecurity. If NATO is to have a point for the US, it must be prepared to operate out of area– in regions such as the Middle East.


Statement by British Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, to the North Atlantic Council, 21 November 2002



That is the difference the summit failed to resolve…the fundamental lack of clarity remains. Prague has provided some sticking plaster but it has not provided the real glue needed to give the alliance cohesion and a sense of purpose.38

The Independent of 22 November 2002 commented:
They all [the NATO members] have their individual reasons for finding the organisation useful at this particular moment. The Americans, having ignored and, indeed, deliberately marginalised the institution over the year since 11 September, now see it as a way of establishing the grand alliance to invade Iraq. The Europeans, having bravely talked of being a countervailing force to US ‘unilateralism’ are now becoming distinctly nervous that America might go its own way and they want NATO to keep the great power locked in. The new entrants look upon NATO as a means of consolidating their freedom from Soviet power. All these are valid short term uses. What they do not add up to is a long-term purpose. And that…is the only thing that can keep an alliance alive. NATO’s great strength has always been that it has had a common enemy and an effective system of military command. Now it has neither…Alliances are made and held by self-interest not idealism, military alliances most of all. For half a century, NATO worked as one of the most successful multi-national organisations in history because the security interests of Europe and America were felt to be the same– the containment of the Soviet Union.39

Jeffrey Gedmin, Director of the Aspen Institute, was also quoted in The Sunday Times as suggesting:
The summit was a near-last ditch attempt to save NATO. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t…The Americans want a Europe that is militarily stronger and a Europe that moves closer to our strategic vision and responsibilities in the world. But even if they accomplish the first, it is unlikely they are going to welcome and embrace the latter.40



Bolstering the capabilities of the Alliance was one of the main features of Prague, and was regarded as vital to the ability of NATO to meet future threats and challenges.




“No vision in Prague: The US and its allies have yet to find a purpose for NATO”, The Financial Times, 23 November 2002 “NATO suffers from a terminal illness, but no one dares kill it off just yet”, The Independent, 22 November 2002 “America dwarfs NATO’s new recruits”, The Sunday Times, 24 November 2002



1. a.

Capability Commitments The Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI)

The capability gap between the US and its European allies has been one of the main difficulties in the transatlantic relationship and a perceived hindrance to the operational effectiveness of the Alliance. Attempts to address the gap have been underway since the collapse of the Soviet Union, although little progress was made until the launch of the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI) at the Washington Summit in 1999. NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson stated at the time:
The Defence Capabilities Initiative is designed to ensure that all Allies not only remain interoperable, but that they also improve and update their capabilities to face the new security challenges.41

Specifically, the DCI sought to address: • • • • • Mobility and the deployability of forces – including to those areas outside of Alliance territory. Sustainability – ensuring forces are capable of operations of long-duration. Effective engagement – allowing successful engagement in all types of operations, from high to low intensity. Survivability – the ability to protect forces and infrastructure against current and future threats. Interoperable communications – specifically command, control and information systems.

Much of the focus of the DCI had been on lessening the capability gap in areas of key strategic importance such as C4ISTAR,42 strategic lift, precision guided munitions and the suppression of enemy air defences. In order to avoid duplication and overlap, the DCI was also closely tied to progress made by EU members on the Helsinki Headline Goal and the establishment of the European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF).43 However, as the Defence Select Committee report on The Future of NATO commented:
NATO carried out an assessment of progress in implementing the DCI for the NAC meeting of defence ministers in June 2001, which concluded that: ‘Although progress has been made in certain areas, further efforts are required to achieve the necessary improvement.’ ‘Critical and long standing deficiencies’




NATO Fact Sheet NATO’s Defence Capabilities Initiative, 9 August 2000. Available online at C4ISTAR stands for: command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. Further information on the Helsinki Headline Goal is available in Library Research Paper RP00/84 Common European Security and Defence Policy: A Progress Report.



remained in such areas as: suppression of enemy air defence and support jamming; combat identification; intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition; day/night and all weather air weapons systems; all aspects of air defence, and capabilities against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.44

Guillaume Parmentier in his article, “Rejuvenating the Alliance”, in the summer edition of NATO Review also argued:
A key lesson needs to be drawn from experience gained in implementing the Defence Capabilities Initiative…setting too many priorities means that there are effectively no priorities. The 58 items identified for priority action diluted the focus of the DCI, making it too easy for nations to find excuses for not coming up with the essential goods.45

In light of criticisms of the progress made with the DCI, and the need to re-address NATO’s military capabilities in the post-11 September environment, work towards a new DCI concept was begun in June 2002. As Dr Jamie Shea, Director of Information and Press for NATO, pointed out in an interview with the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) in April 2002:
11 September brings back to us an old problem in NATO which has not gone away, but which requires urgent treatment: the question of defence capabilities…we have seen the United States pull ahead spending $48bn more than NATO, China and Russia combined. The danger is that there will be a kind of unbridgeable chasm between the Americans and the Europeans, which will make coalition operations more difficult. We won’t be able to communicate, we won’t be interoperable…The Europeans spend $150m a year, which was about half of the US defense budget prior to 11 September, but it is calculated that they only get 10-12% of what the Americans get in terms of output.46

Consequently, the NATO Defence Ministers meeting on 6 June 2002 concluded:
A greater and more focused effort is now necessary. We therefore directed the Council in Permanent Session to prepare recommendations for a new capabilities initiative, taking into account military advice and national proposals. This should focus upon a small number of capabilities essential to the full range of Alliance missions.47

44 45 46 47

Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC 914 24 July 2002, p.49 Guillame Parmentier “Rejuvenating the Alliance” NATO Review, Summer 2002 “NATO Obviously has to move ahead” BASIC Newsletter on International Security, April 2002 NATO Press Release Statement on Capabilities, 6 June 2002. Available online




Four priorities for the new DCI were established: • • • • To defend against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. To ensure secure command communications and information superiority. To improve interoperability of deployed forces and key aspects of combat effectiveness. To ensure rapid deployment and the ability to sustain combat forces.48

The new initiative would also be based on national commitments with specific milestones and target dates, a marked difference from the previous DCI. The intention would be to provide the impetus for members to re-prioritise defence spending, reduce force numbers, shift resources towards the upgrading of equipment, and co-operate on a multinational level where possible, including, in some cases, the pooling of resources and role specialisation. A system of high-level monitoring was expected to be put in place. In order to avoid the duplication of resources, the DCI would also continue to work in tandem with the European Capability Action Plan (ECAP), devised under the auspices of the EU, and its attempts to develop a rapid reaction capability. At an informal meeting of NATO defence ministers in Warsaw on 24-25 September 2002, proposals aimed at enhancing the Alliance’s military capabilities, and specifically those identified in the four key areas, were reviewed. A set of commitments and programmes were put forward for discussion and adoption at Prague. Decisions on the streamlining of NATO’s command structure were also expected to be taken at the summit. However, the question of whether a new DCI would provide the impetus required to address the capability gap remained open to debate. It is widely acknowledged among analysts that European defence budgets and investment in defence research and development (R&D) are inadequate to accommodate the procurement of required assets. Germany’s problems over the funding of the A400M transport aircraft and the Meteor airto-air missile for the Eurofighter are regularly highlighted as examples of insufficiencies in European defence spending. Plans for the new DCI would place emphasis on the pooling of assets, specialisation and co-operative procurement as a means of achieving economic viability. Thus far, multinational procurement has been acknowledged as problematic, as both the A400M and Meteor projects have demonstrated, while the pooling of assets and role specialisation has implications for sovereignty in defence which could be unacceptable to some European countries.





As the Defence Select Committee pointed out in its report:
…those countries with significant Armed Forces, which have traditionally ranged across all the main military tasks, for example the UK and France, would have to contemplate giving up certain capabilities in order to focus on others. As a consequence they would have to rely upon allies to provide the forfeited capabilities when necessary. This requires a willingness to accept a reduced capacity to act alone in pursuit of national foreign policy.49


The Prague Capabilities Commitment (PCC)

The PCC was adopted at Prague as the successor to the DCI. Although one of the more high profile decisions of the summit, the declaration on the PCC has been largely symbolic, with the parameters for the commitment having been laid down in June 2002. Focusing on the four priorities identified in June 2002 by NATO Defence Ministers, the PCC attempted to establish a roadmap towards creating niches of excellence rather than attempting to sustain interoperability across the whole combat spectrum. The Prague Summit Declaration stated:
Individual Allies have made firm and specific political commitments to improve their capabilities in the areas of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defence; intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition; air-to-ground surveillance; command, control and communications; combat effectiveness, including precision guided munitions and suppression of enemy air defences; strategic air and sea lift; air-to-air refuelling; and deployable combat support and combat service support units.50

The Declaration went on to state:
Our efforts to improve capabilities through the PCC and those of the European Union to enhance European capabilities through the European Capabilities Action Plan should be mutually reinforcing, while respecting the autonomy of both organizations, and in a spirit of openness. We will implement all aspects of our Prague Capabilities Commitment as quickly as possible. We will take necessary steps to improve capabilities in the identified areas of continuing capability shortfalls. Such steps could include multinational efforts, role specialisation and reprioritisation, noting that in many cases additional financial resources will be required, subject as appropriate to parliamentary approval. We are committed to pursuing vigorously capability

49 50

Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC 914 24 July 2002, p.50 Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at:



improvements. We have directed the Council in Permanent Session to report on implementation to [NATO] Defence Ministers.51

A number of multinational efforts aimed at procuring key strategic assets have already been established. A press release issued by the US administration on 21 November 2002 stated:
• Germany is committing to lease C-17 transport aircraft as an interim measure, and lead a consortium of nations aimed at pooling airlift resources and capabilities. Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey are individually committing to buy UAVs. The Netherlands is leading a consortium with Canada, Denmark, Belgium and Norway to pool purchases of precision-guided munitions (PGMs). Spain and the Netherlands are buying munitions for suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD). Denmark and Norway are contributing to air-to-air refuelling and Spain is leading a consortium of nations interested in pooling their refuelling capabilities. Norway and Germany have committed to improving maritime counter-mine capabilities. Poland and Hungary are improving nuclear, chemical, and biological identification and defence capabilities.52

• • • •

• •

An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly provided further detail on some of these capabilities:
Strategic Lift: Germany is organising an effort to lease between eight and 15 “outsized aircraft” such as Boeing C17s or Antonov An-124s to bridge the gap until 2008 when the European-built Airbus Military A400M is expected to enter service. A NATO official said 12 allies are already committed in principle to a plan to create a NATO agency similar to the one that operates the NATO-owned fleet of E-3A Air Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, except that the transports would be leased on a long-term basis. Inflight refuelling: Spain is leading a plan to bridge another gap by securing some 48 tanker aircraft by 2005. The NATO official said so far 10 countries are involved and “there are good long-term prospects for all nations increasing their fleets of tankers” through leasing, refitting older aircraft and new purchases, including a special A400M tanker version that some nations, including Italy will buy.

51 52

ibid “NATO: Building new capabilities for new challenges”, White House Press Release, 21 November 2002



PGMs: The Netherlands is looking to expand a programme involving five nations– Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal– that wish to purchase PGMs for their F16 fighters. This is a unique problem since US export laws prohibit the sale of the most sophisticated armaments abroad. “The Dutch are talking to the US on this and the Americans are probably going to come up with something positive involving the same degree of accuracy as the US system” a NATO official said…53

In the week prior to the Prague Summit, the National Armaments Directors of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States also signed a Statement of Intent to assess co-operative development of a radar system that will be an essential element of an Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability. A press release issued by NATO on 21 November 2002, went on to comment:
The Statement of Intent is a practical demonstration of true and equitable transatlantic co-operation and specifies that the participating nations will jointly design and build a radar sensor, leveraging, where possible, technology from existing programmes. Specific technology and information sharing agreements are yet to be worked out, but the goal is to maximise the exchange of information among participants and their industries, within the constraints of each nation. The Transatlantic Co-operative AGS Radar (TCAR) will be designed primarily for the ongoing NATO core-owned and operated AGS project, but will also be available for participants’ use to meet other national defence requirements.54

During Commons defence questions on 9 December 2002 the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, stated:
NATO’s defence capabilities initiative, launched at the Washington summit in 1999, has made good progress in a number of areas. To continue this progress, a new initiative– the Prague capabilities commitment, or PCC – was launched at the Prague summit on 21 and 22 November, focusing on improvements in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence, information superiority, combat-effectiveness, and deployability and sustainability. Allies have made firm political commitments to improve their capabilities in each of those areas.55

He went on to state:
The Washington defence capabilities initiative was an important step in the transformation of NATO, but I agree that, with hindsight, it could be considered too broad a programme. In the run-up to Prague, therefore, the United Kingdom argued consistently that any successor initiative should have a narrow focus with clear objectives, backed by high-level ownership. The Prague capabilities

53 54 55

“NATO’s build-up to Prague”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 13 November 2002, p.27 NATO Press Release, 21 November 2002 HC Deb 9 December 2002, c1



commitment is a good package that will focus nations on providing the capabilities necessary for the alliance to perform the full range of its missions.56

In a speech to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on 12 December 2002, the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, also commented on the achievements of Prague:
It is unacceptable that our countries spend hundreds of billions of euros on defence every year, but cannot deliver the military capabilities we need, when we need them. Over the years, various efforts to make improvements have been made, including within NATO. And they have delivered some results. But in the end, each initiative foundered on one of three shoals. Either the plan was unclear, or it did not have political support from the top, or it was deemed unaffordable. At Prague we demonstrated that we had learned our lessons. NATO’s 19 Heads of State and Government undertook to make major changes to Alliance capabilities…First, they made clear and precise commitments. Through what we call the Prague Capabilities Commitment, each and every NATO nation pledged to make specific improvements to the key military capabilities we need today, such as strategic air and sea lift, air refueling, and precision guided munitions. And these pledges came with specific timelines for development. Already a first.57

2. a.

The NATO Response Force Initial US Proposals

At an informal meeting of NATO defence ministers in Warsaw on 24-25 September, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld unveiled proposals for the establishment of a NATO rapid reaction force. The proposal envisaged a permanent 20,000-strong standing force of land, sea and air assets, capable of deploying quickly for a period of between five and thirty days. The force would function in small and highly mobile units under a new command and would be used to help in the campaign against terrorism, and if necessary to operate in areas of high intensity conflict beyond NATO’s borders. The rapid reaction force would be taken from existing forces, would be ready for training in 2004 and operational by 2006. NATO already has an Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) which is a high-readiness force capable of rapid deployment. Unlike the ARRC, the proposed new rapid reaction force would only be used for short-term operations at the high end of the conflict spectrum, whereas the ARRC can deploy for as many as 90 days and its remit is much more focused on peacekeeping missions.

56 57

HC Deb 9 December 2002, c2 Speech by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung on 12 December 2002



In a speech to the NATO defence ministers on 24 September 2002, Mr Rumsfeld suggested:
If NATO does not have a force that is quick and agile, which can deploy in days or weeks instead of months or years, then it will not have much to offer the world in the 21st century.58

However, initial reactions to the US proposals were reported as mixed. BBC News Online stated in an article on 25 September 2002 that:
NATO ministers have given a generally positive response to American plans for a new NATO rapid reaction force.59

The International Herald Tribune reported:
Foreign diplomats and military officers at NATO complained that the proposal was vague and the timing suspect. Senior diplomats said they had not been briefed in any detail by the Americans about the proposal. “We are waiting to see what kind of military requirements are involved” an ambassador to NATO said. “What will be the cost? What will be its mission? Its command arrangements? NATO is in the middle of expanding. Will this add to the burden and complicate the issue?”60

The US proposals also sparked debate among EU members over the potential impact on the EU’s own rapid reaction force (EU RRF), which is expected to become operational in 2003. The remit of the EU RRF is currently defined by the parameters of the Petersberg tasks, which focus mainly on low-level peacekeeping operations.61 The intention is for the NATO force to operate in high intensity conflicts similar to the US action in Afghanistan. UK Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon was quoted on 6 October 2002 as denying that there would be a conflict between the EU force and a planned NATO rapid reaction force:
This is not the case…We believe that the EU and NATO’s work is complimentary…both initiatives need Europeans to fill the capability gaps that



60 61

“Russia joins NATO anti-terror talks” BBC News Online, 25 September 2002. Available at “NATO warms to Rapid Reaction Force” BBC News Online, 25 September 2002. Available at “NATO role in terror war” International Herald Tribune, 19 September 2002 p.3 More information on the Petersberg tasks is available in Library Research Paper RP00/20 European Defence: From Pőrtschach to Helsinki.



have been identified and ultimately with a similar aim to improve European military capabilities.62

French Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie was, however, reported to have “warned NATO about venturing out of its main geographic area of responsibility”.63 A senior EU diplomat was also quoted as suggesting:
On the one hand we feel the Americans are robbing us of our plans for a rapid reaction force…on the other hand, what would you expect when the Europeans both in the EU and NATO are dragging their feet over capabilities?64


Adoption at Prague

Formal approval of the US proposals was given at Prague. The Prague Summit Declaration stated:
We have therefore decided to create a NATO Response Force (NRF) consisting of a technologically advanced, flexible, deployable, interoperable and sustainable force including land, sea and air elements ready to move quickly to wherever needed, as decided by the Council. The NRF will also be a catalyst for focusing and promoting improvements in the Alliance’s military capabilities. We gave directions for the development of a comprehensive concept for such a force, which will have its initial operational capability as soon as possible, but not later than October 2004 and its full operational capability not later than October 2006, and for a report to Defence Ministers in Spring 2003. The NRF and the related work of the EU Headline Goal should be mutually reinforcing while respecting the autonomy of both organisations.65

The air, maritime and ground units assigned to the NRF will be rotated every six months and will be under the command of a Combined Joint Task Headquarters. The size of the force will be determined by operational necessity but it would theoretically consist of air assets and the command and control capabilities necessary to support up to 200 combat sorties per day, a brigade-sized land force and maritime forces up to the size of a NATO Standing Naval Force. This equates to approximately 21,000 personnel.66


63 64 65


“EU vows to go ahead with joint force, denies it will clash with NATO” AFX European Focus, 6 October 2002 “Rumsfeld Presses for New NATO force” The Financial Times, 25 September 2002, p.14 ibid Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at: “NATO: building new capabilities for new challenges”, White House Press Release, 21 November 2002



An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly, on 27 November 2002, quoted a NATO military source as commenting:
In the past, when we began to contemplate missions to places like Bosnia and Kosovo, we had to stand up a joint command from scratch…now the idea is to have a generic joint force, a pool of national land, air and sea elements, from which the military planners at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Command Europe) could draw on for a particular operation.67

The article also suggested:
An initial operational capability is to be ready no later than October 2004, which is sooner than originally proposed by the USA and shows a high level of support for the concept […] Washington is not intent on the NRF force being entirely distinct from the EU’s planned 60,000 strong rapid reaction force which is being tailored to fulfil less robust tasks such as peace support operations and response to civil emergencies […] in general the NATO and EU forces are meant to complement each other.68


The New Command Structure

NATO’s current command headquarters structure is a legacy of the Cold War, designed to fight in situ with a fixed contribution of forces. Restructuring of the command arrangements has been motivated by the need to make it flexible enough to run joint task forces of varying sizes and composition, reflecting the changes in operational requirements that have come about over the last decade. North Atlantic Council leaders stated at the Prague Summit:
We have approved the Defence Ministers’ report providing the outline of a leaner, more efficient, effective and deployable command structure, with a view to meeting the operational requirements for the full range of Alliance missions. It is based on the agreed Minimum Military Requirements document for the Alliance’s command arrangements. The structure will enhance the transatlantic link, result in a significant reduction in headquarters and Combined Air Operations Centres, and promote the transformation of our military capabilities…We have instructed the Council and Defence Planning Committee, taking into account the work of the NATO Military Authorities and objective military criteria, to finalise the details of the structure, including geographic locations of command structure headquarters and other elements, so that final decisions are taken by Defence Ministers in June 2003.69

67 68 69

“Lift-off for the Response Force”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 27 November 2002 ibid Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at:



At the highest military-strategic level, the new command structure will have two commands, one for operations and one for the functional transformation of Alliance forces. The Strategic Command for Operations will be headquartered in Belgium and will be supported by two Joint Force Commands able to generate a land-based Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) headquarters and a more limited standing joint headquarters from which a sea-based CJTF headquarters capability can be drawn. In the new structure, the strategic commander for operations will be responsible for the preparation and conduct of all operations, including defence of NATO territory previously under the responsibility of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic (SACLANT). The Strategic Command for Transformation will be headquartered in the US, but with a presence in Europe. It will be responsible for the modernisation of forces and training through the transformation of military capabilities, reducing the capability gap and promoting the interoperability of Alliance forces. NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) command will focus on the near-term operational requirements, while the Strategic Command for Transformation will focus on the longer-term shaping of the force. A press release, issued by the US administration, went on to state:
ACT [Allied Command Transformation] will develop concepts and doctrine; design and conduct experiments; identify future force requirements; supervise military education and training; and set and assess unit standards for jointness and transformation. We expect the command to begin functioning by the summer of 2003. There will be some realignment of responsibilities between SHAPE and ACT. Allied Command Transformation will be NATO’s means of synchronising efforts across our national programs and forces to create a more effective alliance fighting team. ACT will increase interoperability by ensuring that as transformation accelerates in the US and other militaries, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are able to find solid, creative solutions to the operational challenges of coalition warfare against the new threats.70

A final decision on the full details of the new command structure is expected to be taken at the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting in June 2003, and implemented by 2004. 4. Defence against Terrorism

The concept of ‘homeland defence’ has formed a large part of the campaign against international terrorism which has dominated security policy and thinking since September


White House Press Release, “NATO: Building new capabilities for new challenges”, 21 November 2002



2001. The inclusion of measures to improve NATO’s capabilities in this area is fundamental to any new role for the Alliance. The Prague Summit Declaration of 21 November 2002, stated:
[We] endorse the agreed military concept for defence against terrorism. The concept is part of a package of measures to strengthen NATO’s capabilities in this area, which also includes improved intelligence sharing and crisis response arrangements… To combat terrorism effectively, our response must be multi-faceted and comprehensive. We are committed, in co-operation with our partners, to fully implement the Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) Action Plan for the improvement of civil preparedness against possible attacks against the civilian population with chemical, biological or radiological (CBR) agents. We will enhance our ability to support, when requested, to help national authorities to deal with the consequences of terrorist attacks, including attacks with CBRN against critical infrastructure, as foreseen in the CEP Action Plan.71


Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons

Prompted by the increasing prominence of the terrorist threat and current international events, NATO leaders endorsed at Prague the implementation of a number of measures intended to counter the nuclear, biological and chemical threat. The Prague Summit Declaration stated:
[We] endorse the implementation of five nuclear, biological and chemical weapons defence initiatives, which will enhance the Alliance’s defence capabilities against weapons of mass destruction: a Prototype Deployable NBC Analytical Laboratory; a Prototype NBC Event Response team; a virtual Centre of Excellence for NBC Weapons Defence; a NATO Biological and Chemical Defence Stockpile and a Disease Surveillance system. We reaffirm our commitment to augment and improve expeditiously our NBC defence capabilities.72

A press release issued by the US Department of Defense noted:
In February [2002], NATO accelerated work on NBC defenses. The idea was to pool NBC capabilities from many member nations. This pooling of expertise, equipment and training created a multinational capability that didn’t exist before…The Deployable NBC Laboratory and the NBC Event Response Team



Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at: Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at:



are the tangible results of this process. NATO will test the prototypes over the next year…but the prototype teams can be used now. If an NBC event happens, the prototype team is available for deployment…The NBC event team would be used to asses the effects of an NBC event and advise NATO commanders on how to mitigate them. Also, the team would have the ability to maintain communications with other technical experts for advice. The laboratory is a small setup that can be flown to areas of operations. Personnel assigned to the lab would be able to investigate and collect suspect samples and quickly and accurately identify them. Part and parcel of these initiatives are a disease surveillance system, a chemicalbiological defense “virtual” stockpile and NBC training. The disease surveillance system would collect battlefield information and correlate it with information from other areas. Personnel would then be able to advise NATO commanders of a biological outbreak. The virtual stockpile allows NATO commanders to be able to get antibiotics, vaccines or treatments where they are needed quickly.73

Defence against NBC threats are niche capabilities that the newest NATO member states, in particular, are keen to contribute to, in the absence of significant effective military forces. An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly commented:
Some nations, including the alliance’s three newest members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, are keen to offer personnel and equipment for the initiatives and see it as a key niche of expertise to enhance overall alliance capability.74

Five exercises are expected to be undertaken in 2003 in order to test the various elements of the NBC concept before a final validation phase is conducted during Exercise Allied Action in Turkey in November 2003. 6. Missile Defence

The Strategic Concept agreed at the Washington Summit in 1999 first outlined the Alliance’s formal position on missile defence. Paragraph 56 of the Strategic Concept stated:
The Alliance's defence posture against the risks and potential threats of the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery must continue to be improved, including through work on missile defences. […] The aim in doing so will be to further reduce operational vulnerabilities of NATO military forces



US Department of Defense Press Release, “NATO showcases new nuclear, chemical and biological defenses”, 21 November 2002 “Outlining NBC defence measures”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 27 November 2002, p.3



while maintaining their flexibility and effectiveness despite the presence, threat or use of NBC weapons.75

As a result of the 1999 Strategic Concept, a number of national, multinational and NATO-wide Theatre Missile Defence (TMD)76 programmes and exercises have been pursued. At the Alliance level this work has focused on the potential for deploying, by 2010, a TMD capability on top of the planned Air Command and Control System (ACCS). The ACCS is an extended air defence system, which is intended to be fielded later this decade as a replacement for the NADGE integrated air defence system. In August 2001 feasibility study contracts were let to two transatlantic consortia. With additional analysis from the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A), a decision is expected to be taken in 2004 on taking this project forward into a second phase. Since 11 September 2001, however, attitudes to missile defence as a strategic Alliance capability have changed. Robert Bell, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Support, outlined in a speech in June 2002:
Last Fall, standing with President Bush in the Rose Garden only a few weeks after September 11th, the Secretary General of NATO, Lord Robertson, said that “defence against ballistic missiles is here to stay”. And just two months ago, when the Secretary General was back in Washington…he said in an important speech to the Council on Foreign Relations that NATO needs to give “new emphasis” to missile defence, together with other critically-needed warfighting capabilities, at its historic summit in Prague this November.77

Following the formal end of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in June 2002, an opportunity for NATO allies to participate in the development of a multi-layered strategic ballistic missile defence system was offered by the United States. An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly outlined:
The USA has presented NATO allies with a comprehensive invitation to help build, host and share the protection of a multi-layered ballistic missile defence system up to and including the strategic level previously opposed by Europeans…the broad options for allies to participate [were mapped out]. The


76 77

The Alliance’s Strategic Concept, 23 April 1999. A copy of this document is available online at: Theatre Missile Defence refers to the missile defence capabilities used to protect forces in the field. Speech by Robert Bell, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Support on 3 June 2002. A copy of his speech is available online at:



options ranged from simple political support to hosting a radar site to taking part in the industrial development or production phases.78

The article went on to comment:
There is a growing belief that the resources of terrorists should not be underestimated and Bush’s argument that preparing a defence against missile attacks is prudent has struck a chord with allies. Washington has pressed on, doing away with the title NMD and adjusting the concept to include an umbrella of protection for “allies and friends”.79

In a speech to the Foreign Policy Centre on 12 November 2002, the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, commented:
NATO is already examining the threat to deployed forces from ballistic missiles. It also needs to look carefully at the emerging threat to the territory and population centres of NATO nations…as the threat grows, and technologies develop, there may come a day when we need to decide to add a further capability to our current range of responses by acquiring missile defences for the UK and Europe as a whole, in the way the US has already decided.80

Conclusions reached at the Prague Summit confirmed the decision to broaden the focus of the Alliance from TMD towards the US concept of strategic missile defence as outlined in July 2002. The Prague Summit Declaration of 21 November 2002, stated:
[We will] examine the options for addressing the increasing missile threat to Alliance territory, forces and population centres in an effective and efficient way through an appropriate mix of political and defence efforts, along with deterrence. Today we initiated a new NATO Missile Defence feasibility study to examine options for protecting Alliance territory, forces and population centres against the full range of missile treats, which we will continue to assess. Our efforts in this regard will be consistent with the indivisibility of Allied security.81

Many analysts consider that NATO’s current TMD feasibility studies will be incorporated into the larger missile defence study announced at Prague.

78 79 80


“USA pushes missile defence”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 24 July 2002 ibid Speech by Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon to the Foreign Policy Centre on 12 November 2002. A copy of this speech is available online at: Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at:



However, an article in Defense News commented:
Such a change in scope, however, could mean that two ongoing studies, expected to be concluded in 2003, may not result in a theatre ballistic missile defence (TMD) architecture by 2004, as originally envisaged.82

An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly also suggested:
Given the lag time in the NATO programme, it is too early to predict a link up with US missile defence plans.83


Co-operation with Partners

Working with partners has been on NATO’s agenda since the end of the Cold War and has emerged as one of the Alliance’s principal strengths. One of the main aims of the Prague summit was to deepen and enhance the relationships that exist between NATO and non-members. NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson commented during a speech to the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Defence and Common Security Policy on 8 October 2002:
Enhancing NATO’s Partnerships will be another priority. The Partnership for Peace programme, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Mediterranean Dialogue have all served us well in the past. If we continue to develop these mechanisms, they will serve us better still in the future…This is also true for NATO-Russia relations. If the Prague Summit will not showcase any grandiose new initiative, it is simply because we already launched a new NATO-Russia relationship five months ago in Rome. Since the Rome Summit, the working atmosphere between NATO and Russia has constantly improved. This gives us the confidence that we can build further on this momentum.84


Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and Partnership for Peace (PfP)

The EAPC evolved out of the North Atlantic Co-operation Council in 1997. This reflected NATO’s desire to build a security forum that matched the success of cooperation under PfP and the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The new body also broadened its focus to incorporate not only former adversaries but also traditionally neutral countries such as Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

82 83 84

“NATO allies rethink ballistic missile defence”, Defense News, 2 December 2002, p.4 “French turnaround on NATO missile defence”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 13 November 2002 Speech by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson to the EU Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights and Defence and Common Security Policy, 8 October 2002



The EAPC is now the overarching framework for NATO’s co-operation with its partners from Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It brings together 27 partners with NATO member states for regular discussions on issues encompassing all aspects of security in the Euro-Atlantic area.85 A two-year EAPC Action Plan provides for long-term consultation and co-operation on regional issues, arms control, proliferation, peacekeeping, defence economic issues, civil emergency planning and scientific and environmental issues. As a multilateral forum, the EAPC also acts as the political framework for the PfP, a programme focusing on bilateral co-operation between NATO and individual partner countries (19+1).86 The basic aims of the PfP programme are to promote transparency in national defence planning and budgets, promote the democratic control of national armed forces and develop the capacity for joint action between forces from partner countries and NATO members in peacekeeping or civil emergency operations. Within the PfP Framework Document there is also a commitment by NATO members to consult bilaterally with any partner country that perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence or security. At the Madrid summit in 1997 steps were taken to enhance PfP by giving partners an operational role. The new arrangements ensured greater decision making opportunities for partner countries, an increased role in planning and the strengthening of political consultation. Participation in the PfP programme has been particularly important to candidate countries involved in the MAP. It has allowed each partner to address its military obligations within the MAP, develop interoperability with NATO forces through joint exercises and restructure its forces and capabilities. a. Measures Adopted at Prague

In the wake of 11 September, discussion at Prague on enhanced co-operation with partner countries was expected to focus primarily on the campaign against terrorism. The Prague Summit Declaration, issued by the North Atlantic Council, stated:
The Euro-Atlantic Council (EAPC) and the Partnership for Peace (PfP) have greatly enhanced security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. We have today decided to upgrade our co-operation with the EAPC/PfP countries. Our political dialogue will be strengthened, and Allies, in consultation with Partners, will, to the maximum extent possible, increase involvement of Partners,



A full list of the 46 members of the EAPC can be located on the NATO website at: There are 27 members of the PfP, all of whom are members of the EAPC. A list is available online at:



as appropriate, in the planning, conduct and oversight of those activities and projects in which they participate and to which they contribute. We have introduced new practical mechanisms, such as Individual Partnership Action Plans, which will ensure a comprehensive, tailored and differentiated approach to the Partnership, and which will allow for support to the reform efforts of Partners. We encourage Partners, including the countries of the strategically important regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia, to take advantage of these mechanisms. We welcome the resolve of Partners to undertake all efforts to combat terrorism, including through the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism. We will also continue to enhance interoperability and defence-related activities, which constitute the core of our partnership. Participation in the PfP and the EAPC could be broadened in the future to include the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina once necessary progress is achieved, including full co-operation with the ICTY.87

The importance of strengthening NATO’s partnerships was highlighted by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in his speech to the Prague Summit. He stated:
Partnership has been one of the Alliance’s great successes, encouraging defence reform, transparency, and stabilisation to NATO’s east and south…We must commit ourselves to adapting our relations with our Partners to reflect the challenges of the new security environment. This will involve identifying areas where practical co-operation can make a difference– for example, in countering the terrorist threat, promoting security sector reform and improving border control.88


NATO-Russia Council (NRC)

The NATO-Russia Council was formally established at the Rome summit on 28 May 2002 in response to changes in the security environment post-11 September. Regarded by many commentators as marking a new chapter in NATO-Russia relations, the new body brings together all NATO allies and Russia (a forum that is currently referred to as ‘NATO at 20’) to work as equal partners in areas of common interest and in addressing future security challenges. The Rome Declaration built on the goals and principles first laid down in the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Co-operation and Security, which established the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC). Unlike the PJC, where all issues were decided among the NATO allies before discussions took place with Russia, the NRC will work from a position of consensus.



Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at: Speech by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to the Prague Summit, 21 November 2002



The work remit of the NRC will continue to reflect those areas of interest identified under the Founding Act, although co-operation is expected to intensify in a number of key areas. These include the campaign against terrorism, crisis management, nonproliferation, arms control, theatre missile defence, sea search and rescue, military-tomilitary co-operation and civil emergencies. Russia has no right of veto in the NRC and NATO reserves the right to keep discussion and decision-making on contentious or central issues, such as enlargement and collective security, among Alliance members. The establishment of the NRC has been met with both optimism and scepticism from analysts and the media. An analysis by Mark Galeotti in Jane’s Intelligence Review stated “some observers see this as the beginning of the end for NATO as a distinctive western alliance”.89 He went on to argue:
Russia is still very much the junior partner in the Council…Putin will have to accept that the Alliance with which he is now publicly identified will continue to enact a range of policies that are against stated Russian national interests. Furthermore, there are concerns in Moscow that closer alignment with the West will undermine relations with China.90

The Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta is reported in Jane’s Intelligence Review, as having stated that “Russia’s relations with the Alliance, even in the format of the ‘20’ look like a sham”.91 In contrast, Andrew Cottey, writing in the January 2002 CER Bulletin, has suggested:
The new Russia-North Atlantic Council…should become a useful forum for practical co-operation on matters of common concern– such as counter-terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and research on missile defence. NATO should also state that the door to Russian membership remains open for the longer term.92

At the first meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on 28 May 2002 question marks were placed over the future success of the Council after the Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, announced that:

89 90 91 92

“The View from the Kremlin” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002 p.15 “The View from the Kremlin” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002 p.16 ibid Andrew Cottey “NATO’s Big Bang” CER Bulletin, Issue 21 January 2002



Russia does not plan to discuss with the Alliance issues that could in any way impose restrictions on the development of Russia’s armed forces.93

With the establishment of the NRC only six months prior to Prague, the summit had little to offer on NATO-Russia relations, aside from a reaffirmation of the commitment to cooperate through the NRC. The Prague Summit Declaration stated:
We welcome the significant achievements of the NATO-Russia Council since the historic NATO-Russia summit meeting in Rome. We have deepened our relationship to the benefit of all the peoples in the Euro-Atlantic area. NATO member states and Russia are working together in the NATO-Russia Council as equal partners, making progress in areas such as peacekeeping, defence reform, WMD proliferation, search and rescue, civil emergency planning, theatre missile defence and the struggle against terrorism, toward our shared goal of a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe. In accordance with the Founding Act and the Rome Declaration, we are determined to intensify and broaden our co-operation with Russia.94


Mediterranean Dialogue

The Mediterranean Dialogue was launched in 1994 as a political discussion forum aimed at contributing to regional security and stability and achieving mutual understanding. Its work is organised through an annual Work Programme which focuses on practical cooperation in security and defence-related areas, information, civil emergency planning and science. Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia joined the Dialogue initially, with Algeria becoming a participant in February 2000. The Dialogue was intended to complement similar initiatives conducted by the EU and OSCE. In line with the agreements reached at Prague on the EAPC and PfP, NATO allies also confirmed their commitment to enhanced co-operation with their Mediterranean partners and with specific reference to terrorism-related activities. The Prague Summit Declaration stated:
We reaffirm that security in Europe is closely linked to security and stability in the Mediterranean. We therefore decide to upgrade substantially the political and practical dimensions of our Mediterranean Dialogue as an integral part of the Alliance’s co-operative approach to security. In this respect, we encourage intensified practical co-operation and effective interaction on security matters of common concern, including terrorism-related issues, as appropriate, where

93 94

“Russia’s NATO romance seems long over” The Russia Journal, Issue No. 22 14 June 2002 Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at:



NATO can provide added value. We reiterate that the Mediterranean Dialogue and other international efforts, including the EU Barcelona process95, are complementary and mutually reinforcing.96

Enhancement is expected to include a greater number of co-operative activities such as conferences, high-level visits, training and military exercises. 4. NATO-Ukraine Commission

Ukraine established co-operative relations with NATO in 1991, following the break-up of the Soviet Union. It became a participant in the North Atlantic Co-operation Council (succeeded by the EAPC in 1997) and in 1994 joined the PfP programme, becoming the first country of the Commonwealth of Independent States to do so. In 1997 co-operation with NATO was intensified with the signing of the NATO-Ukraine Charter on a Distinctive Partnership. The Charter established the NATO-Ukraine Commission as a forum for discussion of issues of common interest and ways of improving co-operation. Conflict prevention, crisis management, peace support and humanitarian operations are high on the Commission’s agenda. The Charter also provides the framework for NATO assistance as Ukraine continues its efforts towards economic and democratic reform. In the weeks prior to the Prague Summit the work of the NATO-Ukraine Commission was overshadowed by speculation that the Ukrainian President had approved the export of a radar system to Iraq in contravention of a UN arms embargo. Concern over the allegations was reflected in the Prague statement by the North Atlantic Council on NATO’s continuing relationship with Ukraine. The Prague Summit Declaration stated:
We remain committed to strong NATO-Ukraine relations under the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership. We note Ukraine’s determination to pursue full EuroAtlantic integration, and encourage Ukraine to implement all the reforms necessary, including as regards enforcement of export controls, to achieve this objective. The new Action Plan that we are adopting with Ukraine is an important step forward; it identifies political, economic, military and other reform area where Ukraine is committed to make further progress and where NATO will continue to assist. Continued progress in deepening and enhancing our relationship requires an unequivocal Ukrainian commitment to the values of the Euro-Atlantic community.97




More information on the EU Barcelona Process is available online at: Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at: ibid




European Union

NATO has been taking steps to strengthen the security and defence role of its European allies since the end of the Cold War. At the Berlin summit in 1996 NATO members adopted an agreement which allowed NATO assets and capabilities to be made available for operations undertaken by European allies as part of the Petersberg tasks. Conducted under the political auspices of the Western European Union (WEU), these were aimed at crisis response and peacekeeping rather than collective defence. The principle of allowing European access to NATO assets was taken a step further at the Washington summit in 1999. Under the ‘Berlin-Plus’ arrangements, the European Union would have ready access to NATO collective assets and capabilities for crisis management operations, where the Alliance as a whole chose not to be engaged. In December 1999, at the European Council summit in Helsinki, EU leaders also adopted proposals to develop an EU rapid reaction force by 2003 and take political control of the Petersberg tasks from the WEU. Immediately preceding the Prague Summit, progress on implementing the ‘Berlin-Plus’ proposals remained at a standstill after two years of negotiation. Under the agreement, all NATO members retain a veto over the use of NATO assets if they object to a particular EU operation. Reservations were initially held by Turkey, a non-EU NATO member, over the lack of participation of non-EU members of NATO in EU crisis management decision-making. The Ankara Text proposed in December 2001 outlined measures that would allow Turkey a role in EU crisis management operations when NATO infrastructure and assets would be used. However, Greece had raised objections over the text, placing negotiations in a situation of deadlock. Efforts to overcome the impasse over the EU use of NATO assets formed a main part of the relationship-building agenda at Prague. Prior to the Summit, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson had stated:
NATO-EU relations...that is the area where momentum is currently lacking -- and has been lacking for some time…let there be no mistake: The progress we have made so far has been largely made by improvisation. These achievements could all disappear in a second, if we cannot "lock them in" by putting in place permanent arrangements between NATO and the EU. If we want to realise the full potential of these relations, we must go beyond the status quo and agree on the so-called "Berlin Plus" arrangements…we need to break the current impasse. We need to break it because it affects the credibility of both institutions. How can we confidently speak of a new NATO-EU relationship, when this relationship cannot be institutionalised? And how can we argue in favour of more and better defence spending and improved crisis management capabilities, if NATO and the EU are perceived as being blocked over essentially procedural issues? It is therefore essential that the participation issue is resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to all. Simply put, we have to find the right balance between "assured access" to NATO assets for the EU-members, and "assured



participation" in the EU political-military decision process for non-EU Allies. I do think this goal is within reach, even if some of our member countries still have to walk the extra mile to achieve it.98

An article in European Report suggested on 9 October 2002:
Progress is being made on ending the deadlock between Greece and Turkey which has been preventing an agreement with NATO over access to the Alliance’s assets…Diplomats said that a deal could be announced at the NATO summit in Prague on November 22.99

Despite optimistic predictions, however, the Prague Summit saw little progress made on the EU-NATO relationship. The North Atlantic Council concluded:
NATO and the European Union share common strategic interests. We remain strongly committed to the decisions made at the Washington Summit and subsequent Ministerial meetings, in order to enhance NATO-EU co-operation. The success of our co-operation has been evident in our concerted efforts in the Balkans to restore peace and create the conditions for prosperous and democratic societies. Events on and since 11 September 2001 have underlined further the importance of greater transparency and co-operation between our two organisations on questions of common interests relating to security, defence and crisis management, so that crises can be met with the most appropriate military response and effective crisis management ensured. We remain committed to making the progress needed on all the various aspects of our relationship, noting the need to find solutions satisfactory to all Allies on the issue of participation by non-EU European Allies, in order to achieve a genuine strategic partnership.100


99 100

Speech by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson to the EU Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights and Defence and Common Security Policy, 8 October 2002 “Hopes rise of EU-NATO deal by end of November”, European Report, 9 October 2002. Prague Summit Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government, 21 November 2002. A full copy of the declaration is available online at:




Will NATO Deliver?

In the words of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, the Prague Summit was a “transformation summit”. For other observers and analysts, Prague represented the defining moment for the future of NATO and a test of the political will and commitment of NATO’s leaders towards the Alliance. The achievements of the Prague Summit have been regarded by some as an historic step forward. However, the ability of NATO’s member states to deliver on their rhetoric will be put to the test over the coming year. NATO’s future as a cohesive military alliance or merely a political ‘talking shop’ is at stake.


The Implications of Enlargement
Status of the Accession States

The expansion of NATO to 26 members has provoked mixed reactions. For an indicator of the success of enlargement, the progress made by each of the seven new members with its MAP commitments over the next year and a half will be crucial. As RUSI pointed out in its November 2002 RUSI Newsbrief:
A key question is whether NATO will be enfeebled by accepting countries with inferior military capabilities and relatively high levels of societal corruption. Moreover, there is some justifiable concern that by accepting candidate countries in their current condition, the allies will lose any leverage to push through further reforms. While the three Visegrad countries have made some improvements since 1997, the pace of military reform has been sluggish, particularly in Hungary.101

For some analysts, the contribution of the new members to military capabilities and operations alone will be a benchmark against which success is measured. In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt in the week preceding the Prague Summit, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson sought to pre-empt this issue:
While it is true that the new members will not bring vast military resources or finances to NATO, they have specialised capabilities that are very important. Most of these countries have experience in protection against biological and chemical weapons, which many current NATO countries have already given up.102

101 102

“Can NATO be rejuvenated?”, RUSI Newsbrief, November 2002 “Enlargement will strengthen NATO”, die Welt, 18 November 2002





NATO membership was regarded as a key foreign policy priority for the Bulgarian government for many years and its accession was considered probable by most analysts, despite the shortcomings in Bulgaria’s process of reform. Progress has been made on Bulgaria’s legal obligations under the MAP. A Confidential Information Protection Law has been passed, while amendments to an Arms and Dual Use Goods Trade Law, putting in place stronger export controls, are currently pending parliamentary approval.103 Progress on military reform remains a challenge in Bulgaria, however. Frequent changes in the post of civilian defence minister and an ongoing debate over political control of the military have slowed the reform process down. The country also has a legacy of large, conscripted armed forces and vast quantities of equipment which is becoming increasingly outdated and fails to reach NATO standards of interoperability. As part of its MAP obligations, Bulgaria has therefore earmarked 3% of GDP for defence spending and has pledged to dispose of obsolete Soviet-era equipment by 2004, and to reduce its troop numbers by 30-40% to 45,000 personnel by 2004.104 The first round of compulsory discharges was undertaken in 2002, with a further round expected in 2003. An assessment of Bulgaria, in the July 2002 edition of Jane’s Intelligence Review, suggested that:
the government has allocated most funds for the immediate personnel costs associated with force reduction…only after 2003 will Bulgaria be able to invest significantly in modernising its equipment to achieve interoperability with NATO forces.105

Limited progress in the reform of civil and political institutions in Bulgaria and the slow pace of economic development are also considered to be areas that will dominate accession negotiations over the next eighteen months. A report on NATO enlargement by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, prior to the Prague summit, argued:
As a general matter we found that those countries with strong assets to contribute militarily– both in the form of troops, weapons, or strategic location (specifically Romania and Bulgaria)– have more serious work remaining to develop and modernise their democratic institutions.106

Bulgaria has, however, shown its willingness to participate as an international partner. The country opened its airspace to NATO during the Kosovo conflict, Bulgarian troops

103 104

105 106

“Bulgaria’s Regional Credentials” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002, p.15 Information taken from: Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC 914 24 July 2002, p.27 and “Bulgaria’s Regional Credentials” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002, p.15 ibid United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.2



have been seconded to the NATO-led peacekeeping forces in Bosnia (SFOR) and in Kosovo (KFOR) and they have supported the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Bulgaria also supported the US in Operation Enduring Freedom by providing bases and access to its airspace. Despite the lack of progress in reform to date, Bulgaria is considered by many analysts to be geo-strategically important to NATO, in view of its location on the Black Sea and the stabilising role that it plays in the Balkan region. For many, this factor overrides any political concerns over the pace of domestic reform. The Daily Telegraph argued in September 2002 that:
Romania and Bulgaria, whose economic development and political processes are still open to question, are likely to be admitted because of their strategic importance on the Black Sea.107

Andrew Cottey, writing in the January 2002 edition of the CER Bulletin, expressed the view that:
Bulgaria’s and Romania’s strategic locations on Europe’s south-eastern fringe makes them essential allies in the battles against terrorism, weapons proliferation and organised crime.108



Despite a recent change of government in Estonia, there has been continuity of support for NATO membership between administrations. Since the last wave of enlargement, Estonia has progressed well with its MAP commitments In military terms, Estonia’s armed forces are small and have thus far continued to focus on territorial defence, a psychological legacy of the Cold War. The recent completion of a force structure review to 2015 has, however, re-focused its military priorities. The government has expressed its intention to allocate 2% of GDP to defence expenditure, to procure NATO compatible equipment and also to focus on developing a number of specialist capabilities including mine countermeasures and decontamination. In common with all NATO candidates, Estonia’s full participation in the PfP programme has allowed it to demonstrate its willingness to engage in NATO operations. Specifically, Estonia has contributed troops to both KFOR and SFOR. However, some analysts have argued that, in view of their size and location, the Baltic States do little to improve the military strength of the Alliance. An analysis in Jane’s Defence Weekly, in May 2002 argued:

107 108

“Nato’s big push east will take in up to seven states” The Daily Telegraph, 27 September 2002, p.13 Andrew Cottey “NATO’s Big Bang” CER Bulletin, Issue 21 January 2002



Membership of the three Baltic States is riding on historical impetus and a sense of Cold War guilt and their admission will add no real defence benefits to the Alliance unless the security relationship with Russia evolves.109

The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations also expressed concern that Estonia’s commitment to NATO might diminish following its anticipated accession to the EU in 2004.110 c. Latvia

The economic and political transition of Latvia has been relatively untroubled, with the establishment of a strong economy and free and contested elections. Public support for Latvian membership in NATO is approximately 60%, although the government has set a goal of 70% support.111 One of Latvia’s largest problems in terms of its MAP obligations remains the integration of the sizeable ethnic Russian population into society. In 1993 the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) established an observer mission in the country to assist in the social integration of some 700,000 people who had become stateless with the demise of the Soviet Union. Although initially slow, sufficient progress was made for the OSCE to close its mission in 2001. Nonetheless, it is recognised that there is still progress to be made. With respect to its military, Latvia has been slow to push through reform. In May 2002 legislation was passed by the Latvian Parliament, requiring 2% of GDP to be devoted to military spending from 2003 to 2008. This will entail a 43% increase in defence spending, which many analysts have viewed with scepticism, calling for Latvia’s compliance to be monitored.112 The restructuring of the defence budget is also expected. As the Commons Defence Select Committee outlined in its report on The Future of NATO:
In 2001, 89% [of the defence budget] was spent on personnel and operational costs and only 11% on investment; the intention is to increase expenditure on investment, procurement and infrastructure to 33% by 2005 and to 38% by 2008.113

109 110




“Time for NATO to Adapt” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 22 May 2002, p.21 United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.10 United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.12 United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.12 Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC914 24 July 2002, p.25



The committee also pointed out:
The number of land forces will be reduced, in order to streamline administration, although the total force size will remain steady…work is under way to integrate the General Staff and the Ministry of Defence. There are no plans to end conscription; conscripts are not deployed overseas and therefore do not participate in peacekeeping operations; all deployable forces will be professionals.114

Like Estonia, Latvia is focusing on developing niche capabilities in the areas of mine countermeasures, explosives disposal and naval diving. The two countries are also participating in a joint air surveillance radar procurement project. In the international arena Latvia has contributed to KFOR and SFOR, and in the wake of 11 September it agreed to double its contingent in the Balkans so that US and NATO assets could be freed up for use in Afghanistan. d. Lithuania

Like the other two Baltic States, Lithuania is meeting its overall MAP requirements. Reform and modernisation in the defence sector has been the most significant, with the government pursuing investment in personnel, the creation and training of a professional corps, the procurement of NATO interoperable equipment and the improvement in public perception of the armed forces. Forces have been streamlined significantly, with the intention of introducing a battalion sized unit for NATO Article 5 missions by 2003 and a rapid reaction brigade by 2006.115 The contribution of Special Forces and medical services is also part of the agenda. At present, a Lithuanian medical team is deployed in Afghanistan as part of ISAF. The Lithuanian government has committed itself to allocating 2% of GDP to defence expenditure up to 2004, although it has also been acknowledged that this level of spending may be sustained beyond that date. Despite these advances in military reform, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations argued in its report that: “Operationally, Lithuania will make but a modest military contribution to NATO”. Instead, they commented that “Lithuania’s key asset for NATO is its role in securing stability in the Baltics”.116

114 115


Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC914 24 July 2002, p.26 “Preparing for the Newcomers” European Defence, 6 August 2002. Available online at United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.9





Romania’s failure to gain membership in the last round of enlargement in 1999 gave the country renewed impetus to push through reforms and establish a strong case for membership a second time around. Levels of interoperability between the Romanian armed forces and NATO is high. Since the early 1990’s, Romania has been involved extensively in international operations (both NATO and UN-led), in order to demonstrate its credibility as a security provider. Troops have been deployed to Kuwait, Rwanda, Somalia, Angola, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and more recently to ISAF in Afghanistan. Romania also supported the US in Operation Enduring Freedom with the provision of 500 troops, bases and access to airspace. As an indication of Romania’s willingness to participate internationally, the US, UK, Germany and Italy all have military co-operation advisers in Romania’s Defence Ministry. Despite Romania’s extensive level of international participation, the Commons Defence Select Committee noted in their report, The Future of NATO, in July 2002 that:
Reform of the armed forces has really only got properly under way in the last two years, with a focus upon producing mobile, deployable units and reducing the number of conscripts…the armed forces number 98,000, with a plan to reduce them to 75,000.117

Plans to achieve interoperability with NATO are also evident at the equipment procurement level. In May 2002, the Romanian parliament gave the go-ahead for the purchase of two UK frigates, while plans are on the table to upgrade the air force’s MiG21 aircraft, modernise communications technology and procure a number of Hawk missiles. In order to fund these proposals, on 5 April 2002 the Supreme Council on National Defence approved the government’s action plan for accession. The plan stipulated that 2.4% of GDP would be allocated to the defence budget over the next five years.118 Although military reforms have been far-reaching, progress in developing civil and political institutions in the country has been slow. The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations stated in their report:
Corruption remains a pervasive and serious problem in Romania. Although not unique to their post-communist government, we were struck by a lack of resolve to tackle the problem head on…Romanian officials and other observers told us of the deteriorating effect of what goes on behind the scenes to influence

117 118

Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC 914 24 July 2002, p.27 “Romania gears up to join ‘new’ NATO” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002, p.12



government decisions, the troubling influence that business connections can have on government, and the severe corruption of the judicial system.119

The Committee also suggested:
Much work has to be done to reform its civil institutions…reforming the process for international adoptions before the senate considers potential Romania membership in NATO is essential.120

An article in Jane’s Intelligence Review in July 2002 argued:
The government has stepped up domestic reforms, with the left of center government privatizing key industries and following broadly responsible economic policies in order to demonstrate that the days of reform-ambivalence are over.121

However, in common with Bulgaria, the progress of Romania’s reform process is seen by many observers as less significant than the overriding political and geo-strategic factors that Romania’s membership of NATO would bring. In an article in the Autumn 2002 edition of NATO’s Nations, Romania’s Prime Minister, Adrian Năstase, commented:
On 13 February 2002, the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, together with their colleagues from Romania and Bulgaria, jointly endorsed the vision of NATO enlargement expressed by the US President George W. Bush…and stressed the need for a geographically balanced enlargement of NATO. They also underlined that one of the central aims of the enlargement should be to extend the zone of stability and security to south-eastern Europe. NATO enlargement towards this region will strengthen the military capabilities of the Alliance and enhance its ability to counter terrorism as well as illegal migration and trafficking in drugs, arms and human beings.122



The status of Slovakia in its candidacy for NATO membership had been the most volatile. The outcome of the September 2002 elections was seen as a defining moment in the country’s hopes for accession at Prague. Although former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar’s party (the HZDS) emerged from the election on 21 September as the largest


120 121 122

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.4 ibid “Romania gears up to join ‘new’ NATO” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002, p.12 Adrian Năstase, Prime Minister of Romania, “Contribution and Performance Count” NATO’s Nations, Vol.47, No. 3/2002



single party, it was unable to form a governing coalition due to the lack of support from potential partners. Four centre-right parties that back Slovakia’s integration into the EU and NATO, a policy not shared by Meciar, won 78 of the 150 seats in Parliament. With little hope of Slovakia joining NATO under Vladimir Meciar, the election result paved the way for membership at Prague. There has been progress in reform of the military and civil institutions. A Comprehensive Defence Review undertaken in 2001 established specific planning and budget systems through to 2010. The plan allocated funding for the modernisation or disposal of military equipment and sought to reduce the size of the military from 41,500 to 24,500 by 2006, end conscription, establish professional armed forces and develop rapidly deployable forces for multilateral operations. Defence expenditure is expected to remain at 1.9% of GDP until 2006, after which there will be a small increase to 2%.123 Slovakia currently has troops deployed as part of KFOR and ISAF. Although there has been significant reform within the civil institutions, concern still remains at the levels of corruption within the Slovakian government. g. Slovenia

Of the ten candidates for NATO membership, Slovenia is the one country that had long been deemed ready for accession. The country has a strong free market economy and a stable democracy which many analysts consider appealing to NATO in terms of stability for the Balkan region. However, in contrast to the progress of reform in civil and political institutions, progress in implementing reform in the defence sector has been slow. Defence spending is not a priority, with 1.51% of GDP currently allocated to the defence budget. There are plans to increase this figure to 1.6% by 2007 and then 2% in 2008. However, many believe that this target will not be reached, as there is little prioritisation of spending. Most of the defence budget is focused on providing effective personnel rather than providing or modernising military equipment to NATO standards. As the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations pointed out:
Of the additional funds it [Slovenia] is devoting to defence spending, it chose to spend millions on a private aircraft rather than on upgrading its military readiness.124



Information from the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.7 and from Defence Select Committee The Future of NATO, HC914 24 July 2002, p.28 United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Report on NATO Enlargement, 30 August 2002, p.3



Slovenia has deployed a small contingent to both SFOR and KFOR. 2. Military Effectiveness

The greatest criticism of enlargement centres on the detrimental effect it may have on military effectiveness and decision making. An article in The Independent summed up the concerns:
It remains unclear whether, on a practical level, an alliance of 26 nations that takes decisions by consensus will be able to agree on missions for a NATO response force. Opinions on this are divided because, with just 19 countries, NATO’s decision making during the Kosovo campaign was tortuous. The seven newcomers may reduce military cohesion since only two have much military hardware. Most officials expect most work to be done informally in the corridors before going to the ruling North Atlantic Council. One diplomat said “At least there is one dominant player in NATO– the US– which can usually whip the others into line”.125

In much of the debate by analysts and the media, military effectiveness is discussed in terms of the need for consensual decision making at the political level within NATO. However, military effectiveness of the Alliance is also linked to several other issues, including capabilities and interoperability, spending and training within the accession states. It is the impact that the addition of seven new members will have on these issues, and on the decision making structure, that will prove decisive. a. Political Decision Making Structure

The problem of consensual decision making with an Alliance of 26 members has been widely acknowledged as an issue within NATO itself. Consequently, the enlargement decision made at Prague was closely tied to a radical streamlining of the bureaucracy inside NATO Headquarters, in order to achieve effective decision making. More executive power was vested in the Secretary General and the Alliance’s 467 committees were reduced by 30%, while meeting formalities were also eliminated to gain more flexibility. However, some observers consider that reforms of the internal decision making structure need to go further than this, in view of the potential for divergence of individual interests within the Alliance. An article in The Financial Times summed up this concern:
The biggest difficulty is that what used to unite NATO members is now what divides them– the perception of global threats and how to deal with them. In the


“Can NATO reinvent itself as a powerful force in the modern world?”, The Independent, 21 November 2002



cold war there were transatlantic squabbles aplenty but no one really differed on the scale or the character of the Soviet threat, or how to confront it.126

In a speech on 5 December 2002, the Head of NATO Policy Planning, Michael Ruhle, outlined some potential changes for the future:
Future changes could involve having troop-contributing nations manage a given military operation. Although this might appear contrary to NATO's traditional rule by consensus, it need not be. The idea of 'constructive abstention,'– that countries do not immediately work with others but have no problems with others working together– is an idea that will inevitably become part of NATO decision making. This may put NATO in the position of becoming a "tool box," or springboard, by which temporary "coalitions of willing" member countries organise to tackle a given security issue. I think the time has come to reconcile this “tool box” idea with the need for continuing political cohesion. Such a streamlined NATO, I believe, could cope with a lot of new challenges. I believe it could arguably cope with such new and very different ideas, such as preemption.127

The concept of having a committee or administrative council, similar to the UN Security Council, to take responsibility for the main decision making process has also been mooted by US Senator Christopher Dodd, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, he commented:
It should be left up to NATO to decide who would be on the council or what their powers would be, but…it would have to include the U.S., Britain, France and Germany to be workable. [However] if NATO becomes ensnared in the kind of political wrangling that has come to characterize the UN, the U.S. is likely to move even further down the path of unilateralism.128


Capabilities, Interoperability and Spending

As outlined in the section above on the status of the accession states, all seven proposed members have identified capability improvements and potential spending increases over the next few years, in an attempt to carry through military reform, acquire NATOstandard assets and achieve interoperability with other Alliance members. In terms of spending, five out of the seven accession states are committed to the 2% of GDP which NATO has set down as a minimum for defence expenditure. Slovakia has expressed its intention to raise defence expenditure from 1.9% to 2% of GDP in 2006, while Slovenia intends to raise defence spending from 1.51% to 2% of GDP by 2008. Even at present levels, these figures place all seven accession states ahead of some NATO

126 127 128

“NATO is not dead but missing in action”, The Financial Times, 21 November 2002 “Initiatives from Prague address new security challenges”, Aerospace Daily, 6 December 2002 “Rapid growth risks NATO effectiveness”, Ottawa Citizen, 2 December 2002



allies, including Germany which allocates 1.5% of GDP to defence, Canada which allocates 1.1% and Spain which spends 1.2% of GDP on defence.129 The acquisition by the new members of capabilities that reflect NATO’s emphasis on outof-area operations and the NRF will also be vital. An article in The Sunday Times commented:
It is not just a matter of how much is spent. Alliance officials remain frustrated at the amount wasted on heavy weaponry more suited to seeing off Soviet tanks than to tracking al-Qaeda fighters through the mountains of the Middle East.130

The focus of many of the accession states on developing further niche capabilities and expertise, such as NBC defence, could, many commentators have observed, provide an opt out for them on spending significant amounts of money on expensive but greatly needed assets such as C4ISTAR131 and strategic airlift. The implementation of both the spending and capability plans of all seven countries, however, will be the greatest test. Assessments, by many analysts, of the progress made by Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic since 1999 have been far from positive. An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly highlighted:
In describing NATO’s dissatisfaction with the country’s defence reforms since joining the alliance in 1999, [Deputy Defence Minister] Ivancsik said that NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson has told the new Prime Minister that Hungary was nowhere near NATO standards […] NATO sources said Robertson pointed out that Hungary’s performance had significantly declined since the commitments it gave at the time of NATO accession.132

Concerns are high that domestic issues affected by candidates’ accession to the EU will come to dominate the political agenda and shift the emphasis away from fulfilling the spending and capability commitments given to NATO. c. Training

One of the basic aims of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme is to promote the capacity for joint action between forces from partner countries and NATO members in peacekeeping or civil emergency operations. Therefore, as longstanding members of the


130 131


Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (1980-2002). A copy of this document is available online at: “America dwarfs NATO’s new recruits”, The Sunday Times, 24 November 2002 C4ISTAR refers to Command, Control, Communications and Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance capabilities. “Hungary reviews defence to mollify critics”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 7 August 2002



PfP programme, the seven accession states have undertaken a series of joint military exercises with NATO allies over the past few years. In 2003 this activity will be consolidated through a number of major exercises which have been planned. These include NATO war games in Armenia in June, Exercise Allied Action in Turkey in November and a joint NATO-EU exercise which was announced at the Prague summit. 3. NATO’s Open Door Policy

Article 10 of the Washington Treaty maintains an “open door” policy to future waves of enlargement of the Alliance. In its report, The Future of NATO, the Defence Select Committee commented:
NATO should maintain its support and encouragement of all applicants, both those who are invited to become members at Prague and those who are not. This is crucial to ensuring that the countries which are invited to join are not tempted to slow or halt the considerable progress they have made to date and that they come into NATO as planned in 2004 with the maximum achieved. It is equally important that those who are disappointed at Prague are not left with any sense of having been abandoned and that NATO continues to work with them to ensure that they develop into suitable candidates in the medium term.133

In a statement to the House on 25 November 2002, the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, reaffirmed the commitment of the Washington Treaty:
…enlargement will strengthen NATO and make the whole of Europe more secure. Those invitations will not be the last. The United Kingdom will help those who want to join, and who meet the criteria, to succeed in the future.134


Current MAP members

Croatia, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will continue as members of the MAP, which is generally regarded as a fundamental process for democratisation and reform, regardless of the eventual goal of NATO membership. The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, reportedly told the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee in November 2002 that:
Croatia and Albania were both future possible candidates, and that their accessions could be an “engine of change for better in those countries”.135

133 134 135

Defence Select Committee, The Future of NATO, HC 914, 30 July 2002 HC Deb 25 November 2002, c35 “Alliance adapts to new times”, The House Magazine, 18 November 2002, p.46



Many observers consider their involvement in NATO’s PfP programme as a valuable means of promoting military reform and fostering co-operation and interoperability. The ongoing presence of a NATO force in Macedonia is also regarded as essential in consolidating political stability and promoting reform in the Balkan region as a whole. b. Finland and Sweden

The possibility of neutral European countries, such as Finland and Sweden, taking a decision to join NATO within the next few years also continues to be a subject of debate. In early December 2002 the Finnish Minister of Defence, Jan-Erik Enestam, expressed the opinion that:
Finland will have to adopt a position on the question of seeking membership of the NATO alliance during the next couple of years… decisions will have to be made in the next government report on defence and security policy which is due in the year 2004.136

However, public opinion in Finland remains strongly opposed to Finnish membership of NATO, with a recent poll by Gallup Finland suggesting 62% of the public were against the idea.137 The Finnish President, Tarja Halonen, has also rejected the idea, stating that “what Finland really needs is good co-operation between NATO and the European Union”.138 The Swedish government is also against the idea of Swedish membership of the Alliance. In a recent comment to the Swedish Parliament, the Foreign Minister, Anna Lindh, stated:
Non-alignment gives us the freedom to act as we wish in a crisis and we do not have to be bound by our defence expenditures as we would be forced to if we joined NATO.139


Central Asia, the TransCaucasus and Beyond

Analysts have questioned whether future enlargement beyond the borders of Eastern Europe and the South-East Mediterranean is a viable possibility. The NATO-Russia Council has consolidated Russia’s relationship with NATO allies to an unprecedented degree, while the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan and the TransCaucasian states of Armenia and Georgia are all members of the PfP and the EAPC. Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia form the Mediterranean Dialogue countries. At the Prague summit Georgia also submitted

136 137 138


Helsingin Sanomat web site and reported by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 2 December 2002 “Majority of Finns approve of NATO transiting Finland”, Agence France Presse, 11 December 2002 “Finnish President says Finland does not need NATO now”, Nordic Business Report, 17 December 2002 “Swedish Foreign Minister: No reason to join NATO”, Dagens Nyheter, and reported by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 4 December 2002



a formal application for NATO membership. On 13 September 2002 the Georgian Parliament had preemptively approved an army reform plan aimed at preparing the country for NATO entry.140 To many observers, the eventual expansion of NATO to include these countries seems a logical step. President Putin has, however, dismissed suggestions of possible Russian membership of NATO. In an article from the Russian News Agency Interfax Putin is reported to have stated:
For providing Russia's security in itself, I am sure the prospect of full membership of NATO is irrelevant, at least for us.141

Others have noted, however, that further enlargement in this direction and to this degree adds more resonance to the criticism of NATO as a political club rather than a military alliance. China’s formal request at the end of October 2002 for regular bilateral dialogue with NATO has, some argue, come as a result of the Alliance’s increasing politicisation. For others, a constructive relationship between China and NATO is regarded as important to help shape the campaign against terrorism by targeting political and economic instability in the Central Asian states. An article in the International Herald Tribune commented:
China’s outreach to NATO appears to be part of a much larger effort to establish a more constructive and less critical international presence. A more positive assessment would attribute this change in tone to a more confident and mature foreign policy in Beijing. A more cautious view acknowledges such potentially constructive adjustments in Beijing’s outlook but recognises that they may be motivated by tentative and short term interests. Either way, an interesting convergence of sorts is under way between China and Western interests in Central Asia, particularly since the terrorist attacks on the US of 11 September 2001…By working together to bring stability as well as political and economic development to Central Asia, China, Western nations and their partners in the region can counter problems of terrorism and political instability in the area. Cooperating to help establish a more secure and prosperous Central Asian region would bring long term strategic and economic benefits to all involved…142


141 142

“President Shevardnadze is soon to announce Georgia’s bid to join NATO”, Atlantic News, 16 October 2002 “Russia's Putin sees NATO enlargement of no use against terrorism threat” Interfax, 29 November 2002 “A romance worth entering”, International Herald Tribune, 22 November 2002




Future Theatres of Operation

One of the main thrusts of the Prague Summit was to enable the Alliance to contribute to essentially “out-of-area” operations. This was achieved at both the policy level and also through adoption of the proposals for a NATO Response Force. However, for many analysts, the Alliance’s military relevance for the future will be determined by international events over the next six months and the extent to which NATO is engaged. A key question will be the extent to which the US will dictate policy and the willingness of European allies to engage in areas outside of the Alliance’s traditional sphere of influence. An article in The Guardian stated:
Critics fear that it [the NRF] may become an instrument to force European allies to pursue US policies against groups such as al-Qaida or “states of concern” such as North Korea.143

Strobe Talbott, writing in Foreign Affairs, commented:
NATO’s long-term potential is virtually limitless, but its cohesion is at imminent risk. That is largely due to another paradox. The strength of the alliance has always derived from American power, which has never been greater, and from American leadership, which has never been more assertive. Yet these days many allies are feeling not so much led by the United States as bossed around; for them the exercise of American power has become less a source of protection and more a cause of resentment and a problem to be managed.144

The Independent also suggested:
In the long term, NATO faces a classic squeeze if the US fights big campaigns alone or with selected allies only, and the EU realises its ambitions of taking over smaller-scale peacekeeping operations…They key will be whether the US truly engages the new NATO, giving allies a significant stake in campaigns and consulting them before decisions are taken. Anything less will consign the world’s most powerful military alliance to a lingering and long-predicted demise.145

143 144 145

“NATO summit: leaders agree to multinational strike force”, The Guardian, 22 November 2002 Strobe Talbott, “From Prague to Baghdad”, Foreign Affairs, November-December 2002 “Can NATO reinvent itself as a powerful force in the modern world”, The Independent, 21 November 2002





An initial indication of the possible theatres of operation in which a NATO force could operate is reflected in the limited role the Alliance took up in December 2002 in support of the international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. To date, NATO support has consisted of military planning, but is expected to include communications, logistics and intelligence gathering and assessment when the German-Dutch command of ISAF formally takes over in February 2003. The presence of NATO in Afghanistan is symbolic in light of the apparent snub by the US after 11 September and Washington’s determination to pursue a mainly unilateralist approach in tandem with a few key allies in the campaign against terrorism. In the long term, speculation has increased among analysts and the media that NATO could take on a heightened role following the German-Dutch command of ISAF, which will last for six months. Some NATO countries are understood to be pushing for the Alliance to take direct command of ISAF. An article in The Washington Post, commented:
Chief among the reasons why NATO is examining taking command of the peacekeepers in Afghanistan is to avoid disruption of the current system. Many of the countries capable of commanding a large and complex multilateral operation– Britain, for example, followed by Turkey– have already completed six-month rotating turns in command, and few other countries have expressed a willingness to take over. NATO taking over would give the ISAF command structure some longevity and continuity without a disruptive changeover every six months. Also, it would show the Bush administration’s commitment to keep the organisation at the forefront as its main military coalition.146

There is, however, a lack of consensus within NATO on taking up command of ISAF towards the end of 2003, and France is understood to be opposed to any direct NATO role in Afghanistan. This raises questions as to whether the need for unanimity will hinder the ability of NATO to take up these kind of operations in the future. Some analysts have also commented that associating NATO in the long term with operations of this kind would lay the groundwork for the Alliance to become a tool for post-conflict reconstruction and peacekeeping, rather than a body capable of conducting operations at the high-intensity end of the spectrum. Thomas Friedman, writing in The New York Times, suggests, on the other hand, that NATO should pursue this level of operation:


“NATO steps quietly into Afghan mission”, The Washington Post, 12 December 2002



A NATO rapid reaction force?...A NATO expanded to 26 countries is not going to be reacting rapidly anywhere. NATO already has a rapid reaction force, the only one it needs. It’s called the US Army Special Forces. What NATO needs to be relevant is not a new rapid reaction force, it’s a NATO peacekeeping army. We don’t need a NATO that can run. We need a NATO that can sit– in more places than Bosnia and Kosovo. And today there is no more important a place for NATO to sit than between Israel and the Palestinians.147



At the Prague Summit NATO expressed its full support for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. A Declaration by NATO leaders on 21 November 2002 stated:
NATO Allies stand united in their commitment to take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions, with UNSCR 1441. We recall that the Security Council in this resolution has warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violation of its obligations.148

In a series of remarks on 26 December 2002, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson stated his belief that:
NATO is very supportive of the UN process and if that breaks down, clearly there is a moral obligation to NATO to give what support is required.149

Operational involvement in Iraq by NATO as an alliance has not been suggested and would be unlikely to be agreed by the 19 NATO Allies. Political and diplomatic support and military assistance from individual NATO members has, however, been sought by the US. Nonetheless, many observers have suggested that, in order to keep NATO engaged and relevant for the future, a role in any potential conflict with Iraq needs to be found. Strobe Talbott, writing in Foreign Affairs, commented:
The US administration’s success after September 11 in crushing the Taliban stoked the President’s confidence in the ability of the American armed forces, acting largely on their own, to bring down enemy regimes. In planning and executing the campaign in Afghanistan, the administration gave NATO short shrift. Many in Canada, Europe and some in the United States, worry that if the administration is similarly dismissive of NATO when push comes to shove in

147 148 149

Thomas Friedman, “Israel, Palestine and NATO”, The New York Times, 12 December 2002 Prague Summit Statement on Iraq, 21 November 2002 “NATO must back war with Iraq”, The Express, 27 December 2002



Iraq, the alliance might never recover, since NATO must be taken seriously by its strongest member if it is to be taken seriously by anyone.150

One possibility would be a role for NATO in any post-conflict reconstruction and peacekeeping mission. This would be particularly appealing if NATO were successfully to assume command of ISAF at some point in the future.



The commitment to capabilities made at Prague was a decisive step forward for the stalled Defence Capabilities Initiative and a demonstration of solidarity by member states towards underpinning previous rhetoric with practical action. However, to avoid the PCC, NRF and other initiatives becoming a symbolic gesture, both member states and accession states must deliver on defence spending and, in the absence of expenditure increases, spend more effectively. 1. Financial Considerations

Membership of NATO brings with it a number of financial costs. a. Common Costs

NATO operates a common budget, to which all members contribute on an annual basis, which funds those expenditures that reflect the interests of all member countries. These include costs related to maintaining buildings and personnel at NATO Headquarters and a few permanent military commands, maintaining the NATO AWACS force and collective requirements, such as air defence, command and control systems, or Alliance-wide communications systems and the common-funded elements of Peace Support Operations and PfP activities. The common budget is divided into three main parts: the Civil Budget, Military Budget and the NATO Security Investment Programme (NSIP). For 2002 the Civil Budget amounts to approximately €124.7 million (approximately £78.2 million); the Military Budget is around €746 million (approximately £463.7 million) and the ceiling for the NSIP has been agreed at the equivalent of $624 million (approximately £433.3 million).151 By convention, the agreed cost-sharing formula which determines each member country’s contributions reflects each country’s financial capabilities and economic and political considerations, including the degree of participation in the integrated military command structure.

150 151

Strobe Talbott, “From Prague to Baghdad”, Foreign Affairs, November-December 2002 NATO Handbook, Chapter 9. This document is available online at:



Enlargement of the Alliance will prompt a review of the cost-sharing arrangements and the ability of the seven accession states to contribute. b. National Costs

Only a relatively small portion of NATO expenditure and activity is funded from the common budget. The majority of military forces and assets are nationally owned and funded, including those seconded to forces such as SFOR and KFOR. National delegations and military missions to NATO HQ and the various NATO agencies are also a national responsibility. For the capabilities debate, it is the allocation of funding by NATO allies and the seven accession states, in order to maintain these national costs and responsibilities, which is important. However, there is some debate among analysts and the media over the credibility of the political commitments made at Prague and some suggestion that domestic budgetary concerns may come to the fore, at the expense of member states’ defence budgets. This is not a new argument, since European defence budgets have declined steadily since the end of the Cold War, with little political enthusiasm or expediency to be gained in allocating more to defence expenditure. Daniel Keohane, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Reform, was quoted in Defense News as commenting:
The commitments they [NATO member states] made are the right ones and it would be fantastic if they provide the funding, but DCI demonstrated that nations find it easier to make commitments than follow through on them…It’s virtually impossible for NATO leaders to force nations to meet the commitments they have made. Absent such enforcement, and with only modest budget increases by some countries, it’s unclear how these capability improvements will be paid for.152

The article went on to comment:
According to Keohane and other analysts, the commitments outlined in Prague– shaped in part by the Sept 11 2001 terror attacks– are no different from past promises driven by other crises. For example, DCI was adopted to bridge capability gaps between European and US military forces during combined air operations over the Balkans. “Kosovo is what really drove DCI, but it’s not clear to me why the Europeans would do any better now than in the past” Keohane said. “Spending is up a little bit in some countries, acquisition monies are not increasing with the exception of France and Britain. The point is that it’s time for the Europeans to spend better, not necessarily more. That’s why it’s so encouraging that some countries are taking the lead in spearheading key capabilities…153

152 153

“Prague summit seeks to transform alliance”, Defense News, 25 November 2002, p.4 ibid



Robert Bell, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Support, has suggested:
Success or failure in enhancing NATO’s defence capabilities will…depend in great measure on the willingness of governments to invest more resources to acquire more defence capabilities, quickly and efficiently. It goes without saying that the defence procurement community, and in particular the defence industry, will need to be able to react speedily to these requirements…To ensure the success of the Prague Capabilities Initiative, we need to have an understanding of what defence expenditures are really going to be made available. Otherwise, they risk the danger of the PCC becoming largely a theoretical, paper, exercise.154

He also argued that:
One main reason for defence capability asymmetries as between the two sides of the Atlantic is the difference in the size of the defence input, which is growing. Europe’s defence spending for some years has been running at about 60% that of the US, but its military research and development spending is only one quarter of the US level, and these ratios have not improved in Europe’s favour, given the recent significant increase in the US defence budget… Secondly, a fundamental question before the European and Canadian allies…is how they view their future military operational partnership with the United States. Do Europe and Canada wish to be a full partner of the United States across the full spectrum of transformational warfighting capabilities now associated with high-intensity conflicts?...and thus have forces which can join those of the US in high-intensity, high-tech, long-range coalition expeditionary operations? Or will Europe and Canada end up opting– perhaps by default– for far more modest (and less expensive) crisis management and peacekeeping tasks including post conflict reconstruction tasks? I hope the former will be the case.155

However, the reluctance of member states to increase their defence budgets is not a universal trend. Both the UK and France increased their defence budgets during 2002. Under the UK Government Spending Review in July 2002 an additional £3.453 billion over three years was allocated to the defence budget.156 In September 2002 the French Military Programme Bill for 2003-2008, allocated an average of €14.64 billion (approximately £9.63 billion) to equipment appropriations, which reflects a rise of approximately 12.4% between 2002 and 2003, and 7.5% between 2003 and 2004.157

154 155 156


Robert Bell, “The Pursuit of Enhanced Defence Capabilities”, NATO’s Nations, Edition 4/2002 ibid Ministry of Defence Press Release, 15 July 2002. Available online at: French Ministry of Defence, Military Programme Bill of Law 2003-2008. This is available online at:



However, as an article in The Sunday Times commented:
Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, made it clear that his country’s parlous economic state meant that there could be no increase in military spending this year or next. Other countries, such as the Netherlands and Italy, are equally reluctant to spend more, citing constraints on borrowing under EU rules on the single currency.158


Future Relationships

For many observers, the development of relationships between the Alliance and the EU and Russia will dominate NATO’s agenda in this area over the next few years. 1. EU/ ESDP

The inability to reach a decision at Prague on the ‘Berlin-Plus’ arrangements was, for many analysts, indicative of the prevailing state of EU-NATO relations. The future of this relationship will depend to a great extent on reaching an agreement over the EU use of NATO assets and on how the NATO Response Force develops with respect to the EU’s own Rapid Reaction Force (RRF). a. ‘Berlin-plus’ Agreement

On 13 December 2002 the North Atlantic Council finally approved a deal on ‘Berlinplus’ that will pave the way towards the use of NATO assets in EU-led operations where the Alliance as a whole is not militarily engaged. Agreement on the NATO-EU Accord came followed the EU Summit in Copenhagen on 12 December 2002 where, in a concession to Turkey, EU leaders agreed that EU-led operations using NATO assets would only be open to states that are NATO allies or partners under the PfP. Thus, Cyprus and Malta, which are due to join the EU in 2004, would be excluded. They would, however, be involved in decision-making on issues related to the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) more generally. The Declaration of the Copenhagen European Council stated:
1. As things stand at present, the ‘Berlin plus’ arrangements and the implementation thereof will apply only to those EU Member States which are also either NATO members or parties to the ‘Partnership for Peace’, and which have consequently concluded bilateral security agreements with NATO […] 3. The fact that, as things stand at present, Cyprus and Malta will not take part in EU military operations conducted using NATO assets once they have become


“America dwarfs new recruits”, The Sunday Times, 24 November 2002



members of the EU will not, within the limits of the EU Security Regulations, affect the right of their representatives to participate and vote in EU institutions and bodies, including COPS, with regard to decisions which do not concern the implementation of such operations. Likewise, their right to receive EU classified information, within the limits of the EU Security Regulations, shall not be affected, provided the EU classified information does not contain or refer to any classified NATO information.159

The deal struck at Copenhagen builds on the proposals agreed during the Brussels Summit on 24 and 25 October 2002, on the implementation of the provisions on the involvement of non-EU European allies in ESDP. Under that agreement, non-EU European Allies such as Turkey would be able to raise concerns if an autonomous EU operation was conducted in its geographic proximity or risked affecting its national security interests. Annex II of the Brussels European Council Conclusions stated:
12. In the case of any EU-led operation not requiring NATO assets and capabilities, non-EU European Allies will be invited, upon a decision by the Council, to participate […] In a specific case when any of the non-EU European Allies raises its concern that an envisaged autonomous EU operations will be conducted in the geographic proximity of a non-EU European Ally or may affect its national security interests, the Council will consult with that Ally and, taking into consideration the outcome of those consultations, decide on the participation of that Ally…160

The NATO-EU Accord will allow the EU to take over Operation Allied Harmony (formerly Operation Amber Fox) in Macedonia as early as February 2003, following NATO’s review of its presence there. The possibility of the EU assuming command of the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia has also been suggested, following an EU offer at the Copenhagen Summit in December 2002. An article in Jane’s Defence Weekly commented:
Lord Robertson [has] cautioned that more work needed to be done to formalise NATO-EU relations. Still outstanding is a security agreement on the handling of sensitive documents and intelligence between the organizations, due to be finalised by 1 March [2003]…this should not bar the EU assuming command of



Annex II of the Copenhagen Presidency Conclusions. These are available online Annex II of the Brussels Presidency Conclusions. These are available online

at: at:



operation ‘Allied Harmony’ in Macedonia before then. NATO will study the EU’s offer to assume command of the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia…but [Lord] Robertson noted that SFOR is “a highly complex operation”.161

Therefore, transfer of command to an EU-led force is considered by many observers to be unlikely before 2004, despite the fact that the majority of SFOR troops are already European. The EU High Representative for the Common and Foreign Security Policy, Javier Solana, is expected to report to the European Council on SFOR in February 2003. The success of the EU Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia, which was launched on 1 January 2003, may determine the EU’s suitability to take over SFOR in the long term.162 The decision was also taken at the Prague Summit to plan a joint military exercise between NATO and the EU during 2003. b. NRF v. EU RRF

With the end of the deadlock over the use of NATO assets for EU-led operations, development of the EU Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) can at last move forward. However, since the adoption of proposals for a NATO Response Force at Prague, many commentators have raised concerns over the ability of European allies to evolve and implement both concepts at the same time. The main concerns are over funding and the consequences of simultaneous deployment by both the NRF and the EU RRF, with the fear that commitments to NATO will take priority. An article in Defense News summed up the dilemma:
How NATO intends to develop its new rapid-response force alongside EU efforts leaves many questions unanswered….such as finding equipment and funding for the two forces in a period of austere spending in Europe. While allied officials such as NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson claim that there will be no competition between the forces regarding missions or equipment, such statements are misleading, a Danish official said. “Both forces need expensive protection against weapons of mass destruction, both need strategic airlift, both need advanced communications systems and intelligence gathering assets…These things are not cheap and they are not available in abundance in Europe…we rely on Washington to provide them, and you know where the assets are going to if both forces have to deploy to different locales: to NATO.163

161 162 163

“EU gets NATO backing for military missions”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 8 January 2003 The EU Police Mission took over from the UN International Police Task Force. “NATO, EU rapid reaction programs raise doubts”, Defense News, 2 December 2002



The article goes on to quote Hartmut Buhl, Director for EU defence policy and NATO at European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS), who disagrees with this assessment:
There will be no competition in assets or deployment schedules between the two forces. “NATO’s force is geared to a three-day, seven-day, 30-day deployment cascade. The EU’s deployment will be 60 days. The military assets and command structures lying behind them are completely different”.164

An assessment of NATO and the EU in Jane’s Defence Weekly commented:
The impression that NATO holds the higher ground is inescapable. By apparently stealing a march on the Headline Goal work, the new NRF strengthens a perception that NATO has seized back the initiative […] It might seem logical to conclude that the EU’s erstwhile promise in the defence and security sphere has fallen from its high-water mark and that NATO has been left firmly in the ascendant. However an alternative reading suggests that NATO’s decisions are just as likely to re-energise activity in the EU. The EU Headline Goal and the NRF have the same end goal: for member countries to develop the capabilities to perform tasks as required. Commenting in a NATO context, Gen. Schuwirth, said “the fact that…programmes have run in parallel has possibly contributed to confusion about their nature among commentators, some of whom have even speculated about competition between the two organisations”. The truth is quite the contrary. Any capabilities France or Germany get, for example, whether it be strategic airlift, PGMs or secure deployable communications, can be used as part of an EU or NATO-led operation: same personnel and same equipment. The proposal and subsequent commitment to the NRF has actually helped to bring the ESDP back into the public eye. NATO’s defence ambitions in fact further the EU’s defence ambitions. The NRF and the EU Headline Goal are merely two different structures under which member states can get capabilities, like two horses pulling the same cart.165

In evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on 14 November 2002, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw commented in response to a question on whether the NATO requirement would come first:
Almost certainly, yes, it would do. It would come first. The truth is, as is currently under discussion, in practice the issue of the EU moving will only arise

164 165

ibid “Sharing the reigns”, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 8 January 2003



if NATO for one reason or another decided not to be directly involved or wishes to withdraw from involvement.166

A report on the progress of NRF planning is due to be submitted to NATO Defence Ministers in Spring 2003. More detail on how the force will work in tandem with the EU RRF is expected to be provided in that report. However, the real test of the complementarity of the NRF and the EU RRF will be when either of those forces is deployed and, in particular, when the type of operations that the NRF is involved in has been resolved. 2. NATO-Russia Council

Many analysts agree that prospects for the future of the NATO-Russia Council look positive, following the unprecedented level of collaboration achieved to date and the agenda for further co-operation and reform that has been put in place for the next few years. In a speech to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 13 December 2002, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson outlined some elements of that future agenda:
We have made a quick start in ensuring that this revolutionary new relationship delivers substantial new security. First and foremost we have dramatically deepened our co-operation in the struggle against terrorism… Of course military reform goes beyond preparing for terrorism. It means fundamental adaptation: to jettison out-dated Cold War heavy metal armies and to create modern, light and flexible forces that are trained and equipped to meet the 21st century threats…We are exploring options for co-operating in this area as well– to share best practices, and to see where we can co-operate to make best use of our collective resources. Our new partnership extends to many more areas. For example, we are deepening our military-to-military co-operation– including talks about having Russia air tankers refuelling NATO aircraft. We are also laying the groundwork for future joint NATO-Russia peacekeeping operations. We have already agreed broad political guidance for such future missions. And we are discussing holding a crisis management exercise together in the coming year. We are deepening our co-operation on short range Missile Defence, and to better protect our deployed forces against attack. We are jointly assessing the threat to Russia and NATO nations posed by chemical, biological, radiological weapons, and their means of delivery. And we are preparing to work together in the event of such an attack, or indeed in any civil emergency.


Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Evidence Session on the Prague Summit, 14 November 2002, Section 15



We are also deepening our co-operation on search and rescue at sea…we aim to sign a framework document…in the next few weeks.167

Political support in Russia for the NRC is also strong. President Putin is quoted in an article from the Russian news agency Interfax as stating:
The NATO-Russia Council has been set up and we are currently satisfied with how our co-operation is proceeding. Moreover, we do not rule out that we could expand co-operation with that organisation even further…168

However, he went on to caution:
[Co-operation will be expanded]…only if NATO itself, as the leaders of NATO member states are saying, gradually transforms, adapts itself to addressing new tasks, and prepares to respond to new threats, and if the activity of this organisation meets Russia’s national security interests.



Speech by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 13 December 2002 “Russia’s Putin sees NATO enlargement of no use against terrorism threat”, Interfax, 29 November 2002




National Attitudes
United States

Many analysts considered that the perspective and attitude of the US towards NATO would shape either the success or failure of the Prague summit. This view has arisen from the Bush administration’s unwillingness to use NATO in the campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and its perceived reluctance to involve the Alliance in any possible planning for a potential conflict against Iraq. An article in The International Herald Tribune on 24 September 2002 suggested:
The prospect of NATO again being sidelined in an important military operation– as it was in Afghanistan– has deepened concerns on both sides of the Atlantic about the Alliance’s relevance in the age of terrorism…part of the reason for NATO’s lack of involvement is political, reflecting the difficulty of winning consensus in the 19-member group from controversial US initiatives outside Europe…but there is also a practical reason for NATO’s apparent irrelevance in the Iraq showdown: the growing gap in capabilities between the US and Europe. [US Defence Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld’s main message is that if the Alliance is ever to joint the fight against new threat, it needs to acquire new capabilities and streamline its command structure.169

The IISS Strategic Survey 2001/2002 agreed with this assessment:
…influential US officials and politicians have indicated that a big-bang enlargement alone would no longer be sufficient to ensure NATO’s ongoing strategic relevance for the US. Instead, an active global military role for NATO in the campaign against terrorism and weapons of mass destruction would be required.170

At Prague, however, President Bush highlighted his country’s commitment to NATO, calling it “America’s most important global relationship”. He also hailed enlargement of the Alliance as a “decisive and historic moment” and sought to allay Russian fears by commenting that “a larger NATO is good for Russia as well…it will gain from the stability and security of nations to its West”. 171 For the US, one of the more profound achievements of Prague has been the adoption of the proposals for a NATO Response Force, put forward by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on 24 September 2002. The NRF could give the Alliance the type of capability that critics have determined is essential to keep the US militarily engaged in the Alliance


170 171

“US cold-shoulders NATO in planning for attack” The International Herald Tribune, 24 September 2002, p.4 “Europe’s Evolving Strategic Role” Strategic Survey 2001/2002 p.132 “Bush calls for new NATO commitment”, BBC News Online, 20 November 2002



and NATO militarily engaged in the campaign against terrorism. The NRF is also seen by the US as important for giving impetus to addressing the capability gap between the US and Europe. Donald Rumsfeld commented in his speech at the 24 September meeting:
The United States wants NATO to be important…we believe in this Alliance and want it to succeed.172

Following the Prague Summit, Mr Rumsfeld went on to state:
The idea of the response force was that NATO ought to have standing forces in high readiness able to function in the 21st century security environment…It is something that will contribute a great deal to NATO’s relevance and ability to function in the world.173

However, some in the US Department of Defense reportedly remain sceptical. An article in The Guardian suggested:
Pentagon hawks are still deeply suspicious of NATO, arguing that the mission should determine the coalition and not the other way round.174

The Independent went on to comment:
At the Pentagon, the Hawks argue that the US must never again pool control of operations with nations that contribute so little. Yet the diplomats in the State Department value a big multinational institution which is so clearly dominated by Washington.175

An article in RUSI Newsbrief agrees with the State Department view of the Alliance and predicts that NATO will remain valuable to the US for more than military reasons:
The Alliance is unlikely to disappear any time soon, not least because it remains valuable for numerous reasons. It sustains America’s political engagement with Europe and promotes Western standards and values on members and candidates for future accession. On both sides of the Atlantic, public opinion favours multilateral solutions to security problems and supports strengthening the Alliance.176

172 173 174



“NATO warms to rapid reaction force” BBC News Online, 25 September 2002 US Department of Defense Press Release. 22 November 2002 “Threat of war: NATO puts on heavy display of forces as leaders seek role in Bush’s plans”, The Guardian, 21 November 2002 “Can NATO reinvent itself as a powerful force in the modern world?”, The Independent, 21 November 2002 “Can NATO be rejuvenated?”, RUSI Newsbrief, November 2002, p.125




United Kingdom

The UK regards NATO as the cornerstone of its defence and security policy. FrancoBritish initiatives to develop a European defence capability have, for the UK, been in pursuit of strengthening the European pillar of NATO. The 1999 Defence White Paper outlines the UK’s position:
NATO is crucial for Britain because a vigorous and relevant Atlantic Alliance, including an effective European pillar, is essential to our security interests…Only by acting with our Allies in Europe and North America can we safeguard our future and ensure that no major new military threats emerge.177

The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter confirms the importance of NATO and outlines what the Ministry of Defence regards as important for the future of the Alliance.
Key to success will be the continued development of modern and effective Alliance military capabilities, the creation of more flexible command structures (with the focus on deployable headquarters) and the implementation of a new force structure capable of generating, deploying and sustaining NATO forces wherever they are needed. Also important will be the exploitation of NATO’s strategic partnerships, particularly with the EU and Russia - but also through Partnership for Peace and NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue.178

In an interview with the BBC on 30 September 2002, Secretary of State for Defence Geoff Hoon outlined the Government’s hopes for Prague:
The British government views NATO as the main transatlantic guarantor of security for its member states and defender of the values written in the Washington agreement on democracy, personal freedom and supremacy of law. We are convinced that the transatlantic link plays an important role in defending peace and maintaining security in the whole world. Together with other NATO countries we are working on achieving such an outcome of the Prague summit which would ensure that NATO, based on the commitment to collective security as written in Article 5 of the NATO Charter, would remain the foundation of European security in the 21st century in the same way as during its successful activities in the 20th century. More specifically, we suggest that in Prague the Alliance achieve agreement on the following issues:


NATO's effective role in combating new threats, such as international terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

177 178

Ministry of Defence, Defence White Paper 1999, CM 4446 December 1999 p.12 Ministry of Defence, The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter, CM 5566 Vol 1, July 2002 Section 4.2



• • • • •

Renewed work on strengthening the possibility of more flexible deployment, which would make it possible to move NATO forces where they are required. Invitation to all the countries that want to become members of NATO and meet NATO standards. Definite mutual advantages from the new relationship between NATO and Russia. Deeper and mutually advantageous relations between NATO and Ukraine, based on the values shared by both sides. Closer attention to the region south of NATO, in particular, within the framework of the Mediterranean dialogue. Internal restructuring which will ensure effective functioning of the enlarged Alliance.179

On the basis of the decisions adopted at Prague, the summit has been considered by many commentators as largely successful for the UK Government in terms of achieving its objectives. The progress made at Prague has, however, been met with the criticism that the conclusions and initiatives launched at the Summit are lacking in detail. During a debate in the House on 25 November 2002, the Opposition Leader, Iain Duncan Smith, commented:
The Prague commitment to transform NATO with its new members, new capabilities and new relationships with our partners is a step in the right direction…However, there are practical questions…when will European members of NATO start increasing defence spending instead of cutting it? The Prague summit is long on capabilities but short on specific spending commitments…how [does] the Prague statement differ from the previous NATO defence capabilities initiative? What guarantees are there that Prague will deliver where previous initiatives have so far failed? We also welcome the commitment to the new NATO response force, which is vital to enable NATO nations to contribute effectively to the war against terrorism…The Army, however, now finds itself committed to both the Euro army and to NATO. Can he [the Prime Minister] confirm that NATO commitments, rather than those of the Euro army, will always have priority? That question underlines the failure of the summit to deal with the relationship between the Euro army and NATO.180

179 180

Interview with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 30 September 2002 HC Deb 25 November 2002, c37-8



The Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, welcomed the “success of the summit” and went on to comment:
…it is hard to imagine any British Prime Minister making a statement confirming that seven new accession countries, based on the principles of democracy, are joining NATO. That is a great justification for the entire raison d’être of NATO and its success over the years.181

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) has expressed the opinion that:
NATO has lost focus as a defensive alliance and has not found a substantive role with which to replace it. Is this necessarily bad? A world where the West does not need NATO to fight its wars might plausibly be seen as an improvement on the Cold War. Moreover, NATO’s relative decline is tolerable provided the leading Western powers retain the capacity to operate effectively in ad hoc coalitions. In this respect, NATO performs a valuable role in promoting interoperability and common doctrine […] Yet, if the reformers are sufficiently bold, they have every chance of enhancing the ability of Alliance members to collectively address the new security environment. Whether they choose to so by utilising the formal decision making processes of the Alliance is unclear, but also, perhaps, of secondary importance.182



France is a member of NATO but withdrew from the integrated military structure of the Alliance in 1966 in order to retain national control over military planning and nuclear issues. However, in recent years France has increased its participation in the Alliance. It is a member of the North Atlantic Council, the Military Committee and participated in the Defence Capabilities Initiative which was replaced at Prague by the Prague Capabilities Commitment (PCC). France’s foreign policy goals, and therefore its attitude to NATO, are based primarily on independence of action. The two main tenets of French foreign policy are to pursue European integration in order to guarantee stability and prosperity on the continent; and to encourage progress towards peace, democracy and development within the international community.183 France is less favourably disposed towards NATO and is an advocate for an independent European defence capability through the development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). More recently, France has been pushing for further integration in European defence. In November 2002 France, in conjunction

181 182 183

HC Deb 25 November 2002, c39 “Can NATO be rejuvenated?”, RUSI Newsbrief, November 2002, p.125 Website of the French embassy in the UK can be located at:



with Germany, submitted a proposal to the Convention on the Future of Europe, outlining a future strategy for European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). The proposal included support qualified majority voting in defence matters.184 Consequently, France’s attitude to the US proposals for a new NATO rapid reaction force has been reticent. In response to Mr Rumsfeld’s initial proposals, French defence minister Michèle Alliot-Marie expressed the view:
We will study it, but we will continue to focus our activities within the Atlantic territory and we will always act with the consent of the United Nations.185

Following the Prague Summit, French President Jacques Chirac warned that the NRF could conflict with the EU’s plans to set up the EU rapid reaction force based on the Helsinki Headline Goal. On adopting the NRF he commented:
Terrorism could not be the only reason for NATO’s reorganisation. “Nothing justifies terrorism but there cannot be an exclusively military response to this scourge”.186

France has recently increased its defence budget for the next financial year by €1.4bn in order to shore up European defence capabilities, and has called on other European governments to follow suit.



Since the beginning of the Cold War Germany has always sought a balance between NATO, on the one hand, and closer defence and foreign policy ties with its European partners on the other. The German Ambassador to the UK, Dr von Ploetz, outlined in a Chatham House lecture on 17 June 2002:
The relationship with the United States has always been a defining factor in the debate on Europe, after 11 September perhaps even more so than before. On this issue there has for decades been a deep-seated difference between Britain and Germany. In London, the dominant attitude was until St Malo defined by classic zero-sum thinking - that is, the idea of having to choose between Europe and alliance with the US. Where as all German governments have persistently said “we need both”…We share the overriding interest in the alliance with the


185 186

More details of the Franco-German proposal are available online at: “NATO cautiously welcomes elite force plan” United Press International, 25 September 2002 “NATO summit: Leaders agree to multinational strike force”, The Guardian, 22 November 2002



US…we equally know that European nations can only safeguard their vital interests by acting together.187

In a similar vein to the UK, the German government has been supportive of a strong foreign and security policy within Europe as a means of strengthening the NATO Alliance. Many analysts observed that the downturn in Germany’s diplomatic relations with the United States since the German elections in September 2002 could affect Germany’s future attitude towards the NATO Alliance, but in an interview with The New York Times on 24 September 2002 German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stated:
We’ll work very hard to improve relations [with the US], they are crucial to both sides, especially for us.188

The concern remains, however, that Germany’s opposition to any involvement in a possible conflict in Iraq may continue to undermine that relationship. Nonetheless, an article in RUSI Newsbrief, suggested:
Although Germany has already contributed troops to operations in Afghanistan, including as part of ISAF, the high-profile assumption of command responsibilities signals Germany’s commitment to the peace support operation and offer the government an opportunity to repair the damage with Washington. Germany’s biggest contribution to a campaign in Iraq will be to reduce the operational burden on the allied forces that actively participate in that [Afghanistan] theatre.189

According to some observers, Germany’s military credentials are in question in view of its ongoing budgetary difficulties. Defence budgets are set to fall by up to €100 million (approximately £65.9 million) over the next fiscal year, while reductions in key procurement programmes such as A400M and the collaborative Meteor missile have led to speculation that cuts or cancellations in other procurement projects will follow. An article in RUSI Newsbrief commented:
In its commitments to NATO and to the nascent Common European Security and Defence Policy (CESDP), Germany has pledged to address the fundamental weakness at the heart of European defence: the absence of key capabilities. But its membership of the single European currency and its attendant fiscal stability pact threaten to hamstring Germany’s ambitions for a more prominent foreign policy role… The very fact of defence cuts at a time of expanding commitments


188 189

The speech by Dr von Ploetz can be accessed online at: by ambassador dr von pl.html “President rebuffs moves by Germany to mend relations” The New York Times, 24 September 2002, p.1 “Germany: Europe’s penny pinching peacekeeper”, RUSI Newsbrief, December 2002, p.134



sends out the wrong signal about Germany’s resolve to play a leading role in the global security sphere.190



The attitude of Russia to NATO is mixed. Politically, President Putin recognises the value of closer ties with the Alliance. His government has actively encouraged co-operation through the new NATO-Russia Council and has voiced little opposition to enlargement, despite long-standing concerns over the expansion of NATO into the Baltic States. An analysis in Jane’s Intelligence Review suggested:
There is a grudging consensus that Russia lacks the ability and opportunity to stop the process [of enlargement] and can only hope to extract as favourable a deal as possible in return for its blessing.191

On the future of the NRC, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov commented in an interview on 31 December 2002:
The new format of international relations in the NATO-Russia Council strengthens security and stability worldwide. While expanding these ties, Russia wants to obtain more information on the goals behind the alliance’s enlargement and be actively involved in its political decisions.192

Nonetheless, some areas of disagreement remain, as Mr Ivanov outlined:
The discussion key military threats would be incomplete without mentioning the US invalidation of the 1972 ABM Treaty and the ongoing expansion of NATO. Although these steps do not pose and immediate threat to Russia’s national security, they undermine the existing strategic stability system.193

President Putin still faces domestic opposition to his pro-Western policies, particularly among the military establishment, where opposition to the developing NATO-Russia relationship remains prominent. The IISS Strategic Survey 2001/2002 states:
A majority in both the Russian political elites and the Russian public would like to see NATO’s identity transformed not towards a greater military role in the global campaign against terrorism but towards a political organisation in which Russia can play a more equal role. Russia’s Ministry of Defence and many

190 191 192 193

ibid “The View from the Kremlin” Jane’s Intelligence Review, July 2002 p.16 “Russian defence needs reorientation in view of terrorist threat”, Interfax, 31 December 2002 ibid



members of the Duma have spoken against greater Russian military co-operation with NATO on the grounds that it would entail greater transparency and thus expose many failures of Russia’s decade-long programme of military reforms. Moreover, Russia is still committed to keeping NATO and any Western institutions from interfering in Russia’s own counter-terrorist campaign in Chechnya.194

It is possible, however, that progress made within the NRC at the level of military chiefs may help ease some of the internal military opposition to closer ties between Russia and the Alliance. Following a meeting of the NRC on 3 December 2002, Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff General Anatoliy Kvashnin commented:
A broad range of practical deeds and areas of work was discussed at the Council to provide for regional and European security and an efficient fight against international terrorism…Russian military representatives may also be assigned to Norfolk, the location of a NATO strategic command authorised by NATO’s Prague summit to tackle the problems in the development of the alliance’s armed forces…Russian military diplomats should be there to provide for mutual understanding.195

At the political level, the Russian Communist Party leader, Gennady Zyuganov, was quoted in The Daily Telegraph as suggesting that:
NATO’s expansion will pose the most serious military threat to Russia since the Nazi invasion.196

194 195 196

“Russia Moves Westward” The Strategic Survey 2001/2002 p.146 ITAR-TASS News Agency, reported by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 3 December 2002 “Alliance extends to Russia’s borders”, The Daily Telegraph, 22 November 2002


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