Bucharest, 8 October 2011 - LIBYA MISSION SHOWS THAT THE ALLIANCE WORKS, SAYS NATO’S TOP MILITARY COMMANDER
In a presentation given to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Saturday Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola highlighted the lessons NATO learned as a result of its engagement in Libya and its implications for the future of the Alliance.
Operation United Protector (OUP) has demonstrated the relevance of NATO in today’s dynamic security environment, he told the Assembly’s Defence and Security Committee.
The Libya operation was the first since the NATO Summit in Lisbon last year and the first application of the strategic concept agreed there, said the Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee.
The first political lesson is that the allies have the political ability to respond to every crisis, even if it is not predicted, Di Paola said. He added that NATO had acted "in the name of the international community,” acting under UN mandate.
No other Alliance possesses the same capacity act so quickly when a major crisis arises and only NATO could mount such an operation with the required political control and military precision, he told the Committee.
Partnerships with nations in the region played a key role for the successful outcome of the Libya mission, Di Paola said. He acknowledged that the success would not have been feasible without the determined and significant contributions from the regional partner nations: Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates. “Bringing these partners together was quite an achievement and a very tough job”, he noted.
Another lesson learned was that the comprehensive approach is vital, stressed Di Paola. The mobilization of diplomatic, information and economic efforts alongside the military operation enabled the flow of humanitarian assistance within the larger international effort and has been the impetus in restoring basic social services to the Libyan people, he explained.
On the negative side, NATO’s mission revealed the existence of personnel capability gaps and the fact that the Alliance does not possess sufficient capabilities to consistently conduct intelligence analysis and targeting, he underlined.
Responding to questions from the legislators, he asserted that NATO will continue its mission as long as necessary to protect Libyan civilians but will end its engagement as soon as conditions allow. Admiral Di Paola also gave assurances that there is no intent by any NATO country to send ground troops to Libya.