HomeDOCUMENTSCommittee Reports2003 Annual Session147 DSCTC 03 E - REFORM OF NATO COMMAND STRUCTURE AND THE NATO RESPONSE FORCE
147 DSCTC 03 E - REFORM OF NATO COMMAND STRUCTURE AND THE NATO RESPONSE FORCE
Rapporteur : Julio MIRANDA CALHA (Portugal)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
II. THE NATO RESPONSE FORCE AND REFORM OF THE COMMAND STRUCTURE
III. DEFENCE BUDGET TRENDS IN THE ALLIANCE
IV. ESDP AND NATO
V. MOVING US FORCES IN EUROPE
VI. NATO OPERATIONS IN THE BALKANS
A. THE BOSNIA STABILISATION FORCE (SFOR)
B. THE KOSOVO STABILISATION FORCE (KFOR)
C. OPERATION ALLIED HARMONY
1. This report examines some of the most important issues affecting transatlantic relations in the near term. Although the controversy over Iraq has occupied the spotlight over the past year, there are other significant issues such as the reform of the NATO command structure, the creation of the NATO Response Force (NRF), and the relationship between NATO and the nascent security structure of the European Union, that deserve the attention of the Parliamentary Assembly.
2. The Prague summit focused in large part on transforming NATO to better meet the new security challenges. However, transformation is more than just simply buying updated equipment. It requires changes in doctrine, training and strategy. It is critically important that the Alliance members grow in the same direction to minimise interoperablilty problems in the future. To this end the Prague Capabilities Commitments (PCC), the NRF and the restructuring of the NATO commands are designed to work together to produce more capable and interoperable forces.
3. The Alliance faces a critical turning point. Will it continue to be a military-political alliance and a guarantor of mutual security interests, or will it gradually lose its military relevance, becoming more and more of a political consultation forum, what some have called "an OSCE with teeth"? How this question is answered in the coming years will in large part depend on the success of the PCC, the command reforms, and the ability of European governments to prioritise scarce defence resources. All of those points are interrelated. The PCC cannot succeed without significant shifts in European defence spending and a political commitment to build new capabilities. The NRF and the command structure changes will not succeed unless the PCC are fulfilled so that the forces organised within it have the capability to act in an integrated manner.
4. The gap in capabilities between the US and Europe is nothing new. For years military analysts have warned about the consequences of the capabilities gap. What is different today is that the gap has grown on both sides. The US is spending more, pursuing increasingly advanced technology. In general, European defence spending has stagnated at post-Cold War lows. The danger is that at some point in the not too distant future, the two sides of the transatlantic Alliance will simply not be able to communicate or fight together in a meaningful way. It is no wonder then, that Richard Kugler of the US National Defense University has called the reforms agreed to at Prague, "the last best hope for the Alliance".
II. THE NATO RESPONSE FORCE AND REFORM OF THE COMMAND STRUCTURE
5. The November 2002 Prague summit was in large part about transforming the Alliance to ensure its continuing relevance to today's security issues. The main thrust of this transformation is the creation of the NRF. Other reforms include reducing NATO's command structure and restructuring the Atlantic Command into Allied Command Transformation (ACT).
6. It is a challenging programme. NATO members will need to implement the commitments made at Prague under constrained defence budgets. At the same time, most Alliance members have considerable operational commitments in Afghanistan and the Balkans. Nonetheless, developing the NRF will be a critical part of ensuring NATO's place as a major player in international security.
7. Members of the Parliamentary Assembly discussed the command structure reforms and the development of the NRF with officials from NATO, the US and the UK. The following sections are heavily influenced by those meetings and subsequent reports. NATO has also prepared a classified report on this subject. Although it contains additional details, most of the same information can be found in unclassified versions.
8. The idea behind the NRF is to have a force that is flexible and can respond to a variety of situations. At the top level is a small, very rapid response force composed mainly of special forces that can be put in place within five days. At a somewhat lower level of readiness is the rapid reaction forces which can deploy after the initial force is in place. As of 15 October 2003, the first 5,000 troops will be ready to deploy as part of the NRF.
9. The NRF is slated to be approximately 20,000 troops capable of rapid deployment. It is designed for high intensity operations, although it could also perform less demanding tasks. Mr Ian Brzezinski, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense emphasised that the American vision is for a heavily European force supported by American "enablers", including refuelling aircraft, heavy airlift, ground surveillance, and sealift. The force will have a land component composed of one brigade combat team with forced entry capability, an air component of 72 combat aircraft, and a maritime component composed of one carrier battle group, an amphibious task group and a surface action group of six to ten combatants. Those forces would be commanded by a Combined Joint Task Force headquarters on a rotating basis among three groups, so that one would always be ready to be deployed on short notice.
10. The command structure is changing to accommodate the new force configuration. Some commands will be closed and their functions consolidated within others. This is a continuation of a process begun in 1994 and the total number of headquarters has declined from 80 in 1994 to 20 in 2003, with reductions to a total of 12 planned within the next few years. The main command will be divided between an operational side located in Europe and a functional side based in the US. Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) remains the operation centre of NATO, with three subordinate commands (reduced from 11) located in Brunssum, the Netherlands (Joint Forces Headquarters North), Naples, Italy (Joint Forces Headquarters South), and Lisbon, Portugal (Joint Forces Headquarters West). Six headquarters are available for rapid deployment of the NRF including the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps in Rheindalen (Germany), the Eurocorps in Strasbourg (France), the Rapid Deployable Turkish Corps in Istanbul, the Rapid Deployable German-Netherlands Corps in Munster (Germany), the Rapidly Deployable Spanish Corps in Valencia, and the Rapidly Deployable Italian Corps in Milan.
11. The functional command is Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia, formerly Supreme Allied Command Atlantic (SACLANT). Its role will be to harmonise capabilities and assist in the transformation of allied armed forces to more mobile and integrated units. Part of this will be training joint multinational forces to operate together with interoperable communications equipment. It has a subordinate command in Stavanger, Norway (Joint Headquarters North).
12. In large part ACT will become a centre for the development of doctrine and training. As the last Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic Admiral Ian Forbes said, "The key point for us is the possibility of a technical gap (between US and European forces) being accentuated by a widening intellectual imbalance." By co-ordinating training and doctrine as well as the use of transformational technology, ACT aims to prevent a further widening of this gap in the Alliance.
13. ACT will work closely with US Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), the command with overall responsibility for overseeing the transformation projects of the US military. Because NATO itself does not have the resources or the authority to do so, NATO and US officials agreed that it would be sensible to tie ACT to JFCOM so that allied forces can transform in compatible ways.
14. ACT is conceptually linked to the NRF as well. The plan is for ACT to experiment with new technology, concepts and equipment, and disseminate new ideas and practices across NATO member forces. The NRF will become the tip of the spear of this process, turning those experiments and exercises into concrete plans of action.
15. The point of creating ACT is not to simply drag European militaries down the same path as the United States. Clearly there will be different aspects that will apply to varying degrees to the individual military establishments, and one size does not fit all. The main point of creating a functional command is to push the forces toward more interoperability in the equipment they use, the way they approach different tasks, and how they train. The European militaries do not all have the same needs as the US, but at this point in the Alliance's evolution, it is time to ensure better co-ordination in how forces are developed and prepared for the various missions they are likely to encounter.
III. DEFENCE BUDGET TRENDS IN THE ALLIANCE
16. US defence spending is expected to rise over the next decade. The increases began before the events of September 11, but have been accelerated since then. Between 2000 and 2001 defence spending increased 6% in constant dollars, and will increase by an additional 11% in 2003, not including the special supplemental funds added to pay for the ongoing war on terrorism. Significant amounts of those increases are being spent on personnel, medical care, and other support functions, but large amounts are going toward procurement and research and development (R&D). Procurement alone is expected to increase by almost US$100 billion by 2007.
17. In general, European defence spending has levelled off after the constant decline of the 1990s, and some countries are reversing the trend. In particular, the UK and France are projecting modest increases over the next several years. Although the French defence budget will remain roughly the same, France plans to increase procurement spending by 7% in 2004 to €14.6 billion, by cutting administrative costs. Outside of those two countries, however, the trend in most of Europe is to maintain current levels of defence spending. Those spending levels may not be adequate to maintain existing capabilities, much less acquire additional or improved capabilities.
18. This massive investment by the United States in its military has the potential to widen the gap in capabilities between itself and its European allies to an unbridgeable degree. In particular, the growing gap in R&D spending (arguably a good predictor of future defence capabilities) bodes ill for the capabilities gap. The US spends approximately US$50 billion per year in defence R&D; Europe collectively spends less than US$12 billion. This comparison is somewhat unfair in that European countries also tend to fund commercial R&D with some military applications, but there is still a significant difference between US and European spending.
19. A realistic appraisal of the current situation must accept that defence budgets in Europe will not rise significantly in the coming years. An ageing population, the deficit spending constraints of the common currency, and the uncertain economic growth forecast for Europe will both restrict spending and increase competition for funds. The question, therefore, is not how much more will Europe spend, but rather how can existing budgets be spent more wisely and effectively? What steps can Europe take to shift defence expenditures away from the heavy armoured forces of the Cold War to lighter more deployable forces? What can Europe do in terms of asset sharing and joint procurement to reduce the costs of military transformation? Those are the most important questions to explore in the coming years. Unless European defence expenditures can be shifted along those lines, there is an increasing probability that the interoperability and capability gap between the US and Europe will continue to widen. This outcome would significantly weaken the Alliance, perhaps beyond resuscitation as a military organisation.
20. There are some bright spots in terms of changing priorities in procurement. Several European countries are buying more of the necessary equipment, particularly in lift capability, communications and precision guided munitions (PGM).
21. The UK is investing in PGMs, selecting the Raytheon Paveway IV missile over the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). This all-weather PGM will be fitted to the UK's Tornado, Harrier and Eurofighter aircraft, and is expected to enter service in 2007. This will give UK strike aircraft the ability to attack targets from a distance of 150 kilometres. The UK plans to purchase more than 2,000 of the Paveway IV missiles.
22. Spain signed a contract in February to build a new multipurpose amphibious assault ship that is expected to be delivered in 2008. The ship will be able to carry four large helicopters or six smaller helicopters. It will also be able to carry short take-off and landing aircraft, and heavy equipment such as tanks or armoured personnel carriers. It will also be able to hold up to 1,355 personnel and doubles the capacity of Spain's two existing amphibious assault ships.
23. This is part of a €4.6 billion package recently agreed to by the Spanish government. In addition to the multipurpose ship, Spain also plans to build four new submarines capable of firing cruise missiles, and 24 Tiger attack helicopters. Most of the funding for this package is expected to come from the sale of surplus Ministry of Defence property.
24. In the long run, however, many of the solutions may ultimately be found in asset sharing agreements among the European members of the Alliance and joint procurement. It is a well-known statistic that the European allies spend about 50% of what the US spends on defence but only get about 10-15% of the capability. Part of the reason for this low return on investment is the lack of economies of scale. By sharing assets and buying in a more co-ordinated manner, the European allies could theoretically increase their capabilities without large increases in defence spending.
25. The UK and France revealed several proposals in February 2003 to expand such co-operative efforts. Those include creating a European acquisition agency, and a European version of the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that funds the development of new technologies that could prove "transformational" in a military sense. Other co-operative efforts are co-ordinated through the EU. There is now broad agreement among EU member states to use some EU funds for military research and development projects, a significant shift from the consensus of a few years ago. Several pilot projects are being launched in 2004 with a focus on satellite intelligence, avionics and information technology. The total funding for those projects is currently limited to €75 million, but EU sources say that the goal is to eventually increase collective research and development and merge defence research into the larger EU research budget known as the framework programme.
26. The UK and France also plan to co-ordinate their future aircraft carrier forces. As a first step, plans call for the two countries to make at least one carrier interoperable with each others' aircraft and be available for short-notice deployments. The two countries are also investigating how to co-operate more closely in the development of new aircraft carriers. The UK is using a British-French team to design and build its next generation carriers. France intends to build a new carrier to add to its existing one. All of those plans, however, are well in the future. The UK plans to have its new carriers in service in 2012 and France is looking to 2014 for its new carrier.
27. As part of meeting the Prague Capabilities Commitments, different groups of the European allies have signed Statements of Intent to co-operate on the development of particular capabilities. Most notably on airlift, sealift, air-to-air refuelling, Alliance Ground Surveillance, suppression of enemy air defence, precision guided munitions, and nuclear, biological and chemical defence.
28. Eleven countries (Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Turkey) signed a Statement of Intent to provide additional outsize airlift no later than 2005. This is to fill the interim before the A400M is ready to enter service in 2008 at the earliest. The German government has taken the lead role in this area and lease options are being explored for both the Boeing C-17 and the Antonov An-124. As of April, the German government was leaning toward the Anotov option, but a working group made up of representatives from the 11 countries may opt for a compromise solution of a mixed fleet of the two aircraft. The report of the working group sets out January 2004 as a target date to sign a contract for either aircraft lease or purchase. The working group estimates that leasing 12 C-17s would cost approximately €470 million per year and leasing 6 Antonov An-124s would cost about €67 million per year. Fewer Antonov aircraft are needed because they have a cargo capacity of 150,000 kg while the C-17 carries 77,290 kg.
29. The working group is likely to choose a mix of the two aircraft because although Antonov can carry much larger loads, the C-17 is able to land on much shorter runways. In addition the C-17 has a self-protection capacity that the Antonov lacks. As a result the working group proposes an option to lease six C-17s and charter two Antonov 124s. This option would cost the 11 countries a total of €295 million per year.
30. Purchasing the aircraft is no longer considered an option because of the costs associated with basing and maintenance. Leasing is still an option, although the consensus appears to be more in favour of chartering airlift as needed. This is generally a more cost-effective option, but it introduces an element of uncertainty: there is no guarantee that airlift assets will be available when the Alliance needs them, or that civilian pilots will be willing to fly into potentially dangerous areas. In June, the 11 above-mentioned countries joined by the Netherlands signed a letter of intent to put in place by 2005 an operational airlift capacity using chartered Antonov 124 aircraft. The airlift group did not exclude the C-17, and it might be added to the package at a later date.
31. All of this, however, is designed to be an interim solution to Europe's airlift shortfall until the Airbus A-400 is ready to enter service. In June, the same group of countries signed a contract to purchase 180 of the aircraft. The purchasers of the A-400 are Germany (60), France (50), Spain (27), the UK (25), Turkey (10) and Belgium (8). The purchase will total €18.2 billion for the 180 aircraft. But the first A-400 is not expected to enter service before 2009, so the interim airlift option will have to be sufficient until at least the end of the decade.
32. At the Defence Ministers' meeting on 12 June, eleven countries (Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey) signed a Statement of Intent to build capabilities on strategic sealift. The goal of the sealift group is to have 12-14 ships (mainly roll-on/roll-off) available for NATO operations on a mix of assured access and full-time charter contracts. Both of those options essentially involve using large ships owned by private companies. Assured access allows the military to use those ships for set periods of time. Full-time charters allow the military to have continual use of those ships although the ships are owned and operated by private companies.
33. This is a critical part of ensuring that NATO forces are rapidly deployable, because while airlift can move troops and some materiel, the vast bulk of equipment and supplies travels by sea. Norway is the lead country in this effort, convening several meetings to discuss various proposals including arrangements with national shipping companies. In addition, a sealift co-ordination cell was set up in January 2003 in the Netherlands by a number of nations participating in the UK-led Multinational Sealift Group.
34. Nine countries (Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Spain) signed a Statement of Intent on improving air-to-air refuelling capabilities. In the short term, this group led by Spain is looking to acquire 10 to 15 airborne refuelling aircraft. The first meeting of this group took place in January 2003 and the participants are considering lease and purchase options. All procurement options are still being considered, and the exact national contributions and cost sharing will be decided in upcoming meetings. At the time of this report, the group is considering using the Airbus 310 or 320 and the Boeing 767. The Spanish Ministry of Defence formed a task force to further investigate the various options and move the programme forward.
35. Other co-operative attempts to fill in the capabilities gap are not progressing as well as their participants have hoped. France, Italy, and Germany are exploring options to develop Suppression of Enemy Air Defence systems. The current plan is to develop a jamming pod that can be added to existing aircraft. Various disagreements, however, have prevented the three countries from signing a Memorandum of Understanding to begin any serious work on the project.
36. The NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) project is also running into obstacles. Fourteen countries are involved in the AGS project with the goal of acquiring an operational system by 2010. So far the participants have committed themselves to the design and development phase of the project. In addition, the national armaments directors of the US and five European allies signed a Statement of Intent on joint radar sensor development.
37. The problems, however, stem from disagreements between the partners on the appropriate manned and unmanned vehicle mix for the system. Germany favours a UAV-dominated system while the US favours a more manned aircraft system. There is also an issue of which platform to use for the system. The 2010 Initial Operational Capacity (IOC) was based on the assumption that one consortium of companies led by EADS would be the sole provider of the platform. But a recent unsolicited proposal by a BAE-led group to adapt the British Astor system to the requirements of the AGS has caused some in the venture to consider that alternative as well. The result is that the IOC could be delayed by at least one year.
38. In addition to the separate efforts by individual countries to improve their precision strike capabilities, the Netherlands is leading an effort to set up a co-ordinated purchasing arrangement for allies operating F-16 aircraft. The plan is to buy into US production runs of joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs) and take advantage of the economies of scale produced by the larger order. This may bring the unit price of the JDAM - already affordable €20,000 per unit - down even further.
39. In June, Secretary General Robertson issued a "report card" grading the Alliance's progress on the PCC. Some areas received high grades in fulfilling the basic criteria for the different needed capabilities. For example, the Secretary General gave a score of 10 (out of 10) to the progress on PGMs, a 9 on Alliance-wide efforts to develop strategic sealift, and an 8 on efforts to develop strategic airlift. On the low end of the scale, however, the Secretary General identified Alliance Ground Surveillance and Combat Support as areas needing considerably more effort with a grade of 3 for both. Clearly this is only a shorthand system for measuring progress, but it is important for the Secretary General to publicly identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Alliance-wide efforts to improve its military capabilities and encourage the allies to maintain their commitments.
40. One means by which European militaries could fund modernisation within existing budgets is by shifting some resources from personnel (generally the largest account in European defence budgets) to procurement. This may not be possible in the near term, however, because many European countries are in the process of ending conscription and building all-volunteer forces. France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain have all eliminated mandatory military service, and others such as Germany and Denmark are curtailing the number of conscripts they induct each year. Many of the new (or soon to be) members of the Alliance plan to switch to all-volunteer forces in the next few years including Bulgaria (2010), the Czech Republic (2007), Hungary (2006), Latvia (2008) and Slovenia (2004). In the long run, the move to all volunteer forces will make European militaries more deployable and useful for today's military operations. As early as 1990 some countries found that a conscript-based military was a hindrance to their ability to project power within the Alliance because conscripts are usually prohibited from being sent out of the country. During the Gulf War, for example, France had to break up units to cobble together a 15,000 troop professional force out of an active duty force of 250,000.
41. Given the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, many European leaders argue that there is little reason to maintain large standing armies for territorial defence. Conscripts are often prohibited by law from being used in foreign missions, which eliminates their participation in almost any conceivable post-Cold War mission. Large conscript based forces, therefore, drain resources away from the highly mobile professional and specialised forces needed for today's missions. This undercuts the basic logic of conscription as a means of maintaining the military at a lower budgetary cost.
42. Conscripts are cheap labour in budgetary terms because conscription pushes some part of the cost of maintaining the military onto the youth of the country. Volunteers must be paid more to induce their participation, and are usually offered other inducements such as vocational training and higher education opportunities. Therefore, the transition from a conscript force to an all-volunteer force costs some amount, depending on how much the total size of the force is reduced and how much more volunteers must be paid to replace conscripts. If the size of the force is reduced sufficiently, it is possible to have an all-volunteer force for a similar total cost. The added benefit, of course, is that the military will be a better trained, professional force that will stay in place for longer periods of time. This can ultimately reduce training costs. Instead of conscripts who rotate out of the military every year or less, the all-volunteer force is composed of individuals who will be in the military for generally 4 or more years. Given the increasing complexity of military equipment, this can lead to a significant savings of effort and money.
43. In the near term, however, the shift to all-volunteer forces will be an additional expense that will likely drive up personnel costs. This was the experience of both the United States and the UK when they made this transition. France has already realised the additional costs and is currently budgeting additional resources to pay for the professional force.
44. Other means of shifting defence funds toward the capability shortfalls are also problematic. Germany, for example, is planning to close many bases and sell those facilities to generate revenue. However, the actual revenue from those sales so far has been much less than predicted, and closing bases is often a politically difficult task because of the impact on local economies and employment.
45. It may be possible to shift enough resources from personnel, facilities and other parts of the defence budget in European countries to pay for the PCC. But experience shows that this is a difficult process that often fails to live up to its promise in terms of freeing up funds. Therefore, although it is always worth looking for ways to economise and prioritise defence expenditures, doing so may not eliminate the need for some increases in defence budgets.
IV. ESDP AND NATO
46. The capabilities gap between the US and Europe is a perennial issue for the NATO Alliance. For decades, the American side has urged the European allies to contribute more military capability to the Alliance. While this may be only the latest version of an old discussion, the matter is of some urgency compared to previous periods in the Alliance's history. When NATO squared-off against the Warsaw Pact, the capabilities gap and the burden-sharing issue had a limited effect in practice because all Alliance members faced the same threat. The situation is different today, because NATO forces are deployed in a variety of missions and the increasing gap in capabilities between the US and the European allies complicates the necessary level of interoperability.
47. This issue gained renewed prominence after the Prague summit when the Alliance's strategic plan was altered to reflect the need to develop new capabilities to combat terrorism and prevent attacks by rogue states. In an encouraging development, the EU has published a series of documents in 2003 that outline a complementary security strategy. In June, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for CFSP, put forth a draft EU security strategy for consideration by the member states. It places considerable emphasis on the threat posed by the potential combination of rogue states, weapons of mass destruction and terrorist groups. It also acknowledges the potential need to take military action before such threats materialise and that deterrence may not always be the preferred option. The draft strategy places the use of force within the context of United Nations resolutions and is explicitly mindful of the UN charter in this regard, but it is generally complementary to NATO's strategic concept.
48. The European members of the Alliance are committed to developing the capability to deploy and sustain their forces outside of Europe. But it is an open question as to whether capabilities will be improved within an EU context or within the NATO framework. This section will explore some of the issues at the core of the relationship between the nascent European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and NATO.
49. ESDP is a part of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy and aims to give the EU the ability to back up its diplomatic efforts with some power projection capability. It is not a competitor to NATO in its mission, scope, or scale. The proposed European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF) would be 60,000 troops capable of deploying within 30 days and remaining in the field for up to one year. This force would concentrate on the "Petersberg tasks" such as humanitarian operations, extraction of non-combatants from hostile environments, peacekeeping, and separation of warring parties. Those tasks are generally considered to be at the low end of the scale of potential military operations.
50. In November 2001, the second Capabilities Improvement Conference found that, regarding the forces available, EU Member States' voluntary contributions confirmed the existence of a body of resources consisting of more than 100,000 men, around 400 combat aircraft and 100 ships, fully satisfying the requirements defined by the Headline Goal to conduct different types of crisis management operations. In December 2001, the Laeken European Summit launched the next phase of the capability shortfall generation process with the European Capability Action Plan (ECAP). There are 19 panels exploring ways to improve European capabilities and they have reduced the number of shortfall areas from 42 to 26 since 2001. As early as January 2002, the RRF was operational for light missions such as humanitarian tasks, rescue, and classic peacekeeping, with 70% of the required capacities available, according to EU military committee chairman General Gustav Hägglund. In May 2003, it was declared fully operational for the range of Petersberg tasks, although EU officials recognise that it lacks many capabilities.
51. Some observers note that there is a potential conflict between the ERRF and the NRF. The proposed NATO Reaction Force, however, is aimed at the high end of the scale. It is designed for very rapid deployment within a few days and insertion into hostile environments. The two forces may in fact be complementary if the ERRF follows on an NRF mission.
52. Nonetheless, there are only so many troops and assets available at any one time. A peacekeeping or humanitarian operation may require many of the same airlift assets as a more high intensity operation. Assets and troops deployed for an operation under the ERRF flag will not be available for a NATO operation and vice versa.
53. The UK government, however, is concerned about the direction of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and its ramifications for the NATO Alliance. When the Sub-Committee visited London in July, several government officials outlined their objections to the sections in the draft European constitution that focused on CFSP. In particular, UK officials were concerned about the potential use of structured co-operation in common EU defence, the use of qualified majority voting on foreign affairs and security policy, and the mention of common defence in the constitution. The UK views ESDP as a means to increase Europe's power projection abilities for a limited range of peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks. It sees the collective defence role as a NATO mission and the UK does not want to turn the EU into a redundant collective defence organisation. Structured or enhanced co-operation also poses some potential problems from a British perspective, which holds that decisions on CFSP must be taken by unanimity and not by a smaller group of countries under structured or enhanced co-operation.
54. Another important issue to be addressed is the cost of implementing the PCC and in turn the NRF. One estimate places the cost at approximately US$15 billion over five years, about one-third for training costs and two-thirds for procurement. On an annual basis, this is about 2% of the current combined military expenditures of NATO European members. Therefore it is conceivable that a modest restructuring of expenditures to emphasise a few key areas could enable NATO to reach its goals.
55. However, although it is only a small percentage of total defence expenditures, it is a larger proportion of the combined expenditures on equipment. On average the European allies spend about 55% of their military budgets on personnel and 14% on equipment. Therefore, the US$10 billion on equipment over five years represents approximately 15% of the total equipment expenditures on an annual basis.
56. Among the most difficult issues to resolve in ESDP is that of EU access to NATO's military planning capabilities and assets. This involves mainly operational planning, but also force planning. The difficulties in achieving this stem in part from the differing agendas of EU member states, but also in the only partial overlap in the makeup of NATO and the EU. The debate has been focused on what is meant by the concepts of EU "capacity for autonomous action" as well as "assured access to NATO assets". Even if it fulfils the Headline Goal, the EU will have limited operational planning capabilities of its own, and no force planning mechanisms. NATO has endorsed the establishment of ESDP with the understanding that the EU would use NATO planning mechanisms, specifically operational planning at SHAPE and the NATO force planning process. The parties agreed to avoid unnecessary duplication and to enable the EU to take advantage of NATO's expertise.
57. NATO had been deadlocked over these questions, but an agreement between Greece and Turkey in December 2002, and an agreement reached between the EU and NATO that same month, opened the door to significant progress. The joint declaration between the two organisations states that, "NATO is supporting ESDP in accordance with the relevant Washington Summit decisions and is giving the European Union, inter allia and in particular, assured access to NATO's planning capabilities". This led to the 14-part agreement know as the "Berlin plus" framework finalized in March 2003 under which NATO agrees to support the EU in missions where NATO has decided not become engaged, and the EU agrees to a lead role in EU missions for the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander (DSACEUR) and to refrain from duplication of NATO structures.
58. This did not, however, settle the issue. Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg plan to set up a new EU military headquarters in Tervuren, Belgium. This new headquarters would be able to plan and execute independent EU military operations. The plan has caused some disagreement among the NATO allies, and the UK in particular has been very active in criticising the move and proposing alternatives. From the perspective of the UK and many other NATO countries, a separate EU headquarters would only duplicate what already exists at both national levels and in NATO. But the disagreement stems from more than just concern over unnecessary duplication. Some are concerned that the Tervuren headquarters will grow to become more of a rival to Allied Command Europe. To avoid this outcome, the UK has proposed that the EU co-ordination cell within SHAPE be strengthened to be able to meet the range of missions the EU might undertake, separate from NATO. The British plan calls for a full-time planning cell based at SHAPE to organise independent EU missions.
59. Despite those disagreements, important progress has also been made on the issue of intelligence sharing between the EU and NATO. After several months of negotiations, the two organisations signed an agreement on 14 March to share classified information. This agreement, in conjunction with the assured access to NATO planning assets, paves the way for the EU to take over the peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(. It is seen by many in both organisations as one of the final steps in establishing formal relations between the EU and NATO.
V. MOVING US FORCES IN EUROPE
60. Another issue that may affect the transatlantic relationship is the basing of US forces in Europe. The United States is considering restructuring its military presence in Europe. Plans to do so were first broached in the 2001 Quadrennial Defence Review which focused on building a more flexible basing system for US forces abroad. In particular, the review suggested looking beyond Western Europe and finding bases that are closer to areas of likely future combat. The concept is to make the US forces in Europe less of a permanently stationed garrison force and more of an expeditionary force that would rotate in for short periods of time. In the words of SACEUR General James Jones, US bases in Europe would become "lily pads" providing an interim point from which US based forces could jump to conflict areas.
61. The reasons for doing so are both strategic and financial. At a basic level, Western Europe is secure and the forces that were necessary to deter a Soviet invasion through the Fulda gap are now using those bases to deploy to the Balkans and the greater Middle East. At the same time, the Alliance has expanded to the east, giving the US an opportunity to base its forces closer to the areas of likely combat in the Middle East and Central Asia.
62. The financial aspects of moving US forces include potential benefits for both the United States and several new allies in Eastern Europe. Operational costs are likely to be lower in Eastern Europe, which could save the US considerable amounts in the long term. The less wealthy East European allies would receive an infusion of cash as military families rent housing, buy products, and otherwise contribute to the regional economy. In the same way that the presence of US forces was a boon to areas around bases in Germany after World War II, Polish, Romanian, or Bulgarian communities could become relatively prosperous and help stabilise the overall economy.
63. The US would also save considerable funds by moving some forces back to the US and closing bases in Europe. The US essentially created American towns in Germany, in which the families of military personnel could live and go to school in an environment that would require minimal adaptation. This was costly and involved significant expenditures for schools, family housing, and other facilities. By moving forces back to existing US bases, of which there is already an excess number, would both save money and reduce the need to close additional bases in the US, always a politically sensitive issue.
64. On the other hand, there could be significant negatives to moving a sizeable portion of US forces in Germany to bases further east and south. First there is a political issue. US-German relations are at a low point after the German elections of 2002 and the refusal of Germany to participate in any further military action against Iraq. In such an atmosphere, any movement of US forces from Germany could be seen as politically motivated, regardless of assurances that it is not. A decision taken in this charged environment is likely to spill over into the broader transatlantic relationship.
65. Beyond those political considerations are military and logistical problems associated with such a move. Some question if the "lily pad" analogy would work in practice. Some proposals call for most US forces to be based in the United States and rotate through European facilities on a six-month cycle. One consequence of this change is that soldiers would be separated from their families for longer periods of time, because their families would remain in the US. This would be unpopular with soldiers, and some military officials are concerned that it could lead to retention problems. Also it is not clear that having fewer bases in Germany would necessarily save money. Reconstructing existing training facilities in South-east Europe would be costly, and there is no certainty that the expenses of reconstruction would be outweighed by savings in operational costs anytime in the foreseeable future.
66. There are also strategic considerations. The main argument in favour of moving the bases is that it would place US forces closer to likely areas of conflict in the Middle East. But it is difficult to predict where US forces will be needed in the next few years, much less the next decade or more. Given this uncertainty, it seems somewhat problematic to incur the expense and disruption of moving US forces in Europe.
67. In sum, moving US forces from Germany to other more southern and eastern locations may have strategic and financial advantages for both the United States and the Alliance. It may also be the case that such a move will be costly with little or no strategic gain. It is an issue that requires more in-depth analysis than can be provided at this time, but one that this Sub-Committee should continue to monitor in the coming year.
VI. NATO OPERATIONS IN THE BALKANS
68. NATO continues to conduct two operations in the Balkans - the Bosnia Stabilisation Force (SFOR) and the Kosovo Force (KFOR). Both are undergoing large-scale changes. The trend, however, is towards a smaller NATO force in the Balkans. At their Spring 2002 meeting, Alliance Defence Ministers pointed to improvements achieved in the Balkans security environment, permitting the reduction of SFOR to a level of 12,000 troops, and KFOR to a level of around 29,000 troops by the end of June 2003. After more than a decade of heavy involvement in the region, NATO is reducing its presence and handing over some functions to other international organisations, most notably the European Union.
69. This trend has led to speculation that the EU will take over peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. There is certainly interest on both sides of the Atlantic for such a move. From a European perspective, this would confirm the ability of the EU to function as a guarantor of security in Europe, and reduce the need to rely on the US for operations within Europe. From the US perspective, this would allow NATO to concentrate on out-of-area operations such as Afghanistan and reduce the need for US troops in the Balkans.
70. The UK and France first raised this possibility in a joint communiqué issued in February, and the idea has gained some momentum. Both countries stated that the success of an EU mission in Bosnia would extend the credibility of the EU in more complex and larger missions than the mission in Macedonia. In practice, this would not involve a tremendous change in the composition of forces in Bosnia - the US currently has approximately 3,000 troops there, of the total force of approximately 12,000. Most of the other forces are supplied by other members of NATO, the EU or both organisations. At the current time, however, the consensus within NATO is that the time is not yet right for a transfer of this operation to the EU, although that may change in the coming year.
71. Considerable numbers of troops from partner countries, new members, and countries that aspire to join NATO are participating in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. By mid-May 2002, 11 Partnership for Peace countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden) were participating in both SFOR and KFOR, plus Argentina and Morocco. Regarding non-NATO countries, Albania, Australia and New Zealand contribute only to SFOR, while Azerbaijan, Georgia, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine take part in KFOR operations only.
A. THE BOSNIA STABILISATION FORCE (SFOR)
72. SFOR continues the mission of monitoring and enforcing the military aspects of the Dayton Peace Accords. It has played a more active role in detaining indicted suspects, and additional detentions and voluntary surrenders have resulted in the capture of over half of those indicted for war crimes. The total number of troops committed to SFOR is about 12,000, provided by 17 NATO member countries and 15 non-NATO countries. SFOR has been periodically reduced before and will continue to decline in size. The total number of personnel in SFOR in 2002 was approximately 15,000. That was reduced to 12,000 this year and is slated to shrink to 7,000 in 2004. The command of the operation will go to a two-star general rather than the current three-star.
73. In January 2003, SFOR completed its restructuring into a smaller but more robust and operationally agile force centred on ten battle groups of about 750 soldiers each. In the new structure SFOR continues to have its headquarters in the Sarajevo area. In addition, SFOR has paramilitary police units - the Multinational Special Unit (MSU) - to respond to civil disturbances, and dedicated Tactical Reserve Forces able to intervene anywhere in the region.
74. 85% of the NATO troops now in Bosnia are from European Union countries. The US presence in Bosnia has dropped steadily from some 4,200 at the beginning of 2001 to about 3,100 in 2003. Despite this decrease the United States remains the largest contributor of forces along with the United Kingdom. France and Germany have reduced their forces by more than half over the same period. EU foreign ministers support a EU takeover of SFOR in early 2004. The plan calls for a force of 12,000 European soldiers to maintain stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 1 January 2003, the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) - the first civilian crisis management operation under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) - took over from the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The EU has planned a 3-year mission composed of 466 police officers, 67 civil experts and 289 local staff.
B. THE KOSOVO STABILISATION FORCE (KFOR)
75. The size of KFOR is also being reduced as part of the Joint Operations Area Review. This comes on top of a reduction last year from over 35,000 personnel. Currently there are about 25,000 personnel directly involved in KFOR either in Kosovo or in surrounding countries. The United States is providing about 2,500 troops for KFOR. Other large contingents include Italy (6,200), France (5,340), Germany (4,900) and the United Kingdom (2,970). The number of personnel is expected to shrink to 15,000 in 2004.
76. The province is generally stable, though this is due in part to ethnic self-segregation, and inter-ethnic crime has decreased greatly. As part of the stabilisation force, 4,458 international police officers belonging to the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and 5,175 local personnel from the UNMIK-trained Kosovo Police Service patrol the region. KFOR contingents are grouped into five multinational brigades. Approximately 60% of KFOR personnel are dedicated to patrolling, manning checkpoints, and mounting border patrols. KFOR has recently transferred full responsibility for public safety and policing to the UNMIK international and local police forces in every area except Kosovska Mitrovica, where the responsibility is shared due to the particularly volatile nature of the area. The main area of tension is the divided northern city of Mitrovica, where ethnic Albanians live south of the Ibar River, while most Serbs live on the northern side in several neighbourhoods. The French-led KFOR forces there have suppressed most violence, but the situation remains tense and inter-ethnic mixing almost non-existent.
77. In the longer term, the international community will have to resolve the question of the final status of Kosovo. The basic options are independence, return to federal Yugoslavia, or partition between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The Albanian majority strongly favours immediate independence, but the UN has made it clear that it is too soon. At the same time, it is clear that any solution less than independence could restart a guerrilla war led by Albanian nationalists.
C. OPERATION ALLIED HARMONY
78. Operations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were minimal, compared to SFOR and KFOR, and the EU took over operations there in March. The 350 NATO personnel in Macedonia were not performing an active peacekeeping or peace-enforcement role. Rather they acted as observers and as a liaison with the Macedonian government. On 17 March 2003, NATO decided to terminate Operation Allied Harmony and to hand over to the EU, which began its first military mission on 1 April 2003. Now known as Operation Concordia, the EU-led force of 320 soldiers and 80 civilians has access to NATO planning and logistical facilities. German Admiral Rainer Feist, NATO's Deputy Supreme Commander Europe, has been appointed as operation commander for the EU-led crisis management units. The operation is conducted under the Berlin plus agreement that guarantees EU access to NATO assets and places DSACEUR and AFSOUTH in the chain of command. Thus, it is the first operation conducted under ESDP, but one conducted in close co-ordination with NATO. It is expected to run through 15 December, at which point the mission will be converted to a police mission, with the participation of approximately 200 police from EU countries.
79. It should be noted, however, that the Macedonia operation is a particularly light one and an easy first step for the EU. There are only a few hundred peacekeepers in the country, which minimises the logistical difficulties. Their mission is also minimal compared to the more active peace-enforcement role NATO forces play in Bosnia and Kosovo. Nonetheless, it could be an important first step leading to more widespread EU military activities in the region. In addition to Operation Concordia, the EU launched Operation Artemis, a brief humanitarian relief operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was a very brief and limited operation, but it did demonstrate the ability of an EU force (mainly French and run through a French headquarters) to deploy to a region out of the European area.
80. With the United States partially disengaging over the next several years to concentrate on other priorities, EU performance in stabilising the Balkans will be tested, as will the Berlin plus agreement. So far the record is mixed. Some allies believe it is necessary to construct a separate headquarters and planning cell from NATO, and this will likely weaken the arrangements arrived at under the Berlin plus agreement, and weaken co-ordination between NATO and the EU. Regarding the ability of EU forces to take over NATO operations should the US reduce its presence in the Balkans, capabilities and European armed forces' readiness are often identified as the most challenging issues for ESDP. According to the EU military committee chairman, the RRF will not be ready to provide combat forces by the end of 2003, nor would it have sufficient air transport capacity until 2008-2012.
81. Moreover, to date, Europeans have been dependent on purchased or leased foreign equipment - mostly American, Russian and Ukrainian - particularly for large or outsize loads, since European strategic transport capabilities are often insufficient, obsolete, or unavailable when needed. The EU force will not be capable of accomplishing the most difficult missions until theatre deployment capabilities are fully in place - and given the European countries' current programmes to achieve those capabilities, that could mean a wait until 2008, when the first A400M transport aircraft enters service.
82. The NATO Alliance is in the process of overcoming some of the challenges that it has confronted in recent years. At one important level, the formal relationship between NATO and ESDP has been established, clearing the way for the EU to take over the NATO operation in Macedonia. At another, the Alliance has committed itself to an ambitious yet realistic project to make itself more relevant for the current security environment. The creation of the NATO Reaction Force and the adoption of the Prague Capabilities Commitments sets the Alliance on a path to renewed vigour and importance in international affairs.
83. At the same time, there is a large gap between making political commitments to NRF and the PCC and actually fielding the capabilities. There are some indications that serious work is underway - most notably in the area of asset sharing agreements among varying groups of European NATO members - but it is too early to tell if and when the political commitment will yield actual military capability.
84. The Alliance will continue to be challenged in other ways as well. As the United States focuses its attention on the continuing battle against terrorism, the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq, and the containment of North Korea, the European allies will likely take on a larger role in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. This may ultimately prove beneficial for the Alliance. A more confident and capable Europe could better shoulder some of the burden of the common defence interests of the Alliance and forge a stronger transatlantic partnership. But it is important for the United States and European militaries to grow is similar directions.
* Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name