16 November 2009 - NEW STRATEGIC CONCEPT NEEDS TO ADDRESS EMERGING SECURITY THREATS, SAYS NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY
NATO’s new Strategic Concept, currently under development by the Alliance, needs to take into account the evolution of the security landscape of the 21st century. However, the cornerstone of the Alliance should remain collective defence, says Sven Mikser, Vice President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Speaking at the Assembly’s 55th annual session in
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is drafting a series of recommendations on the subject of the new Strategic Concept for consideration by the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. These will be submitted some time in April according to Mikser, who is also Special Rapporteur on the Assembly's contribution the Strategic Concept.
Article 5 of the 1949 Washington Treaty enshrines the collective defence of the
“Consultations are important” says Mikser, “to avert military crises and also to coordinate policies of the allies on various security-related issues”. “However, the commitment of allies to article 5 continues to be relevant and important.”
Over the weekend, Mikser spoke to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s five committees, laying out the various points of the recommendations so far. One point refers to the broader threats that might not be covered by article 5, such as cyber warfare, maritime security, and energy security. Another recommendation speaks of the need to provide sufficient capabilities for missions – and specifically dismisses as a “false choice” the conflict seen by some between ‘out-of-area’ missions and the defence of territorial security. “Regardless” of where a threat is located, “the imperative is to make NATO militaries more deployable, capable and integrated” says the latest draft of the recommendations.
The new Strategic Concept, the first revision since 1999, will have to balance the various priorities of an ever-widening alliance, against a backdrop of a range of new threats. “This is the first strategic concept since 09/11, since the emergence of […] global warming as a major security challenge and other issues” said Mikser. “And it’s also the first strategic concept involving the new eastern member states.” “Consequently the new strategic concept will have to reflect a much more diverse threat perception than previous ones.”
The text also underlines the importance of improving cooperation with other international organizations, such as the EU. “We all understand the political circumstances” which have created obstacles to NATO-EU cooperation, said Mikser, but “two organizations with overlapping memberships should find ways to improve coordination and cooperation, even if that means working on an ad-hoc basis until a formal framework can be developed” he added.
Finally, the recommendations stressed that “public communication is vital”. There is a concern that a lack of understanding of NATO’s principles and activities is leading to a lack of support among the allied populations, and weakening solidarity. This is where the role of the Parliamentary Assembly is “particularly important”, said Mikser. “We have a responsibility to listen to the public, as well as inform them”.
Some extra points were raised during last weekend’s session in