177 DSCTC 11 E rev. 1 final - NATO OPERATIONS UNDER A NEW STRATEGIC CONCEPT AND THE EU AS AN OPERATIONAL PARTNER
NICOLE AMELINE (FRANCE), RAPPORTEUR
II. REVIEWING NATO’S CURRENT OPERATIONAL ENGAGEMENTS
III. THE 2010 STRATEGIC CONCEPT: DEVELOPING NATO’S “OPERATIONS TOOLKIT” FOR THE COMING DECADE
IV. THE EU AS AN OPERATIONAL PARTNER: CONTRIBUTIONS AND LIMITATIONS
V. CONCLUSIONS AND OBSERVATIONS
APPENDIX 1: ONGOING NATO OPERATIONS
APPENDIX 2: ONGOING EU MISSIONS
1. At the Lisbon Summit of November 2010, the member states of the North Atlantic Alliance set out their collective vision for the next phase of NATO's evolution in a new Strategic Concept titled "Active Engagement, Modern Defence." The provisions of the Concept have significant implications for the Alliance's ongoing and future operational engagements.
2. NATO's continued leadership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and Operation Unified Protector in Libya are the Alliance’s top operational priorities in 2011. The Alliance also remains engaged in the Balkans; in maritime operations in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa; and, to a lesser extent, in Iraq. Ongoing operations informed the drafting of the Strategic Concept, and they should also be affected if the Concept is properly implemented – as would those operations the Alliance might choose to undertake in the future.
3. Analysis of current operations, with the arrival of a new type of mission in Libya, has shown the relevance of a new strategic concept in a constantly changing world. In fact no country in the Alliance was threatened, within the meaning of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, by the events in Libya, but it was apparent, particularly in the eyes of several European countries, that there was a duty, both political and moral, to intervene. Without looking too far into the future, perhaps NATO will have similar operations to manage.
4. This report, intended for review by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's SubCommittee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Co-operation, seeks to articulate the lessons learned from past and current NATO conflict engagement as well as to investigate the management of these conflicts and shed light on gaps that need to be corrected. To that end, the report will seek first to describe the outlines of NATO's current operational engagements; second, it will explore some of the key implications of the new Strategic Concept for current and future operations; third, it will place a special focus on the evolving role of the European Union as an operational partner to NATO.
5. The Rapporteur's conclusion is that the provisions of the Strategic Concept dealing with operations are largely commendable in their aspiration; but the key will be how successfully they are implemented by Allied member states and their partners. For example, an increased emphasis on a comprehensive approach to operations, including greater co-ordination with other actors, is eminently sensible; however, a major test of its ability to succeed will lie in whether the political deadlock between NATO and the EU can be overcome. Similarly, the aspiration to develop civilian specialists for rapid deployment to NATO missions could be a vital tool in helping develop capacity for better governance or economic development in operational theatres; however, efforts to stand up such capabilities have met with only mixed success to date, and ensuring the funding for their future success cannot be taken for granted.
6. NATO’s past and ongoing operations cover the full spectrum of crisis management – from combat and robust peacekeeping, support operations and capacity-building, to surveillance and humanitarian relief. Today, NATO operations, conducted by over 140,000 troops, take place in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, the Mediterranean, off the Horn of Africa and in Iraq. The Atlantic Alliance, which some had proclaimed moribund at the end of the Cold War, has never been more operationally active than it is today.
7. The war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001 as the United States, acting jointly with the United Kingdom, launched Operation Enduring Freedom, in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In December 2001, the United Nations established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and mandated it to provide security in Kabul and the surrounding areas. ISAF’s initial mandate, pursuant to UN Resolution 1386, has evolved considerably since 2001. The current mandate encompasses a wide range of tasks, including stability and security operations, reconstruction and development, capacity-building and training, among others.
8. The death of Osama bin Laden, executed in May 2011 by American Special Forces, is a triumph and has made it possible to reach one of the main goals of the operation in Afghanistan, namely the eradication of al-Qaeda. However, the numerous terrorist attacks in Kabul and Kandahar and the heavy losses sustained by ISAF forces since the beginning of the year show that neither the military nor the political situation has stabilised. The ISAF countries are brought face to face with the direction and political goal of their mission, as well as the political conditions that will justify their future disengagement.
9. At present, 28 NATO states, in addition to 18 non-member states, contribute to the International Security Assistance Force. As of August 2011, ISAF’s troop strength equalled 130,697, divided into six regional commands.2 To date, the coalition has lost almost 2,699 casualties, with the US, UK, and Canada suffering the greatest number of losses by nationality.3 While there is no single estimate on the cost of the war in Afghanistan, one expert analysis suggests that the US Congress had approved roughly $336 billion for Operation Enduring Freedom by July 2010.4 By another measure, the US is currently spending roughly $1 billion per month on training and equipping the Afghan National Security Forces alone.
10. In the beginning of 2011, commanders in the field were reporting significant progress in the security aspects of operations, to include direct targeting of insurgent mid-level leadership as well as relative pacification of southern areas of Afghanistan that had been characterized as especially significant to the Taliban. Notable successes could also be claimed in the effort to establish the Afghan National Security Forces through the impressive results obtained by the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A). These, among others, have allowed the Afghan government and NATO to begin jointly deciding and announcing geographic areas for transition to Afghan lead responsibility for security. It is to be hoped that this decision has been taken with full knowledge of the facts, because the terrorist attacks in Kabul and Kandahar in the summer of 2011 show that the Afghan forces are having difficulty in guaranteeing the security of the areas entrusted to them.
11. NATO officials suggest that 2011 is a year that will show decisive strategic results, after establishing a strategic plan for the campaign in 2008 and resourcing it through 2009 and 2010 (in particular through the additional troop influx by the United States). They underline that although the fighting may increase this year, this should not be taken as an indication of failure but rather of the fact that ISAF forces are aggressively engaging the enemy. Indeed, some Allies consider that substantial progress has already been achieved, and have declared the first withdrawal of troops for 2011. In June, the US administration announced the withdrawal of 10,000 troops by the end of 2011. While acknowledging that significant challenges remained, President Obama declared that the “tide of the war [was] receding” and that important gains had been made as the alQaeda network in the region had been crippled.5 France, for its part, also announced the beginning of a gradual withdrawal of reinforcement troops sent to Afghanistan.
12. However, a range of credible voices are increasingly stressing the need for greater progress in the areas of governance and development, as well as the necessity for an eventual political solution to the conflict, including the possibility of a negotiated agreement with the Taliban. These areas, which are largely out of the direct control of NATO, are nevertheless essential to the mission’s overall success – thus underlining the rationale for the ‘Comprehensive Approach’ to operations endorsed by the 2010 Strategic Concept and described in detail in Section III below.
13. NATO’s operation in Afghanistan is notable in the context of this analysis for its transformative effects on how the Allies have come to view the operational roles and capabilities NATO must be able to fulfil. Four elements in particular have emerged over time in the Afghan operation as special points of emphasis and have been carried over into the Strategic Concept: the organizational structure of NATO’s engagement; the emphasis on non-military elements, to include reconstruction and development; the importance of the training of local security forces as a prerequisite for disengagement; and the need for co-ordination with partner organizations.
14. The expanding scope and size of the Senior Civilian Representative’s (SCR) office in Afghanistan is one example of the dynamically evolving organizational structure of allied efforts which have increasingly sought to place greater emphasis on strengthening military-civilian partnerships. Tasked to represent the political leadership of the Alliance, the SCR is the civilian counterpart to the Commanding General of ISAF and acts to facilitate the delivery of civil effects, such as capacity building, governance, the rule of law, economic development and regional engagement, among others. The SCR is also tasked with political co-ordination with various interlocutors such as the Representatives of the UN and the EU and Ambassadors from key donor nations, as well as the Afghan leadership.
15. Another hard-won lesson of the Afghan campaign has been a broader recognition of the need for military operations to go hand in hand with reinforced efforts on civilian reconstruction and development. The lack of directed efforts in these areas from 2002 to 2007, largely owing to the absence of the requisite political will, cost the overall campaign both time and important opportunities to make headway with the Afghan public. Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) were established as integrated military-civilian organizations that promote security, governance, co-ordination and reconstruction throughout Afghanistan, particularly in areas where security conditions do not permit full engagement by non-military humanitarian actors such as nongovernmental assistance and relief organizations.
16. Over time, PRT lead nations have begun to “civilianize” the PRT model to a more integrated civil-military structure, including a number of examples which are led by civilians, such as the UKled Lashkar Gah PRT in Helmand Province visited by Assembly members in April 2010. Assembly members heard about another example during an April 2011 Sub-Committee visit to the Netherlands; that country had gone a step further and created a dual command structure for an entire Task Force to ensure that effects were achieved on all three lines of operation (defence, diplomacy and development).6
17. However, despite the efforts made at raising the profile of co-ordinated non-military effects in Afghanistan, several problems continue to hamper effective co-operation. These include a stillevolving civilian-military relationship that has often fallen prey to “clashing cultures” between the military and NGOs, as well as command and control issues.
18. Another challenge facing these efforts has been finding civilian experts available for deployment to the often difficult conditions of Afghanistan. Indeed, military leaders have suggested that the lack of progress on governance and development in Afghanistan has in part been due to the lack of a ‘civilian surge’ to match the influx of additional military personnel in theatre. In a March 2009 speech, President Obama emphasized the need for “civilian surge” of “agricultural specialists and educators, engineers and lawyers” to train their Afghans counterparts. However, the results have been limited, both in terms of the number of civilian experts deployed, and the delivery of civilian effects. Experts in areas such as agriculture and rule of law, for instance, are needed in order to mentor and train Afghan officials and improve their capacity to deliver the services demanded by the Afghan people. While significant efforts have been made in this area, including a threefold increase of deployed US civilians (to over 1,100 in 2010) – questions remain regarding the sustainability of such deployments over the five to 10 years that experts suggest will be necessary in Afghanistan, as well as the extent to which the effort will continue to be dependent on private contractors.
19. Similarly, Afghanistan has also reinforced the Allies’ understanding of the need to quickly and effectively contribute to the standing up of local security forces, in order to empower local authorities as well as reduce the burden on the Alliance. As previously underscored, NATO’s Training Mission in Afghanistan (detailed in the Defence and Security Committee’s general report) has achieved impressive results in its relatively short existence; however, only after its establishment in 2008 were all of the various training programmes for Afghan forces brought under one umbrella and supported with the required resources and organizational structures, replacing relatively ineffectual, ill-funded and poorly co-ordinated efforts that were not delivering appreciable results.
20. Finally, Afghanistan has also reminded NATO of the need for the greatest possible contributions by other actors with capabilities that could complement NATO’s own, as well as of the need for the closest possible co-ordination with those actors in order to maximize effects in the field.
21. One seemingly obvious institutional partner in this respect is the European Union, which has for example, invested more than 8 billion euros in Afghan reconstruction assistance to date. While the EU contributions have as a whole been significant, they have come under some criticism for their lack of co-ordination, even amongst and between different EU institutions, a challenge that many hope will be ameliorated by recent changes regarding the organization of in-country leadership of European efforts.
22. Unsurprisingly, NATO has a particularly close relationship with the EU in the area of police training. In 2007, taking over a previously German-led initiative, the EU launched its Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL). Focused largely on training the leadership of the Afghan National Police, EUPOL has claimed success for its efforts within its mandate, although the modest scope of that mandate and the resources devoted to it have come under some criticism.
23. In February 2011, Assembly members were told by NTM-A Commander that EUPOL was making an important contribution and that co-ordination between the two missions was working well in the field. However, officials continue to lament, behind closed doors, that the lack of a functional NATO-EU political relationship had significantly hampered EUPOL’s effectiveness. In particular, in order to deploy beyond Kabul, rather than agreeing with NATO as a whole, EUPOL was forced to resort to the complex and time-consuming effort of negotiating technical arrangements with individual NATO-led PRTs for the provision of transport and security to its staff. Such arrangements have been largely carried out on ad hoc basis, subject to capacity and availability rather than potential impact, underscoring the operational consequences to not having the necessary inter-organizational agreements.
24. Following the popular uprising which began in Benghazi on 15 February 2011 and the subsequent violent crackdown by the Gaddafi regime, resulting in an estimated 6,000 casualties, the United Nations Security Council pronounced the situation in Libya a threat to international peace and security. The Council adopted resolutions 1970 and 1973, by which it imposed an arms embargo and a no-fly zone and also authorized Member States and regional organizations to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack.
25. Before restating the conditions under which the military operations took place, the most important political aspects of these should be emphasised.,
26. The initiative for the operations in Libya was taken by several European Union countries, in particular France and the United Kingdom, who demonstrated their commitment to the values of freedom and democracy and had a very clear view of the advantages of strengthening democracy in the Mediterranean space. Europe could not stand idle in the face of the massacre of people in its immediate vicinity, but over and above the protection of Libyan citizens, the establishment of political regimes based on freedom of expression in Egypt and Tunisia, and one hopes in Libya, is the guarantee of peaceful international relations in the Mediterranean area. United States acceptance of this view has been valuable, and to a large extent made it possible to reach the political goal which Europe was setting for this operation.
27. The collapse of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime is indisputably a political success for NATO, as it is for the European Union. The essential goal was reached, whatever the difficulties in implementing the mission may have been. The fact that the Polish presidency of the European Union has grasped the importance of this and has put European security on its schedule is to be welcomed. The European Union might go further in its thinking by proposing the preparation of a European White Paper on its strategic interests, in the context of NATO and its new Strategic Concept, of course.
28. The importance of cooperation with the Arab countries has been the second important lesson learned from the operation in Libya. Several countries, including Qatar, have had an important diplomatic role in the Libyan operation. The involvement of some of them in military operations shows that a new order is gradually emerging in the Near and Middle East. It is impossible for regimes in this region to ignore the aspirations of their people. Since the NATO countries and some others subscribe to a common core of values, there is space for fuller cooperation. The Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Co-operation Initiative have shown that dialogue between NATO countries and countries in North Africa and the Near and Middle East was possible. It might be permissible to imagine that in the future this dialogue might develop into a space for political and possibly military cooperation. The Mediterranean and Near Eastern space is of crucial importance to the NATO countries. Turkey has a decisive role in strengthening the Istanbul Co-operation initiative, because of its geographical position as well as its long-term presence in several countries in the Near and Middle East.
29. Let us remember that the international response began on 19 March 2011 with Operation Odyssey Dawn, which lasted for 12 days and then transitioned into NATO’s Operation Unified Protector. An initial 13-country coalition effort successfully crippled Gaddafi’s Integrated Air Defence and long-range surface-to-air missile systems and blocked the regime’s armour and mechanized units from reaching Benghazi.
31. NATO decided on March 24 to enforce the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya. On 27 March 2011, NATO’s Secretary General announced that the Allies had agreed to assume control for the whole military operation (in addition to the arms embargo and no-fly zone), under Resolution 1973.8 NATO is currently monitoring possible threats to civilians and civilian-populated areas; when such a threat manifests, NATO conducts strikes using both naval and air power. As of September 2, NATO had conducted 21,200 air sorties over Libya, including 7,968 strike sorties.9
32. The Alliance has gone to great lengths to avoid causing civilian casualties or disrupting humanitarian assistance. For this purpose, a well-functioning system was set up for the notification and deconfliction of any humanitarian movement by land, sea or air in or out of Libya. In that context, NATO had demonstrated excellent coordination inter alia with the United Nations, which has taken the lead on humanitarian assistance.
33. The conditions for the completion of the operation were articulated by the Foreign Ministers of NATO nations and partners in Berlin on 14 April 2011:
34. The European Union, for its part, has already provided $152 million Euro in humanitarian assistance, as of 1 September 2011.10 In April 2011, the Council of the European Union established a military operation in support of humanitarian assistance operations in Libya. EUFOR Libya was mandated to contribute to the safe movement and evacuation of displaced persons and support the humanitarian agencies in their activities. The EU has reaffirmed its readiness to deploy EUFOR Libya, if requested by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). At the time of writing, OCHA was not considering making such a request.
35. Despite its essential role in humanitarian assistance, the EU has lagged on the political and military tracks. The European Council, through the Political and Security Committee (PSC), and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have been locked in inertia that prevented the Union from articulating a coordinated policy approach or from giving thorough consideration to the possibility of civil-military action or other specific measures such as sanctions.
36. As the Libyan regime fell, the challenges of a post-Gaddafi Libya will be no less daunting, given the divisions in Libyan society and the under-developed civil society in the country. Libya will thus represent a true test of the viability of the “Comprehensive Approach” and the role of NATO within a larger international effort. The importance of successfully completing this mission is selfevident: failing in Libya could not only prompt a humanitarian crisis, but could also give dangerous support to anti-reform efforts by authoritarian regimes in the region, “raising the bar on the levels of violence despots feel they can get away with,” as one analyst puts it.11
37. The Alliance can already identify several lessons from Operation Unified Protector. The first comes from the three fundamental conditions in place before NATO took action: a broad recognition that NATO engagement would clearly add value to existing international efforts; and that any action would have a clear legal mandate, as well as strong regional support. NATO officials confirm that the Alliance continues to consult extensively with the UN, the EU, the Arab League, the African Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other regional organisations to ensure its engagement in Libya is effective and conducted in coordination with other efforts such as the use of sanctions and the freezing of financial assets.
38. Operation Unified Protector has also demonstrated the Alliance’s ability to launch swift and decisive action, a notable improvement over the time needed to launch the military operations in the Balkans. (It is worth recalling that the war in Bosnia had been on for nearly two years before the first NATO military operations and three years before NATO began ground strikes.) Speaking to Assembly members in May, Admiral Locklear, Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, emphasised that the campaign was fulfilling its mandate effectively, despite the inherent challenges involved in multinational efforts. He was especially pleased with the operation’s rapid transition from initial deployment to full operational capability within only a week.
39. Operation Unified Protector also clearly marks a shift from the traditional character of NATO missions as European forces, in particular France and the UK, have taken the lead. All twenty ships that are implementing the arms embargo are European or Canadian, and the vast majority of the strike sorties are being flown by European countries. The United States is contributing heavily to the Allied effort by providing unique support assets and capabilities, including the suppression of enemy air defence, unmanned aerial systems, aerial refuelling, as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support.
40. Despite the mission’s successes, its conduct has also raised important questions. Perhaps chief among these is the question of appropriate burden-sharing. While the mission enjoys wide political support, only half the NATO membership has participated in Unified Protector and less than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission, raising questions about the Alliance’s cohesion and risking a two-tier Alliance, as articulated by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Such challenges threaten to lead to an undermining of the political edifice of the Alliance.
41. The main issues arise from the actual conditions for NATO forces engagement. It is obvious that there had not been unanimity in the North Atlantic Council and the NATO Secretary General had « forced a consensus », to employ the words used by Admiral Xavier Païtard, France’s Military Representative in NATO, on 28 June last. Thus some nations resisted the call for contributions, and the war effort was supported mainly by a small group of countries. Whatever the political involvement of several European countries may be, the operations could not have been conducted without American capabilities. Lastly, the operations have shown that the headquarters in Naples (combined operations) and Poggio Renatico (air force) were undermanned and above all incapable of turning to personnel in NATO’s permanent structure for assistance.
42. NATO has played an important and varied role in the Western Balkans, ranging from robust military engagement, to stabilization, training and capacity-building. Often working in tandem with the United Nations and the European Union, the Alliance has also been actively drawing the region into the Euro-Atlantic institutions.
44. NATO deployed to Bosnia in 1995 to ensure the implementation of the military aspects of the Dayton Peace Accords. After nearly a decade, NATO, having achieved its military core tasks, handed the bulk of its responsibilities under the Implementation Force (IFOR)/Stabilisation Force (SFOR) mission to the EU’s Operation EUFOR Althea, in December 2004. One of the key lessons from Bosnia, identified by Solana, has been the “need to look beyond the immediate aftermath of the conflict to engage in a comprehensive rebuilding of the region.” Indeed, co-operation with the EU has been an indication precisely of this commitment to develop a “viable political and economic order” in the region.13
45. Co-operation in Bosnia is often cited as a NATO-EU success story. The handover of the operation by NATO to the EU is considered to have successfully relied on the clearly delineated “Berlin plus” arrangements, which allowed the EU to draw from NATO military assets for its own peacekeeping operations. Agreed in 2002, the “Berlin Plus” arrangements were part of a comprehensive package of agreements between the two organizations that also included a NATOEU security agreement, assured access to NATO planning capabilities for EU-led crisis management operations and allowed for EU-NATO consultation arrangements, among others.
46. The “Berlin +” arrangements meant that even though EUFOR had a separate chain of command, under the ultimate authority of the EU Council of Ministers, operations were planned and conducted using NATO structures and capabilities. The Deputy SACEUR acted as Althea’s operational commander and ensured effective co-operation between the two organizations at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), which became operations headquarters for the mission. In addition to top-level co-ordination, the fact that Althea employed eighty percent of the troops and staff that had previously served under SFOR boosted EUFOR’s local legitimacy and credibility. In addition to the asset-sharing provisions of Berlin plus, the two organizations set up additional procedures, whereby the EU could, if needed, access NATO assets in the Western Balkans –- NATO assets currently committed to Kosovo could reinforce EUFOR and vice versa.
47. The success of the operation in Bosnia should lead the EU to make more extensive use of the tools made available to it by the « Berlin Plus » arrangements, provided all political barriers blocking this process are removed.
48. While the military campaign largely succeeded in its initial aims, it should not be forgotten that despite these apparent successes, a final political settlement in Bosnia remains elusive even today. Indeed, as members of this Committee learned during their visit to Bosnia in June 2010, the institutions governing it often remain in a deadlock resulting from a high level of decentralization, on the one hand, and fundamental disagreements between the various stakeholders on what the nature of the state should be, on the other.14
49. In April 2011, in what High Representative Valentin Inzko labelled as Bosnia’s most serious political crisis since the Dayton agreement,15 the parliament of Republika Srpska declared that it would hold a controversial referendum questioning the work of Bosnia’s High Court and the functioning of the offices of the High Representative. The planned referendum, seen as the biggest assault on the Dayton Agreement and the authority of the High Representative so far, was dropped after threats for sanctions and pressure from the EU’s Catherine Ashton. Nevertheless, this incident is illustrative of the need to remain attentive to developments in Bosnia.
50. NATO was also called on to confront another emerging humanitarian catastrophe in the Balkans –- Kosovo. By the end of 1998, the Security Council had declared the situation a threat to peace and security in the region.16 Following NATO’s operation Allied Force of March 1999, the Security Council adopted resolution 1244 (1999), which established the Kosovo Force (KFOR) and mandated it to to deter hostilities, maintain the security environment and demilitarize the Kosovo Liberation Army.17
51. The mission was initially deployed in June 1999. In response to the conditions on the ground and the improved security situation, in 2010 the mission gradually reduced its force levels and posture by moving to a "Deterrent Presence” posture. The first phase of KFOR's move to Deterrent Presence (also known as "Gate One”) was reached on 31 January 2010 and the transition to Gate 2 was approved by the NAC on 26 October 2010. Within this framework, KFOR has been reduced from 15,000 to 5,927 over the past 2 years. At the end of the process, NATO is expected to maintain forces to assess the situation. In his briefing to Assembly members, Admiral Locklear, Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, stated that a future reduction of KFOR to a force of 2,000-3,000 was envisaged. As of 3 August 2011, 22 NATO nations and eight non-NATO nations are contributing to KFOR.18
52. NATO’s military tasks in Kosovo have largely been fulfilled, then-Commander of KFOR, Lt. General Markus Bentler told members of the Assembly’s Defence and Security Committee in a June 2010 visit to Kosovo.19 In what he referred to as “the last 100 metres”, KFOR’s main tasks amounted to using a comprehensive approach in close co-ordination with other international organizations to increasingly hand over responsibility to local institutions and reduce the NATO footprint. However, sustained security also depended on progress in other areas (political and socio-economic reforms, protection of the environment, and infrastructure development, among others), General Bentler stressed. A safe and secure environment, which should be continuously provided by KFOR and EULEX, is necessary for the EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. That dialogue should lead toward reconciliation between Serbs and Albanians.
53. In his speech to the NATO PA, Admiral Locklear praised the Kosovo Security Institutions, and especially the Kosovo Police, as increasingly capable. KFOR continues to support the development of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), a 2,500-strong non-military, all-volunteer, professional force that reached initial operational capability in September 2009, with full capability planned for 2012. The KSF’s core tasks include de-mining, fire-fighting, and medical support, and while the Pristina authorities have pushed for a more traditional military conception of the force, this ambition is not supported by KFOR’s mandate. As regards KSF’s developments of new tasks and capabilities, the main constraints are posed by domestic laws on KSF and the relevant provisions of the Kosovo constitution.
54. Renewed tension in the north of Kosovo in the summer and early fall of 2011 underlines the necessity for continued vigilance. Nevertheless, the general security conditions have allowed KFOR to lower its profile to what is known as a “deterrent presence,” in which it operates a small and flexible force that can be present in appropriate strength at very short notice throughout Kosovo. Admittedly, a number of political issues remain problematic, most notably in North Mitrovica where the reach of the Pristina authorities fails, inviting comparisons of a “state within a state” situation. The situation in that province is often considered the hardest nut to be cracked. Yet, this issue does not principally fall under the remit of the NATO operation and conditions are likely to allow for the continued drawdown of KFOR. Admittedly, a number of political issues remain problematic, which should be solved through the EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
55. KFOR’s ‘success story’ provided some useful lessons for future operations, according to General Bentler. Several elements had been particularly important: a very clear mandate; robust rules of engagement for the soldiers operating in a challenging environment; adequate resources to fulfil the mandate; and a perceived impartiality and neutrality, even if both sides sought to use KFOR for their own political advantage.
56. The role of the EU is particularly significant in the Kosovo context. The EU deployed its European Rule of Law mission (EULEX) beginning in December 2008; it now mobilizes contributions from 26 Member States and close to 2,812 staff total. EULEX, mandated to develop the rule of law, judiciary and customs areas in order to establish a sustainable multi-ethnic justice system, has taken over the current operational lead in Kosovo.
57. Relations between the operational staffs of the various international organizations deployed to Kosovo are reportedly quite good. However, despite a series of ad hoc arrangements made possible by the close in-theatre relations, overall operational efficiency has been put at risk by the lack of formalized dialogue between NATO and the EU on Kosovo. This has caused an inability to achieve certain key support mechanisms in the field, such as a framework of co-operation for intelligence sharing, a vehicle tracking agreement or any arrangement for the provision of NATO protection for EU personnel. It has also prevented the necessary streamlining of personnel serving often redundant functions amongst the different organizations, the Assembly delegation was told in Pristina in June 2010. In this context, it must be underlined that the closest possible collaboration between the main international actors in Kosovo continues to be required if long-term stability is to be achieved.
D. COMBATING PIRACY
58. The Gulf of Aden is a critical juncture for world transit, with 22,000 ships and 30% of world oil transiting every year. In the last two years, the scourge of piracy in this area has claimed more than 2,000 hostages. The year 2011 alone has seen more than 314 pirate attacks, 31 hijackings, and over 587 hostages taken.20 As of early September, 18 vessels and 355 hostages were being held.21 Furthermore, 2010 saw a 60 per cent increase in average ransom to $5.4 million, putting the overall annual costs of piracy between $7 and $12 billion.22 What is more, the geographical scope of piracy is spreading further east into the Indian Ocean and even copied in West Africa.
59. Indeed, what began as a phenomenon of sporadic attacks has quickly assumed a scale of massive proportions, encompassing vast swaths of the Indian Ocean up to 1,500 km off the coast, making ships vulnerable while transiting the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin and the Indian Ocean – a sea area the size of Western Europe.23 The costs of piracy are skyrocketing—in addition to ransoms, they include ships being out of service, detours made by tankers and freighter to avoid pirates, the deployment of naval vessels, the prosecution of pirates and the setting up of counterpiracy groups and judicial mechanisms for prosecution, among others. While estimates vary, the overall cost of piracy off Somalia and in the Indian Ocean so far has been assessed to be between $7 and 12 billion, including the macroeconomic effects.24
60. NATO initially became involved in counter-piracy operations in 2008, when the UN Secretary-General requested the Alliance to escort World Food Programme (WFP) vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden. Known at first as Operation Allied Provider (October-December 2008), the effort was extended into Operation Allied Protector (March-August 2009) and the current Operation Ocean Shield, which for the first time offers, to regional states that request it, assistance in developing their own capacity (e.g. local coast guard) to combat piracy activities. Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG 2), consisting of four rotating vessels, currently carries out Ocean Shield over a 1 million km2 area of operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.25
61. The mission is working as part of a web of organizational and national efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa, for instance, participating actively in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. The Contact Group was established in January 2009, pursuant to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851 to facilitate discussion and co-ordination of actions among states and international organizations to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia.
62. NATO is co-operating particularly well in this theatre of operation with the parallel EU Operation Atalanta (EU NAVFOR), conducted under the aegis of UN Resolution 1950. Atalanta is the EU’s first naval mission and mobilizes approximately 2,000 personnel, including land-based personnel, from 26 countries. Depending on the seasonal trends in piracy activities, Atalanta typically consists of 5 to 10 Surface Combatants, one to two Auxiliary ship and two to four Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft, operating over an area of 4,000,000 km2.26
63. Multilateral co-ordination in the various naval deployments has largely been praised. The monthly meetings of the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction group (SHADE), held in Bahrain, have provided a useful space for discussion and co-ordination of activities between the maritime industry and NATO, the EU, the US-led Coalition Maritime Force, and other involved countries.27 However, rather than the result of top-level inter-organizational efforts, the unprecedented coordination between western fleets and NATO has largely resulted from unique factors such as personal relationships and the fact that Commanders conducting both the NATO and EU missions are British colleagues working in close proximity from the military headquarters at Northwood, UK.
64. Most recently, the EU Political and Security Committee adopted a revised Operation Plan for Atalanta that allows more robust action against pirates, such as the onboard deployment of embarked security teams and the use of force to regain control of hijacked vessels.28 However, much remains to be done at the EU level to address the problem in a consolidated fashion. One analyst points to the fact that the EU has chosen to address related illicit financial flows not within its own institutions, but rather through an ad hoc Working Group on Illicit Financial Flows Linked to Piracy that was set up by the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.29
65. Despite the evidence of tactical successes, it is undeniable that the collective efforts to combat piracy through naval operations are currently only addressing symptoms of a larger problem that exists on shore: the lack of opportunity, governance, and rule of law in the Somali State from which the pirates launch their attacks. As long as our efforts continue to target the problem only on the margins, there is little hope for its eventual resolution.
66. More critically, remaining gaps in international law prevent the effective prosecution of pirates. A number of nations contributing naval assets have chosen to deploy through the EU operation rather than NATO’s Ocean Shield, largely because the EU secured an agreement with Kenya allowing the prosecution and imprisonment of Somali pirates in Kenya or an EU member state. As of February 2011, eighteen Somalis were serving prison sentences in Kenya and more than 100 were awaiting trial. However, the agreement was terminated in September 2010 as Kenya’s justice system struggled to absorb the influx of pirates and prosecutions are currently conducted by the states who detain the pirates.30 While previously pirates had been routinely set free as countries sought to avoid trial costs, currently, pirates are being prosecuted in some 17 countries.31 Currently, more than 350 suspected pirates are awaiting trials in prisons in Puntland and Somaliland. With generous financial assistance from the EU approximating $1.5 million, the United Nations built a prison in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa, which holds 88 suspects.32
67. Thus, while NATO is making a useful contribution within the limits of its capabilities, other organizations – especially the EU – may have the greater range of tools necessary to address the root of the problem, namely poverty. While current operations and convoy inspection are treating the symptoms and outward manifestation of the problem, economic development is the true solution needed. Thus, EU development funding for governance, education and rural development programmes in Somalia, as well as measures such as financial support to capacitybuilding programmes with the Somali police force, are the types of initiatives that will be necessary to accomplish lasting progress against piracy.
68. Operation Active Endeavour (OAE) conducts maritime operations in the Mediterranean Sea in order to deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorist activity. The sole ongoing Article 5 operation, OAE was initially designed as a rotating operation of the two Standing NATO Maritime Groups.33 However, the operation has evolved into an effort to “build a picture of all maritime traffic in the Mediterranean sea,”34 through information gathering and intelligence. In 2003, NATO broadened the operation’s mandate to include the escort of nonmilitary ships travelling through the Strait of Gibraltar, in order to maintain security in the area and to secure the safe transit of designated Allied ships.
69. As of February 2011, OAE had hailed over 100,000 merchant vessels and boarded more than 155 suspect ships.35 One of its notable successes is the participation of partner countries since 2004, including the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The effective collaboration with Mediterranean Dialogue countries provides a vital boost to the effectiveness of the operation.
70. As an ‘intelligence-driven’ operation (rather than conducting continuous patrols), OAE relies on relatively few ships, which can also be seen as a result of continuing under-resourcing of the mission, possibly made worse by the demands of the counter-piracy operations off the Gulf of Aden.
72. The NTM-I is charged with assisting the development of a democratic and sustainable security sector in that country. Launched in 2004, the operation features 140 personnel from 13 Allies and one partner nation. To date, NTM-I has provided training to over 4,000 Officers and 263 Iraqi Senior NCOs. It has facilitated over 1,800 out of the country courses to Iraqi security forces, trained over 9,800 Iraqi Federal Police and 150 Federal Police Instructors. NTM-I has advised and supported the establishment of a full military educational system, to include the National Defence University, National Defence College, War College, Joint Staff and Command College, the Military Academy, the Defence Strategic Studies Institute and the Defence Language Institute. NTM-I’s most notable contributions are at the Iraqi Military Academy Ar Rustamiyah (IMAR) and the Carabinieri training of the Iraqi Federal Police. NTM-I has recently also developed an Oil Police training course aiming to build a police structure capable of protecting Iraq’s economic infrastructure.36 As of late May 2011, NTM-I had trained 500 Iraqi Oil Police and 40 Oil Police Instructors.
73. NATO has been similarly engaged in capacity-building in Africa. For example, the Alliance has contributed to the formation of an African stabilization force. To that end, NATO conducted an evaluative study of the operational readiness of the African Standby Force, which it has provided with targeted training packages. Since 2009, the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany, has been hosting African Union (AU) staff officers.37 NATO support for the AU is managed by Joint Command Lisbon and in 2005 a liaison office was established in Addis Ababa.
74. Furthermore, upon formal requests from the African Union for financial and logistical support, NATO provided assistance to the AU missions in Darfur (AMIS) and Somalia (AMISOM), respectively. Specifically, in Darfur, NATO provided training and conducted strategic airlift for AMIS peacekeepers until the transformation of the mission, on 31 December 2007, into an AU-UN hybrid peacekeeping force, to which the Alliance has also offered its support. Similarly, in June 2007, the North Atlantic Council agreed, in principle, for the Alliance to support the AU mission in Somalia. NATO has provided AMISOM with strategic airlift as well as mentorship and training. Since 2007, NATO has conducted two strategic airlifts of AMISOM peacekeepers to Mogadishu.38
75. Among the clearest conclusions of the 2010 Strategic Concept is that NATO, which is more profoundly operationally engaged than at any previous time in its history, clearly sees itself continuing its expeditionary role in the next decade.
76. Indeed, the document strongly affirms the Alliance’s ambition to continue to address crises and conflicts beyond its territorial borders. Only somewhat caveated by the phrase “where possible and when necessary,” the Strategic Concept suggests that NATO will continue to deploy to address threats to Alliance territory and populations, by conducting the full spectrum of operations, to include crisis prevention, crisis management, post-conflict stabilization, and reconstruction.
77. Among the capabilities that the Strategic Concept suggests NATO will need to support such ambitions going forward are the following – a list that The Rapporteur will call the Concept’s “Operations Toolkit”:
* The ability to deploy and sustain robust military forces in the field;
78. While elements of the above capabilities have featured in current NATO operations, none of them could currently be called fully mature; the above list, then, should be read as a series of goals. The following section offers some initial thoughts on how far along the Alliance is today in developing the “Operations toolkit” described above.
79. Deploying and Sustaining Robust Military Forces: It goes without saying that an expeditionary capability rests on the Alliance’s collective ability to deploy and sustain forces at a distance, and the Strategic Concept underlines this point. And in the broadest sense, its engagement in Afghanistan has demonstrated that NATO is indeed able to project an impressive number of troops and mobilize and deliver resources at a great distance and in a very difficult environment, as well as sustaining them over time.
80. However, on closer inspection, several stark challenges emerge: even before difficult economic conditions and other factors caused reductions in many Allies’ defence budgets, fewer than a handful of NATO Member States were able to meet the deployability targets agreed by Alliance: 50 per cent of operational land forces deployable and 10 per cent sustainable. Additionally, as recently pointed out by U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates: “For many years … we have been aware that NATO needs more cargo aircraft and more helicopters of all types – and yet we still don’t have these capabilities. And their absence is directly impacting operations in Afghanistan. Similarly, NATO requires more aerial refuelling tankers and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms for immediate use on the battlefield.”39
81. NATO operations, as a rule, have all faced shortages in key capabilities, as put into sharp relief by debates in recent years on needs such as helicopters for the Afghan theatre. To take two other telling examples, the chronic shortage of assets assigned to Operation Active Endeavour and to the NATO Response Force has forced a fundamental re-assessment of the underlying concepts for both initiatives.
82. In this context, there is a real danger that shrinking defence budgets will prevent the continued investment in deployable, flexible and sustainable forces that will be necessary if the expeditionary ambitions of the Alliance are to be met. NATO’s Secretary General warned in October 2010 that
“cuts can go too far. We have to avoid cutting so deep that we won’t, in future, be able to defend the security on which our economic prosperity rests. And we cannot end up in a situation where Europe cannot pull its weight when it comes to security. The result would be that the EU Lisbon Treaty, which I strongly support, would be a hollow shell. And the United States would look elsewhere for its security partner. That is not a price we can afford.”40
83. Most recently, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates cautioned a Brussels audience that NATO could be facing the possibility of “collective military irrelevance” and stressed that the younger generation of US political leaders, for whom the Cold War had not been a formative experience, were not as vested in European security as generations past and “may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.” Specifically, Gates urged the Alliance to make a genuine effort to prevent further cuts in defence budgets, to better coordinate and allocate existing resources and to follow through on commitments to the Alliance and its members.41
84. The Comprehensive Approach: NATO’s experiences in the Balkans, and to an even greater extent in Afghanistan, were the basis on which the Strategic Concept emphasized that a “comprehensive political, civilian and military approach is necessary for effective crisis management.” Indeed, invoking a comprehensive approach has become de rigueur for NATO’s non-Article 5 missions, even though no commonly agreed definition of the term has been established.42
85. Broadly speaking, the comprehensive approach relates to different actors within the international community (civilian and military) finding the most appropriate level of civil-military interaction to achieve its overall goals. NATO has been formally working on implementing the comprehensive approach since adopting political guidance on the subject in 2006, subsequently developing an Action Plan and reaffirming the Allies’ collective commitment to the concept in various Summit declarations. Emphasizing the need to co-ordinate actions with other international actors, as well as improving NATO’s own internal contributions to the approach, NATO has undertaken a number of measures in this area, to include developing a database of national experts in reconstruction and stabilization to advise NATO forces, and seeking greater involvement of other international organizations in exercises.
86. In Afghanistan, the need for such an approach has often been seen as flowing from the truism that ‘without security there can be no development, and without development there can be no long-term security.’ Put in slightly more detailed fashion, the simultaneous progress in military and non-military areas that would lead to overall mission success in Afghanistan requires some form of co-ordinated action by military and civilian actors.
87. Some progress in implementing the comprehensive approach can be observed; Assembly members travelling to Afghanistan have been briefed on the progress in overall co-ordination between organizations and across the civil-military spectrum. Provincial Reconstruction Teams feature larger numbers of civilians and are more often headed by civilian experts with greater expertise in the types of development and reconstruction projects that PRTs are intended to deliver. PRT efforts are now co-ordinated through an Executive Steering Committee with representation not only from the Afghan authorities but also the UN, the EU, the NATO Senior Civilian Representative’s office, and ISAF. NATO has begun integrated planning with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan to co-ordinate efforts. Similarly, senior international officials representing various organizations in the Balkans generally suggest that efforts at the comprehensive approach there – co-ordination across different civilian and military organizations – has been reasonably successful in theatre.43 And the coordination and dialogue between NATO and civilian non-NATO actors in the framework of Libya is markedly better than in the recent past.
88. However, generally speaking, practical implementation of the comprehensive approach to operations in the field remains very much a work in progress. Indeed, despite the clear needs in Afghanistan, military and civilian organizations struggle to get beyond cultural differences and mutual suspicions; an unsurprising yet generalized resistance to being ‘co-ordinated’ by other actors persists; and the number and diversity of actors with potential influence stymies the potential for dialogue, let alone joint planning or decision-making.
89. Deployable “civilian power” has also been recognized as a key to effective crisis management in the Strategic Concept, as well as in the defence agendas of a number of countries.44 Indeed, NATO’s Deputy Assistant Secretary General Jamie Shea suggested recently that “the experience of Afghanistan will undoubtedly lead over time to the US and other Allies investing more in civilian reconstruction expertise and rapid response civilian capabiliti, es able to operate for long periods in dangerous areas. But this will take time as well as resources, leaving the comprehensive approach as a work in progress as far as the ISAF mission in Afghanistan is concerned.”45
90. The Strategic Concept underlines the need for an “appropriate but modest” civilian crisis management capability to interact effectively with civilian partners and “to plan, employ and coordinate civilian activities until conditions allow for the transfer of those responsibilities and tasks to other actors.” Such a capability has also been described as an “interface to make civilian culture more comprehensible to the military HQ and vice-versa.”46 One of the lessons emanating from ISAF’s experiences in Afghanistan points precisely to the need for a coherent military-civilian platform prior to engagement, rather than improvising such arrangements in theatre. As a result, NATO headquarters has reorganised its civil-military planning and support section, and within SHAPE, a high-ranking military interface advisor has been hired who will be complemented by a team of civilian analysts, planners and other experts.
91. Critics of the proposed NATO civilian crisis management capability have argued that it would duplicate existing EU capabilities, and that a preferable policy would see a “reverse Berlin Plus” arrangement whereby NATO can call on EU civilian capabilities; or that it could potentially blur the lines between military and humanitarian presences in the field, and potentially endanger civilian actors and NGOs. 47 Others suggest that both short and long-term civilian planning should remain in the same hands – thus excluding a short-term NATO role, in that it is in no position to initiate a framework for economic development or trade.48
92. While the above critiques cannot be completely dismissed, NATO’s proposals are modest in scope, and pertain principally to filling a strategic vacuum before other actors and organizations are in a position to deploy.49 These recommendations flow from the growing recognition that effective co-ordination on civilian reconstruction is necessary before military operations are undertaken. Overall, it remains unlikely that NATO would assume the lead role in civilian crisis management for anything but the initial phase of an operation.
93. Still, irrespective of whatever modest civil capability it develops, NATO’s ability to deliver a comprehensive approach to operations relies to a large extent on its ability to work in close coordination with the international actors best able to deliver resources simultaneously across the entire range of civilian and military elements of crisis management, in particular the EU. Indeed, the EU’s potential contributions to such an approach – described more fully below – are significant. Yet the political problems between the two organizations continue to frustrate what could be transformative collaboration.
94. The capability to contribute to stabilization and reconstruction: NATO’s experience in the Balkans since 1995 and subsequently in Afghanistan has demonstrated the necessity for a NATO role in stabilization and basic reconstruction activities, in parallel or nearly simultaneous with ongoing combat operations. Any conflict that NATO might lead or in which it might be involved should be viewed having regard to the way in which the Alliance might emerge from it. The management of « post-conflict » aspects is as important as the conduct of the military operations. NATO has learned that organizations whose mandate more directly addresses such tasks – whether other international organizations or non-governmental humanitarian organizations – are often prevented from engaging in areas in which the security situation is difficult, thus highlighting the value of military forces with both the capacity to deliver basic services as well as the wherewithal to defend themselves. The clearest expression of such a capability are the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in operation in Afghanistan (as detailed above).
95. Even while the Allies have widely recognized that stabilization and reconstruction are critical tasks in the operational theatre, NATO lags behind in terms of properly planning for and coordinating these tasks as an Alliance. For instance, while some progress has been made in recent years in terms of co-ordinating the actions of PRTs to ensure their effects are in line with the operation’s overarching political objectives, significant challenges remain, such as the relationship with some non-governmental and other humanitarian actors who are often reluctant to be seen as collaborating with military forces because their success depends on being seen as impartial and neutral.
96. NATO still has work to do to ensure that planning for delivering stabilization and reconstruction effects in operations takes place before conflict occurs and that the capabilities necessary are well exercised. NATO must continue to put in place doctrine, funding, and units specifically trained for stabilization and reconstruction activities in order to ensure that it is best able to drive operations effectively towards their ultimate political objective – locally-led sustainable peace. In fact stabilization is as important as the actual military operations, so that any conflict would end with a political solution.
97. Training Local Forces: The development of local security forces has been recognized as an essential requirement for the transfer of security responsibility in theatre and an integral part of NATO’s crisis management tools in the 2010 Strategic Concept. In Afghanistan, the training and development of the Afghan National Security Forces has not only contributed to what is referred to as the “Afghan surge,” but is also a major pre-condition for thinning out of the allied forces. Nevertheless, NATO’s Secretary General has conceded that waiting until 2008 to set up the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan was a mistake. His ambition is that, from the beginning of any future operation, a standing capacity be established in order to deliver the effects achieved by NTM-A. 50
98. Training indigenous forces could not only serve the purpose of allowing NATO and its partners to disengage from an operation but also could be a part of a larger toolkit designed to prevent the need for NATO to deploy in the first place.
99. Thus, as it looks ahead, NATO is seeking to undertake capacity building or security sector reform in a much more prompt and organized fashion, underpinned by the necessary preparation and funding. Another key goal will be the reduction of the Alliance’s dependence on private contractors to deliver training, a matter that has raised considerable controversy in Afghanistan.
100. The notion of a separate NATO training command was reportedly deliberated at the Lisbon Summit but not adopted.51 However, the difficulties in deploying the required numbers of trainers to Afghanistan, as well as recurring internal debates regarding the types of training that should be provided, suggest that NATO will continue to require such a capability.
101. Broader political consultations among Allies and with Partners: As NATO operates at a distance and in increasingly complicated environments, and with resources devoted to military capabilities decreasing, the Strategic Concept has underlined the need for greater reliance on partners. Afghanistan has also shown that larger communities of nations beyond NATO’s membership see NATO operations as benefiting their security as well, and consequently choose to participate in NATO operations in greater numbers than ever before. Undoubtedly, non-NATO Member States make notable contributions to each and every NATO operation. Their participation warrants recognition and has been reflected in a number of reports of the NATO PA.52
102. It has also become more evident that nations contributing troops to NATO operations will rightly want input into shaping operations, rather than simply being involved in implementing decisions taken in NATO-only meetings. Given its significant contributions to the Afghan campaign, Australia has rightly sought greater dialogue and input on the planning and guidance for ISAF. This is among the reasons that ministerial and summit-level meetings on Afghanistan are now typically in ‘contributors’ format rather than being limited to NATO member states.
103. Among the additional tools for conflict prevention envisaged by the Strategic Concept are better intelligence sharing and as well as broader situational awareness “to better predict when crises might occur, and how they can best be prevented.” NATO should give greater attention to institutionalizing what have been ad hoc procedures to assess crises and to decide when a given situation merits the attention of the North Atlantic Council (NAC). Greater situational awareness for NATO includes sharing information on areas of interest in the maritime domain, such as the High North, the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Ad hoc intelligence-sharing arrangements developed for counter-piracy operations could, for example, be usefully institutionalized and deepened.
104. This Sub-Committee last studied the co-operation between NATO and the EU in depth in 2007 in a report drafted by US Congressman John Shimkus.53 To paraphrase the conclusions of his excellent report, ad hoc measures had enabled a certain degree of collaboration in operational theatres, but a true operational synergy between the two organizations was being held back by political obstacles and structural roadblocks that hampered communication and co-ordination between the organizations. Ultimately, “…duplication, waste, and inefficiencies stemming from non-operational concerns are luxuries neither NATO, the EU, nor their member states can afford,” Mr. Shimkus wrote.
105. Since that time, both institutions have undergone major strategic reviews, the EU through the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, and NATO through the adoption of its November 2010 Strategic Concept. What have these developments meant for the concerns rightly raised by Mr. Shimkus’ report?
106. The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009 opened a new space and created new opportunities for the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), subsequently renamed Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).54 All in all, the Lisbon Treaty may enable more coherence and long-term planning through, for example, the introduction of permanent positions for EU President of the European Council and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
107. Lisbon also expanded the scope of CSDP to encompass “joint disarmament operations,” “military advice and assistance tasks,” “post-conflict stabilisation” and “the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories.” Equally important has been the provision entrusting the implementation of a task to “a group of Member States which are willing and have the necessary capability for such a task.” Other noteworthy developments include the introduction of a “solidarity clause,” a “mutual defence” commitment, as well as the possibility of a “permanent structured co-operation” in the area of defence. To that end, a CSDP operations fund had been set up, in addition to the creation of a diplomatic corps known as the European External Action Service, which marks a noteworthy step towards the consolidation of the Union’s Security and Defence policy.
108. All in all, however, the Treaty of Lisbon has not affected the overall tenor of EU engagement through operations; the EU continues to find it difficult to generate the political will to articulate a common vision and give a common voice to the, at times, discordant political interests and threat perceptions among EU member states. In these conditions, formulating a common defence policy is not an easy task.
109. Thus, in operations, while it has carried out both military and civilian operations, the EU remains oriented towards small-scale stabilization, crisis management and reconstruction operations, often complementing the efforts of other organizations. To date, there have been 28 EU and CSDP missions, most of which have taken place in its neighbourhood, namely the Balkans, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Africa.55 Currently, the Union is considering deploying a Security Sector Reform assessment team to Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.56
110. While the EU has developed a certain collective capability, experts suggest that significant shortfalls remain in areas such as intelligence, reconnaissance, strategic and tactical transport as well as force protection. Among the most often cited reasons for EU-wide capability gaps are the fact that the defence industry remains fragmented and hampered by state protectionism and the absence of harmonization and a common standards challenge. 57
111. The EU Battlegroups, rapid response units of about 1,500-2,500 troops composed of national or multinational contributions under the command of a framework nation have been touted as the greatest achievement in the area of CSDP so far. However, the lack of fixed standards and harmonization has significantly lowered participation criteria and undermined effectiveness. Further, no corrective mechanisms in the form of visible monitoring and sanctioning exist. To date, no Battlegroups have been deployed in theatre; instead, the EU has largely relied on ad hoc troop arrangements. Thus, moderate success in force generation has not translated into enhanced capabilities nor has it led to any significant institutional learning. 58
112. The difficulties posed by the financial crisis and its impact on defence budgets have added a layer of uncertainty regarding the EU’s ability to conduct operations in the medium term. Defence procurement and modernization are, in many countries, likely to face lean years, leading the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates in early 2010 to express his deep concern regarding a “demilitarization of Europe.”
113. Several initiatives are underway to “give a new impetus to European military capability development in order to meet its level of ambition, to address remaining shortfalls and to safeguard the defence capabilities required to support… (CSDP)…while avoiding unnecessary duplication between Member States,” 59 as the EU Council highlighted in December 2010. EU Ministers of Defence adopted, at that time, the so-called Ghent Framework, whereby Member States agreed to identify their capabilities and categorize those that would be maintained at the national level, those that would contribute towards pooling with other Member States and those that would be given up in favour of role-sharing between Member States. The form and shape of this process could determine the future direction of the European Union under the Permanent Structured Cooperation envisioned in the Lisbon Treaty.
114. One initiative of particular interest is the Franco-British Treaty of Defence and Security Cooperation of November 2010, which commits two leading European defence actors to greater sharing and pooling of materials and equipment to maintain critical capabilities in the face of economic austerity. It lays out a plan for joint facilities, mutual access to defence markets, and industrial and technological co-operation, as well as co-operation in the area of nuclear stockpile stewardship. 60
115. The agreement presents a cost-efficient way of maintaining access to the full spectrum of military capabilities and has the potential to contribute to ameliorating EU-wide capabilities gaps. Assuming that the two countries’ strategic perspectives continue to align, and that barriers that have hampered closer co-operation in the past are overcome, the agreement could jump-start efforts to use collaboration and joint efforts to gain greater value and efficiencies from shrinking European defence budgets and truly ‘do more with less.’
116. Other notable initiatives include the Weimar Triangle group, which aims at enhancing cooperation and collaboration between Germany, Poland and France and exists mostly in the form of summit meetings, the latest one of which took place in February 2011. The current Polish Presidency of the EU, having indicated defence as its top priority, is expected to provide fresh impetus to the initiative. While analysts suggest the group has been revived mostly as a means to better coordinate the economic and fiscal policy of the Union, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski have also stressed the importance of intensive cooperation on defence-related matters.
117. In sum, this is a critical time for the European Union, as it crystallizes its vision for European defence. However, outstanding issues remain by way of identifying areas for sharing and solidarity as well as in fully developing Europe’s defence capabilities. A genuine institutional arrangement and effective partnership between the EU and NATO can only be forged once the Union has established its in-house priorities. And yet, even if such measures fully succeed in providing the EU with capabilities that would allow for a significantly more ambitious operational role, such a role could be hampered by what experts suggest is declining public support for such operations amongst the EU member state publics.61
118. The above analysis suggests a number of conclusions as well as areas for further study.
119. The 2010 Strategic Concept was borne out of the necessity to adapt NATO to the evolving security environment as well as to integrate and institutionalize lessons learned from past operations. While the Concept provided a mission statement for NATO’s future role, it did not spell out in concrete terms the steps necessary for its implementation.
120. Indeed, implementation of the Concept’s vision is at the heart of the matter. In a rapidly changing world, the Strategic Concept lays out a roadmap for what Member States saw in November 2010 as the Alliance’s future roles and missions and the capabilities it would require to carry them out. However, the Concept will only ever be as useful as the capabilities and resources that NATO’s Member States put behind it.
121. The Rapporteur does not question the assumption of the drafters of the concept, who believe that the lessons of the Alliance’s experiences in the Balkans and especially current operations in Afghanistan and Libya will continue to have value for the future of the Alliance.
122. The Rapporteur also endorses the Concept’s emphasis on the comprehensive approach in operations, to include strong partnerships with non-NATO countries as well as other international organizations, including the UN and the EU. The Rapporteur considers it most important that the Alliance pursues optimization with other actors in order to avoid operating “in a bubble”. To that end, the application of the comprehensive approach is fundamental to satisfying the political conditions that lead to the conclusion of any operation. While NATO’s ability to project co-ordinated military power is unmatched, operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans have demonstrated that mission success cannot be achieved by military means alone and accompanying progress in non-military lines of effort such as governance and development is indispensable. This has also been demonstrated by the collective international counter-piracy effort, in which the principal instrument deployed – naval military power – can only address the symptoms of the problem rather than its cause.
123. Endeavouring to understand the origins of a conflict and trying to settle it politically is the only way to avoid excessively lengthy military operations, which are expensive in terms both of military personnel and of budgetary credits. The list of current NATO and EU operations (cf. Annex) is a reminder that some of them have lasted a long time, at the risk of creating a « log jam», which uses up Alliance countries’ resources.
124. However, in order to fulfil the vision of the Strategic Concept for NATO, the Allies will have to fund a number of new capabilities: indeed, the Concept lays out a vision for a NATO that is ever more capable of not only providing for the territorial defence of its member states, but also of conducting operations, as well as taking on new challenges in areas such as missile and cyber defences.
125. Even as the Strategic Concept expands the Alliance’s agenda, the undeniable reality is that its Member States are simultaneously nearly all shrinking their defence budgets. Even in less constrained times, the Alliance has long faced unfilled requirements in key operational assets; and we should not forget that NATO headquarters itself began 2010 with a significant budgetary shortfall. A complicating factor in this calculation is the fact that the Alliance finds itself engaged in an increasing number of protracted conflicts some of which, like piracy, have at its core a challenge as intractable as poverty and underdevelopment.
126. Several questions must therefore be posed as the Concept’s potential impact is considered:
a. Will member states will be willing and able to back the operational aspirations in the Strategic Concept with the resources necessary to realize them? The capabilities it calls for, including not only deployable and sustainable military forces but also, for example, capabilities required by the comprehensive approach (such as trained corps of deployable civilian experts) will not materialize without significant continued investment.
b. Should it prove impossible to fund all of the capabilities laid out in the strategic concept – to include not only operational assets but significant investments in missile defences and cyber defences, to name only two examples – how will NATO prioritize among them, and will Allies be able to ensure defence planning transparency and cohesion?
c. Will Members have the political will, individually and collectively, to take the steps necessary to ensure the best possible use of their resources? This will require close co-operation between like-minded nations; the November 2010 Franco-British Treaty is one good example of maintaining capacity despite considerable resource constraints; Nordic defence co-operation is another. It will also require collaboration between organizations; the political blockages in NATO-EU co-operation must be overcome to ensure the organizations are working to the mutual benefit of their largely shared memberships.
d. Will NATO members take the view that it is in their strategic interests to extend the dialogue on defence with partner countries, particularly those in the Mediterranean region and in the Near and Middle East ?
e. Lastly, will the Atlantic Alliance be capable of installing tools for the evaluation of conflict and post-conflict situations in order to learn from current operations ?
127. These five questions are of fundamental importance to the implementation of the new strategic concept. They lead on to supplementary issues, such as the absolute necessity for the EU to be able to set specific foreign policy and defence goals, even if the Atlantic Alliance is the framework for its collective defence
128. Members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly have a role to play in ensuring NATO’s leadership and individual national governments have responses to the above questions, commensurate with the challenges before the Alliance. Otherwise, without the political will and resources to implement it, the 2010 Strategic Concept will have been an exercise in futility.
7 Operation Unified Protector: NATO Factsheet, June 2011, http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_06/20110608_Factsheet-UP_Arms_Embargo.pdf.
11 Nicholas Pelham. “Bogged Down in Libya”. The New York Review of Books.