NATO Partners Need to Develop Skills Together
British Defense Minister Hammond on a stronger role for Germany in the alliance
Far removed from the clear threat posed during the Cold War, the West now faces a more complex security-political situation with a multiplicity of new, non-state threats. What is now needed is nothing less than a radical reorganization of NATO’s armed forces.
The Libya operation showed that NATO remains the most effective instrument to ensure the security of its members. Philip Hammond argued against parallel structures within the framework of Europe’s Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), while at the same time emphasizing that NATO can only accomplish missions such as those in Somalia and the Balkans when it works in cooperation with international partners like the European Union.
At the same time, the Libya mission made clear the Alliance’s weaknesses and imbalances, as the operation would not have been possible without US support. The United States is increasingly shifting its focus toward the Pacific region, which is absolutely in Europe’s interests. But in return, European countries need to take more responsibility for their own neighborhood.
The biggest challenge is satisfying one’s own demands and maintaining the capacity to act despite the debt crisis. Philip Hammond thereby underlined the need for “pooling and sharing,” especially in the areas of technology, logistics, and training.
The defense minister also emphasized the need for stronger cooperation between Germany and Britain. Beyond financial problems, the partners need to develop a common understanding of threats and improve their capabilities.
Hammond places great hope on Germany. The end of conscription and the ongoing transformation of the Bundeswehr mean that Germany’s armed forces are becoming a more effective and mobile army. It is now important to establish public and political support for the Bundeswehr’s role in NATO missions.