Constantin Onişor, Adrian Marius Dobre, Paul Dănuţ Duţă
Partnership for Security..., NATO Strategic Concept
The repositioning of the NATO and member states military structures in the south-east European region is determined by the generation of crisis in the area, such as:
- the energy resources crisis (with a possible conflict generated by the competition over the control of petrol and gas resources or the land and/or maritime transport paths);
- crises of an ethnic and religious nature (due to the erosion of the state structures and the interests of some local communities);
- border crises (Russia - Ukraine, Moldavian R. - Ukraine, Romania - Ukraine, Caucas, the problem of delimiting the exclusive economic zones in the Black Sea);
- crises provoked by the defrosting of the conflict situations (Transnistria, Kosovo, Greece – Turkey);
- political crises (as a result of the conflict between the trends of democratization of political life in countries where long time have ruled totalitarian regimes and reactions of conflict opposition from reminiscences of a communist totalitarianism, religious or of other nature).
As a result of political-military developments in the 17 bases (American, British, Russian) is still added November 4 military bases (2 to 2 in Romania and Bulgaria).
In addition, military facilities develops strongly in the Black Sea (especially in Bulgaria and Romania).
Due to new challenges that the alliance may face in the near future, there have recently been launched to review a range of new possible missions.
Appropriate transformation of NATO missions:
Defense against missiles. Even if the allies have agreed on the existence and nature of the threat put by ballistic missiles (December 2004), there are still differences of views on the manner and time of manifestation of such a threat. The fact is that the Alliance is already developing a number of capabilities in this area.
Defending science (cyberdefence). Cybernetic attack on the infrastructure of Estonia triggered seeking appropriate solutions to improve the ability of protection systems of vital importance of the Alliance against this kind of attacks. The mission can benefit from the experience which NATO has in information operations (INFOPS) and thus identify areas where they can add value to national capabilities and collaboration with other organizations with competence in the field.
Knowledge of the maritime situation (Maritime domain awareness). In this area, where the Alliance needs vision is both a capability and a mission and is manifested, similarly, to the knowledge of the air situation. The product will allow the Alliance to monitor the activity in international waters, which will prove of great utility in resolving crises.
Energy security is another challenge that will confront the Alliance in the XXI century. Of course NATO is not a main actor in this context, but can bring added value in certain sectors that remain to be identified. More than 90% of world trade is conducted on sea, represented mainly by the petroleum and the terminals on-shore reception facilities for hydrocarbons and 65% of Western Europe's gas and oil transit routes transit annually the communication of the Mediterranean Sea, including pipelines connecting Libya to Italy, Morocco to Spain. In this context, it is clear that maritime security, conducted by allied naval forces, constitutes the precondition for energy security (e.g., Operation Active Endeavor).
NATO tried for a long time to make up a rapid deployment force, with infantry, navy, air and Special Forces, to act in various crisis areas. It was declared as completely operational in Riga NATO Summit. The project was not easily implemented, because the states are likely to send forces in real missions. Keeping in mind that troops from NATO states are involved in operations in Afghanistan, Irak, those states are reluctant to contribute in a force that is not sure when or if it will be used.
US have dramatically reduced its military obligations to NATO Rapid Response Force, and are threatening to abandon western elite defense forces. Only 5% of US troops are involved in these forces. While in theory NRF should have 25000 troops, it really has only half of those. The launch of this force was made at the proposal of the US Secretary of Defense at that time, Donald Rumsfeld, and was announced at 2002 Prague NATO Summit.
NATO General Secretary says that the alliance should play a global role but will not be a global organization in the sense to expand and accept new members from outside the traditional transatlantic area.
First of all, confirmed by the 1999 Strategic Concept: threats at NATO security are no longer local, regional and unidirectional, but global- even virtual global (the global spread of technology… risks of a wider nature, including acts of terrorism).
Secondly, because of the universal character of the promoted values, the Alliance has a moral duty to go beyond the traditional boundaries and to adopt a global perspective. NATO will not in any pure civil alliance, but it will need to combine its efforts with other organizations of civil status addressing the global security (comprehensive approach), in the complexity given by the network of participants to its maintaining (networked security).
The global approach to security or holistic, as it is also called, sees to employ a full range of potential missions that includes the full range of tension, the crisis prevention and humanitarian operations, and up to the operations which involve armed fight with high intensity.
Can NATO go global? Can it establish close partnerships with other democracies around the globe, such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan or even with friendly states in the Middle East? Such an evolution of the Alliance is endorsed by the current US administration but it is at best controversial for most Europeans. Some European participants questioned the viability of the argument that NATO could provide security to remote parts of the world – such as East Asia or even the Middle East. Should NATO attempt to do that, they argued, it would affect its ability to fulfill its defense commitments towards the current members. Moreover, a global NATO could run the risk of a political backlash, as it could be seen as an alliance of the west/democracies against others.
However, it was also argued that a globalization of the Alliance’s outreach is feasible as long as it is done selectively, as demonstrated by NATO’s current engagement in Afghanistan. Perhaps in the future NATO could consider establishing closer partnerships with other global democracies; however, first and foremost it should finish its business in Europe. The existence of frozen conflicts and authoritarian politics at the periphery of Europe were mentioned in this context.