Gates: Resources Must Match Words in NATO Strategic Concept
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2010 Deeds and resources must match words as NATO formulates its strategy agreement for the future, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in Brussels today.
Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed the new Strategic Concept that NATO leaders will debate and adopt at the Lisbon Summit in November. The two leaders made their statements during a closed-session meeting of defense and foreign ministers.
Both secretaries praised the draft proposal submitted by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
“The secretary general’s draft does a good job of capturing the complexity and uncertainty of today’s security environment, and strikes the proper balance between security concerns both in and out of area,” Gates said.
The new concept is the first update of NATO’s long-term security strategy since 1999.
Clinton said the concept “must express the alliance’s enduring commitment to protect freedom and security through collective defense, crisis management and cooperative security.
“[The concept] must demonstrate our renewed determination to meet emerging security challenges,” she continued. “And it must explain to our publics how NATO will continue to deter and defend against all threats to peace, prosperity or democracy –- including terrorism, proliferation and cyber attack.”
The draft concept strikes the right balance in disarmament and deterrence, NATO’s relations with Russia and the need to enhance NATO’s capacity for conducting civilian-military operations, the secretary of State said.
The concept will require resources to develop the capabilities needed, Gates said. “We will have to make sure —- at Lisbon —- that the words in the Strategic Concept will be matched by agreement to invest in the capabilities necessary to turn those words into reality,” he said. “I therefore very much welcome the alliance’s agreement to fund the critical capabilities we have identified as a matter of priority.”
Two emerging threats addressed by the draft concept are the threats from ballistic missiles and cyber attacks, Gates said.
“It is vitally important that we not only talk about these new threats in Lisbon, but act to counter them by agreeing to acquire the capabilities necessary to collectively defend against them,” he said.
The ballistic missile threat exists and will grow, Gates said, noting that NATO nations must agree to counter the threat.
“For the past year, ever since President Obama announced our new approach to countering the missile threat to Europe, the (NATO) alliance has worked on territorial missile defense. The studies have been done, the data are well-known and the affordability is clear," Gates said. "We can protect ourselves from ballistic missiles affordably, and over time increase protection over all parts of NATO Europe, consistent with the principle of the ‘indivisibility of security.’ It is time for a decision.”
The alliance also needs to bolster its cybersecurity defenses, Gates said. “Our vulnerabilities are well-known, but our existing programs to remedy these weaknesses are inadequate,” he said. “The new draft highlights this underappreciated new threat, though the language could be sharpened further.”
Gates urged the ministers to review NATO’s cybersecurity policy after Lisbon as a matter of priority. “We need to identify what more must be done to protect our vital information systems,” he said. “And then we need to agree to fund the capabilities that are necessary to protect these systems.”
The world is experiencing tough economic times, Gates said, but he urged NATO ministers in Brussels to be careful not to “hollow out” the alliance during restructuring efforts.
“The substantial reforms discussed by defense ministers this morning should, in time, produce savings that must be reinvested in new capabilities,” he said. “This is how we will keep the alliance modern, strong, effective and relevant.”