ATA Publication: Foreword from NATO Secretary General – Jens Stoltenberg
For almost seventy years, the nations of the NATO Alliance have stood together in defence of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. Every Ally is pledged to protect the citizens and territories of the whole Alliance – all for one and one for all.
NATO is the most successful Alliance in history because it continually adapts to change. In recent years, with a more assertive Russia, turmoil in the Middle East and global challenges such as proliferation and cyber-attacks, the world has become more unstable and less predictable.
NATO has responded to these challenges with the biggest increase in our collective defence in a generation. Since 2014, we have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force, deployed four battle groups to the east of our Alliance, conducted more and larger exercises and increased the speed of our decision making. At the same time, we remain open to dialogue with Russia.
NATO has also strengthened its efforts to fight terrorism, bolstering our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and doing more to train partner forces in North Africa and the Middle East.
At the Brussels Summit, we will take the decisions needed for the next phase of NATO’s adaptation.
We will further increase our readiness and our ability to reinforce our troops if needed, ensuring we have the right forces and equipment in the right places at the right time. We will agree a major update of the NATO Command Structure, including two new commands to ensure our forces can move quickly across the Atlantic and within Europe. Our strengthened defences will extend into cyberspace, with more resilient networks and the ability to draw on Allies’ national cyber capabilities in NATO missions and operations.
When our neighbours are more stable, we are more secure. So at this Summit we will take further steps to project stability beyond our borders. We will confirm our enduring commitment to Afghanistan, with our Resolute Support Mission strengthened to 16,000 troops, and funding for the Afghan forces extended beyond 2020.
We will launch a training mission in Iraq, to prevent the re-emergence of ISIS or any other international terrorist group. We will also step up our support for Jordan and Tunisia, with tailored packages of support.
At a time of greater insecurity, Allies need to invest more and better in defence. In 2014, Allies pledged to stop the cuts to their defence budgets, increase defence spending, and move towards investing 2% of GDP in defence within a decade. Since then, we have seen four consecutive years of increased defence spending by European Allies and Canada, amounting to an additional US$87 billion spent on defence. In 2017 alone, twenty-five Allies spent more in real terms than they did the year before. A majority of Allies have now outlined plans to reach spending 2% of GDP on defence by 2024.
Allies are investing in major new capabilities, spending an additional US$18 billion on major equipment since 2014. Allies are contributing more to operations and missions, including thousands of troops for our increased presence in the east of the Alliance.
At this Summit, we will take stock of our progress so far in terms of cash, capabilities and commitments and decide what more we need to do. Our security does not come for free, and we are committed to investing more in our defence.
Also vital to our security are our relationships with our partners around the world. None more so than our unique and essential partnership with the European Union. NATO and the EU work together in dealing with Russia, on countering hybrid threats, and in areas like cyber defence and maritime security. We also complement each other’s efforts in supporting our partners to the east and the south. The European Union’s efforts on defence are an important part of transatlantic burden sharing.
NATO is committed to a vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. At this Summit, we will assess our support for the countries that wish to join the Alliance, and take decisions to bring them closer.
Our world is changing and NATO is changing with it. What does not change is the deep transatlantic bond that unites Europe and North America and has been the bedrock of our shared security for so long. This Brussels Summit will reconfirm our unity, our resolve and our strength.
As we look forward to the 70th anniversary of the Alliance in 2019, NATO remains the essential provider of security for its one billion citizens. The NATO Alliance is a pillar of stability in an uncertain world.
NATO Summit 2018 | Strenghtening Deterrence and Defence while Projecting Stability
Among the wide range of communication activities, a traditional commitment is the present ATA official publication accompanying and outlining the agenda of the NATO Summits. The ATA Official Summit Publication was disseminated during the Official NATO Summit Side Event– NATO Engages.
The publication is available in its entirety here.