NATO in 3D: Deterrence, Defense and Dialogue
First published in
An official publication of the Atlantic Treaty Association; supported by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division
Sixty years since the adoption of “The Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO”, authored by the Ministers Gaetano Martino, Halvard Lange and Laster B. Pearson, the Heads of State and Government of the Alliance gather in Warsaw for a Summit that will represent a cornerstone in the NATO adaptation to the new complex security scenario.
A 360-degree response is needed to cope with the interconnected threats emerging simultaneously from the Eastern and Southern flanks of the Alliance. Moreover, a similarly wide approach is necessary to combine both the political and military dimension of the Alliance and to effectively meet the extensive range of the new security tasks.
The Warsaw Summit will offer a vision of the future of NATO in 3D: Deterrence, Defense, and Dialogue.
Deterrence needs to be reconsidered in a modern way, on both its conventional and nuclear dimensions.
Defense of our free democracies, populations and territories is worrisome as it is constantly tested by state and non‑state actors and by violent terrorist actions as well. Thus, a strengthening of collective defense is necessary while a comprehensive approach is required to address the multifaceted security challenges of the present crisis management operations.
Moreover, new hybrid warfare tactics and asymmetric threats are emerging with unprecedented rapidity and must be confronted by high readiness forces, a faster decision making process, and a genuine spirit of cooperative security with other partners and international institutions, first and foremost the European Union.
In fact, “No state, however powerful, can guarantee its security and its welfare by national action alone”. It appeared evident sixty years ago to the Three Wise Men, and it is particularly true in the present days affected by security challenges without borders, such as the cyber threat, migration, and climate change.
Yet, defense must be credible and needs to rely on modern capabilities sustained by stable defense budgets that cannot decrease anymore under the 2% of national GDP.
Dialogue remains essential to improve cooperative security with partners as well as to complement deterrence and defense. In 1967, Minister Pierre Harmel released a farsighted “Report on the Future Tasks of the Alliance” that effectively introduced the notion of deterrence and dialogue, setting the scene for NATO’s first steps toward a more cooperative approach to security. A strategic move that should represent an inspiring model for restoring a partnership with the Russian Federation.
Besides an external feature of dialogue and its cooperative security approach, there is an even more relevant internal dimension of political consultation and cooperation among NATO members that can be further enhanced.
As stated by the Three Wise Men, “From the very beginning of NATO, then, it was recognised that while defence cooperation was the first and most urgent requirement, this was not enough. It has also become increasingly realised since the Treaty was signed that security is today far more than a military matter. The strengthening of political consultation and economic cooperation, the development of resources, progress in education and public understanding, all these can be as important, or even more important, for the protection of the security of a nation, or an alliance, as the building of a battleship or the equipping of an army.”
Since 1954, these are the very domains and tasks unremittingly addressed by the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) across NATO members and partner countries. At present, ATA has increased its outreach and is cooperating with countries in the Mediterranean and the Middle East on joint programs aimed at adopting common solutions to common security challenges.
In 1956, the Report of the Committee of Three acknowledged the importance of ATA’s role in forging an Atlantic community by promoting a better understanding of the Alliance and its enduring goals. Since then, with more than 500 programs per year across 37 different countries, ATA and its youth division YATA, is connecting NATO with the civil society and keeping new generations, experts, media, parliamentarians, and decision makers informed and committed to maintaining an effective Alliance.
In fact, while military operations and exercises are the most visible aspects of NATO, the real strength and lifeblood of the NATO forces originates from the allied solidarity stemming from the political consultations and from a less visible but vital link with the civil society.
ATA remains steadfast in its commitment as in Warsaw, even more than sixty years ago, “A sense of community must bind the people as well as the institutions of the Atlantic nations”.