Secretary General of NATO Visits RAND

The 1990s were a decade of rapid change for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  Lord George Robertson, secretary general of NATO and former secretary of state for Defense of Britain, visited RAND in Santa Monica on April 6, 2000 to discuss the future of NATO with an emphasis on the aftermath of NATO's campaign in Kosovo. 

The events in Kosovo hinted at what NATO could accomplish if it remained together.   Yet the Kosovo crisis also raises a host of issues:

  • Does NATO need a continuing presence in Kosovo?

  • How will NATO decide on future situations similar to Kosovo?

  • Are the Europeans building the kind of forces that will make them attractive partners to the United States?

Besides Kosovo, the other striking feature of the European security landscape is the renewed determination of Europe to create a defense and security identity.  At the same time, Lord Robertson stressed that only NATO has the infrastructure to mount significant military deployments, and only NATO provides a connection to the United States. 

Although Europe is in a position to defend its territory, there are few (if any) current threats.   Still, Europe needs to develop forces that can be deployed throughout Europe and beyond.

A recent project conducted in Project Air Force's Strategy and Doctrine Program and sponsored by the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters, United States Air Force, focused on the implications of Europe's changing strategic environment.  The following general findings, as reported in the publication NATO's Future: Implications for U.S. Military Capabilities and Posture, emerged:

  • The military forces of NATO's member states should be structured and postured for expeditionary operations.  This entails modernizing forces and transportation fleets, acquiring more mobile logistics assets, and upgrading the infrastructure in certain countries.

  • NATO will become increasingly preoccupied with the ability to deter and defeat chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

  • U.S. forces stationed in Europe are invaluable assets for shaping behaviors and expectations in the region and for responding to challenges in and around Europe.  Air bases in Italy and Turkey are especially important strategic assets.

Lord Robertson's visit was cosponsored by RAND and the Pacific Council on International Policy and was hosted by RAND Vice President Michael Rich and Greg Treverton, the Pacific Council's acting president and a senior consultant at RAND.