Thursday, October 19th, 2017

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NATO 2020 (Bratislava,Oct. 2012)

NATO 2020 and the Armed Forces: Way Ahead

After 9/11, Afghanistan and Libya, NATO´s mission in 21st century is gradually amending. Although the commitment to the Article 5 and determination to defend territory, population and interests of the Alliance persist, new set of tasks for the Alliance is raising (cyber security, energy security, piracy, etc.). From 2014 onwards, NATO has an ambition to remain the most powerful regional military alliance in the world with capacity to act globally. In post-Afghan period NATO will face the question how to define its basic role and mission and to set up the way of conducting its future operations. Question of NATO´s mission is interlinked with the one of means: it is yet to solve what kind of the Armed Forces Allies will have to develop in order to act swiftly, decisively and precisely to take an action when needed.

Couple of days before NATO Defense Ministers reconvene again, the conference NATO 2020 and Armed Forces: Way Ahead has the ambition to gather political and military leaders from NATO, United States, EU, V4 and Slovak Republic to discuss and promote key deliverables of Chicago Summit. Main goal of the conference is to bring valuable inputs into strategic discussion on future of the Alliance, Armed Forces and operations of the international crisis management by 2020. What is more, a very genuine aspect of the conference is strengthened by participation of NATO´s member and partner countries´ military leaders to articulate also their visions of the Armed Forces for the next decade.

Program of the conference

Summary and conclusions of the conference

Main topics of the panel discussions:

1. Beyond 2014: NATO´s Mission in Post-Afghanistan Era

Strategic Plan for Afghanistan adopted at the summit in Chicago in May this year define parameters of international assistance for Afghanistan after 2014. In last decade, NATO countries have been preoccupied with war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, latest. Nowadays, extensive, long-lasting and financially demanding Afghanistan-like conflict is not foreseeable in a mid-term. The fundamental question seems to be the way how the Alliance´s return to territorial defense would affect its expeditionary means; one of the ways can be suggested by perfection of contingency planning and training throughout Allied countries.

2. The Future of Smart Defense

Smart Defense as a concept stemming from defense cuts and fiscal and economic crisis across the Alliance was introduced by NATO Secretary General Anders F. Rasmussen in Munich in February last year. Principles of specialization, prioritization and cooperation were materialized in almost two dozens of concrete projects approved by Allies in Chicago in May earlier this year. Two years after NATO Lisbon Summit we have a response to defense austerity demonstrated in AGS, missile defense, air policing and several other defense and security projects.

3. NATO Partnerships: Regional Actors and Comprehensive Approach

NATO nowadays is the international organization with the highest number and quality of partnerships across the globe. ISAF operation can serve as the operation´s model that generated the Alliance´s potential to establish long-lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships, going beyond usual suspects in various regions. Both partner countries and organizations contribute to NATO´s operations with human capital, technologically or financially. With NATO likely turning back to territorial defense, the Allies will need to redefine partnerships and establish new ones.

4. Operations Beyond Afghanistan: Impact on the Armed Forces

Since late 1990´s, NATO has been mainly present in four major world regions: Balkans, Mediterranean, Middle East and Indian Ocean. With KFOR and ISAF transforming into training and police missions, the need for redefining NATO´s defense planning and structure is getting more imminent. Reform of the operational headquarters is on the way, NATO´s focus is shifting more east. Several NATO member and partner countries prepared and have started to realize defense reviews.