HOW TO OVERHAUL NATO

National Interest on July 10, 2018 published a kong article by Zalmay Khalilzad on the need for a NATO overhaul. Below excerpts from the article with the main proposals:

NATO is ill-structured, ill-equipped and ill-financed to deal with the European region’s two major security problems—an aggressive Russia and the spillover of instability and terrorism from the Middle East and North Africa—leaving aside emerging global security challenges. Worse, at times some members can even be said to have enabled the threat. One example being the massive German purchase of Russian gas, which provides Putin with ongoing financing. To deal effectively with these challenges on an equitable and sustained basis among allies, the terms of the partnership must be renegotiated and its common ground redefined. This is in Europe’s best interest too.

Many of NATO’s members have effectively disarmed since the end of the Cold War, with only eight of NATO’s twenty-eight members even spending the required 2 percent of GDP on defense.

A reformed NATO must hold members accountable in terms of actual military capabilities they can field. Those who care about NATO should criticize free-riding alliance members, not the efforts of Trump to get the alliance to up its game. At the same time, the Trump administration needs to articulate alliance priorities and the steps needed to adequately address them.

Specifically, the alliance should collectively take three steps to field an agreed set of defense outputs:

– Develop integrated defense plans within the NATO military committee for dealing with the Russian threat in northeast Europe, and instability and terrorist threats emanating from the Middle East and North Africa, thereby creating a strategy and a division of labor. This will entail a combined planning effort of the major NATO powers and the members living nearest or most directly affected by these threats.

– Agree to specific outputs—forces, weapons systems, operational capabilities, logistics support, and command and control—that each NATO member must develop and maintain at high readiness. This should take into account the capabilities that are needed now but also look to exploit emerging technologies to solve military problems more effectively as these technologies mature.

– Engage in realistic large-scale annual exercises—analogous the Exercise REFORGER of the Cold War—that will serve as a deterrent for would be aggressors, demonstrate resolve and compliance with NATO commitments and identify shortfalls for remediation.

In addition, the United States should candidly inform the European NATO members that the larger share of these agreed upon capabilities must come from them…They must also understand that the American public expects wealthy countries to defend themselves principally on their own, with the United States playing a supporting role on an as-needed basis.

We must deliver the hard message that the future of the U.S. commitment under Article 5 is contingent on European performance.

This would form the basis of a new global division of labor where America’s European allies assume the primary role for the security of Europe; the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia would assume the primary role for security in the Western Pacific; and collectively, America and its global and regional allies would share roles in providing for security in the Middle East. Thus, working together, America and its allies would be meeting critical security demands in three critical regions.

A small tripwire force is inadequate to the task [of stopping Russia]

Among the capabilities that European NATO members would need to develop would include the following:

– An integrated air defense and surface-to-surface strike capability that would create an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) belt covering the territory of NATO members and extending into adjacent areas of Russia.

– A counter-A2/AD capability that would defeat Russia battle networks and weapons systems, and Moscow’s ability to threaten NATO forward-deployed forces and reinforcements.

– A special operations forces capability sufficient to counter Russia’s sub-conventional operations involving the so-called “little green men.”

– A ground maneuver force that would combine the kind of light infantry that Hezbollah used against Israel’s offensive forces with heavy armor and artillery units that would consolidate territorial control.

As part of the new NATO security construct, the United States should offer to take the following steps:

– Maintain a small, highly capable ground maneuver force in Europe that would partner with a larger European force.

– Maintain a POMCUS capability in Europe, proximate to the locales where it would likely be needed, that would enable a surge of U.S. capability on a rapid basis if needed. Other major NATO powers, such as France, Germany and the UK should also provide POMCUS-style capability.

– Sell to European allies and partners, or license the right to produce, the high-end weapons systems needed to create the required European A2/AD, counter A2/AD, and maneuver force capabilities. Interoperability is vital and should be programmed into the strategy and plans.

– Agree to back up European arsenals of precision-guided munitions with U.S. stockpiles and production capabilities.

– Provide European NATO members with access to U.S. high-fidelity training capabilities and technologies.

– Provide the C4ISR capabilities that would enable integrated NATO operations in the event of conflict.

– Undertake a new look at what would be needed at every step in the escalation ladder—including tactical and intermediate-range nuclear forces—to ensure that Russia would not gain an advantage though escalating to high levels of
conflict. This would be a first step to address any deficiencies in our deterrent.

…the United States should work through NATO to help enable European members better to address challenges [from the Middle East and North Africa].

– Assist European NATO members in creating stabilization forces capable of brokering political compacts in fragile states, training local security forces, and building key state institutions.

– Work with European NATO members to develop a political-military plan for the stabilization of Libya and play a supporting role to the main European effort, which will likely require deployment of stabilization forces and establishment of a beachhead to deal with the source of refugees embarking across the Mediterranean Sea.

– Develop a counter-terrorism intelligence fusion and operations center that is part of the NATO command structure, thus coordinating the police, internal security and military responses to terrorism.

– Develop an agreed strategy and political-military plan to defeat the remnants of the Islamic State which is a threat to the member states.

To implement this doctrine, the United States should play an active supporting role and develop a three- to five-year timeline and program to create the needed European capabilities.

Zalmay Khalilzad was the Director of Policy Planning in the Department of Defense and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations

Comment: The proposals make good geopolitical sense. On the western end of Mackinder’s World Island Europe must be mainly responsible for its own defense. This should be within NATO. No seperate European defense force is needed. The United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia should take the lead in defending the western Pacific. To protect against the Iranian challenge in the Middle East America would have a leading role. In classical geopolitical terms there are one challenge coming from the interior of Eurasia (Russia). The other challenge comes from the Eurasian marginal lands (for example China and Iran). Spykman had recommended against European integration warned against and warned against any sort of rimland unity. Western and southern Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast and East Asia were the rimlands of most concern to the United States. It is time to go back the classical geopolitical solutions of Mackinder and Spykman. The lack of grand strategy of the United States during the period from 2008 to 2016 has brought the West close to catastrophy.

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