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The Quest for Security in the Age of Austerity: Opportunities and Challenges

The Quest for Security in the Age of Austerity: Opportunities and Challenges

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This policy brief provides operational solutions to improve burden-sharing and enhance NATO’s strategic relevance in the coming decades.
This policy brief provides operational solutions to improve burden-sharing and enhance NATO’s strategic relevance in the coming decades.

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Published by: German Marshall Fund of the United States on Nov 25, 2013
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Addressing the issue of transatlantic security in times of defense budget cuts, this article provides operational solutions to improve burden-sharing and enhance NATO’s strategic relevance in the coming decades. It analyzes how Smart Defense could help transatlantic partners balance their defense effort and military engagement in the world. It also examines the necessary evolutions that will be experienced by NATO in the near future, especially in terms of integration of new global partners.
Transatlantic Security Task Force Series
Policy Brie 
 The Quest for Security in the Age of  Austerity: Opportunities and Challenges
by Alexandra Gheciu
German Marshall Fund o the United States-Paris 71 Boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris : +33 1 47 23 47 18 E: inoparis@gmus.org
November 2013
Over the past ew years, one o the key questions shaping thinking about security on both sides o the Atlantic has been: “How can we continue to do as much as we currently do with ewer resources?” While the worst aspects o the economic crisis seem to be over, we can expect budgetary constraints to persist in the oreseeable uture — particularly in the field o deense. Yet, this need not translate into a state o crisis or transatlantic security. Te Euro-Atlantic partners can respond effectively to a multitude o security challenges i they agree on a set o security priorities and learn to make more efficient use o their collec-tive resources within the ramework o NAO. Several o the Alliance’s recent initiatives — particularly
Smart Defense
 and the growing emphasis on a variety o partners — constitute important steps in this direction. Yet, more needs to be done. Particularly important in the coming years will be the allies’ ability to agree on a definition o NAO’s purpose, and on this basis to collectively identiy the type o missions that the Alli-ance should carry out. o carry out those missions, the allies should seek to turn Smart Deense into a normal
modus vivendi
or NAO, to build up a strong network o partnerships with non-NAO states and other inter-national organizations, and to oster new “communities o practice” that bring together NAO and various public and private actors able to tackle security challenges, which are likely to include complicated political and economic dimensions.
Burden Sharing via Smart Defense
Te recent financial crisis can and should incentivize the allies to adopt more rational and cost-effective use o their deense budgets. Te
Smart Defense
 (SD) initiative, launched at the Alliance’s 2012 summit in Chicago, can be seen as a potent expression o the allies’ growing commitment to the principle o efficient security provision. Smart deense implies a more effective pooling and sharing o assets and capabilities among member states. SD can help the allies address the twin challenges that are increasingly important within NAO: compen-sating or severe national deense cuts made by most member states, and urgently finding ways to lessen the European member states’ military dependence on the United States.
Transatlantic Security Task Force Series
Policy Brief
Tere are multiple ways in which the allies can reduce deense expenditures by pooling training, spare parts and support services, uel, and logistics supply chains, etc. Te initial package o almost 30 new multinational programs launched at the Chicago Summit is a promising start, and the recent completion o the first multinational project (to develop a multinational logistics partnership on heli-copter maintenance in Aghanistan) proves that this type o project can work. In a similar vein are the projects involving the sharing o resources among a small number o allies, such as the 2010 U.K.-France treaties on deense cooperation, or, on a smaller scale, the Bulgarian-Roma-nian Agreement under NAO’s Air Policing Program. Tese projects, though ar rom perect, constitute impor-tant instances o cooperation consistent with the principles o Smart Deense.But i SD is to make a dramatic difference in the long-term, it will need to evolve into a broader, more ambitious process, involving a shif in the way in which the allies think about deense capability development. It should also involve more systematic cooperation between NAO and the EU. Yet, in addition to the difficulties involved in changing deense cultures and bureaucratic routines, there are some potentially significant challenges associ-ated with SD. In particular, i cooperation becomes much deeper, it is not clear what would happen in a situation in which the allies involved in multinational projects disagree over whether and how to use their shared resources. Using specialization and cooperation to make up deense shortalls introduces new complications into strategic decision-making. It will require even more consensus than is currently necessary within the Alliance, and i highly specialized countries disagree with the larger consensus, it might only take one or two countries to undermine a NAO mission by withholding their equipment and personnel. I SD is to be viable in the long run, member states will need make a greater effort to reach consensus on (a limited number o) missions in which NAO should be involved. Tey should also establish procedures that limit the ability o one member state to block its partners rom using shared capabilities. More broadly, the allies must seek agreement on a set o priorities or the transatlantic alli-ance. Te assumption that should guide their search or consensus is that they are probably going to have to do less with less. Under these circumstances, the question “what is NAO or?” needs urgent attention, and should receive an answer less ambiguous than the one given in the past.
A Growing Role for Regional and Global Partners
In order to urther reduce its expenditures and still increase efficiency in its security provision practices, the Alliance should also seek to consolidate and potentially expand partnerships. Tis will be particularly important i NAO is to be the kind o institution that can respond to the multi-aceted, ofen deterritorialized security challenges o the 21
 century — as opposed to reaffirming collec-tive deense as the Alliance’s core mission (as some allies rom the ormer communist bloc would preer). A narrow ocus on Article 5 would limit the relevance o NAO and could have counter-productive effects, particularly by inusing even more tension in the already ragile relation-ship with Russia. But or most i not all, non-Article 5 missions, NAO will need to cooperate with a multitude o partners. It would be especially useul to consolidate and urther expand cooperation with global partners that share the Alliance’s liberal-democratic principles, especially Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. Tose partners have already demonstrated their value through substantial contributions to NAO’s post-Cold War missions, particularly in Aghanistan. Te challenge will now be to turn those mission-specific orms o cooperation into persisting, institutionalized partnerships that are attractive both to the allies and to the global partners, and that can be mobilized in a variety o missions, including those which may not have a military dimension. Te pursuit o global partnership should also
It would be especially useful to consolidate and further expand cooperation with global partners that share the Alliance’s liberal-democratic principles, especially Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea.
Transatlantic Security Task Force Series
Policy Brief
include more efforts to oster cooperation with countries that are not “natural” partners or NAO, but that could provide valuable assistance in out-o-area missions. Tey include BRIC countries — especially India, as an increas-ingly important international actor, which shares the allies’ commitment to democratic values. At the same time, cooperation with regional actors should be urther reinorced, particularly in regions acing persisting security challenges (especially the Middle East, the Balkans, and North Arica). Trough recent reorms, NAO has developed the type o institutional structure needed to develop a multitude o partnerships, including more flexible ormats and a single toolbox o activities in order to provide partners with more cooperation options. Te challenge now is to use that structure in ways that are beneficial both to the Alliance and to its various partners. In the 1990s, partnership arrangements within the rame-work o the Partnership or Peace (PP) became effec-tive tools or promoting liberal democratic norms and enhancing regional security in the ormer communist bloc. In the 21
 century, the Alliance could and should continue its norm-dissemination activities through its various partnerships with countries emerging rom conflict and/or seeking to shed authoritarian legacies. Tis is likely to be easier in the Balkans (Bosnia, Montenegro, and Serbia) than in the Middle East or North Arica, in a situation in which countries rom the Balkans seek inclusion into the Alliance and are more inclined to regard NAO as an authoritative “teacher” o democratic norms. But the transatlantic allies also need to think harder about what the Alliance can offer — in terms o trust-building measures, training, or a model or security reorm — to those partners that do not seek/are not eligible or NAO membership. For instance, the allies could use institutions such as the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) to acilitate participation in more intensive training, systematic dialogue, and exercises aimed at achieving better coordination with the Alliance at diplomatic and operational levels. As the mission in Libya has demonstrated, such coordination can be valuable in the context o operations in regions that are important to the transatlantic allies, but in which Western actors have limited influence and weak legitimacy. In the longer term, systematic practical cooperation within the MD and the ICI may also acilitate the dissemination o democratic norms (especially in civil-military relations) in that region.
Building New “Communities of Practice”
NAO can and should play an important role in promoting transatlantic security by becoming more systematically involved in efforts to address a series o non-conventional yet increasingly prominent security challenges that may not require a military response, including cyber threats, piracy, and organized crime (particularly in connection to illegal trafficking in drugs, weapons, and human beings). Addressing such challenges could make a significant difference in terms o enhancing transatlantic security, and would be ar less costly than military operations. Such missions would, however, require the development o different capabilities and skills. Above all, these non-conventional security challenges involve strong civilian components; consequently, the allies should seek to build a new type o partnership between NAO (which continues to have significant material and symbolic assets that could be used in crisis-management) and a range o civilian agencies. Tese include institutions rom the public domain (e.g. national and international agencies involved in policing and intelligence-collection, NGOs involved in efforts to combat illicit transnational flows) and rom the corporate world (e.g. companies involved in providing cyber security, private security companies, etc.). Achieving coordination and cooperation among institu-tions that have different compositions, cultures, assets, and mandates is bound to be difficult. Nevertheless, the allies should strive to build new types o “communities o practice” that bring together various actors, uniting them around a common set o understandings about the nature o new security challenges and shared bodies o practical knowledge, skills, and procedures required or addressing those challenges. Such communities o practice could sustain cooperation between NAO and civilian actors beyond particular missions, making it easier or the allies to address security challenges that transcend conventional categories and divides between public and private, domestic and international, and economic and
The allies should seek to build a new type of partnership between NATO and a range of civilian agencies.

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