NATO's Militaries, Today and Tomorrow: What Kind of Partners Can America Expect in Europe?
Recorded on July 18, 2008
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
NATO is an alliance in a state of flux, undergoing a period of
both change and debate about its future. Some American policy
makers have hailed the European Union's attempt to create a
separate security identity, independent of the NATO Alliance, as a
welcome step towards shouldering a greater share of the global
security burden. Other analysts argue however, that this will
rip the heart out of the Alliance and weaken NATO by drawing away
Resources and capabilities are a decisive part of this
debate. Of the 1.7 million British and European men and women
in uniform, only 170,000 are soldiers. Less than 50,000 of
them could be used for tough combat operations at any one time, and
a large proportion of those combat-ready troops are either
incapable of overseas deployment through a lack of strategic
airlift, or are already committed to various missions
As the region's militaries undergo vital modernization the
situation will likely get worse before it gets better.
Switching from conscript to all-volunteer forces has caused
exploding manpower costs, which has not been matched by increased
defense spending. Just four of the 21 EU-NATO countries spend
more than 2 percent of GDP on defense, with an average
British-European spend of just 1.6 percent. And ten years of
the European Union's Security and Defense Policy has failed to see
an improvement in either military numbers or defense spending.
Based on these trends, in the future will Britain and Europe be
able to shoulder an equitable share of NATO's responsibilities or a
greater share of the global security burden than at present?
Join us as we discuss what public policies Britain, Germany and
Poland should pursue to ensure that Britain and Europe remain
steadfast allies to the United States in jointly confronting the
21st Century's security challenges.