November 12, 2003
By John Hulsman, Jack Spencer, James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. and Will Schirano
Like a vampire,
European effort to establish a European defense identity separate
from, and in competition with, NATO continue to rise from the dead.
In particular, Franco-German efforts to set up a wholly separate EU
planning structure in have caused the Bush Administration great
During his trip to
Europe, November 17 and 18, Secretary of State Colin Powell must
make it clear that NATO continues to be the preeminent
transatlantic security institution and that the organization's
survival is in the best interest of both the United States and the
European countries.Secretary Powell should insist that European
should strongly support the March 17, 2003 Berlin-Plus agreement,
which was designed to definitively resolve questions of
compatibility between the EU and NATO. Berlin-Plus has four
compromise-put to the test with the EU-led mission in
Macedonia-allows for greater flexibility within the alliance. The
United States should not be forced to participate in every
transatlantic mission, and (as in the case of Macedonia) the
European allies should be allowed to act alone, using the common
resources of the alliance, if Washington does not object.
agreement should have settled all questions regarding the
alliance's military planning and operations.However during the
height of European opposition to the U.S. policy on Iraq, France,
Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium re-opened the issue, in effect
calling the viability of the Berlin-Plus agreement into doubt. They
advocated the establishment of a separate EU military headquarters
at Tervuren, Belgium with an independent planning capacity. In
addition to the obvious operational drawback of unnecessary
duplication of NATO's function, the political ramifications of such
an outcome are clear. An independent EU command, wholly autonomous
from NATO, would be the institutional expression of Gaullist
efforts to lessen America's role in Europe.
Burns, U.S representative to NATO, rightly sounded the alarm,
calling such an outcome "the greatest threat to the future of the
alliance." Secretary Powell must cut through the fog of European
obfuscation and, for the sake of the continued vitality of the
alliance, he must reinforce Ambassador Burns' warning. The
establishment of an independent EU command is not remotely
acceptable to the United States. Only by taking an unequivocal and
firm stand can Secretary Powell finally bury this recurring threat
to the alliance.
establishment of an autonomous EU headquarters in unacceptable,
there is a great deal that the European countries can do to improve
their military performance. They should concentrate on increasing
Europe's defense capabilities, as required by previous
accords. The reality is that, unless and until Europe either
spends more on defense comprehensively or develops useful niche
capabilities, no new structures can make Europe militarily
interests of both Europe and the United States would be best served
if Europe would make significant investments in defense
capabilities, it is unlikely that this will occur. At a minimum, it
is essential that European leaders work towards closing the
capabilities gap in areas that are of the highest
priority-including electronic jamming, air- to-ground
reconnaissance and surveillance, and air refueling tankers.
Currently, the United States provides 100 percent, 90 percent and
80 percent of those capabilities, respectively.
Strategic lift is
another area in which non-U.S. NATO is woefully inadequate.
The United States maintains 250 strategic lift aircraft, compared
to Europe's 11. As a result, although non-U.S. NATO nations may
maintain two million soldiers, only 3 percent of those forces can
be deployed outside of Europe. The unfortunate reality is
that, while some European leaders continue to bicker about process,
the capabilities gap continues to grow. As a result, allies
who already find it difficult to work together may soon find it
Pressing for Defense
should insist that NATO live up to the commitments announced at the
2002 meeting of the Heads of State and Government in the Czech
Republic. During this "transformation" Prague Summit, alliance
members agreed to create a cutting-edge NATO Response Force and to
enhance military capabilities, including expanding their capacity
to combat terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. As NATO
Secretary General Lord Robertson declared, "This is not 'business
as usual,' but the emergence of a new and modernized NATO, fit for
the challenges of the new century."
Since the summit,
however, alliance members have not undertaken the structural
reforms or made the investments necessary to match Robertson's
rhetoric. The Europeans have made scant progress towards reshaping
their militaries. There is virtually nothing to substantiate NATO's
military concept for combating terrorism-primarily because European
states lack the political will to seriously embrace the
counterterrorism mission. Secretary Powell should make it
clear to the Europeans that the Prague declaration provides a
benchmark for measuring NATO's future performance.
During his trip to Europe, November 17 and 18, Secretary of StateColin Powell must make it clear that NATO continues to be thepreeminent transatlantic security institution and that theorganization's survival is in the best interest of both the UnitedStates and the European countries.
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