Center for Strategic Decision Research


A European View of NATO's Priorities:
Projection Capabilities, Counterproliferation, Global Terrorism

Jean-Louis Gergorin  
Mr. Jean-Louis Gergorin
Executive Vice President, Strategic Coordination, EADS

I would like to focus on what I perceive to be NATO’s two main priorities but look at them from a European point of view. The first involves developing far better, far more flexible, and far more effective projection capabilities for peacekeeping, or neutralization actions out of area—or at least out of NATO’s area in Europe. The second involves the issues that were addressed so eloquently by Secretary Klein, all the issues that are related to proliferation and global terrorism. 


Regarding the projection of forces, clearly we will be involved in more of it, not less of it, because more and more areas of the world, due to a variety of demographic, economic, societal, and religious factors, exist without law and order and are home to civil wars, ethnic wars, and religious as well as political conflicts and organized crime. An example of this can be seen in Central Asia, including in Afghanistan, where drug trafficking is becoming a major factor in the geopolitical atmosphere of the region, in the same way that drug trafficking has been a major geopolitical force for some time in Central and Latin America.

Clearly, for these reasons, we need NATO because it is the most effective and almost the only organization that can project forces into the world in a way that is fully recognized not only by the UN but by European countries, including France, and by the EU. We need the expertise of the EU as well, particularly in the area of peacekeeping; the EU’s expertise in this area has been clearly demonstrated in a variety of cases, including recently in Africa as well as in the former Yugoslavia. 

But we need a number of additional or new capabilities in order to conduct these missions. These include airlift capabilities, both tactical and strategic, which will become very important. Air refueling, transport helicopters, sealift capabilities, all will have to be fully developed. Projection capabilities will also need to have the necessary C4/ISR support to go from satellites to UAVs to reconnaissance aircraft, helicopters, etc. 

To accomplish all of this, we need to do more, we need to do better, and we need to be more innovative. I fully support Minister Alliot-Marie’s view that we have to dramatically increase the level of defense investments in Europe in the same way that Mrs. Alliot-Marie has been increasing them for the last three years. The target to go to 2 percent of GDP for Europe is reasonable, because we will need an additional 35 million euros per year, mainly to invest. 

So we have to make these changes, but we also need to be smarter in the way we use existing resources. We must be more creative, and we must come up with new, innovative ways of financing at the European level or at the NATO level or both. This is what the British government did recently; a private finance initiative was created for the Skynet 5 program and for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) program, with which we are very happy. Currently Thales and several other companies have also been short-listed for the Royal Air Force airlift program. We think these kinds of innovative solutions must be further developed across Europe. 


I am in full agreement with the threat assessment that Dr. Klein presented. We have to be prepared to face the very dangerous combination of proliferation and global terrorism. However, I believe we are lagging in that area, not in terms of fully understanding the issue but in terms of planning and investment; in Europe we are behind our American friends. The reason is that the issue is a gray area between homeland security and defense and must be treated in an integrated way. 

But counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation cannot be handled at the national level. It is pretty clear that a biological attack against one European country will not stop at the border. There is a famous story about some ill-advised French politicians who said that the Chernobyl cloud stopped at the French and German border. If there is a biological attack against France or Germany, it will not stop at any border. So we need to have a global European response but I believe that we are reacting at the national level. In France, the U.K., Germany and in major European countries, a number of interesting things are being done to deal with chemical, biological, and nuclear threats, but none of this is integrated. This needs to be a task of the European Defense Agency. 

Here I want to mention that, as strange as it may seem, the investments that are necessary for this work are not as huge as they are for classic defense needs. We need a lot of investment in R&T, but not on the same scale as R&D for major programs. So we should be able to reallocate resources to deal with issues such as the detection of illicit materials, germs, and chemicals, and there are a number of advanced ways to do that. We also need to invest more in cyber-warfare. All of these issues, which are not now being properly addressed, should be addressed, and one of the priorities is the new European Defense Agency.  
















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