Adapting NATO to an unpredictable and fast-changing world

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COMMENTARY

by Julian Lindley-French

Sécurité & Défense Magazine
June 11, 2018

Leaders and thinkers from across the Euro-Atlantic community spent over a year considering the state of NATO and collective defence, as part of the GLOBSEC NATO Adaptation Initiative. Through a series of reports analysing shifting twenty-first century strategic, military, defence-industrial and technological changes, they offered food for thought on how the Alliance needs to further adapt to meet the challenges of a century in which the very idea of security and defence will be radically changed.

Fifty years ago NATO adopted two important changes to its defence and deterrence posture. Flexible Response moved the Alliance away from the automatic and mutual assured destruction implicit in Massive Retaliation to a more layered and nuanced form of defence. The December 1967 Harmel Report established the twin-tracks of sound defence and dialogue and the principles of European security which endured for much of the ensuing years. Not anymore.

NATO is at a crucial decision point. With new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing fast entering the defence domain, the role, function, method and structure of the Alliance must undergo radical change if collective deterrence and defence is to remain credible.

Image credit: Sécurité & Défense Magazine 

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