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NATO Reform: Key Principles

7 pages, pdf
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NATO Reform: Key Principles

Publisher: Kurt Volker and Kevin P. Green

Volume: 7 pages, pdf


The topic of reforming NATO—and in particular cutting costs and improving efficiencies—has been with the Alliance for decades. Throw-away lines such as “Why does NATO have 400 committees?” or “Cut the International Staff by 10 percent” have often been used to signal a rough determination to streamline NATO and make it more efficient. To be sure, there are indeed improvements to the way NATO operates that should be made, and to be sure, they can result in more efficient use of resources, and perhaps even cost savings. But let’s not make the mistake of assuming that the most important problems facing the Alliance today result from a lack of reform. Nor should we assume that internal reforms can compensate for the glaring gaps in members’ political will and resources. The real problems are far more fundamental: the lack of a strategic consensus on threats and responses, inadequate and still declining Allied defense budgets and capabilities, and a lack of leadership and solidarity among the Allies. Moreover, NATO has already gone through substantial reforms several times since the end of the Cold War. Still, specific reforms have their place. We suggest below a number which, if the more fundamental issues of political will and capabilities are addressed, would make a good Alliance better and smarter. What’s the Problem.