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NATO’s Adaptation Agenda

NATO’s Adaptation Agenda

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Session. Opening Statement by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson. Brussels, Belgium, June 6, 2002. Source: NATO.

Good morning. Let me especially welcome those colleagues who are with us for the first time -- Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie of France, Minister Paulo Portas of Portugal, Minister John McCallum of Canada, and Minister Ferenc Juhasz of Hungary. We are very pleased to have you with us and look forward to working with you.

Before we turn to our agenda, I would like to say a few words about what I hope we can accomplish today and tomorrow.

I was recently at Geilenkirchen Air Base in Germany to welcome NATO AWACs crews on their return from the United States.

The deployment of NATO’s AWACs aircraft to the United States from shortly after the attacks last September until the middle of last month was a visible symbol of the Alliance’s importance to our common security.

NATO remains the indispensable foundation for the security of our countries and increasingly for the stability of a wider region, stretching across North America to Central Asia and Eastern Russia.

The Alliance is able to play this essential role today as it did in the very different circumstances of the Cold War because of our individual and collective efforts over the years to ensure that we have the military capabilities, structures and decision-making methods required to meet current and future challenges.

The attack on the United States last September brought home to everyone that there is no relief in today’s world from the obligations of defence or the need for military preparedness.

Our experience both in the Balkans and in operations against terrorism have clearly indicated the shortcomings that we all face. NATO’s Prague Summit in November must be a watershed in our efforts to ensure our forces are properly organised and equipped for their future missions, even if that means additional resources for defence and security, and indeed substantial changes of priority within our defence programmes.

And we must pursue these new capabilities in such a way that our efforts and those of the European Union truly are mutually reinforcing.

These are matters of direct concern to Defence Ministers, and I am sure that our deliberations and later discussions with Russia, Ukraine and all of our Partners will give new impetus and direction to this necessary work.

Today, we will discuss NATO’s adaptation agenda. Specifically:

  • a new capabilities initiative with firm national commitments to deliver the most urgent requirements;
  • concrete proposals to improve NATO’s defences against biological and chemical weapons;
  • a package of counter-terrorism measures that commits the Alliance to deploy forces "as and where required"; and
  • internal reforms that ensure an enlarged Alliance remains an effective, flexible organisation.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).