Revisioning NATO’s Core Missions

I’d like to flag this testimony by Daniel Hamilton (.pdf) to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on NATO’s strategic vision moving forward. It’s a nicely nuanced take on what is often portrayed — and here I include myself among the guilty — as an either/or affair.

The strength of Hamilton’s approach is to distinguish between NATO’s “home” and “away” roles, then further distinguish between where it should lead, where it should support, and where it should selectively do one or the other on all of the core missions on both sides of the ledger (p. 3). That’s followed by a section on institutional reforms to help implement the core missions more effectively.

Whether you believe that the end-state goal shouldbe a progressive decoupling of U.S.-EU out-of-area operations — andsecurity in general — or the opposite, Hamilton’s prescription is an effective and necessary first step in either direction. If I have a quibble, it’s with his hedge on missile defense, which he thinks is necessary to begin preparing for now, given the lead time necessary for deployment. But all in all a sound approach to recalibrating the alliance’s strategic vision over the next ten years.