At his monthly press briefing on 11 October, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen presented the agenda of the upcoming Foreign and Defense Ministers’ informal meetings in Brussels on 14 October. It will mainly focus on NATO’s new Strategic Concept, missile defence and reform.
On the new Strategic Concept, ministers will discuss the Secretary General’s first draft. “My firm intent is that the Lisbon Summit [in November] will put in place an Alliance that is more modern, more efficient and better able to work with our partners around the globe,” he said.
“The new Strategic Concept must reconfirm NATO’s core task – territorial defence – but modernize how we do it, including cyber defence and missile defence. It must define clearly NATO’s mission to manage the full spectrum of crises, and mandate and equip the Alliance to engage fully with our civilian partners.”
Moving on to the ministerial discussions on missile defence, the Secretary General said he believed that “NATO should develop the capability to defend Europe from the threat of missile attack” and that the time was ripe to take this decision.
“More than 30 countries in the world have, or are acquiring ballistic missiles, some of which can already reach Europe,” he said. “[C]onsidering the immeasurable cost of a missile strike on any of our cities, I believe we cannot afford not to have missile defence.” He hopes that, by the Lisbon Summit, Allies are ready to take on this task.
The Secretary General’s third point related to NATO reform. “The Alliance is already good value for money. By standing together, we get more security than we ever could by going it alone. But we must do better.”
He said that NATO’s command structure and agencies were in need of reform and that Allies should buy and operate more equipment together that they could not afford individually. “NATO must become more effective, and more cost-effective, at the same time,” he said.