Key Canadian think tanks call for "major overhaul" of NATO

OTTAWA, March 23 /CNW Telbec/ - A major study by two of Canada's leading defence, foreign affairs and security institutes sets out 10 hard-hitting recommendations for significant reform of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

"A number of concepts guided our thinking," said Paul Chapin, a former senior diplomat and principal author of the study. "The enormous military assets tied to the territorial defence of Europe need to be re-directed to face global threats. The archaic arrangements that fund operations penalize those most willing to help. And, key non-NATO democratic states need to be a more integral part of the discussions and decisions about our collective security."

"The 1999 Strategic Concept is based on a pre-9/11 world which no longer exists," said retired Colonel Alain Pellerin, Executive Director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute), which published the report jointly with the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI). "Today's security challenges are global in nature and the strategic roadmap needs to acknowledge that."

The report, "Security in an Uncertain World: A Canadian Perspective on NATO's New Strategic Concept", is being sent to hundreds of political, military, academic and policy leaders throughout the Alliance's members and partners. The paper's contributing authors are a veritable Canadian "Who's Who" of defence, security, diplomacy and academe, including a former Minister of National Defence, former Chiefs of the Defence Staff, a former Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO, a former Clerk of the Privy Council, Ambassadors, a Senator and prominent academics.

Among the major findings of the report:

    
    -  Commit to a new operations funding formula. The current mechanism is
       particularly onerous for the United States and Canada who continually
       sustain operations at greater distances than European members.
       Meanwhile, dozens of NATO projects, including irrelevant Cold War-era
       programs, benefit from common funding;
    -  Maintain the principle of consensus for decisions taken by NATO, but
       reform the ponderous NATO committee structure and decision making
       processes;
    -  Recent operations have illustrated the need for a NATO civilian rapid
       reaction capability, drawing from members' expertise; and
    -  Enhance relations with countries and organizations sharing the burden
       and price of providing for international security.
    

"I've never glossed over the need for NATO reform," said retired Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, a contributor to the study. "This paper combines a vision for NATO's future with recommendations that are grounded in reality. If NATO used even a couple of these, the organization would be a darn sight better off."

"NATO needs Canada ... and Canada needs NATO," said Dr. John Scott Cowan, President of the CDA Institute. "However, the Afghanistan experience has shown Canadians that a renewed Alliance is needed, one that is more relevant to our interests, and more responsive to current global security challenges. That doesn't mean starting over - but it does mean improving what exists at present."

In April 2009, NATO's Heads of State and Government tasked the Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to formulate a new Strategic Concept. Since then, NATO has conducted major international consultations to prepare for the difficult discussions still to be had. The CDA Institute/CDFAI report presents a Canadian view to influence the new Strategic Concept which will be delivered at the next NATO Summit in Lisbon this fall.

"Our intent is to help inform the current debate about what the future of NATO should be," added Alain Pellerin.

A Press Conference will be held at the National Press Theatre, 150 Wellington Street, Ottawa, Ontario on March 24 at 11:00am.

The full report is available online at www.natoconcept.ca

SOURCE CONFERENCE OF DEFENCE ASSOCIATIONS INSTITUTE

For further information: For further information: To request a copy of the report, or for media requests and interviews with any of the study's contributors, please contact the CDA Institute at (613) 236-9903 or by email contact@natoconcept.ca

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