Blog: A NATO Invigoration May Be the Key to Future Global Security

May 15, 2012
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The Atlantic alliance needs to energize the relationship between the United States and its European partners so that it can deal with the uncertainty that will define the future. Vice Adm. C.A. Johnstone-Burt, OBE MA, RN, chief of staff, NATO Allied Command Transformation, said that the concept of Europe picking up more of the burden in NATO was a healthy approach that will broaden NATO's perspective, not narrow it. Speaking in the opening keynote discussion at Joint Warfighting 2012 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the admiral said that the United States needs to be "an explicit leader in NATO, not an implicit one." And, Europe must take its place with greater activity in NATO. "We need the political equivalent of a good man-hug, not a limp handshake," he declared. Adm. Johnstone-Burt called for maritime force capabilities to catch up with the advances seen by land forces, which have improved greatly over the past decade. While there is a push for niche capabilities, the admiral noted that achieving these capabilities will require full capabilities. Noting that technological investment has advanced militaries, the admiral cited the need for greater intellectual investment. This equation should be revisited at both sides, he said, adding, "We need to think, train and fight differently."

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