• Ernest J. Herold, deputy assistant secretary general for defense investment at NATO, discusses the changes NATO is—and must be—undergoing in the acquisition realm during NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.
     Ernest J. Herold, deputy assistant secretary general for defense investment at NATO, discusses the changes NATO is—and must be—undergoing in the acquisition realm during NITEC 2017 in Ottawa.

NATO Is Adapting and Funding New Projects

April 26, 2017
By Robert K. Ackerman
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But it must do more in both areas to remain relevant.


NATO is undergoing needed change and striving to spend more on vital projects, but it must ramp up these efforts to be successful, said a former U.S. Army veteran who is the deputy assistant secretary general for defense investment at NATO. Ernest J. Herold told the Wednesday audience in his keynote address at NITEC 2017 in Ottawa that NATO needs to adapt to survive. In recent years, the balance has tilted in favor of collective defense, but further changes are necessary.

“For NATO to remain relevant, it needs to adapt to the changing security environment and its challenges,” he stated.

The alliance needs to be a more informed customer, and industry must be given a sense of its strategic direction, he continued. Full spectrum capabilities are still important even as NATO faces new challenges. NATO must develop needed capabilities, and what is important is how fast those capabilities are developed. “We’re developing the means for even more allies to cooperate [in procurement],” he reported.

Many NATO members have heeded the call to increase their defense spending to meet per capita NATO goals, he added. If all members met their 2 percent goals, that would amount to $100 billion each year, and NATO would receive a portion of that. Yet Herold noted that while additional money is important, the key is how the allies spend it. “We cannot afford to compete between NATO and the European Union, or everyone loses,” Herold pointed out.

“NATO shouldn’t be a port of call for allies. It should be the home port,” he declared.

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