The phrase, “These are critical times for the NATO alliance,” has been used so often it is almost a cliché. But these times are not defined by a cliché, as the alliance faces multiple challenges within and without. Deliberate discussion has always been the method of determining NATO policy and direction, but the window for that approach is narrowing. NATO must decisively confront several challenges.
Brig. Gen. Joseph D. McFall, USAF, has been assigned as deputy commander, NATO Mission Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq.
Brig. Gen. Charles B. McDaniel, USAF, has been assigned as component commander, E3-A, NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force, Allied Command Operations, Geilenkirchen, Germany.
Between October 25 and November 7, 50,000 military participants from 31 nations will conduct a defensive live exercise in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea. One of the largest exercises ever, the NATO event, Trident Juncture 18, is meant to ensure that NATO forces “are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction,” according to a statement from the alliance.
Brig. Gen. David M. Hamilton, USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff for operations, Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, NATO, United Kingdom.
Technologies are spawning a revolutionary improvement in command and control that will have a transformative impact on how it is conducted at the operational level. These advancements, particularly artificial intelligence, are changing command and control functions such as sensing, processing, “sensemaking” and decision-making. Even greater changes lie ahead as innovation serves a larger role in defining both form and function.
Lt. Gen. Austin S. Miller, USA, has been nominated for appointment to the grade of general and assignment as commander, Resolute Support Mission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.
Capt. James A. Kirk, USN, has been selected for promotion to rear admiral and will be assigned as deputy commander/chief of staff, Joint Warfare Center, Allied Command Transformation, Stavanger, Norway.
NATO’s power will grow as partnerships between governments and industry combine their strengths to increase security and bring about progress. The challenges nations face are as much about culture and people as they are about finding the right technologies and efficiently introducing them into the networking ecosystem.
More than 600 senior public and private sector leaders met at NITEC18 to learn about emerging capabilities, discuss digital transformation and collaborate to address the challenges NATO is facing today. The event took place in Berlin and was organized by AFCEA International in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry of Defence.
Brig. Gen. Anthony R. Hale, USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff, intelligence, Resolute Support Mission, NATO; and deputy director, operations and support, J-2, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan.
Brig. Gen. Daniel R. Walrath, USA, has been assigned as deputy chief of staff, Operations, Resolute Support Mission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and United States Forces-Afghanistan, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Afghanistan.
Brig. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart, USAF, has been assigned as commander, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Alliance Ground Surveillance Force, Allied Command Operations, NATO, Sigonella, Italy.
NATO is moving into the digital realm deliberately, avoiding a headlong rush into new technologies, even though it is committed to modernizing its communications and information systems on a large scale. The alliance is incorporating new information technologies without breaking either the bank or speed records by tapping the expertise of others to bring digital benefits to the organization and its forces.
NATO and the European Union are improving information sharing on the cyber threat and bolstering collaboration on potential solutions. The two organizations seek to increase the relevance of shared data and are discussing the potential for sharing classified information.
NATO is building a wide range of technological capabilities, including open source intelligence, counterterrorism, artificial intelligence, space-based surveillance, electronic warfare and biometric solutions, some of which were previously left to the individual nations or other international organizations.
The flurry of activity amounts to a complete metamorphosis of NATO’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, according to Matt Roper, the joint ISR chief within NATO’s Communications and Information Agency. Roper notes that the alliance’s new direction results directly from the 2012 summit in Chicago.
Amid stunning digital attacks that have not only rocked countries around the globe but also targeted alliance forces, NATO is sharpening its resolve to serve as a cyber protector. A forthcoming Cyber Operations Center will incorporate cyber warfare into NATO’s defense operations. In addition, NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is boosting the organization’s cybersecurity-related research, exercises and instruction to meet the seemingly unending threats.
As global security becomes more uncertain, NATO only grows in importance to its members. We’ve seen the repeated bad behavior of Russia, the continued chaos of the Middle East, the influence of Iran moving throughout the region and beyond, the increasingly bellicose activity of North Korea, and the ceaseless threat of ISIS all affecting NATO’s strategic interests. The alliance represents a unique set of international political and defense standards, values and norms that form the basis for rules-based order in Western civilization. Further, member nations underpin each other’s economies with dynamic trade and security.
NATO views Russia as a key to regional security and seeks to work with the country on a variety of issues. However, the alliance views some Russian actions with suspicion, and recent statements from Kremlin leaders are not viewed as constructive, according to a leading NATO general.
The resurgent national power is involved in many areas of importance to NATO. And other countries, such as China, India and Pakistan, have concerns in these areas and must be included in discussions. But their role tends to be in support of their own regional interests, whereas Russia is making moves near the borders of NATO members.
The U.S. Army has partnered with NATO and other coalition nations to enhance operational readiness in a series of multinational exercises this year focused on interoperability. The drills enable national militaries to assess and adjust the interoperability of their capabilities long before meeting adversaries in the battlespace.