Getting Defense Planning on Track

Shaping our NATO: Young Voices on the Warsaw Summit The financial crisis in Europe has resulted in a decline in national defense budgets. However, merely increasing defense expenditure may only lead to more shortcomings if the planning is not coordinated. NATO has taken initiatives to harmonize national defense plans and to identify and develop the capabilities needed for the full range of NATO missions.

Yet, the NATO Defense Planning Process has not been as effective as it should be: there are concerns of compromising sovereignty, and problems reaching consensus due to differing national interests. To understand younger perspectives on the topic, we asked:

How can some NATO member countries be encouraged to participate more actively in the NATO Defense Planning Process? How could NATO Members coordinate better to generate the modern defense capabilities that the Alliance as a whole needs? What are the best practices that could serve as role models in a renewed culture of cooperation?

We now need all members' help to take the debate to the next step. We encourage you to provide feedback and give counter-arguments, point out the articles' weaknesses and highlight strengths. If you are not yet a member, you can join for free with just a few clicks. By contributing to and enriching the discussion you will be extending a helping hand to young voices from the NATO Alliance and have the chance to influence the Atlantic Memo. After July 17, the shortlisted authors will write this joint policy paper to be presented to decision-makers.

The competition has been made possible by generous contributions from:

NATO     Konrad Adenauer Foundation     Foundation for German-Polish Cooperation

EuroAtlantic Institute


Improving Participation in the NATO Defense Planning Process

Memo 53: The North Atlantic Council needs an advisory voting system and more transparency. Regional interest blocs and enhancing the status of civil-military cooperation would incentivize more active participation in the NATO Defense Planning Process. View

How Defense Planning Will Reinvigorate NATO

Getting defense planning on track is not only a tactic but a strategy for NATO. For any international organization such as NATO monetary cooperation translates to cooperation at many alternative levels. Therefore, when we see in 2015 that a small percentage of the 28 member states are actually meeting the required 2% GDP contribution it becomes concerning as to how steadfast NATO is in their mission. View

Smart Defence Revisited: Future Specialization and the Framework to Support It

Capability specialization and the division of member states into special compartments for cooperation based on regional interests are the two key pillars of a joint initiative, which NATO can undertake in order to improve the concept of Smart Defence and enhance the output of the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP). View

Transatlantic Disunion: How Strained EU-US Relations Can Help NATO Boost European Defense

While discontent over the current state of NATO is growing on both sides of the Atlantic – with the US losing patience with European “free riding”, and Europe weary of US dominance – NATO members strain to demonstrate unity at one summit after another. Instead, NATO should openly address internal fault lines and use them to motivate a stronger role for non-US member states. In particular European NATO member states need to step up to ensure its own defense, and reduce its dependency on the US. View

From Zuckerberg to Stoltenberg: It's Time for NATO to Act Like a Tech Company

NATO should borrow project management approaches from the tech industry when it comes to defense planning and policy implementation. It’s time for NATO to get serious about freshening up and bringing in truly new ideas that have an integrated impact for member countries. View

NATO Should Increase Civil-Military Co-Operation

NATO ought to increase expenditure on Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) to overcome two major issues with the NATO Defense Planning Process (NDPP): first, difficulties in members meeting the 2% of GDP spending target; and second, more efficiently developing the operational capabilities required for changing security environments. Such encouragement would support the financial and operational objectives of NATO’s ‘Smart Defense’ and ‘Framework Nations Concept’ initiatives. View

Revamping the NATO Response Force

From Prague to Brussels, Brasov to Wales, NATO has haphazardly stumbled through political obstacles to create and fitfully modify the various layers of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To deal with burgeoning threats and shore up NATO’s ability to uphold its Article 5 obligations, the NATO Defense Planning Process needs to prioritize and expedite restructuring and revamping the NRF to reach its full potential as a nimble, effective response force. View

The NDPP: Dreams vs. Reality

The most important matter for the NDPP is setting realistic goals in order to resolve problems with capabilities shortfalls. Due to the emergence of new threats in the global security architecture, NATO must set realistic goals for resolving the problem. A definite answer for new threats lies in NATO’s Defense Planning Process and responding to shrinking defense capabilities. The Alliance must clearly state and persuade members that the level of supposed organizational ambition will only be delivered by increasing the military capabilities of European NATO members. View

The Importance of a Transnational Cyber-Defense Policy for NATO

Most NATO Allies have been experiencing a gap between the identification of the existence of cyber-threats, and the implementation of cyber-defense policies. What is lacking in today's cyber-security landscape is a clear, transnational policy for all members of the Alliance. Yet, through NDPP, NATO can encourage policy harmonization by setting standard requirements, and encouraging inter-state cooperation with those at the forefront of cyber-security, such as Israel. View

No More All You Can Eat Buffet: Coming to Terms with Defense Budget Limitations

In an era of expanded budget limitations and shifting priorities, a new way of doing things is required for the world's military powers. The US must pick and choose and sometimes even cooperate with other nations in the acquisition and production of the massively expensive military equipment required by the world’s police force. It makes sense to do so under the auspices of an already established institutional structure, NATO. View

The Atlantic Alliance Must Undergo a Paradigm Shift for Survival

NATO must reinvent its mission in order to thrive in the twenty-first century. The rise of economic malaise threatens the financial goals of the Atlantic Alliance. In turn, a paradigm shift is necessitated to continue the existence of Europe's security apparatus. View

NATO is Still on Time, But Time is Running Out

We need strong collaboration among all NATO countries to live in a freer and safer world. But something does not work. NATO member states know that they do not have enough money to cover all defense needs that their nations require, but few of them seek real solutions. They believe that national sovereignty will be lost, but if they do not share capabilities, much more than sovereignty can be lost. View

Moving Towards Common Spending, NATO Would Increase Efficiency

In increasing NATO’s total defense expenditures, its members should move towards granting the organization the capability to independently decide its spending. By funding NATO directly and increasing multilateral cooperation in military research and organization, NATO’s capabilities can be strengthened, while its cost efficiency could increase the public’s opinion. View

NATO Must Be Re-Structured

NATO still seems to presuppose a rather small and cohesive membership that communicates effectively, is strongly committed to similar democratic values, and is chiefly designed to counter a formidable foe. However, the current reality rather is one of a quite diverse membership. NATO should, either for all NATO members or for some of them, obtain some internal democratic structures. View

Shaping our NATO: Young Voices on the Warsaw Summit 2016

Our new policy workshop competition gives students and recent graduates the opportunity to reflect on the most pressing issues facing NATO today and to shape the future of the Alliance. Five winners will receive a trip to Berlin to present the collective ideas to decision-makers. View