Written by General Mieczyslaw Bieniek, DSACT, Polish Army
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation shares his insights on the Chicago Summit, talks about achieving the Lisbon Summit agenda, and how long-term Alliance and Partner activities will set the stage for the future.
The Chicago Summit is already being hailed as a key contributor to the Transatlantic Link. The Summit will pave the way to further enhance links and relations already in existence, as well as to seek new venues of collaboration.
The 2010 Lisbon Summit challenged the Alliance to advance in many important areas. Among the many challenges were decisions to adopt a New Strategic Concept for the next 10 years and to identify capabilities shortfalls.
With the Lisbon Summit still in mind, the Chicago Summit constitutes an excellent opportunity to further increase the understanding and importance of NATO and its transformational efforts among Allies and Partners.
Our scope of engagement is not reducing but broadening. With such an important commodity to protect, it is only logical that we analyse and work on new and emerging challenges, and also scrutinise the global security environment.
Such an opportunity creates a new momentum for improved cooperation on issues needed to be addressed jointly, not only at the political-military level but also at the working level.
Summit Focused Topics
There is much to accomplish in the run-up to the Summit. Among key topics on the agenda are Smart Defence and Ballistic Missile Defence; two vital subjects which will be prominent for many years to come.
Regarding Smart Defence, ACT is at the forefront of the overall effort, driven by the NATO Secretary General's demand for "better with the same" budget, manpower and structure; and will certainly gain more credibility following the Summit as a way ahead for the entire Capability Development community.
Ballistic Missile Defence is another important area of ACT's work. The Chicago Summit will likely declare this system's interim operational capability; to declare a robust missile defence capability. The efforts must be undertaken on many levels, and supported throughout the NATO Command Structure.
Security Through Training
All ACT efforts are driven by the paramount requirement for NATO forces to adapt to the new threats. Our scope of engagement is not reducing but broadening. With such an important commodity to protect, it is only logical that we analyse and work on new and emerging challenges, and also scrutinise the global security environment. Additionally, in close cooperation with other organisations such as the UN, EU or AU, we must take any and all actions necessary to ensure stability and security world-wide.
At the Summit, we also will define how we will continue to support Afghanistan during the transition phase and beyond. In this phase, training of the Afghan forces will be a key point of success. Training is an issue of growing importance for national security personnel and ACT involvement in training and education is growing steadily, alongside the training for NATO military and civilian personnel that are either currently deployed or will be deployed to perform training functions in support of local authorities. These efforts require all of us to think and act outside of our professional recognised scopes and to take into account complex interdependencies of different cultures, traditions and ideas, offering our commanders in the field the proper level of support required. Education and training institutions need to support these efforts as well as to make sure that the training being offered brings desired, high-quality results in line with NATO's educational standards.
Trend to Efficiency
After reorganizing the Education and Training landscape over the last two years we are now completing the structure with the handover of responsibilities for exercises from SACEUR to SACT. This action allows education and training to be offered and delivered more effectively and efficiently. Thus, our commanders in the field get the best support available.
We all eagerly anticipate the Chicago Summit as a threshold that will lead to an improved, more agile and better prepared Alliance to face the conundrum of the modern global security environment. ACT continues to offer tangible, clear and well thought out inputs to this important event.