On January 19th, 2022, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne, addressed the North Atlantic Council, the principal political decision-making body within NATO, explaining his vision of NATO’s adaptation for the foreseeable future.
In General Lavigne’s words, “the most important aspect of NATO’s transformation, and its main objective, [is] collectively ensuring NATO’s decisive advantage. This is critical for our relevance and ensuring we maintain the status of the most successful Alliance in history. We owe it to the 1 billion people we protect and secure.”
While the Alliance’s potential adversaries work to shape the environment to their own advantage, NATO is strengthening its ability to serve as a pillar of international security and stability. NATO is improving its ability to understand better, decide faster and be stronger together as critical factors for the most successful Alliance in history.
“Understand better” is to be able to acquire full, and collective, situational awareness, to better place the Alliance in shaping the security environment and win the battle of opportunities; “decide faster” aims to accelerate and improve the decision-making – from political decision making to tactical action; “be stronger together” is to maximize NATO’s coherence, a necessary trait in a complex security environment where challenges are multifaceted and often hidden. From an operational standpoint stronger together is the ability to integrate different operational domains, making the Alliance capable of operating in a Multi-domain environment by engaging both in kinetic and non-kinetic actions.
The two pivotal priorities to achieve this vision are the “Digital Transformation”, allowing the Alliance to fully take advantage of its data and involving the establishment of capabilities and services designed to securely maximize its potential; as well as the timely delivery of new, critical capabilities or improving the agility of NATO’s processes.
In General Lavigne’s vision, this relevance is achieved through innovation, collaboration and cooperation, and human capital: three enablers necessary to adapt NATO’s Military Instrument of Power at the right pace. Innovation is the continuous effort that permeates the way the Alliance thinks about capability development; collaboration and cooperation – an effective relationship between political leadership and military teams through inclusivity, transparency and networks to accelerate decision-making and strengthen the resilience of the Alliance; and lastly personnel, NATO’s most valuable resource, cultivating talent through training and exercises, especially in support of data and digital transformation.