The Transformation of NATO and the
Shaping of European Security
German Chief of Defense General Klaus Naumann

Addressing the 12th NATO Workshop in Dresden is something I would not have dared to dream of less than a decade ago. That it became possible is the result of our Alliance's cohesion, solidarity, and risk sharing, a truly winning formula that we must not forget in today's world of uncertainties and new risks. To that end, this year's Workshop discussions have focused on the new NATO. I would like to offer a few observations on the topic from a German point of view.


Germany, whose security policy has benefited more than any other country's from the end of the bipolar confrontation, is situated in the heart of Europe. Whether its people like it or not, Germany must and will play an active role in Europe, including the acceptance of responsibility and the sharing of risks with Allies. But Germany is undergoing a period of internal change, since its division was much deeper than we had thought when we rejoiced in unification.

When unification came about, two societies were brought together that were based on truly antagonistic ideas: democracy in the West and totalitarianism in the East. We had to merge two peoples whose life conditions had nothing in common but language; we had to merge two economies that were completely incompatible.

Outside Germany, it is not too widely known that Germany is de facto spending 5-6% of its GDP for the unification process and will continue to spend 4-6% of its GDP on this process until the year 2005. That amount is approximately 150 billion DM per year. This enormous transfer from West to East makes it possible for East Germans to enjoy social welfare similar to that of their West German compatriots. The German experience, however, cannot serve as a model for other countries in transition. Our most important and difficult task during the last four years was to get out of the rubble of 45 years of a centrally planned economy, including total exploitation of capital investment, unbelievable exploitation of the ecology, and a total lack of investment in infrastructure. We have learned that the reconstruction of the eastern part of Germany will require between 15 and 25 years. We have also learned that the hidden figure of unemployment in the socialist system is approximately 30%. Therefore Germany and other European countries, but Germany in particular as the largest and strongest economic member of the European Union, will have to face up to many problems in the process of rebuilding Europe. These problems come in addition to our joint responsibilities in maintaining highly complex societies under rapidly changing conditions.


In terms of security, however, we are much better off. For the first time in 300 years, Germans are no longer the object of external pressure but have the chance to prevent conflicts and make peace more secure. Of course, this means making major changes in our policy, since we must alter the attitude that prevailed in the days of the Cold War; namely, we must focus on Central Europe exclusively. Unification and the end of confrontation brought about three factors which can be considered as constants in terms of German security:

Still, we are confronted with risks and uncertainties in Eastern and Southeastern Europe and realize that it is no longer sufficient to aim at security in Europe; we must strive for security for Europe. It seems to me that three very different approaches to security are being pursued by European countries at this time:


What are the conclusions to be drawn from this mixed approach to security? On the one hand, the regional approach that used to be limited to Europe and the NATO Treaty area is no longer adequate; on the other hand, mere response is not enough to prevent conflicts in the unleashed world outside nuclear conflict containment. Preventive action must be taken.

Such action certainly necessitates the use of conflict management mechanisms in the very early stages of crises. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), because it includes the United States, Russia, and Europe, must play a role, and its efforts ought to be appreciated.

However, conflict management means action, and this is the OSCE's weakness; the former CSCE's consensus-minus-one policy has not been remedied. Nevertheless, I feel we must continue to work on developing the OSCE, if only to let Russia find a place in Europe without the chance to assume a dominating role.

To this end, it will be necessary to identify common political goals at the beginning of a crisis rather than take military action on the basis of whitewashed contrasts as occurred in Yugoslavia. Europe will also need organizations capable of acting, and the only one is NATO.

As of now NATO can act only in its own right when exercising its Article V responsibilities. It needs a political mandate from an organization such as the United Nations (U.N.) to legitimize other actions. The U.N., however, is an organization stretched beyond its resources. It has become clear that regional organizations must pick up some of the burden. This is a political task, but it seems possible that the Alliance could undertake crisis-management operations according to Article IV of the NATO Treaty and based on either a U.N. mandate or Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. In the latter case, a "coalition of the willing" probably would act based on their determination and with the consent of their allies. NATO, however, should not act as a servant of the U.N. as it does right now in the former Yugoslavia. The bitter lesson that NATO has learned there is that it is impossible to reconcile peace-enforcement operations with the conditions of a peacekeeping operation. NATO increasingly is being seen as ineffective and is losing both credibility and support.

In my view, future NATO missions should encompass: collective defense of the NATO Treaty area; crisis management and conflict prevention within NATO's not-yet-defined sphere of interest; and the projection of stability through cooperation. There is no question that NATO must undergo further change to that end. NATO should no longer be seen as a one-way alliance that provides security only for Europe; it should help our American partners if they need it. Therefore it must be enabled to manage crises beyond collective defense. This issue involves the still-unresolved Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) problem, which in my view is an issue of instruments. It is by no means as complicated an issue as identifying the sphere of interest within which NATO nations might be willing to act to prevent conflicts, or the more institutional issues of establishing proper political decision-making machinery, military command structures, and appropriate force structures for both crisis management and collective defense (these should be identical).

To use the capabilities and resources of the Alliance to shape Europe's security and defense identity, we need to implement the mandate of the January 1994 NATO Summit. Answers are urgently needed, since they may affect the JGC 96, which will deal with the question of a European security policy. Nothing, however, justifies abandoning NATO's integrated military structure. Modification is possible, but abandonment would open the bottle and let out the genie of defense renationalization.


NATO has taken two initial steps to project stability to the East by creating the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) and Partnership for Peace (PFP). In just one year, PFP has become an integral part of the European security scene. It is a useful tool that encourages NATO and individual Partners to work together. It also helps new democratic states to restructure, establish democratic control of their military forces, and learn new forms of military doctrine, environmental control, and disaster relief.

The 20 PFP military exercises planned for this year, of which Germany will participate in 14, will do much to foster this transitional process. Twenty-six nations, including Russia, have deemed PFP membership to be in their interests. This progress is encouraging, but improvement in coordination between national, bilateral, or trilateral activities and NATO programs is also necessary. In addition, exercises that would result in an ever-increasing degree of common standards and procedures should be considered. Germany has offered some proposals to that end and introduced legislation that will enable our country to host PFP exercises as of next year.


As NATO undertakes its transformation, risk will be involved. Partners' unfulfilled hopes could lead to withdrawal and frustration; also, if the Alliance proceeds too quickly, it will accept new members before it has adequately adjusted to new tasks. That is why NATO enlargement must be approached with judgment and patience and, most of all, as a process that needs time.

Today, Eastern and Central European nations consumed with the task of constructing democratic governments and market economies instinctively look westward for their models. They seek the same umbrella of protection and the same prosperity now enjoyed by NATO members. Our task is to help these countries achieve these goals through a new, yet realistic, security structure. That NATO should and will expand is no longer a question. What is in question is where, when, and how expansion will take place.

Before NATO is extended, the 16 member-nations that currently make up NATO must decide whether or not they are prepared to guarantee collective defense and common protection of interests. New members must be willing to share risks, responsibilities, and burdens with us, and should be prepared to accept the membership rules.


As the Alliance moves in new directions, a new European security and defense identity is about to be shaped. At the center of this evolution is the Western European Union (WEU), which must become the defense component of the European Union and the European pillar of NATO. Europe must attain the capability of limited independent action. How we will distinguish between the tasks of NATO and those of the WEU-EU and find ways to achieve a common European ability to act require, however, a great deal of thought and imagination.

Some limited European capabilities are needed without duplicating NATO's efforts. Having them and using them will tie the United States firmly and lastingly to Europe. This is a must, for without the United States there will be no security with an unstable Russia, no chance to achieve supra-regional security. Without a U.S. commitment to Europe there would be a risk of strategic decoupling, the negative implications of which would go far beyond the areas of security and defense. Fortunately, the United States has signaled that it welcomes the strengthening of NATO's European defense pillar via the Western European Union.

There will be instances in the future when WEU members will want to engage in operations in which other NATO members choose not to be involved. This is why the so-called dual-hatting of NATO and WEU forces, the support of the Combined Joint Task Force, and a security architecture with both the strength and flexibility to meet the varied security tests of this new period of global change are so important. But all of these changes will result in new demands on the armed forces. The task of covering the military spectrum, from armed humanitarian operations to coercive measures in crisis-management missions, will be added to the tasks of those employed within NATO's collective defense.

Armed forces are undergoing dramatic changes at the present time:

Accordingly we had to change the mission of the Bundeswehr. We are transforming our armed forces into an instrument that will enable Germany to contribute to conflict prevention by using the entire spectrum of political, economic, and military means in a flexible manner. The resulting new force structure will enable my country to contribute to NATO's highly trained and readily available reaction forces as well as its main defense forces.

Germany will remain a very active player and a most reliable partner in Europe and in NATO. We are willing to shoulder risks and to accept wider responsibilities within the U.N., NATO, and the EU, and we are equipped with armed forces that are fit to fight and willing to help.

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