By Dr. Marios Efthymiopoulos, President Strategy International
International Piracy stands out as of prime importance to the emerging challenges that will have eventually to be dealt with by NATO member states. Member-states such as Greece hold a high interest and a high stake but also a duty to protect their national and multinational interests. Security training and ‘smart preparation’ for a ‘smart engagement’ at sea, may positively affect training and operations for future, naval land and air interoperable alliance components.
In order to constructively counter existing but also future international piracy measures there is a need to construct a joined alliance conceptual strategic plan. It should be robust and to the point. It should be brief. It should be a comprehensive political security framework for maritime training, regulation and counter-joined and most importantly nationally led by one member state (rotating) operations introducing as such the policy of ‘specialization’ within NATO.
A possible constructive proposal and joined reaction to the aforementioned issue affecting the emerging challenge of international piracy and generally of maritime security, seems as a good timing also for the introduction as well for the stake holder’s national interests within the Alliance in a policy such as this one. A conceptual framework for maritime NATO security nationally led by one but joined human capital by all, may possibly bring to the surface some realities in terms of everyday operations and leadership within the Alliance, a new balance form of Alliance within, but also several new options. It will reflect decisions that need to be made for the future of the alliance’s viability but also dealings amongst member-states in all levels of everyday policy, administration, financial regulation and editing application both political and military.
Today, member-states are asked to be financially but also operationally more firm and effective. They need to do more, to offer more: A possible solution maybe ‘Specialization’ on a specific alliance policy. A true commitment and engagement to a single policy role (lead) per-member state. A member state will hold part of a specific policy leadership (both financially and politically) but still of joined concern and joined work consultation and effectiveness. This seems as a viable solution both financially and politically. It also re-commits a member-state of the Alliance. It is a viable and credible solution. It is also a solution that will project national growth and international posture, investment and development as new structures, institutions and people will have to be engaged indirectly and directly in the construction sector but also to the policy making, creation and operation. It will enhance cultural exchange and will effectively engage the tactical effectiveness of smart defense as well, since strategically one country will hold the expertise and lead solely to a specific policy rendering inter-connectiveness and interdependence more true than ever.
At a time of austerity measures and where proposals with solutions can be presented, a proposal is brought forward. Countries should take an individual national lead in solely one NATO policy. This should include nonetheless joined alliance human capital offer per policy case without however rendering each country fiscally attached to each position. Specific policies that affect national countries can be more constructive than asking to join in financially to all or major policies not only with human capital but with funds leading some policies underfunded or nationally under-represented of funded due to the global crisis.
As such there is a need of member states to specialize on specific alliance policies; to overcome national obstacles and find a truthful end to possible bilateral disagreements. It avoids any possible future clash of interests and avoids also duplication of efforts. A country that decides to take the lead in the case of international piracy will take the lead financially, politically and militarily to the extent it wants, (training, sharing of intelligence, taking the lead in preparation of tactical operational center, bases and equipment) lending its financial per-annum support in the long-term more viable to NATO, vibrant and more committed to do more in practice. It will also avoid free-riding. It will allow countries to constructively and positively cut-back on large expenditures and will re-align foreign policy and defense policy objectives and maybe the supranational cause to end possible political and military disputes. It will also upgrade national policies of NATO, towards a true transatlantic commitment. It will upgrade NATO’s policy inter-connection and inter-dependence amongst all members but also associated countries with NATO. Countries will have to truly rely on joined commitment for a large ‘umbrella’ affecting all.
The effectiveness of a security policy framework in counter-piracy, lead by solely one state, followed by all only by providing human capital will diminish over-expenditure. It will take into consideration all operational and administrative lessons learned from NATO’s past and current operations but also centers and bases. It will eventually create the opportunity for a renewed co-operation in the framework of the new supranational strategic concept. It will enhance the decisions that are expected to be drawn on smart defense from the upcoming Chicago Summit. It will request for a ‘smart financial, training and operational engagement’ once stakes are clarified. A possible analysis will show that stakes are high for those states that do hold the largest interest in a specific policy that they are most interested at. Maritime security and countering international piracy is no less than a truly important policy that nevertheless may be able to reassure commitment of naval powers and member-states both individually and collectively. The sole decision that needs to be made is who will bear the lead but also the largest expense and whether other policies will be equivalent in the same amount of financing, leading NATO’s overall policies the need to construct a limit down and limit up financial cost and offer.
(This article was first Published on 16 March 2012 on NATO’s website: We-Nato.org)
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By Dr. Marios Efthymiopoulos, President Strategy International