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New RD Publication: Alliance capabilities at 70: achieving agility for an uncertain future

  • 15 Jan. 2020
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  • Last updated: 16 Jan. 2020 08:57

NDC Policy Brief 01-20


The credibility of any alliance depends on its ability to deliver deterrence and defence for the safety and security of its members. Without capability, any alliance is deprived of credibility and exists only on paper. Despite a rocky history – up to and including the current debate on burden-sharing – capability lies at the heart of NATO’s success. There is good cause to draw optimism from the Alliance’s accomplishments throughout its 70 years in providing a framework for developing effective and interoperable capabilities.

However, the future promises serious challenges for NATO’s capabilities, driven primarily by new and disruptive technology offering both opportunities and threats in defence applications. Moreover, developments in these areas are, in some cases, being led by potential adversaries, while also simultaneously moving at a pace that requires a constant effort to adapt on the part of the Alliance. On the occasion of NATO’s 70th anniversary, the future outlook requires a serious conversation about NATO’s adaptability to embrace transformation and develop an agile footing to ensure its future relevance.

*(back) Camille Grand is NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment; Matthew Gillis is Defence Investment Staff Officer at NATO HQ.

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