CDAI-CDFAI Report: “NATO Must Change”: What about the navy?

The Conference of Defence Associates Institute (CDAI) and Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) have jointly produced a report that calls for major change in the NATO mandate, organization and capabilities.  You can download a copy of the report, entitled Security in an Uncertain World: A Canadian Perspective on NATO’s New Strategic Concept, here.  You can read an article by Paul Koring, entitled “NATO must change radically, groups warn,” from today’s Globe and Mail here.

The report finds that NATO’s still-evident focus on military capabilities suited for the defence of Europe is out-of-place in the 21st Century security environment.  In order for the military to be relevant, the report recommends sweeping changes:

-         more emphasis on civil-military cooperative approaches to security, including civilian rapid reaction capabilities that deploy with military units;

-         a revamped decision-making process that reforms the “ponderous committee structure”;

-         an emphasis on responsiveness;

-         acquisition of greater mobility and sustainment capabilities that are controlled centrally rather than nationally; and

- commitment to a new operations funding formula that is less burdensome for the United States and Canada (due to the distances involved) and the elimination or reduction of "dozens of NATO projects, including irrelevant Cold War-era programs.

The collaborators on the report include an impressive list of Canadian experts from a wide of professional backgrounds and academic fields.

All of the current fleet assets of the Canadian navy were conceived under the old NATO construct.  The recommendations in the report provide several themes for naval institutional change:

-         de-emphasis of combat capability and attaching more importance to the diplomatic and constabulary roles;

- devolution of naval command authority;

-         more numerous and smaller operating units to sustain a rotation for higher readiness requirements;

-         greater logistical capabilities that can be used in austere environments or where facilities have been damaged beyond usefulness;

-         creating new units that can provide mobile engineering and repair services both for emergency relief and technical assistance; and

-         including extra capacity in future ships design for hosting and supporting non-military partners.

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