A new strategic concept adjusted to the global rise of new technologies, terrorism and China is needed to replace a plan developed a decade ago, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron last year branded the alliance “brain dead,” demanding a new strategy that would, among other things, reopen dialogue with Russia — stifled after it annexed part of Ukraine — and refocus on the fight against Islamist terrorism.
As part of a “reflection process” triggered by Macron’s remarks, NATO would revise its strategic concept — its overarching statement of the threats it faces and how it might respond, Stoltenberg told a conference in Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava.
“The time has come to develop a new strategic concept for NATO, as the world has fundamentally changed,” Stoltenberg said at the GLOBSEC forum.
He dubbed the initiative “NATO 2030.”
Stoltenberg urged the Western defensive alliance of 30 states to “develop common principles and standards for new technologies” to meet security challenges related to “disruptive technologies” using big data and cybertelecommunications.
He also highlighted the need to address the “fundamental shift in the global balance of power with the rise of China,” as well as the rise of a “more brutal form of terrorism, more instability to the south of our alliance, in the Middle East and North Africa.”
At a summit in London last year, NATO leaders for the first time formally recognized the “challenges” posed by China.
While the transatlantic alliance remains focused on its European and North American core, Stoltenberg has argued that it is impossible to ignore Beijing’s booming military investment and geopolitical assertiveness.
Stoltenberg also underscored the importance of maintaining resilient societies across the alliance, saying that “our military cannot be strong if our societies are weak.”
“So our first line of defense must be strong societies able to prevent, endure, adapt and bounce back from whatever happens,” he said in an apparent nod to the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on NATO members.
Since the Ukraine conflict erupted in 2014, NATO has sought ways to boost its members’ resilience to the kind of hybrid warfare — combining irregular forces, cybertactics and disinformation — seen there.
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