Challenges and expectations

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 24, 2016 10:34

Challenges and expectations

By Marek Jeziorski*

marekOn July 8th-9th Warsaw will host the 2016 NATO Summit. The meeting of Allied heads of state and government is expected to provide strategic guidance for the organization, which – as a collective defence alliance – strengthens our allied security and continues to be a solid pillar of transatlantic and global peace and stability.

The capital of Poland will welcome 65 highest-level delegations of NATO and Partner nations, along with leaders of the United Nations, the European Union and the World Bank. The Summit is expected to host approximately 4,500 participants, including officials, experts and media.

The Summit in Warsaw will set the path for a process of continued NATO political and military adaptation. According to our expectations, the conclusions of the Summit should be “universal, decisive and up-to-date”. As such they should, as a matter of priority, enhance NATO deterrence and collective defence capabilities against the full spectrum of current and future threats. They also should contribute to other strategic tasks of the Alliance, those of crisis-managements and co-operative security.

Since 1999 Poland has been a credible and active ally. The Summit in Warsaw will become yet another visible sign of our commitment and support for the mission of NATO. It will be a pleasure and honour for Warsaw and for Poland to become for two days in July a home for NATO.

Within the framework of our preparations for the Summit we have tried to ensure that the mission and the vision of the Alliance be well known and understood not only by the officials and experts dealing with security issues. We came to the conclusion that it would be of highest importance for us to also reach to a wider public, including the young generation. A number of education projects designed for school students, youth and general public in Poland were prepared; a very good example is the project Poland and the Modern World – Knowledge Contest, a nationwide competition organized by the University of Warsaw, with participation of ca. 30,000 secondary school students annually. The leading topic of this year’s 57th edition is “Poland in the international security system in the context of its activity within NATO”. Our MFA is also working on lessons’ scenarios, which – starting as of May – are organized at secondary and high schools in co-operation with the Ministry of Education. They cover issues related to international security, NATO activities and Poland’s membership in the Alliance. They will also involve special guests from NATO’s civilian and military structures. A TV debate Test What You Know About NATO will be organized by the Polish National TV several days before the NATO Summit. Among the participants we expect Polish celebrities, experts on NATO issues and special guests from NATO structures. We have no doubt that this kind of public diplomacy activity will only strengthen our message and support of our societies for what we jointly do for our security.

We all expect NATO to continue to be a solid, capable and credible security and defence alliance. Of utmost importance for all of us has been in recent years the process of implementing decisions of the Wales NATO Summit. That Summit was an extraordinary event due to the change of the security environment, which had occurred just a few months earlier as a result of aggressive policies and actions of Russia against Ukraine. We were trying to grasp this change, which we later on started to call a “new normal”. And it is important to underline this term since it precisely points at the main feature of the change – its long-term character. In Wales the Alliance took significant decisions on the Readiness Action Plan RAP – namely on reassurance measures. Everything that was assumed in Newport as part of the RAP is being gradually achieved. Just look at the scale of exercises carried out on the eastern flank of NATO in the current year. A number of allies fulfil their commitment of the rotational presence in Poland and the Baltic countries.

Today we can observe clearly that the challenges leading us to Newport and RAP have not, unfortunately, disappeared.

Let us analyze the situation on the eastern flank. Russia has made further progress building up forces around our borders, developing technologically advanced anti-access/area denial systems, and conducting large scale military exercises at NATO’s borders. Their hybrid posture still remains of concern. They are being further developed, perfected and tested, and we have seen lately even more provocative demonstrations than usually, most recently in the Baltic Sea.

There is also a number of developing threats at the southern flank, where conflicts, radical ideologies, terrorism and fragile states destabilize the Middle East and North Africa threatening also stability and security in the NATO area.

The “Newport package” was extremely important and valuable, but it has been – as we can see it now more clearly – a temporary solution. Already then during the Wales Summit we understood in Poland that we were actually at the very beginning of the path to prepare NATO for this new security reality. Two years between Newport and Warsaw have been full of work and ideas. We very much hope that those ideas will be transformed soon in Warsaw into our decisions and new commitments. A long-term military adaptation of the North Atlantic Alliance, including in the military area, should continue. Poland and other countries of the region are hoping that the NATO Summit in Warsaw will go beyond the provisions of the previous Summit. Defence capabilities of NATO are expected to be increased, and their deployment – and we see it as crucial – should be even. Implementation of the Readiness Action Plan of Newport must go hand in hand with further increase in defence capabilities, especially in those parts of the Alliance which are the most vulnerable to threats. At the Warsaw Summit, a “Warsaw package,” which will go much further, taking into account, among others, constant forward rotating presence of NATO in our region, should be adopted. Our decisions in Warsaw should make forward presence real and sustained in deterring the potential aggression. It should be meaningful in military sense, broadly multinational and aimed at directly meeting the challenges around our frontiers. As You know, NATO Defence Ministers already agreed at their meeting on the 14th of June on important measures to strengthen the Alliance’s defence and deterrence. NATO will deploy by rotation four robust multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. We welcome the commitments made by many Allies today to contribute. Ministers also agreed on tailored measures to enhance defence and deterrence in the Black Sea region. As Secretary General Stoltenberg declared, “there will also be more pre-positioned equipment and supplies”. Issues like cyber defence, ability to deploy forces at speed and boosting deterrence through increase defence spending are also part of the discussion prior to the Warsaw Summit.

All these preparations make us more confident that the Warsaw Summit will be a historic one, with many decisions crucial for our security in coming years that will be implemented with no delay. Our messages coming from Warsaw should be clear and explicit. The Summit should also reflect and reconfirm fundamental principles and features of the Alliance, unity, cohesion and solidarity. NATO speaking with one voice and using one narrative is no doubt  a much more effective defence organization. Our security is indivisible. The character and scope of challenges and threats we are faced with confirm that. Our leaders are expected to show resolve to counter any threat of any nature and from any direction.

The Summit in Warsaw should achieve three key objectives. It must be universal to respond to the challenges in the area of security of the entire Alliance. It must be current so that decisions which will be taken are based on the latest data and analyses, allowing to take into account the most likely scenarios of the turn of events. It must be decisional so that the provisions adopted in its course precisely define the way to strengthen the capacity of defence and deterrence. The fulfilment of these three conditions will make a potential aggressor aware of the high unprofitability of attack on any member of the Alliance.

The Summit has a number of important tasks to fulfil:

  • To ensure capacity-building commitment
  • To project capacity & capability in collective defense, crisis management & cooperative security
  • To underline commitment to partnership.

But we should be frank and realistic. Warsaw will not terminate our work. The process of NATO adaptation will be long and difficult. It must be continued well beyond Warsaw. Therefore we should take Warsaw as a step rather than a fully accomplished task. Warsaw should also start a process of NATO’s strategic reflection.

This reflection should encompass four pillars that respond in the best possible way to the NATO’s strategic role in the current and future security environment.

  • First of all, it is important to understand and see the need of a change. NATO’s security environment has deteriorated on all flanks– eastern, southern and northern. It also deteriorated at all levels: the use of military force against NATO partners, conflicts in the direct neighborhood of the Alliance, non-military asymmetrical means used by states against neighbors as well as growing terrorist threat are undeniable elements of security situation in 2016. NATO must be ready conceptually to adequately respond to these threats.
  • Second, The ongoing adaptation process should include the political, military and institutional dimensions. All relevant NATO’s policies, including deterrence and defence, crisis management as well as partnerships policy, must adapt in order to allow the Alliance to provide necessary security to all its members.
  • Third, Credibility is both a military and a political concept. Despite all our necessary and indispensable political and diplomatic efforts, in a foreseeable future military power will gain on importance. NATO as a military alliance must have the necessary military tools and modern high-end capabilities to provide credible joint answer to a strategic change. In this context, one could consider including a defence planning pledge, linked to Wales Investment Pledge, in our strategic vision.
  • Fourth, leadership seems to be of decisive impact on our security and defence effectiveness. A strategic answer to a change, adaptation and politico-military credibility will not happen without a high-level political commitment of all Allies. It should be underpinned by resources necessary to develop military capabilities. A multiplying effect of NATO will be possible only thanks to a clear and unshakable commitment of all Allies and their political leadership. Only responsive, adapted and credible NATO with determined leadership can provide real defence and protection for its current and future members.

Our analysis of threats and challenges NATO is facing and realistic presentation of our expectations related to the security at the eastern flank of the Alliance do constitute the core of our security considerations. However, we remain very much committed to contribute to the implementation of other crucial tasks and commitments of NATO.

First of all, we do understand the gravity of threats coming from the South. The Readiness Action Plan and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force are for the South as well. We believe that linking the instruments introduced by the Readiness Action Plan in 2014 with an already existing robust allied infrastructure in the South will bring real added value to the security of the region and in fact of the whole Alliance.  After the Turkish airspace was infringed by a Russian plane, the Alliance reinforced Ankara with assurance measures. NATO is now working on additional elements that will increase various allied capacities on the southern theatre. Moreover, at the Defence Ministers meeting in February 2016, it was agreed that NATO would send a maritime force to monitor the Aegean Sea, gather information on illegal migration and cooperate with the EU Frontex Agency. One of the biggest NATO exercises in recent years took place in autumn 2015 in the South with a truly big participation of Poland and other allies from the eastern part of the Alliance. Polish ships will participate in NATO operations in the southern flank, including Aegean Sea. Four of our F-16 will be ready to participate in reconnaissance missions in the Middle East within the framework of anti-terrorism operations. Poland will implement a number of cooperation projects in the Middle East countries, like Jordan and Liban. We also plan to return to our presence in the UN mission in Liban.

Secondly, we are fully aware that security of the eastern flank rests not only on NATO security guarantees and on bilateral military cooperation, but also on the national armed forces. They are the first responders in the early stages of crisis. According to Article 3 of the Washington Treaty, the Allies are obliged to constantly develop these forces. Poland is investing substantially in its own defence with a contribution of over 2% of GDP, including over 20% on technical modernization. Thus, in 2015 Poland fulfilled, as one of three Allies,[1] the Allies’ “defence pledge” from Newport. An important element in this context is also resilience, an ability to rapidly and effectively recover from a blow. In NATO’s context, a resilient ally contributes to a more robust deterrence and defence posture of the whole Alliance. Resilience is a cross-cutting issue touching upon both civilian and military elements (e.g. critical infrastructure, cybersecurity, transportation, IT/communications). We cannot forget that building resilience is first and foremost a responsibility of national authorities.

 [1] 5 countries meet the criterion of 2% GDP and more on defence spending, but only 3 fulfil the condition related to modernization.

Thirdly, Poland is committed to the open door policy. We welcome the upcoming accession of Montenegro, which strengthens the Alliance in the south-eastern Europe. The Warsaw Summit should stress the importance and validity of the open door policy and its contribution to the stability in the Euro-Atlantic region. Open door policy is and should stay prerogative of the Alliance and no third state should have veto power on that. NATO’s opening up to new members does not threaten any country. The process of enlargement is aimed at extending the zone of security and stability.

Fourthly, we hope that as a result of the Warsaw Summit all partners will be able to take advantage of enhanced forms of cooperation with NATO. Their overall aim is to provide our partners with more effective capabilities when facing security challenges. We owe them attention and assistance. Naturally, we focus our attention on our close neighbourhood (Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Finland, Sweden), but no less important is a cooperation with partners in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia as well as Asia-Pacific Region. The most important is the practical dimension of the partnership policy. Interoperability and defence capacity building should be at heart of our effort to assist in building our partners’ resilience and reduce vulnerability to crises. We should also be paying more attention to our neighbours which are directly exposed to hybrid threats. A more resilient neighbourhood should be our priority. In this context the most recent decision of Defence Ministers agreed on  the 15th of June to boost NATO’s support for Ukraine with a Comprehensive Package of Assistance seems to be of particular importance. The Package aims to help Ukraine strengthen its defences by building stronger security structures.

Finally, Poland attaches a great importance to the development of the NATO – EU cooperation in the security field. Effective partnerships make us stronger and allow us to more effectively pursue our objectives. Sharing strategic interests and common values, NATO and the European Union cooperate on issues of common interest and are working side by side in crisis management, capability development and political consultations. The European Union is a unique and essential partner for NATO.  At the NATO Summit we should try to strengthen this cooperation, e.g. in order to effectively counter hybrid threats and in the field of cyber defence.

Before concluding I would like to refer to cooperation with our important ally, Albania. We appreciate very much determination of Minister Mimi Kodheli to develop various forms of allied interaction with Poland. Her visit to Poland in 2014 was crucial in this regard. Albania has been a very committed ally in NATO operations outside the Alliance’s area, in Iraq and Afghanistan. It contributed to the joint efforts in fighting terrorism. Proposed Centre of Excellence on de-radicalization and foreign fighters’ phenomenon is aimed at capitalizing  on the Albania’s experience in this field. In recent months we witnessed a growing military cooperation with Poland. Our navies will serve in the Aegean Sea operation. Participation of Albanian troops in the NATO military exercises in Poland, Brilliant Jump-2016 and Anaconda-2016 are the most visible and appreciated examples of our allied friendship and brotherhood-in-arms.

Speech by Polish Ambassador to Albania Marek Jeziorski delivered at the “Challenges and Expectations” high-level seminar jointly organized by the Polish Embassy and the Albanian Institute for International Studies ahead of the NATO Warsaw Summit next month

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 24, 2016 10:34