On November 6, the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Warsaw hosted a panel discussion on the priorities for the NATO 2016 Summit.
The discussion featured: Ambassador Douglas Lute, permanent representative of the United States to NATO, Ambassador Jacek Najder, permanent representative of Poland to NATO, James Appathurai, deputy assistant secretary general at NATO, and Andrzej Karkoszka, director of market development at AgustaWestland.
Ambassador Lute remarked that NATO is currently undergoing fundamental rebalancing, from out-of-area operations with a crisis management focus, back to its original purpose: collective defense. Following the Wales Summit, the alliance is now entering the more challenging phase: implementation – the 2016 summit in Warsaw will offer an opportunity to assess its progress.
Mr. Appathurai stated his confidence that before the next summit, NATO will have strengthened several important capabilities as well as increased its presence and support for non-NATO countries. However, he reflected, there is a danger that NATO countries will grow fatigued with the use of ground forces, and accept the idea that NATO should primarily exercise support functions. He also highlighted the risk posed by NATO’s limited resources and declining budget.
Ambassador Najder and Dr. Karkoszka offered their perspective on Poland’s concerns in the new security environment. They both highlighted the need for NATO’s increased, tangible presence on the eastern flank. Dr. Karkoszka emphasized the importance of prepositioning of equipment and the development of the infrastructure required for that purpose.
The Q&A session that followed touched on topics such us as the impact of domestic politics of NATO member states on the alliance, tactical nuclear weapons and informational warfare.