"The future of NATO: a Canadian approach".

Address given by H.E. Ambassador Jean-Pierre Juneau,
Canada's Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council

19 October 2004

Elements for a speech delivered by His Excellency Jean-Pierre Juneau,
Canada's Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council,

to the Royal Institute for International Relations (IRRI-KIIB) and Canadians in Europe - Belgium Chapter
on Tuesday 19 October 2004 in Brussels

"The Future of NATO: a Canadian Approach"


Opening words

It is a great honour and pleasure for me to address this joint gathering of the Royal Institute for International Relations and the Belgium Chapter of Canadians in Europe. I would like to thank Claude Misson, Mme Deslauriers and Ambassador Carbonez  for their kind introductions. As you heard, this is already my second tour in Brussels. I served as Canada's Ambassador to the European Union between 1996 and 2000 and I have been at NATO now for just over one year. My EU experience and thorough grounding in Transatlantic Issues have proved particularly useful for this new assignment. You have asked me to address the topic of "The Future of NATO: a Canadian Approach". What I propose is to give you my perspective -  as Canada's representative on the decision-making body of the Alliance - on a few themes that are likely to dominate the debate on NATO and its future in the months/years ahead. Firstly NATO's ambition and ability to conduct new missions. SecondlyNATO's diverse and evolving relationships with "the rest of the world". Thirdly, and in conclusion, I wish to outline some of the challenges ahead for the Alliance. On each theme I will provide Canada's perspective and the particular contribution we can make in this debate.


I. NATO's ambition and ability to conduct new missions

I will take a closer look at NATO's two newest missions, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force's mission (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the new NATO Training and Implementation Mission in Iraq (NTIM) and I will then analyse the Alliance's ability to conduct such new missions.

Afghanistan in Istanbul

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer - NATO's Secretary General - has consistently, since the start of his mandate, stressed that Afghanistan is and should remain the number one priority for the Alliance. This has been very much welcomed by Canada, in particular given our 2003-2004 large-scale military contribution to ISAF (2000 troops in theatre).

As you will recall, NATO leaders in Istanbul agreed to continue to expand ISAF in stages throughout Afghanistan, through the establishment by lead nations of additional Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Provincial Reconstruction Teams, or "PRTs" are relatively small national contingents, primarily military but also including civilian personnel, that provide a security platform in the Afghan regions for the extension of the central Government's authority, to support Security Sector Reform and to aid small scale reconstruction.   In the first phase, which is now completed, 5 new PRTs have been brought under NATO command, primarily in the north / north-west of the country. Preparations for phase II -further expansion to the western part of Afghanistan - are underway. (Number of Coalition PRTS: 14)

Canada welcomed the successful holding of Presidential elections on 9 October as an important milestone in the country's democratic transition and an impressive achievement for the Afghan people. Canadians were proud to have contributed significant financial and technical support to the electoral process.  And we continue to help: a Canadian is currently serving on the panel set up to address what most consider relatively minor irregularities in the conduct of the vote, given the complexity of the task. Parliamentary elections will take place in the spring of 2005. In response to President Karzai's request, NATO provided  enhanced support to the Afghan authorities during the elections period. This essentially amounted to increasing ISAF's troop strength to about 10,000 during this period. Afghan authorities retained primary responsibility for security throughout the elections process. We can be proud of the fact that anti-democratic forces failed totally to disrupt the electoral process.


Canada's contribution to Afghanistan

Let me take you back to the beginning of Canada's involvement in ISAF. ISAF began as a coalition-of-the-willing type of operation with individual countries rotating as the lead. When Canada expressed its intention to join ISAF in early 2003, we saw the potential to enhance our collective efforts even further and bring more capabilities to bear on the mission. That solution was to go through NATO. For us, it was a natural and logical option. NATO allies were already contributing more than 90 percent of all ISAF troops. And at the request of Germany and The Netherlands, the alliance had already been involved in supporting the planning and execution of some key elements of the mission.

So in early February 2003, Canada engaged Lord Robertson and some of our key allies to explore the possibility of expanding NATO's commitment into Afghanistan through ISAF's leadership. A few weeks later, the alliance agreed to take command of the ISAF mission. What NATO involvement brought and continues to bring to ISAF is much-needed continuity, stability and cohesion. It also eased the task of future lead nations such as Canada.

Canada is now deployed with some 700 ground troops in Afghanistan and another 200 air force staff deployed in the Gulf region in support of the Canadian contingent. This contingent is due to stay until the summer of 2005. In addition, Canada has just agreed, in principle, to assign 12 personnel to Kabul International Airport as part of a multi-national solution to source that crucial enabler for the mission. As for the future, and as I reiterated during the recent Defence Ministers meeting in Romania, Canada is planning to develop a PRT in Herat, Kandahar or in a similar city by the summer of 2005.

Establishing a PRT would be consistent with the so-called 3-D approach adopted by the Government of Canada in Afghanistan. By closely coordinating our Diplomatic, Development and Defence efforts we aim to get maximum output from our investments and contribute in the most efficient way to Afghanistan's stabilisation and reconstruction. This is the clearest indication that Canada continues to attach high importance to Alliance success in Afghanistan.

I would not like to finish this topic without expressing Canada's appreciation for Belgium's important contribution to the ISAF operation. The Government's recent decision to double Belgium's contribution to about 600 troops was widely praised in the Alliance. I was also pleased to learn that some 220 Belgian soldiers are accommodated at Camp Julien, the Canadian camp that was constructed for the 2000 soldiers that we had in theatre until August. I have visited it myself and I can tell you that it is an outstanding camp providing the soldiers who work in this very challenging environment with excellent rest and recreation facilities.

Afghanistan is exactly the type of mission NATO must succeed at now and in the future if it wants to become an alliance of first resort.


NATO Training Implementation Mission in Iraq

In response to a request from the Iraqi Interim Government and following a decision from Heads of State and Government in Istanbul, NATO has established a Training Implementation Mission in Iraq. A Concept of Operations has been approved, and further details of this Mission are being elaborated in the Alliance as we speak. In a progressive, graduated manner, the Mission will entail training of Iraqi personnel both inside and outside Iraq and the establishment of a Training, Education and Doctrine Centre inside Iraq. NATO will also provide technical assistance to Iraqi security forces, and will coordinate national offers of equipment with Iraqi needs.  NATO forces deployed for this Mission will have no combat role as such but the Mission will contain a significant force protection element which is an obvious requirement in light of the continuing fragile security situation.

This will be a distinct mission, but it will work closely with the Multinational Force (MNF). Maj. Gen. Petraeus, Commander of the MNF training effort, will be "dual-hatted" as the commander of the NATO effort as well.


Canada's contribution to Iraq

Canada has supported the gradual, step-by-step approach adopted by the Secretary General of NATO. Our position in the lead-up to the Iraq conflict is well-known. Canada did not partake in the Coalition's combat operation. Canada is nevertheless actively engaged in Iraq's reconstruction effort and ranks among the largest donors. The main objective of Canada's involvement in the reconstruction and recovery effort is to support the development of a stable, self-governing and prosperous Iraq, with a government representative of the people and respectful of human rights and the rule of law. In addition to humanitarian and reconstruction assistance (total commitment up to C$ 300 million), 10 million C$ has been allocated to fund the deployment of Canadian police instructors to assist in the training of Iraqi police at a multi-national police academy in Jordan. Over the next two years, Canada will help to train approximately 32,000 Iraqi police officers at the Jordan International Police Training Centre.  Canada has also signalled its support for a reduction of the vast majority of Iraq's debt (approx. $ 750 million). We are currently looking into opening an Embassy in Baghdad. Our Prime Minister, Paul Martin - during a bilateral visit to France last week said he would not  commit to sending troops to Iraq despite growing pressure on world leaders to that effect. He stated specifically that Canada is making significant contributions elsewhere (Afghanistan, Haiti, Jordan) and that whatever we do, he wants to see us do it in an area that makes a difference.

I have just described two of NATO's new, out-of-area missions. But what of our ability to conduct such missions.


Implementing NATO Transformation

The first issue here is the link between political decision-making and the ability to deliver. On this point, leaders in Istanbul tasked us - the Council in permanent session - to review our planning and force generation procedures in order to strengthen the link between political agreement to commence operations and the provision of the necessary forces. This is a very difficult issue to address. It touches on national sovereignty and on national decision-making procedures involved in troop deployment. There is nothing more sensitive than sending our men and women abroad in harm's way.

The Secretary General already floated some ideas and discussion started in earnest last week during the informal meeting of Defence Ministers in Romania. Questions that were broached included the following:

  • Should we not introduce a higher degree of planning and predictability in force generation? For example, Allies should have a better understanding of the likely scope and length of an operation. This will make the process less open-ended and we will know better what to expect down the road.
  • Should we not do force generation on a longer-term basis? Making ongoing requirements for operations and for the NATO Response Force predictable a few years in advance. As an example, Canada tried to introduce long-term planning and predictability when we announced our sizeable contributions to ISAF in both 2003-4 and 2004-05 well in advance, and for a specific period of one-year each.
  • How about alternative means of sourcing requirements? Through common funding, out-sourcing, introducing new technologies etc.

There are no quick fixes and easy answers. Discussion is likely to continue during the months ahead.

Usability and deployability of our forces: a challenge for NATO.

The second issue is more military in nature. If NATO wishes to perform the full range of missions in a challenging security environment, the Alliance must be able to field forces that can move quickly to sustain operations over distance and time.

The overall Alliance record in this respect is not all that good. Canada, however, is doing quite well.  In 2003, the Canadian Forces had 5.5 percent of their total troop strength deployed abroad. This put us in third place among NATO allies. And if we limited our analysis to land forces, Canada had 14 percent of its army deployed internationally, second only to the United States among NATO members.

To make our forces more usable and deployable we require new capabilities. With one or two well-known exceptions, most Allies are not in a position to increase defence budgets in a major way and to purchase the capabilities required for taking on new missions. Alliance members are therefore more and more looking to multinational solutions. At the Prague Summit in 2002, nations agreed to initiate a series of multinational cooperative activities in strategic airlift, sea lift, air-to-air refuelling, and the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system. Canada is a participant in the AGS System, which is the first major NATO procurement since the NATO AWACS program of the 1970s. AGS, like AWACS, will be a radar in the sky, but where AWACS monitors the airspace, AGS will map movement and activity on or near the ground. Canada also signed the multi-national sea lift agreement in February of this year. Lastly, in Istanbul in June, Canada signed the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the negotiation of an assured access contract for strategic airlift. This shared approach distributes the costs among the participating allies and thus offers many an opportunity to acquire a critical capability which they could not afford individually.

Let me now turn to my second subject.


II. Partnership and Cooperation

At Istanbul NATO met for the first time "at 26" at the level of Heads of State and Government. Canada has been a strong proponent of NATO enlargement and was very pleased to warmly welcome the new Members at their first Summit. The enlarged Alliance - old and new members - are very conscious of the fact that partnerships remain crucial in helping us meet evolving security challenges. Partners have been and continue to be important contributors to NATO-led operations. Today, I would just like to single out two partnerships that - I believe - are of increasing importance to the Alliance, the NATO - EU relationship and the Broader Middle-East.


NATO-EU relations

Canada has always been very supportive of NATO's evolving strategic partnership with the European Union. We have also - from the start - been strong supporters of the EU's developing military and security policy, ESDP. Avoiding duplication, pragmatism and transparency are key words for us. ESDP should be implemented in a way that does not duplicate the capabilities offered by NATO or undermine the Alliance as the primary forum for consultations and joint action on Euro-Atlantic defence and security issues. Canada is therefore very much in favour of the cooperation model that is currently being put to the test in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the EU is set to take over the main stabilisation task from NATO-led SFOR by having recourse to NATO assets and capabilities. This arrangement is referred to as Berlin Plus. In a nutshell, Berlin Plus provides for ready access by the European Union to the collective assets and capabilities of the Alliance. It avoids unnecessary duplication and provides for the highest degree of cooperation and consultation between the two organisations.

Canada expects to be in a position to contribute to the EU-led operation "Althea" which will be stood up later this year. We are currently negotiating the details of such third country participation with the EU.

Canada would also like to see the cooperation between these two organisations broadened to other fields such as cooperation in the fight against international terrorism and civil emergency protection.


The Broader Middle East

No other region's development will affect our common security more strongly in the years to come. It will thus be necessary, as Secretary General De Hoop Scheffer pointed out, to have a coherent transatlantic approach to engage this region in a spirit of joint ownership. At Istanbul our leaders took two decisions. First of all they decided to strengthen the Alliance's Mediterranean Dialogue which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Its performance had frankly speaking remained somewhat lacklustre. From a Canadian perspective we identified two key problems that required fixing. First of all, the Dialogue clearly suffered from a lack of commitment and engagement from our Mediterranean partners. Participation remained limited and there was no sense of ownership. At Istanbul, NATO invited our Mediterranean partners to establish a more ambitious and expanded partnership, guided by the principle of joint ownership. Stronger practical cooperation and an enhanced political dialogue - hopefully at Ministerial level as early as later this year - should contribute to regional security and stability. Secondly, it had become clear to us that NATO's image in the region was very poor. Our ambitions to strengthen the Dialogue will have to be coupled with a much intensified and jointly elaborated public diplomacy campaign. NATO has now developed a comprehensive public diplomacy strategy for the region. There will be no "quick fixes" but Canada is quite pleased that this issue is now being addressed in a more forceful manner.

Secondly and on the basis of the Med Dialogue, our leaders also launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) which aims to offer practical cooperation to countries in the broader Middle East region, starting with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council; (Bahrein, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi-Arabia, United Arab Emirates) in areas where NATO can make a real difference and where it has value added. The Deputy Secretary General of NATO visited Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in early October and he was struck by the high degree of genuine interest in cooperating with NATO.

It is clear that reaching out to this region is not only vital for our common security and for stability in the region, it also widens a pool of potential troop contributors in NATO's peacekeeping missions. Countries from the Broader Middle East region such as Jordan and Morocco have already participated in NATO-led operations in the Balkans and there is potential for more.


III. Challenges ahead for the Alliance

Flowing from what we addressed earlier - new missions and new partnerships - I would now like to dwell for a moment on some of the challenges that the Alliance may face in the near future.

The key issue is no doubt the need to strengthen our capabilities. Former Secretary General Robertson always said his priorities were: capabilities, capabilities and capabilities. He was right, if we don't get the capability question right, new missions and partnerships will be fraught with failure risk.

Highly relevant to capabilities is the question of linkage between political decision-making and ability to deliver, which we addressed. It is hard to guess what the outcome of this autumn's debate will be. Afghanistan remains the Alliance's and Canada's top priority and is - as has been said - a litmus test for the Alliance's performance.

Then there is the state of Transatlantic relations. Have we overcome the pre-Iraq tensions? Is the Alliance in a good state? I think the Alliance is actually quite healthy at this point in time. Of course there are tensions and differences of opinion but this is unavoidable when 26 democracies work together. Much has also been written about French (and to a lesser extent Belgian)-American tensions in NATO and about French and Belgian resistance to US-driven initiatives in the Alliance. I cannot deny that these exist but their importance can be easily overstated. What is often overlooked is that France, in particular, is one of the major contributors to NATO-led operations. ISAF in Afghanistan and KFOR in Kosovo, two crucial operations in sensitive theatres, are currently led by French Generals. I already mentioned Belgium's important contribution to ISAF. In addition, Belgium has some 230 troops in KFOR and also contributes in an important way to the maritime anti-terrorism operation Active Endeavour. At Istanbul leaders adopted a comprehensive package of measures to further strengthen the Alliance. We are expanding in Afghanistan, the mission in Bosnia is being handed over to the EU and there was agreement on sending a training implementation mission to Iraq. These are solid achievements. The Iraq mission remains contentious for some Allies. We believe these issues can be overcome. The Alliance will play its own stabilisation role in Iraq alongside the coalition forces. It is in the interest of all Allies to contribute to stability in Iraq. It is also in the interest of all Allies to foster strong Transatlantic relations.

One of the major challenges for NATO will be to make a meaningful contribution to the fight against terrorism. Not a day goes by without headlines being dominated by terrorist attacks against NATO Allies, and elsewhere . The fight against terrorism has been a constant item on NATO's agenda ever since the horrendous attacks on the US on 9/11 2001. At Istanbul, leaders adopted a new set of measures to strengthen our individual and collective contribution to the fight against terrorism. They include: improved intelligence sharing; an increased ability for consequence management, including dealing with consequences of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks; assistance to protection of major events such as the Olympic Games, contribution to the fight against terrorism through our operations, mainly in Afghanistan but also in the Balkans and increased cooperation with NATO's partners. Allies, however, are of the opinion that the Alliance should be able to do more. That is why the Secretary General has indicated that he wants to activate thinking on this subject this autumn. The war on terror is without a doubt the biggest challenge our democracies are facing today. It stretches obviously way beyond NATO's traditional domain. Still, it is our obligation to put NATO's huge potential to its best use in the interest of safeguarding our societies and values.

Lastly, I should like to conclude by drawing on the policy statement our Prime Minister Paul Martin delivered at the UN General Assembly just a few weeks ago. He focussed on the need to reform the UN to better serve our common humanity. He outlined five areas where bold steps are required. The first one - the responsibility to protect - or R2P in short - could be relevant to NATO. This is in essence the need to develop the rules and political will that would allow the international community to intervene in countries to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. He mentioned the situation in Darfur as a pressing example. The "R2P" concept is intended to fill a gap in international law. We should have the legal right to intervene in a country on the grounds of humanitarian emergency alone when the government of that country is unwilling or unable to protect their people from extreme harm as a result of internal war, repression or state failure. Canada seeks the evolution on international law and practice that would allow multilateral action to be taken in situation of extreme humanitarian emergency. One could argue that NATO's Kosovo air campaign against the then Former Republic of Yugoslavia was an example "avant la lettre" of the responsibility to protect. It is not inconceivable that NATO could be the multilateral instrument of choice to intervene in situations of extreme humanitarian emergency. ...


In conclusion, NATO is an organisation which is pursuing adaptation in terms of its area of operations and its decision-making process. Our capacity to address successfully the new challenges we are now facing (such as Afghanistan) will obviously be the litmus test for the future of this organisation.

Canada remains strongly committed to NATO which we see as a) a community of values; b) the key forum for Euro-Atlantic relations and c) a growing provider of security and stability also outside its traditional area of operations. We will continue to make an active contribution to this Alliance, both politically and militarily. Our new Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew conveyed this message when he called on Secretary General De Hoop Scheffer on his second foreign trip. Minister of Defence Bill Graham announced earlier this month Canada's nomination of General Henault, Chief of Defence Staff, for the position of Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the top military officer at NATO. The election for this important position will take place in the month of November. This is another illustration of the high importance Canada attaches to NATO.

We in Canada believe that NATO has a great future if we manage transatlantic relations carefully. In this context, we consider the NATO-EU relationship vital to ensure the further development of increasingly meaningful transatlantic relations, an essential pillar of Canada's foreign and defence policies. Canada is determined to work strongly to promote and achieve these important goals.