15 October 2019

EXCLUSIVE: Ambassador Andrew Noble on NATO’s collective defence and countering emergent risks/ The British diplomat praises the appointment of Mircea Geoana as NATO’s Secretary General Deputy

Monitorul Apărării şi Securităţii

North-Atlantic Alliance’s states burden sharing on defence and the consolidation of combat capabilities of emergent threats are the topics of the NATO leaders’ meeting from December, states the British ambassador, Andrew Noble, praising the appointment of Mircea Geoana as NATO Secretary General Deputy.

Image source: Ambasada Marii Britanii

In an article sent to the Defence and Security Monitor after a meeting with Mircea Geoana, Ambassador Andrew Noble regards the appointment of the Romanian diplomat as Deputy Secretary General of the North-Atlantic Alliance as a sign that “Europe is coming of age”. Andrew Noble highlights the necessity to increase the NATO-EU cooperation to combat the emergent threats, also the hybrid ones, which are targeting Europe’s security, including the Black Sea Region.

We are presenting you the entire article written by Ambassador Andrew Noble:

“Mircea Geoana’s appointment as Deputy Secretary General to NATO is part of a coming-of-age of Europe. He is not only the first Romanian, but the first citizen of a Central and Eastern European country to hold this post. This is a real cause for celebration.

He brings to this job his personal qualities of intellect, warmth and approachability, a wealth of experience – former Foreign Minister, Former President of a Chamber of a Parliament, former Ambassador to US; the founder and President of a leading think-tank.

This man - this professional diplomat is exactly the individual whom our Alliance needs to work with the Secretary General in this time of great challenge.

Just 30 years ago, almost half of the NATO Allies’ governments were not free or democratic. Many were NATO’s “declared enemy”. Today we are all equal partners in an Alliance that stands for democracy, freedom and the values of the civilised world.

I can think of no-one better than Mircea Geoana to represent this important step in the historic healing of Europe which is in progress.

In London on 3 December, we will collectively celebrate NATO’s first 70 years, at Buckingham Palace, invited by HM The Queen. And on 4 December we will meet to discuss and advance the significant work that lies before us.

There are three main issues which will be discussed.  Firstly, the importance of making progress on burden sharing, with the need for Allies to commit to spend 2% on defence.  Regrettably only 8 Allies have so far achieved this target. As we survey the threat picture, it is clear that we need to spend more on the capabilities that we agree we need and this needs to be a burden carried by all Allies.

The NATO leaders’ reunion will focus on our collective response to emerging technology and new threats. As the British Government, we welcomed NATO’s decision in 2016 to recognise cyberspace as the fourth domain of operations.  It is important that Allies recognise and act on the threat that emerging technology poses to our security and give our support to the Secretary General in developing the NATO roadmap.

Closely associated is the need to improve NATO readiness under the NATO Readiness Initiative that was agreed at the 2018 Summit. As you know, this commits the Alliance to provide 30 major naval combatants, 30 battalions and 30 kinetic air squadrons to be available by 2020 at 30 days’ notice – it’s known as the Four Thirties Plan. The UK has made a significant offer for this, but more is required from most Allies.

Beyond the scope of the NATO leaders’ reunion this December, it is important for us to emphasise the fact that EU-NATO cooperation, along the whole spectrum of security challenges, but especially in terms of hybrid resilience and response, military mobility, cyber and emerging threats remains a priority for the British Government. In this sense, we support the NATO Secretary General’s three conditions for EU-NATO cooperation on EU defence initiatives, namely that they are coherent with NATO requirements, available to NATO and include the fullest involvement of non-EU NATO Allies.

The Black Sea is the geographical area benefiting most from an enhanced NATO presence. Whilst visiting RAF Typhoons deployed to Romania as part of NATO’s Air Policing South mission, the then Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced his intention to sign an MOU that would lay out a path to enhanced defence co-operation in the Black Sea. The MOU signed in 2019 provides a strong foundation for future co-operation in the Black Sea with the aim of reassuring European Allies and Partners of collective NATO resolve and safeguarding European security.   

To conclude, I would like to extend my congratulations to Mircea Geoana for his new role. There are a number of challenges facing the Alliance and we look forward to working with him to counter them.

Ambassador Andrew Noble”