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28 septembrie 2018 - Special reports - NATO - UE


Ştefan Oprea

Sursă foto: Mediafax



  • Two months after NATO summit in July, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits Washington DC;
  • Born as an idea in 1992, Alliance Ground Surveillance system is approaching full operational capability;
  • Growth plan for the Bundeswehr in the coming years

European Union

  • The Iran Nuclear Deal - Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action;
  • Trilateral meeting African Union - European Union - United Nations

Defence industry

  • Czech Republic and Slovakia - the joint acquisition of military equipment;
  • NSPA Industry Day - NATO Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC)


Two months after NATO summit in July, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits Washington DC

Continued adaptation, fairer burden-sharing within the Alliance, the implementation of the decisions taken at the NATO Summit in July and preparations for upcoming NATO ministerial were the subjects of the NATO Secretary General's meetings with US officials.

On Thursday (September 13, 2018) NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis on Thursday (September 13, 2018), also with President Assistant and National Security Advisor, Ambassador John Bolton.

The topics on the importance of the Alliance to the security of the US, as well as the current security challenges, were discussed by Mr. Stoltenberg with members of the US Senate Observer Group, the Foreign Relations Committee as well as Members of the House of Representatives.

On Friday (14 September), the Secretary General will deliver a keynote speech at the Heritage Foundation on the value of NATO in the 21st century.

The main message of this discourse is that NATO is very important to Europe and equally to the United States and is supported by three main reasons:

- Firstly, peace and stability in Europe are of vital interest to both Europeans and the United States;

- Second, NATO Allies share and support the fundamental values which are at the heart of American society;

- And third, NATO Allies boost America’s military power.

The speech also gave an overview of the Alliance's success arguments, from its creation to the present. Today, NATO's value lies in the fact that the Alliance has contributed to maintaining peace and stability in Europe, thus providing the foundation for unprecedented period of prosperity, for all NATO allies on both sides of the Atlantic. Europe and North America together represent half of the world’s economic output.

The existence of disagreements over tariffs does not change the fact that Europe and North America are each other’s biggest trading partners.

Europe and the United States also share fundamental values that they protect and defend together. These values, democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law are the foundations of the NATO member states, but they are also the foundations of our engagement with the rest of the world. After the Berlin Wall came down, the accession of the Warsaw Pact countries and the Baltic states to NATO, as well as the current aspirations of other countries to join the Alliance, represent a historic geopolitical shift for the benefit of the US and the world at large.

Regarding the contribution of NATO allies to the increase of America's military power, NATO Secretary-General, in a brief enumeration, presented the essence of these contributions.

France and the United Kingdom contribute 30% of NATO's Nuclear ballistic missile submarine. US NATO allies also maintain dual-purpose aircraft for nuclear equipment transport. Moreover, thousands of Allied countries work in close coordination with their American counterparts in the field of information. From this point of view, the US has an additional surveillance system from tracking submariners in the Arctic to capabilities for identifying terrorists.

NATO allies also host twenty-eight major US operating bases across Europe not only aimed to assure European security but also to facilitate the projection of US military across the wider Middle East and Africa (the US Africa Command is based In Stuttgart, Germany, the 6th Fleet - operating from the Barents Sea to Antarctica - has its headquarters in Naples, Italy, and the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre is located in Ramstein, Germany).

Regarding the fact that the US benefits from the solidarity of the other NATO allies, the Secretary-General reminded of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. After that, NATO invoked collective defence, the clause - Article 5 for the first and only time, so far.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of European and Canadian soldiers have fought alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan. More than a thousand have paid the ultimate price. Even today, NATO allies continue to stand with the United States, not only in Afghanistan and the Global Coalition against ISIS, but also in deterring an increasingly assertive Russia.

For almost seven decades since NATO's establishment, the United States and other allies have been able to stay together and support the Alliance's prosperity, values and security in its entirety. Recent developments have shown that allies need to invest more and better in our shared security. Thus, all NATO allies have agreed to stop cuts to defence budgets, and in the past year, NATO allies in Europe and Canada have boosted their defence budgets by 5.2%. The biggest increase in real terms in the last century. Even if there is still much to reach the agreed level, the trend is positive and the steps that follow will make the promise made at the recent summit respected.

In an uncertain world, the joint effort on both sides of the Atlantic to protect the freedom and security of nearly a billion citizens living in this area will demonstrate the vital transatlantic link that must further strengthen the most successful and the most valuable alliance in history.

Born as an idea in 1992, Alliance Ground Surveillance system is approaching full operational capability

Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) is a NATO programme to acquire an airborne ground surveillance capability by Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program on the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk.

The program is run by the following 15 NATO member states: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

Beginning in 1992, the AGS Program was defined as an effort to acquire capabilities in 1995 when defence ministers from NATO states agreed that the Alliance should continue to work on a basic, and supplemented by national interoperable assets with the new system.

The AGS Program was to provide NATO with a complete and integrated ground- surveillance capability that would offer the Alliance and its member countries unrestricted and unfiltered access to ground surveillance data in near real time, and in an interoperable manner.

Surveillance include an air segment comprising airborne radar sensors, and a ground segment comprising fixed, transportable and mobile ground stations for data exploitation and dissemination, all seamlessly interconnected linked through high-performance data links.

In 2004, NATO decided to move forward with what was called the "mixed fleet". The air segment would include Airbus A321 and Unmanned Global Hawk (UAV), while the land segment would include an extended set of fixed, deployable land-based radar stations. In 2004, NATO decided to move ahead with what was labelled as a "mixed-fleet" approach. The air segment was to include Airbus A321 manned aircraft and Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), while the ground segment was to comprise an extensive set of fixed and deployable ground stations.

Due to declining European defence budgets, NATO decided in 2007 to discontinue the mixed-fleet approach and instead to move forward with a simplified AGS system where the air segment was based on the off-the-shelf an UAV and its associated sensor.  The ground segment, which would largely be developed and built by European and Canadian industry, remained virtually unchanged as its functional and operational characteristics were largely independent of the actual aircraft and sensor used.

The NATO's 2010 Strategic reconfirmed the Alliance's most pressing capability needs.

On 3 February 2012, the North Atlantic Council decided on a way ahead to collectively cover the costs for operating AGS for the benefit of the Alliance.  The decision to engage NATO common funding for infrastructure, satellite communications and operations and support paves the way for awarding the AGS acquisition contract.  In addition, an agreement was reached to make the UK Sentinel system and the future French Heron TP system available as national contributions in kind, partly replacing financial contributions from those two Allies.

In the margins of the NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012, NATO countries have taken a major step towards providing NATO-led ground-based surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. In September 2015, the AGS program has reached important milestones such as first ground testing of NATO's first Global Hawk and activating the structure responsible for operating the AGS Global Hawk airplane in Sigonella Air Base (Italy). Later, by the end of 2015, the AGS Operational Centre in Sigonella was handed over from the host nation Italy, to NATO, the Mobile General Ground Station (MGGS) and the Transportable General Ground Station (TGGS) roll-outs took place and the first NATO Global Hawk's first test flight in Palmdale, California. AGS successfully participated in exercise Trident Juncture 2015 from the NATO AGS Capability Testbed (NACT) in the Netherlands.

In 2016 and 2017, several test trials culminated in the first flight, remote controlled from the AGS Operational This year (May 2018) the core acquisition contract took place and was finalised and signed to help ensure that AGS will deliver an adequate operational capacity that can be certified for global airspace operations. The first NATO Global Hawk is expected to fly from the United States to its new location in Sigonella in 2019.

Growth plan for the Bundeswehr in the coming years

Germany's stringent austerity policies since 1990 have had the effect of seriously eroding its army's availability for the accomplishment of its national missions, but also within NATO. Without investing in new capabilities and the transformation of the German Army, by assuming increasing international commitments, Berlin leaders push the national armed forces beyond the limits.

In such an unacceptable situation, the German government presented an ambitious plan to strengthen the country's armed forces by 2031.

This strategy is based on a modernization concept in which a new “profile of capabilities” is highlighted.

From a current budget of 1.2% of GDP it is hoped to increase it to 1.5% by 2024 (about 60 billion euros), less than NATO's 2% commitment. Immediate priority will be to equip the military and improve the Bundeswehr's cyber capabilities. Also, the role of Germany in the 2023 as a framework nation for the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) will mark the first stage in the government's plan by providing a modernized brigade / equivalent force package which will also include an air and naval components.

Last but not least, the Bundeswehr will develop this plan based on the idea that there will be a parity between the fundamental missions of defending Germany's territory and conducting overseas missions.

Unlike in the previous period, when the main concern was to ensure the necessary capabilities for the execution of the missions outside the national territory, the new approach to the concern for the defence of the country as well as the fulfilment of the international obligations implies the allocation of substantial financial resources in an area proven chronically underfunded.

It remains to be seen, however, how the political coalition in power will react in the coming period to this proposal.

European Union

The Iran Nuclear Deal - Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

On 24 September 2018 was held in New York, a Ministerial Meeting of the E3/EU+2 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom, with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and the Islamic Republic of Iran

At the meeting, chaired by the EU High Representative / Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, the participants took stock of the process of identifying and implementing practical solutions to the problems arising from the unilateral withdrawal of the United States from this agreement and the re-imposition of sanctions lifted under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Annex II.

Iran has good reasons to remain in the 2015 nuclear agreement, despite the withdrawal of the United States, an essential part of the agreement and its implementation, referring to the possibility of Iran benefiting from the lifting of the sanctions.

At the meeting, the participants reconfirmed their commitment to full and effective implementation, in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere of the agreement, as a key element of the global non-proliferation architecture and a significant achievement of multilateral diplomacy, approved unanimously by the UN Security Council through Resolution 2231. It also stressed the determination to protect the freedom of economic operators to conduct legitimate business with Iran in full compliance with the same resolution.

The fact that updates of the EU's "Blocking Statute" and the external lending mandate of the European Investment Bank, came into effect on 7 August mandate to make Iran eligible, was presented as an important step in the evolution of these measures implementation. The meeting ended with the view that these initiatives aim at keeping the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in the international interest.

The EU's attempt to circumvent US sanctions against Iran highlights the fact that the European Union has so far failed to develop a legal, functional framework to protect its companies against US sanctions that will come into force in November. In this respect, the abandonment by the French state-owned bank - Bpifrance of the plan to set up a financial mechanism to help French companies that deal with Iran, demonstrates how difficult it is for Europeans to find concrete solutions.

Trilateral meeting African Union - European Union - United Nations

African Union Commission President Moussa Faki Mahamat, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and UN Secretary-General António Guterres met on September 23, 2018, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, within the framework of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Coordinating efforts to address global challenges is an end in itself for the three organizations, considering that peace, security and stability are essential not only to ensure decent living conditions for all citizens but also to attract the necessary investment for sustainable and favourable growth inclusion.

In the joint press release, following the tripartite annual meeting, the three organizations expressed their readiness to take further action to enhance synergies and coordination in addressing global challenges through international cooperation.

The African Union, the EU and the UN intend to intensify political, economic and operational co-ordination and cooperation, particularly in the area of ​​peace and security, the implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the AU's Agenda 2063 in the areas of human rights, climate change, and to support the implementation of AU and UN reforms. Leaders of these organizations welcomed the cooperation and the results of the tripartite task force to address the migrant situation in Libya, launched in November 2017. On the same subject, they highlighted the progress in the protection of migrants and refugees, the voluntary return of migrants and the reintegration process. Improving the humanitarian situation of migrants and dismantling trafficking and criminal networks remain top priorities in which the European Union continues to be a strong partner in the joint effort to save and protect the lives of people in need.

The three organizations will continue to work together in support of the countries of the Sahel region as well as other important issues in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, the Central African Republic and Libya.

Building on the positive push of the working group, the three partners want to use this potential to strengthen their joint work not only in terms of migration but also in other areas such as youth investment with a focus on training, education, security and governance, etc.

To this end, the EU will increase support for scholarships and education programs in order to have more than 100,000 students benefiting from the Erasmus + program over the next ten years and 750,000 people will benefit from skills development training by 2020.

For the future, it is intended to monitor how to ensure the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of funding AU peacekeeping operations conducted by the AU and authorized by the Security Council.

Defence industry

Czech Republic and Slovakia - the joint acquisition of military equipment

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his Slovak counterpart, Peter Pellegrini, have announced that the two countries will cooperate for joint purchases of weapons and military equipment. The fact that the Czech Republic produces armoured vehicles and Slovakia make artillery systems is a key element in focusing efforts on promoting defence cooperation between Member States. Moreover, Prime Minister Babis said that this format of in-depth cooperation could include Poland and Hungary. The Nexter Group in France and the Czech manufacturer Tatra Trucks jointly produce the TITUS armoured vehicle. The DMD Group in Slovakia manufactures the Zuzana 2 155 mm model self-propelled artillery howitzer.


NSPA Industry Day - NATO Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC)

Organized by the NATO Agency for Support and Acquisitions, the 5th of November 2018 edition of the Industry Day will take place in Capellen, Luxembourg.

The NATO's Alliance future for Surveillance and Control (AFSC) is a primary concern now that the AWACS is expected to be withdrawn in 2035 after 50 years of service.

Launched at the Warsaw Summit in 2016, the requirement to identify options for future NATO surveillance and control capacities was taken up in the following year by the North Atlantic Council which, together with the NATO Support and Acquisition Agency, the stage of conceiving future surveillance and control capabilities.

The NATO Agency, at this stage of conception, will work with the defence industry in NATO states to develop the initial concepts and feasibility studies for this project. The Agency also undertakes to include the defence industry from the outset of the process and to introduce its vision in the development of future surveillance and control capabilities. The resulting studies will contribute to the development of NATO, individual nations or multinational groups' decisions to acquire new systems before the AWACS fleet ends.

From this point of view, industry participation is crucial in defining options for future surveillance and control capabilities and the success of this concept.

(To participate, fill out an application form to be submitted by October 5 at