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Reforming NATO's Military Structures: The Long-Term Study and Its Implications for Land Forces

Authored by Dr. Thomas-Durell Young. | May 1998

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Conclusion.

The foregoing analysis of the politics of command in NATO and the most recent proposal to reorganize the integrated command structure has been intentionally written in a rather blunt fashion. The lack of a wider understanding of the LTS proposals and their often nuanced characteristics necessitates such a candid assessment. However, two caveats must be kept firmly in mind. First, while critical of some of the solutions proposed in LTS, the efforts of those officials who have contributed to the process should not be disparaged. That any agreement was reached and endorsed by the DPC speaks legions to the dedication and perseverance of those involved.

Second, in his excellent recounting of NATO?s evolution since 1989, Dutch defense official Dr. Rob de Wijk writes that the lack of real process in the LTS regarding command structure reorganization demonstrates:

. . . how much NATO had developed from a traditional alliance to a security organisation within which national considerations rather than the improvement of military effectiveness often weighted heaviest when making decisions.59

It could very well be that most nations are quite comfortable with this new orientation, if not indeed fundamentally new characteristic of NATO. Yet one continues to hear many senior Alliance officials claim that the basis and strength of the Alliance remains its Article V collective defense mission and the collective ability to respond to real security challenges.60 In short, nations and Alliance officials need to recognize the growing dichotomy between their stated objectives and the evolving structure which has served as a basis for allied collective defense. The implications of allowing such dissonance to continue could lead to an undermining of allied solidarity and, eventually, its credibility.

Endnotes

59. See de Wijk, NATO on the Brink ofthe New Millennium, p. 130.

60. See, for example, Helge Hansen, ?Foreword,? Command in NATO after the Cold War, p. ix. N.B.: General Hansen was Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe until 1996.