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NATO summit in Lisbon

Smarter defense in an age of austerity

NATO's Post Lisbon Challenge

July 2011, Number 02.03

“The November 2010 NATO Lisbon Summit was almost unanimously considered an all-around success, highlighted by the approval of a New Strategic Concept. The process that eventually produced “Active Engagement, Modern Defence” was far less painful than expected after many had criticized the open and inclusive approach taken by the Group of Experts as “opening Pandora’s box.” 1 These critics lamented that such a process would reinforce lasting fissions and undermine Alliance cohesion. Rather, at the end of the day, NATO found itself more united and relevant than many had suggested. While tensions surrounding Operation Unified Protector in Libya have, at various points, seemingly undermined that cohesion, trans Atlantic leaders must seek to recapture Lisbon’s momentum if history’s most successful Alliance is to “carry out the full range of NATO missions as effectively and efficiently as possible” 2 in an era marked by austerity and an ever more unpredictable global security environment.

While the ambitious strategy approved at Lisbon was accompanied by reaffirmations that sufficient resources must be provided to achieve its goals, the so-called Lisbon Capabilities Package was more measured, reflecting the tight fiscal realities confronting European governments...” 

Excerpt from Alessandro Scheffler, “NATO's Post Lisbon Challenge,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 2, No. 3, 2011: 24-29.

Alessandro Scheffler is academic coordinator of the M.A. in International Security Studies program (MISS) at the Universität der Bundeswehr München and the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Previously, he was a research intern with the Henry A. Kissinger Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where his research focused on European defense capabilities and economic trends. Before then he was a course assistant at the NATO Defense College. Mr. Scheffler holds a bachelor’s in economics and social sciences from the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and a master’s in international security studies from the University of St Andrews’ School of International Relations, where he was also a postgraduate research intern at the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.