You may recall that in Lisbon in 2010, we decided that the – in – with respect to Afghanistan, the process of transition should start in 2011 and should be completed by 2014, so that by the end of 2014, the NATO mission would end and Afghan forces would be in, fully responsible for security throughout the country.
In Chicago, we reaffirmed the fundamental decision that was made in Lisbon. By the end of 2014, the ISAF or NATO-led mission will end and Afghan forces will be in, fully responsible for security throughout Afghanistan. We also agreed in Chicago that in 2013, next year, a time which the Afghan forces will have lead security responsibility throughout the – throughout Afghanistan, that NATO will shift its mission from an emphasis on combat to an emphasis on support of the Afghan forces.
And finally, with respect to Afghanistan in Chicago, we said that our efforts in Afghanistan will not end, even if the ISAF mission ends in 2014. We will have a new mission that will train, advise, and assist the Afghan forces, and we also committed, as the international community, to support the Afghan forces financially so they are sustained with – at a level of about $4 billion a year. So here, the international community, together with the Afghan Government, will make sure that in the future, even when the Afghan forces are in control and responsible for security throughout Afghanistan, from 2015 onwards, NATO will continue to train, advise, and assist them, and will also provide, with other countries around the world, the financial basis for sustaining the Afghan security forces.
The second area that we looked at in Chicago regards – is regarding capabilities. We adopted in Lisbon a new strategic concept that said that NATO needs to be prepared to deal with an unpredictable world, to have the capabilities and be ready to deal with whatever challenges may come at us. And in 2011, we saw that in the case of Libya, a need for military – the use of military force may come suddenly and will have to require the alliance to have the kinds of capabilities to act quickly.
So on the basis of the lessons that we learned in Libya, on the basis of the kinds of decisions we made in Lisbon, in Chicago, we agreed to – we signed the contract for a new intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance system called the Alliance Ground Surveillance System, or AGS. These are five very advanced drones that can provide all-weather capability from high altitude to look at what is happening on the ground and to provide that information to military commanders in any faraway places. Only the United States had this kind of capability in Libya. Now the alliance will be able to have its own capability in the future.
We also agreed that because of the threat to – of growing – the threat of ballistic missiles of being able to attack parts of NATO Europe, that the time had come for NATO not only to commit to deploying a territorial missile defense, but in Chicago, to actually declare that that capability now exists. So we agreed that NATO will – now has the command and control arrangements necessary to exercise operational control over a radar that the U.S. has deployed in Turkey, and of – and various other missile defense assets that could be made available to NATO if and when necessary. So as of today, NATO has the capacity to provide a limited defense against a limited ballistic missile attack. That is a major change and a major advance over where we have been before.
And finally, we focused on the issue of partnerships. In Chicago, 61 countries were represented, the largest number of leaders ever to come to a NATO summit, and indeed the largest number of foreign leaders ever to come to the United States at a – for a U.S.-hosted event, came together making clear that this is an alliance that is now a hub for a global security network of countries from as far away as Australia and New Zealand, and as nearby as Sweden and Switzerland, that these countries want to work with NATO to work to improve security, both in their own regions and beyond, and see NATO and the working with NATO as a means to that end.
We also had meetings with countries that aspire to become members of NATO, like Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, and Montenegro in order to make sure that they understand that the door to NATO membership remains open to all European countries whose membership could contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.
So in these areas – Afghanistan, capabilities, partnership – we made major advances building on the success of Lisbon, and now solidifying what we had achieved in Chicago.
MODERATOR: Thank you. If you would like to submit your question now, please use the question field at the bottom of your screen. Our first question is from Gro Holm of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation who asks: Why was there no mention of a political process that includes Taliban in any of the documents from the meeting in Chicago?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Gro, thanks very much for that question. We did have extensive discussions about not only the NATO and military strategy in Afghanistan, but also the political strategy. There is a realization here that the military and the political strategy need to go hand in hand, that the way this war will ultimately be concluded is when Afghans sit down with Afghans to discuss the future of Afghanistan. And we see the effort we have encouraged in the military sphere both to enhance security throughout Afghanistan and to build up the Afghan security forces as a necessary precondition for starting a political process. And we are encouraged that this political – we are encouraged that a political process may be feasible. We are – we, the United States, have worked to find ways to bring Afghans together to discuss the political future of Afghanistan on the basis that the people who are engaged in that process will have laid down their arms, or at least abandoned violence as a means of political change, have accepted the Afghan constitution, and of course, have broken their ties with al-Qaida. But ultimately, a political process will have to be part of our success in Afghanistan.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Octavian Manea with Foreign Policy in Romania asks: In January at Chatham House, having in mind the downsizing in European defense budgets, you warned about Europe’s ability – let alone its willingness – its ability to meet its commitments. You were not confident that Europe could do a Libya operation again in 10 years from now.
If the trend continues along the way that it does, is the smart defense initiative NATO’s last chance to preserve its capabilities credible?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Octavian, thanks for that question and thanks for reading what I have said in the past. This summit was an important moment, a kind of a gut check, to make sure that we all understand what is at stake here.
On the one hand, and I think importantly here, 28 leaders recommitted themselves to having a NATO with – that is capable of dealing with the challenges of the 21st century. As I mentioned, the decision to sign the AGS, the Alliance Ground Surveillance contract to purchase these five high-technology drones, is one clear indication that NATO understands the importance of investing in the capabilities we need for the threats of today and tomorrow.
At the same time, many leaders were made aware of the fact that continuing trends in defense spending, as we see them today, are ultimately going to undermine the capacity of NATO to act in the way it needs to. The President of the United States made clear that the current trends cannot continue for very long, that while he understands there are fiscal problems in all of our countries and that all of our countries as a result are finding ways to save money by cutting defense, that that cannot be the new level at which we, for – in the future will be spending our money, that as the fiscal crisis evolves, as the situation improves and growth returns to our economies, it will be important not only to stabilize defense spending, but indeed to increase it.
We have at NATO a goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense. The United States does so. There are three or four other countries in NATO who do so. It is possible to have strong economies and still provide for security, and that is a challenge that Europe will have today and will continue to have tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Thank you. The following question is from James Hirst with the British Forces Broadcasting who asks: I noted that the NATO security general talked about the transition in Afghanistan being irreversible. But what discussion was there about a possible backup plan in the event of security significantly deteriorating sometime after 2014?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Well, James, we are on a course of providing the necessary training and the necessary buildup of the Afghan forces so that by the end of 2014, Afghan forces will be able to provide security throughout Afghanistan for Afghanistan. That’s our goal. We’ve been at that for quite a long time. We surged our own capability – not only U.S., but also European and allied and partnered capability – which has led to a – not only a halt in the momentum that the Taliban had a few years ago, but a reversal. Clearly, the situation in Afghanistan is improving today.
At the same time, we are still continuing to build up the Afghan forces, and we are – remain committed to supporting the Afghan forces throughout this year, next year, until the end of 2014. And the best guarantee we have for the future of Afghanistan is that there are Afghan forces capable of securing their own country for Afghans. And what we decided in Chicago was that NATO will continue after 2014 to train, advise, and assist Afghan forces, including Afghan special operation forces, so they can provide for the security of Afghanistan. And as importantly, NATO and the international community is committing to providing the financial means to sustain that force over the long term. And that’s what we decided in Chicago, and that’s why I’m confident that not only will transition occur, but that it will be irreversible.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Ljupco Popovski with the Macedonian daily Utrinski Vesnik asks: Were there any discussions in Chicago about membership of Macedonia in NATO, formal or informal? Was there a veto on the table from Greece or any other country? Do you think that without Macedonia in NATO, there is a security vacuum in the Balkans? Do you think that a new lawsuit in the International Court of Justice in The Hague will change the decision of NATO?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: We had a meeting with all the countries that aspire to be members of NATO. The foreign ministers of the 28 NATO members met with the foreign ministers of Macedonia as well as Georgia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to demonstrate that NATO’s commitment to an open-door policy, as stated in Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, that any European country that aspires to NATO can be invited if it’s in – if that membership contributes to the security of the North Atlantic area.
With respect to Macedonia, this was not an enlargement summit, and the issue of whether we would invite countries anew did not come up. At the same time, we did reiterate, and said so in the communique, that our decision of the Bucharest summit to – stands, that Macedonia will be invited to become a member of NATO as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue has been resolved. This is not a question of a veto. It’s a question of the reality that NATO makes its decisions – all decisions including on those who should join – by consensus. And unless there is consensus, we are not able to move forward. We are working to achieve that consensus. The United States has led a significant diplomatic effort in the past year to find a way forward on the name issue, and we will remain committed to resolving this issue as soon as possible so that Macedonia will be invited and can become a member of NATO.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We have another question from Gro Holm of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation who asks: Are there one or two tracks in this process at the moment, one American-centered around the Taliban office in Qatar, the other more Afghan-driven with connections to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Gro, I assume that’s a question that continues the – about reconciliation in Afghanistan. There’s only one track in the sense that everyone is interested in only one process and one outcome: a process in which Afghans talk to Afghans about the future of Afghanistan. This is not something that the United States or the international community can do. What we can help on is to facilitate getting Afghans to talk to Afghans so that they can decide their own future.
The United States, as you mentioned, has been trying to facilitate this process. The Afghans themselves are working – the Afghan Government itself is trying to work a process by which two sides can come to the table based on the idea that neither will have – use violence to change – to effect political change, that everyone will accept the fundamentals of the Afghan constitution, and that ties with al-Qaida had been broken. That’s what we seek to achieve – the United States – that’s what NATO would like to achieve, that’s what the Afghan Government would like to achieve – Afghans talking to Afghans about the future of Afghanistan.
MODERATOR: Thank you. A question from Ozgur Eksi who asks: Is Turkey’s overall security guaranteed against an Iranian attack to Turkey due to the Kurecik radar base? Did NATO members discuss it at the Chicago summit? Will NATO’s Article 5 be effective automatically in this scenario?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Article 5 of the NATO Treaty says an armed attack against one is an armed attack against all. And in that regard, if Turkey were to be attacked, just like the United States or Canada or any other NATO member were to – attacked, Article 5 applies no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the reasons.
The deployment of the radar – a U.S. radar in Turkey – is a fundamental part of the missile defense system that we are collectively deploying in NATO. And at Chicago, as I mentioned at the outset, the leaders declared an interim capability – an interim missile defense capability – so that the radar and other assets could operate under the operational control of NATO.
And indeed, President Obama announced at the summit that he had directed the Secretary of Defense to transfer the authority over the radar from the United States commanders to the NATO commanders so that the radar will operate under NATO rules of engagement, under NATO operational control on a day-to-day basis.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We have a question from Christine Haguma who asks: Does NATO intend to make a military intervention in Syria?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Christine, the issue of intervention by NATO in any country, including in Syria, is something that, of course, is of the utmost importance to all countries. This is not something that is taken lightly. We have no discussions and there were no – there is no planning ongoing within NATO about a possible military intervention.
At the time of the Libya conflict, we agreed that there would have to be three criteria for NATO to even think about the possibility of intervening, and even then, we would have to have 28 countries agreeing to do so. Those three conditions were, first, there had to be a demonstrable need; second, there had to be regional support for military intervention by NATO; and third, there had to be a sound legal basis for NATO.
When we look at the situation in Syria today, it is different from the situation in Libya. With respect to a demonstrable need, clearly when government forces are attacking civilians with artillery and tanks, there is a need to bring that to an end. That was true in Libya and that is true in Syria.
But then when it comes to the question of regional support, there is not, at the moment, a call within the region for military intervention by NATO or indeed by anybody else, and that includes the Syrian opposition, which does not want NATO to intervene. Under those circumstances, it won’t be possible for NATO to intervene.
In addition, we agreed that there has to be a sound legal basis, and for most NATO members, that means that the UN Security Council would have to mandate military action. That’s what happened in Libya. It’s not – it hasn’t happened with respect to Syria and it doesn’t look likely that it will happen with respect to Syria.
So under those circumstances, the NATO countries understand that the issue of military intervention, which is also always complex, is not right now on the table when it comes to Syria. That said, we do want to make clear that the Assad regime needs to end its brutal attacks on civilians, and we need to increase the pressure on the Assad regime to abide by the Annan plan to engage in political consultations leading to a transition of power.
MODERATOR: Our following question is from Christina Bergmann of Deutsch Welle, who asks: Germany has been criticized a lot by Washington think tanks lately for not playing a bigger role in NATO, according to its economic size. Germany has even been called a lost nation, and that German military weakness is NATO’s most significant problem. Do you share this criticism? And what would you like Germany to do in NATO?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Well, thanks for the question, Christina. Germany is a valued and critical member of this alliance. It is a leading member of the alliance. It has taken responsibility in the north of Afghanistan for leading the entire northern region, leading 19 nations who have forces in the north, and doing so with an extraordinary amount of precision and good care and organization.
In this regard, Germany is, as I said, a leading member not only in NATO, but in the Afghan mission, and that’s what we would expect from a major member like Germany. Germany stood up, got counted, is providing the troops, it’s the third largest contributor to the Afghan operation, and will continue to be such a major player.
Germany also has been a critical member of the alliance when it comes to the development of capabilities. It is one of 14 nations that will procure the alliance ground surveillance system that I mentioned, these five drones that will provide all-weather, day/night capability for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and it is reforming its armed forces in a way that will make the forces more deployable and more usable in a variety of different conflicts.
At the same time, Germany, like every other country, will need to look at, carefully, how it is spending not only the defense – or euros, but how much it is spending. It is not meeting the 2 percent target, and over time, we want all countries to invest in this alliance so that the alliance as a whole will have the capabilities necessary to meet the threats of the 20th and 21st – of the 21st century.
MODERATOR: A question from Aleksander Demitrievski from Alfa TV in Skopje, Macedonia who asks: Having in mind the constant instability of the Balkan region, what are the dangers of holding Macedonia in the NATO waiting room?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: All of us at NATO, the United States and our European partners, believe that the Euro-Atlantic integration of the entire Balkan region is important for the security not only of the Balkan region, but of Europe. That is why we are engaged in the process that over time will lead to the door of NATO being open to all members, all countries in the Balkans, and that includes Macedonia. We are well aware of – and you are well aware that in Bucharest we made the decision to invite Macedonia when a suitable and mutually acceptable resolution to the name issue have been found. That remains the fundamental stance of the United States and of all 28 NATO countries.
And the U.S. will continue to provide its efforts to find a mutually acceptable resolution, which will require Greece and Macedonia to take the extra step to come to a consensus agreement. But NATO is an organization that operate under consensus. We need 28 allies to agree to make any decision, and that includes the issue of membership. And until we have an agreement among all 28 members, we will continue to have strong, positive relations with all countries in the region to ensure that the Balkans is stable and secure so that Europe can be stable and secure.
MODERATOR: Denis Avdagic from the Croation NATO HR portal asks: With the election of Tomislav Nikolic as president in Serbia, do you see any changes in security situations in southeast Europe? Serbian relations with NATO will probably take a step back. On the other hand, will this accelerate efforts to find a solution of Greek-Macedonian dispute and Bosnian and Montenegrin road to NATO?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Well, we’ll have to see how the elections in Serbia will play out with regard to Serbia’s relation to the European Union, to NATO, to the region and how that will have an effect on other parts of the region. We heard president-elect Nikolic making very clear that he shares the Euro – the EU-Atlantic and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of his predecessor. We have to see what the new government in Serbia – how it will be formed and who will be part of that government. And then we will work – we, the United States; we, NATO – will work with whatever government is in Serbia to achieve our mutually agreed goals. We need to stabilize the situation in Kosovo, which requires an active engagement by Belgrade and Pristina on the issues that still divide them through the EU facilitated dialogue. We need to have a positive encouragement of the development of the entire region and its Euro-Atlantic integration as I mentioned in the previous – to the previous question, which we believe is fundamental to the security not only of the region, but of Europe.
MODERATOR: Laurent Thomet from AFP asks: NATO has made it clear it doesn’t intend to intervene in Syria. But could you explain exactly why the alliance is reluctant to take action there? Is it because there is a higher risk of mass civilian casualties than in Libya? Is it also because there is a risk that it would spark a regional conflict dragging in Lebanon and Iran?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Well, Laurent, I think I answered the question before. The situation in Syria is different from the situation we found in other places. Any decision on whether and how to intervene is an extraordinarily difficult one. It is the judgment of the NATO countries up to this point that there is neither the regional support nor the international legal basis for military intervention in Syria. All of us are individually – are watching the situation, of course, very carefully. Syria has Turkey, a NATO member, as its neighbor. Turkey, of course, is watching the situation in Syria very carefully, and that is where things stand right now. How it will evolve in the future is anyone’s guess, but the point is that for now, there is no active planning in NATO for military intervention, and there is no agreement among or even within the NATO members for moving in this direction at this point.
MODERATOR: Another question from Nataliya Kychygina who asks: There are talks about reducing the target size for Afghan security forces from 350 to 280,000. What is the reasoning behind this reduction, and what role does austerity play in this?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: We are looking at – to – first, thanks very much for the question. It’s a complicated issue. Where we are looking at is to find an Afghan security force that in the long run will be sufficient for the task and sustainable financially. And if we look at that, we have – we, in the United States and working together with the Afghan Government, have come to the realization that the current surge of about 352,000 Afghan police and army forces needs to be completed no later than October and then continued at least through the end of 2015 so that for the next three and a half years we will have an Afghan force that is capable of providing security with about 350,000 troops providing security throughout Afghanistan, for Afghanistan, by Afghanistan. But if our assessment of the current – of the situation – likely security situation continues to be what it is, then we believe that in 2016 and 2017, it may be possible to reduce those forces and to have a force that is sufficient to maintain security throughout Afghanistan, but sustainable at a cost of about $4 billion a year.
In Chicago, we agreed that the international community, including the NATO and ISAF members, would provide a significant – would make a significant contribution to ensure that $4 billion a year is available. The Afghan Government will pay for, of course – will pay its share, a share that should rise over time as the Afghan economy improves, but the international community writ large, including the United States and our European allies, will also have to provide their fair share in order to ensure that there is an Afghan force throughout the post-transition period that is both sufficient to the task and sustainable over the long run.
MODERATOR: Okay. We have another question from Nataliya, who asks: Despite the decision of 2008 on Ukraine’s and Georgia’s future membership, Ukraine is no longer mentioned when the NATO and the U.S. officials talk about the possible candidate countries, yet Georgia is. Are you – excuse me; I just – I’m sorry – are Ukraine and Georgia now on two completely different tracks?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: You’re right, Nataliya, that in 2008, the NATO leaders agreed that Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO. The big difference since then, of course, is that a new government in Ukraine has decided that it does – it no longer wants to pursue the path to NATO membership. It wants to be an active partner and is an active partner in NATO operations and through many of NATO’s Partnership for Peace and other activities. And we will continue to engage Ukraine in that level.
But membership in NATO is something that not only requires agreement by the members of NATO, but first and foremost by the countries that seek it. And we are not saying to Ukraine it must become a member of NATO. That is a decision that the Ukraine will have to make for itself. It’s a decision by individual countries, and for now, the government does not want to pursue that course.
Georgia, on the other hand, continues to want to become a member of NATO and is working with us bilaterally – NATO and Georgia – to find ways to enhance the reforms that are necessary for it one day to join NATO. And in that regard, we do regard all countries individually, our relationship between those countries and with those countries, our individual relationships. That’s true for countries in the Balkans as it is for Ukraine and Georgia.
MODERATOR: Okay. Akos Balogh from Mandiner news site in Hungary asks: The European countries’ defense expenditures are getting lower and lower year by year. In most countries, it’s below 2 percent of the GDP. Probably the financial crisis forces governments to continue this trend. It doesn’t hurt on the short run to cut defense spendings. Does the U.S. intend to encourage or push its European allies to allocate the 2 percent of GDP to their armed forces?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Akos, this is a very important question that we discussed in Chicago, and I’m sure we’ll continue to discuss in the weeks and months and years ahead. It is true that the defense spending by European countries is going down, that as a result, the ability to have sufficient capabilities, to deal with the challenges that we face is also going down.
Now, part of the way in which we can find more capability coming out of less euros being spent is by having more cooperation. And in Chicago, we encouraged countries and the leaders encouraged their countries to work together on procuring vital capabilities multi-nationally, together. And that way we can find that even countries that can’t afford certain capabilities are able to contribute to the acquisition of those capabilities.
For example, heavy airlift planes, which are actually based in Hungary under a NATO program, individual countries like Hungary or the Netherlands can’t afford buying an entire plane. They may be able to afford a quarter or a half a plane. Well, buying a half a plane doesn’t help very much. It doesn’t fly very well unless you can find others who will provide – who will pay for the other half. And that’s what we have done with the C-17 heavy-lift program that is now deployed in – at Papa Air Base in Hungary. Twelve countries have come together to buy three planes. Those planes are now available to the countries at a percentage basis in which they have invested, and therefore we find ways to have the dollars and the euros and the kroner and the pounds and all the other currencies that are out there for those defense dollars to go further.
But in the end, we will not be able to have the capabilities that this alliance needs unless all of us invest and provide the necessary resources, and that means that the target of 2 percent that remains out there is important, and down the road, countries will have to find ways to meet it.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We have another question from Christine Haguma who asks: What are the principal threats that led NATO to make the decision for building the ballistic missile defense?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: That’s a very important question. Back in 2009 when the Obama Administration decided to embark on a new approach to missile defenses, the reason we had decided that was necessary, and then NATO agreed in Lisbon that it was necessary, was that we were seeing a growing threat of ballistic missile proliferation, as far as we’re concerned, in the Middle East – that the number of short and medium-ranged ballistic missiles that could reach NATO-European territory was increasing, and that countries were spending vast resources to enhance the ranges and the capabilities of those missiles over time.
So we adopted what we call the phased, adaptive approach to missile defenses where we deploy as soon as possible, and we did by 2011 deploy a first phase of a system that could deal with short and medium-range ballistic missile threats to NATO-European territory coming from outside of Europe, particularly from the Middle East. We see those threats are growing; therefore, we will expand in the next phase as the missile defense capabilities to provide more and more protection for a larger amount of NATO-European territory.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We have another question from James Hirst from the British Forces Broadcasting who asks: The Chicago deceleration strongly supported the UN’s efforts to find a peaceful solution in Syria. Given the French president’s suggestion this week that the Security Council may yet feel the need to back a military response, would NATO be prepared to be part of that?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: As I mentioned in previous answers with regard to Syria, at the moment, NATO is not planning for or discussing any military intervention. The circumstances at the moment don’t exist for that. It would require a strong regional support for there to be any real discussion for a military intervention, and of course there has to be a sound legal basis, neither of which exist today. They – whether they exist in the future is something that no one can know, but that’s not where we are today.
Today, the issue is firmly where it needs to be. It’s in the diplomatic sphere, it’s at the UN, and it is in finding ways to increase the pressure on the Assad regime to abide by the ceasefire that he signed on to as part of the Annan plan and to begin the political process that leads to political transition in Syria.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Another question again from Gro Holm who asks: What kind of contributions from European allies will the U.S. want or eventually ask for with regard to stage 3 and 4 in the missile defense?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Well, the NATO missile defense system is based on the concept that NATO will fund and operate the battle management and command and control of the missile defense system. And we agreed in Lisbon to fund this, and we have now reached the stage where it can be sufficiently operational in order to provide for NATO operational control of national contributions. And the United States has provided a radar in Turkey, and over time will provide interceptors on ships, and whenever necessary and later in future phases, interceptors at – on land.
At the same time, countries around NATO are able and in some cases have already decided to make their own national contributions. So France has said that early warning data from its satellites would be made available as a national contribution to the NATO missile defense system, and the Netherlands has announced that it is upgrading the radars on its four advanced frigates, its L-band radar, so that they can act as a means for both early warning and tracking of ballistic missiles in – flying towards NATO territory. And at Chicago, the Netherlands announced that it would make its Patriot missiles available to NATO missile defense.
So what we’re looking at is individual countries looking at what capabilities they have, particularly with regard to ship-based radars that might be modified to be useful ways to enhance the capacity of the missile defense system, perhaps the pooling of interceptors that could be deployed on these ships, or other means. NATO is open to any kind of contribution. These will be national decisions. They will have to be funded nationally by the countries that make those decisions, but they can, through those contributions, make a major contribution to the effectiveness of the missile defense system as a whole.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We have time for two more questions, and we have yet another question from Christine Haguma who asks: What are the new challenges for NATO in the globalizing world?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: That’s an excellent question, Christina, and we could spend many hours talking about this. But let me use the opportunity to say that NATO realizes that in the globalized world of today, even the 28 countries that are members cooperating are not sufficient by themselves to enhance security for themselves or indeed provide security internationally. And that is why we have put such a premium on working together with other countries – countries that are not NATO members, countries that never will be NATO members, don’t want to become NATO members – and yet want to contribute and work with NATO.
So in Chicago, we had the opportunity for the 28 NATO leaders to meet with 13 leaders of countries that provide significant contributions to both our operations and the achievement of our strategic objectives. There were four countries from the Middle East and North Africa, four countries from as far away as Asia and the Asia Pacific region, and five countries from Europe, including such Western European allies and partners as Sweden and Finland, Austria and Switzerland, and Georgia. And those 13 and – partner countries sat together with the NATO leaders to discuss how together they can make use of NATO as an institution and NATO as an alliance to enhance security throughout the world – not by making NATO a global alliance but by realizing that in a globalized world, even a regional actor like NATO needs to work with partners in order to enhance security for all.
MODERATOR: Okay. Our final question is also from Nataliya Kychygina of the Ukrainian Newspaper 2000 who asks: Have the talks on European missile defense with Russia been put on hold because of an inability to find a compromise? Or do you expect some news in this regard to come out of the G-20 in Mexico summit, which both Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama are to attend?
AMBASSADOR DAALDER: Well, Nataliya, the talks, at least at a technical and expert level, continue between NATO and Russia and between the United States and Russia. It is clear that we have disagreements about how we should cooperate on missile defense. But we are committed on both sides – on the NATO side and the U.S. side and as well as on the Russia side – to have an active dialogue, to find ways to overcome our differences, and both of us remain committed.
There’s no doubt that President Putin and President Obama will address this in Mexico City when they meet next month and chart a way forward, which, in the first instance, will continue to be expert-level discussions that at some point we hope and, in fact, we expect will lead to an agreement between NATO and Russia on how we can cooperate on this very important issue of missile defense.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Ambassador Daalder. That’s all the time we have today. If you would like to follow the Ambassador on Twitter, his handle is @USAMBNATO. To our participants, thank you for joining us today and for submitting so many great questions. Thank you.