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What's Next for NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is one of the world's most successful multilateral alliances and a vital component of the global security architecture. On April 3-4, President Obama will attend NATO's 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany. In a paper titled, "NATO 60th Anniversary Summit: An Agenda for American Leadership" Sally McNamara at The Heritage Foundation argues that President Obama should concentrate his energies on the alliance's most urgent business, including Afghanistan, the appointment of a new NATO Secretary General, and the negotiations for a new Strategic Concept. In another paper, "Principles and Proposals for NATO Reform," she outlined the priorities and rational for a NATO reform agenda. Her proposals included:

(1) Agreeing to a Declaration on Allied Security at the Strasbourg Summit in 2009 that includes a new threat perception restating existing threats as well as new ones, such as cyberterrorism and ballistic missile attack. (2) Follow the U.S. example of explicitly restating NATO's open-door policy and endorsing this message by working closely with Georgia and Ukraine to ensure timely accessions where appropriate. (3) Reaffirming NATO as the cornerstone of the trans­atlantic alliance and the primary actor in Euro­pean security. (4) Agreeing to new decision-making rules based on a "coalitions-of-the-willing-and-able" approach, in which contributors to a coalition are authorized to undertake the planning and management of the operation among themselves. (5) Agreeing to new burden-sharing rules. Specifically, the benchmark of spending at least 2 percent of GDP on defense by NATO members should be made an enforced requirement for gaining mem­bership and for retaining full voting rights within the alliance.

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