EUROMIL: 70 years NATO! 65th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, London
From 11 to 14 October 2019 the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) gathered for its 65th Annual Session in London, United Kingdom. London marks a milestone in the Alliance’s history with the celebration of the 70th anniversary. “Our Session is not only well located, it is well timed” MP Madeleine Moon, President of the NATO PA wrote in her welcome message. “In less than two months, Allied heads of state and government will gather in London for their 2019 Leader’s Meeting” she continued.
On his turn the leader of the UK delegation, Rt Ho. Richard Benyon MP, emphasized that “despite the obvious temptation to look back at the past of the assembly and NATO more broadly, this session is an important opportunity for us all to look forward to the future of the Alliance.”
On Saturday and Sunday five Committee Meetings were organised: the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security, the Defence and Security Committee, the Economics and Security Committee, the Science and Technology Committee and the Political Committee. EUROMIL’s President was invited as an observer and followed the work of the Defence and Security Committee (DSC) chaired by US Congressman Michael R. Turner.
First speaker at the DSC was Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach (United Kingdom – Air Force), the 32nd Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO and the Military Adviser to the Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council. “We need to speed up, innovate, adapt more quickly and at NATO HQ we work on that” he said. For the Chair of the Military Committee, NATO but especially its member countries should adapt quick(er) and in a flexible way.
Then the floor was given to Professor Michael Clarke. Michael Clarke was Director General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) from 2007-2015, where he remains a Distinguished Fellow. He is a Fellow in Defence Studies at King’s College London; currently a specialist adviser to two Parliamentary Committees, and an Associate Director of the Strategy and Security Institute at the University of Exeter, UK. On Russia Prof Clarke said that they are a declining force and that history is not on Russia’s side. But Russia is a threat especially to Europe, and they are capable to make Europeans life difficult. When he addressed the post Brexit period, he emphasised that everything Britain will do together with their EU friends in the field of the military, will be voluntary. For Clarke the challenge is and will be that we need more capabilities and that having forces in case of crisis and get them out in the field is extremely important. Finally, he touched up sharing intelligence. “Our intelligence collaboration is better than before 09/11 but not what it should be. We tell each other what we think the other should know, not everything” he stipulated.
After two presentations on the Post-INF Challenges and Iran’s Regional and Global Challenge, Senator Joseph A. Day (Canada) presented as General Rapporteur his draft General Report on “A New Era for Nuclear Deterrence? Modernisation, Arms Control, and Allied Nuclear Forces”. In his conclusions and recommendations Senator Day made clear that “NATO parliamentarians have a duty to be aware of the of the evolution of the Alliance’s role not only as nuclear alliance, but as an alliance working to promote arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament.” Furthermore, he pointed out that since the Cold War peak, the number of nuclear weapons committed to NATO defence has been reduced by more than 95 percent!
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