NATO demonstrated that it is now an “operational alliance” via its successful air campaign in Libya, rather than just the collective defense construct of its Cold War founding, said the US permanent ambassador to the transatlantic alliance, Ivo Daalder. Speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., last week, Daalder called today’s alliance “NATO 3.0,” building upon the original Cold War model and the alliance’s later “export-of-security” model through its enlargement over the past 20 years. He noted that, at the height of the Libya operation, NATO had 177,000 military personnel under its command on three continents. While non-US aircraft flew most of the strike missions, US assets provided the majority of intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance and aerial refueling capabilities. Only 10 percent of the precision-guided munitions dropped in Libya came from US aircraft, said Daalder. In comparison, US aircraft dropped some 90 percent of the PGMs during the 1999 Kosovo operation, he said. Belgian, Danish, and Norwegian aircraft together destroyed as many targets during the Libya operation as the French, he said during his Dec. 2 roundtable. Many allies were able to contribute beyond expectations, he said.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.