NATO in the Time of Austerity

With several European allies reeling from economic troubles and the United States slated to slash hundreds of billions of dollars from its defense budget, NATO members have to think multilaterally about how they modernize their militaries and spend on defense, said Ivo Daalder, US permanent representative to the alliance. Unilateral reform is not wise, Daalder told reporters in Washington, D.C. “There is a temptation to look at this through a national lens,” he said during his Dec. 2 meeting. A better way would be to cooperate more and make targeted investments, he said. Daalder pointed to the Dutch decision to cut defense spending, but invest some 250 million Euros in modernizing the I-band radars of its navy’s frigates to support NATO’s European missile shield. “Now, we have four extra radars we can deploy,” he said. “It makes no sense to upgrade those radars without knowledge [that] we can plug them into the joint [missile defense] system. . . . If you think of only national terms, you’re not going to get there.” (For more Daalder, read Everyone Chip In and NATO 3.0.)