Unfinished Business

Retired Gen. Philip Breedlove, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said there were four issues that still concerned him when he retired in July. Speaking at ASC16, Breedlove said there are some members of NATO that are protected by Article V, but still feel insecure because of “the big neighbor to the East,” alluding to Russia, or the “terrorist problem in the South.” He said the alliance needs to carefully choose its words and actions and do a better job of addressing the “security/insecurity” issues within the alliance. Second, the alliance must maintain unity. Breedlove said there are some “opponents” who are trying to “find and build cracks” in the alliance. “NATO is an alliance where it’s 28 or nothing,” said Breedlove. “An opponent only has to get one to stop a process, so unity in our alliance is incredibly important.” That applies to everything from bringing Montenegro into NATO “to the way we do energy,” he said. The third area of concern is competition for scarce resources. “There are two very different problems: One to the East and one to the South. How we divide our attention … is a really important issue,” he said. Though there are some “pretty big” militaries within the alliance, Breedlove said not all the forces are ready for the fight. “I believe the missions NATO is being asked to do now, as opposed to the ready forces, there is a mission-force mismatch. We need more forces ready to accomplish those missions,” he said. And finally, the alliance needs to figure out exactly what its policy is toward “grey states, those states between the NATO alliance and Russia that are not aligned. What is our policy, what is our obligation, what do we owe them as a western nation?”