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NATO's transformation gaps: Transatlantic differences and the war in Afghanistan

Journal Article


Abstract


  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has since the turn of the new century experienced a double transformation gap: between global and regionally oriented allies and between allies emulating new military practices defined by the United States and allies resisting radical change. This article takes stock of these gaps in light of a decade's worth of collective and national adjustments and in light of counter-insurgency lessons provided by Afghanistan. It argues first of all that the latter transatlantic gap is receding in importance because the United States has adjusted its transformation approach and because some European allies have significantly invested in technological, doctrinal, and organizational reform. The other transformation gap is deepening, however, pitching battle-hardened and expeditionary allies against allies focused on regional tasks of stabilization and deterrence. There is a definite potential for broad transformation, our survey of officers' opinion shows, but NATO's official approach to transformation, being broad and vague, provides neither political nor military guidance. If NATO is to move forward and bridge the gap, it must clarify the lessons of Afghanistan and embed them in its new Strategic Concept.

UOW Authors


Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Farrell, T. & Rynning, S. 2010, 'NATO's transformation gaps: Transatlantic differences and the war in Afghanistan', Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 673-699.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-77958599498

Number Of Pages


  • 26

Start Page


  • 673

End Page


  • 699

Volume


  • 33

Issue


  • 5

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has since the turn of the new century experienced a double transformation gap: between global and regionally oriented allies and between allies emulating new military practices defined by the United States and allies resisting radical change. This article takes stock of these gaps in light of a decade's worth of collective and national adjustments and in light of counter-insurgency lessons provided by Afghanistan. It argues first of all that the latter transatlantic gap is receding in importance because the United States has adjusted its transformation approach and because some European allies have significantly invested in technological, doctrinal, and organizational reform. The other transformation gap is deepening, however, pitching battle-hardened and expeditionary allies against allies focused on regional tasks of stabilization and deterrence. There is a definite potential for broad transformation, our survey of officers' opinion shows, but NATO's official approach to transformation, being broad and vague, provides neither political nor military guidance. If NATO is to move forward and bridge the gap, it must clarify the lessons of Afghanistan and embed them in its new Strategic Concept.

UOW Authors


Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Farrell, T. & Rynning, S. 2010, 'NATO's transformation gaps: Transatlantic differences and the war in Afghanistan', Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 673-699.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-77958599498

Number Of Pages


  • 26

Start Page


  • 673

End Page


  • 699

Volume


  • 33

Issue


  • 5

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom