Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers
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CIOR’s Winter Seminar: NATO’s Challenges Following the Chicago Summit

Wesseling, Germany—As a means to bolter deeper collaboration, members of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers met on January 27 – 30, 2013 to hear briefings about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s challenges following the Chicago Summit. 

“Collaboration is key….[you] can’t succeed if you’re just looking out for yourself,” said  guest speaker Dr. Sharyl Cross, professor of International Security and Politics, College of International and Security Studies, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. 

During 2012, the NATO Chicago Summit outlined a strategy for multinational capability sharing, discussed possible NATO expansion, and reviewed current NATO operational issues within the framework of its traditional and possible future role of supporting a collaborative defense posture. With its Winter Seminar program and the NATO-related topics, CIOR offered NATO its support to further explore possible implementation issues.

“Every year we say ‘that was the best CIOR Seminar,” said Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Jacques Devèze, Special Advisor to CIOR Presidency and acting director of the Seminar.  “And, this year was the best ever…I feel so enriched by our guest speakers.” 

The CIOR Seminar offered participants an overarching agenda concerning emerging security concerns for NATO member states and highlighted the need to further improve multinational relationships.  While the presentations were provided in a classroom-style setting, from a metaphorical perspective, participants traveled around the globe on a guided tour to exploring NATO-centric topics currently being discussed by NATO-member states, Russia, China, Central Asia and South East Asia. 

“[NATO] is looking forward to face new challenges,” said Brigadier General (Ret.) Patrick Wouters, NATO International Staff, Defense Policy and Planning Division.  “Somewhere, we have to strike a balance with shared resources.”

Considering that NATO members are also concerned about the transition of NATO ally forces currently located in Afghanistan and continued defense budget worries at home, many briefings touched on how NATO’s ability to support future operations depends on the political will to apply funding not spent in Afghanistan toward possible multinational training exercises and collaborative efforts.  Such continued training and education efforts among NATO members will serve as the cornerstone of success for ongoing joint-NATO missions even after the full transition of ally forces in Afghanistan is realized. 

“[NATO’s] Improved Defense Capabilities 2020 needs to spend money in a smarter way…not to do more with less, but rather figure out how to do more with what we have,” said Dr. Detlef Puhl, senior advisor, NATO International Staff. 

Of equal importance, the “restoration” of China’s status as an economic and global leader became a foreign policy focus in 2012, informed Professor Hall Gardner, Chair of the Department of International and Comparative Politics at American University of Paris. 

In terms of maintaining regional stability in Asia, “NATO and the Chinese government and military need to talk with each other to see what terms of agreement they can work on together,” said Gardner. 

The sum of all the briefings provided a holistic view of NATO’s challenges since the Chicago Summit held in 2012.  The briefings gave listeners a sense that such challenges include understanding political sensitivities/political will, continuing ongoing financial support, strengthening multinational relationships within and between NATO members, and fostering a common understanding about future priorities. 

Looking at the recent past, Reservists serve as one of NATO’s most vital assets.  Moving forward, NATO is implementing a number of initiatives that might impact Reserve forces, such as Smart Defense and the Connect Forces Initiative.  While Smart Defense looks at the possibility of better resource sharing, CFI aims to promote interoperability through training and education.

“In a time of uncertainty, the demand on Reserve forces is necessary, said Commander Richard Roll, CIOR President. 

CIOR represents the interests of over 1.3 million reservists across 36 participating nations within and beyond NATO, making it the world’s largest military reserve officer organization.

Photo Released by CIOR/Henry Plimack (USA).


© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers