September 02, 2014

CNAS Policy Brief: Directions for the New NATO Secretary General

Washington, September 2, 2014 -- The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has released a new policy brief making concrete policy recommendations for the incoming NATO Secretary General. The brief, timed in conjunction with the NATO Summit September 4-5, makes recommendations on key issues like NATO’s response to Russia and Ukraine, military capabilities, crisis management in the Middle East, and Arctic security.
The full report is available here:
The policy brief’s authors are available for comment on the substance of the brief and on the upcoming NATO Summit. The authors include:


  • Julianne Smith, Senior Fellow and Director of the CNAS Strategy and Statecraft Program
  • Dr. Nora Bensahel, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the CNAS Responsible Defense Program
  • LTG David Barno (Ret.), Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the CNAS Responsible Defense Program
  • Jacob Stokes, CNAS Bacevich Fellow

To arrange an interview, please contact Neal Urwitz at or call 202-457-9409.
A more complete summary of the policy brief is below:
A new leader is preparing to take the helm of the world’s most powerful military alliance as it enters a time of strategic transition. On October 1, former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will take over from Anders Fogh Rasmussen as secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This transition comes at a time of both increasing threats to NATO member states and broadly declining alliance military capabilities. Ahead of this transition, NATO heads of state and leaders from dozens of NATO partner countries will meet later this week in Newport, Wales. The summit, the first since 2012, comes as NATO is preparing to end its combat mission in Afghanistan and is grappling with ongoing instability in Ukraine. The alliance plans to unveil a number of important new initiatives in Wales, highlighting its resolve, resilience and agility. That said, the next secretary general will face a daunting list of challenges as he seeks to balance NATO’s internal dynamics, the alliance’s future missions and evolving relationships with partners.
This policy brief charts a course for the next NATO secretary general, to help him set priorities early in his tenure that will guide his full term in office. The authors identify four sets of challenges that include both the toughest problems and the most promising opportunities for NATO. They correspond to the four cardinal directions of a compass – East, West, South and North, as discussed in the policy brief. Focusing on these core issues will help provide strategic direction for addressing NATO’s challenges and structuring a wide range of future alliance activities.
Continue reading “Charting the Course: Directions for the New NATO Secretary General” here.