19 March 2019

What NATO is doing to keep abreast of new challenges

For an idea of what the alliance will be dealing with in the years to come, head to Norfolk, Virginia. It is home to Allied Command Transformation (act), one of nato’s two strategic commands, the other being its operational one with its headquarters at Mons, in Belgium. Since 2009 French generals have been at the helm of act, a reward for France’s return to nato’s integrated military structure; the most recent American in charge was James Mattis, seen by some in Europe as nato’s saviour as defence secretary for the first two years of Mr Trump’s presidency.

What makes act interesting is its focus on the future. Its job is to shape nato’s response to emerging demands as the world changes. That includes devising “minimum capability requirements” for new technology. It also involves getting out a crystal ball to divine big global trends and their military implications decades ahead. General André Lanata, the current supreme allied commander transformation (sact), says his command “is one of the motors of adaptation for nato”.

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