Vox Collegii Vol XIV


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NDC Magazine Vox Collegii Volume XIV , Volume 14 February 17

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Vox Collegii


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CONTENTS Editorial The Commandant’s Corner A Deep Insight: NATO, Russia, and the Warsaw Summit: The Return of Deterrence by Jeffrey A. Larsen Implementing the Alliance Maritime Strategy in the Mediterranean: NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian by Alessandra Giada Dibenedetto The Libya Intervention of 2011: Why NATO, not the EU? by Antonio Calcara Life at the College Highlights: Our Courses Our Main Guests Our Publications 2 3 4 10 15 20 23 27 29 Editor: Jessica Rossi (ITA C) Assistant Editors: Sergio Tagliata (ITA C) Giulia Sciancalepore (ITA C) Francisco J. Marin-Barrena (ESP C) Photography: NATO websites Allied Defence Forces websites United Nations websites Flickr NDC Reproduction Section Proofreading: Caroline Curta (FRA C) Peter G. Mead (GBR C) Graphic Design & Printing: Grafich Communication S.r.l. (Fondi -LT-)


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The Editorial Vox Collegii Carta, was a success thanks to the effort and dedication of all NDC personnel and also to the tireless work put in by the interns and VEROs, who contributed with massive amounts of enthusiasm. of intergovernmental decision-making in EU security and defence policy. Finally, it focuses on CSDP's main operational and strategic shortfalls for tackling high-intensity military crises. Dear Reader, Last time we went to press, we announced the imminent celebration of the 50th anniversary of the NDC’s relocation from Paris to Rome and the 65th year since its foundation, in conjunction with the holding of the 63rd Anciens' Seminar. The event was celebrated on 13th and 14th October 2016, in the presence of the Italian Head of State and other national dignitaries, as well as NATO authorities. Moreover, there was a special opportunity to host representatives from the Middle East and North Africa during two high level panels on 14th October, which provided the audience with an interesting overview of the reality and the security issues in the MENA Region. Concerning Vox Collegii, the first article of this edition is about NATO’s adaptation measures in response to Russia’s behaviour on the international scene. The author analyses the initiatives taken at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016 to deal with the changed security environment. The second article explains NATO’s new maritime mission in the Mediterranean, Operation Sea Guardian, outlining its genesis and its cooperation with the EU mission. By including the operation within the Alliance’s Maritime Strategy, the article assesses expectations, prospects for success, pending issues and the areas in which the operation will be a test case for the Alliance. In the third article, the author investigates the main elements of the Libyan crisis in 2011, and how the EU intervened in the areas concerned. The second part of the article deals with the institutional problems To conclude, we want to express our gratitude to the NDC Commandant MajGen Janusz Bojarski, whose mandate at the College came to an end in November. On behalf of all NDC staff, a big “thank you” for his leadership over the last three years, and an enthusiastic welcome to the new Commandant, LtGen Chris Whitecross of the Canadian Armed Forces. Jessica Rossi The celebrations marked one of the biggest events in College history. LtCol Alberto Alletto, Head of the Public Affairs Office until October 2016, orchestrated the ceremony: without him, it would have been an almost impossible task to accomplish. Since it was his last big challenge here at the NDC, we wish him the best of luck for his next assignment. The event's planning and execution, led by the Director of Management BGen Salvatore 2


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Volume XIV The Commandant’s Corner I was both honoured and humbled to accept the position and responsibilities of Commandant of the NATO Defense College on 29 November 2016. Over the course of my three year term, I very much look forward to working with the College staff, students and Anciens, in addition to the number of significant stakeholders committed to NDC activities. I am committed to the continuing evolution of the quality of our learning programmes, our Research production, and our Outreach initiatives; as we look to the changing NATO environment. Accepting the post of Commandant is also a tremendous opportunity for Canada to re-affirm its commitment to and place in the Alliance. Canada has consistently pledged significant contributions to NATO since the founding of the Alliance in 1949. I feel privileged to be entrusted in carrying this legacy of united effort forward into our common future. I wish to commence my period of command by acknowledging the great accomplishments of my predecessor, Major General Janusz Bojarski, in making impressive strides in furthering the tradition of excellence at the NATO Defense College. Since his appointment as Commandant in 2014, he led the College during a time of immense world change and significant challenge for NATO, despite which he helped create greater Alliance unity by establishing numerous initiatives that have improved the College – such as implementing the recommendations of the 2014 NDC Review; creating greater scope for e-learning; expanding access to civilian university degree-granting programmes; integrating the Senior Course and the NATO Regional Cooperation Course; and executing a flawless 65th/50th Anniversary Celebration, amongst others. Overall, his efforts have truly raised the profile of the College while at the same time providing higher quality research papers, and creating greater incentive for academic excellence. I am now committed to carry on the superb work of Major General Bojarski in creating greater unity within the Alliance, and would like to extend to him our sincerest wishes for success and happiness in his retirement. As did my predecessor, I intend to uphold the tradition of excellence in education and professional development for which the NATO Defense College is known. In a real sense, the Alliance starts here. The College is an institution providing worldclass professional education and training, wherein the connections and networks established between colleagues and friends will form the underpinning of operational success in future missions. We prepare the Alliance leaders of tomorrow for the challenges of the emerging strategic environment, while at the same time creating individual bonds which add unity to the Alliance. In fulfilling our long-standing purpose to “provide an opportunity for selected Alliance personnel, and individuals from partner nations, to learn about NATO, its policies and concepts, current challenges facing the Alliance, the global strategic environment, and provide an opportunity to hone English and French language skills,” I intend to promote accomplishment of this through teamwork, upholding a requirement to foster mutual understanding, and ensuring respect of each other. This will increase the ability of individual NATO and Partner officers (and officials) to productively work together and achieve our common goals. We will embrace diversity, not just in thought, but in our working environment. Diversity strengthens operational success. Likewise, a working environment, founded on mutual respect and honourable conduct, with a commitment to learning, brings greater cohesion to any military unit, be it one from a single country or one combined under an allied command. The NATO Defense College’s commitment to learning, coupled with these values, will continue to enable the Alliance to carry out its three core tasks with success: collective defence, crisis management, and cooperative security. Success not just as a venerable institution, but distinguished by the skills and values of its graduates. If we are to be successful in this, it will only be because we act in unity. I look forward very much to being a part of this great team and in promoting this unity. It is the core of the Alliance. Lieutenant-General Chris Whitecross Royal Canadian Air Force NDC Commandant 3


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A Deep Insight Vox Collegii NATO, Russia, and the Warsaw Summit: The Return of Deterrence Jeffrey A. Larsen Dr Jeffrey A. Larsen is Director of the Research Division at the NATO Defense College in Rome. His recent publications include On Limited Nuclear War in the 21st Century (Stanford University Press, 2014) with Kerry Kartchner, and NATO’s Responses to Hybrid Threats (NATO Defense College, 2015), with Guillaume Lasconjarias. Portions of this paper are forthcoming in NATO and Collective Defense in the 21st Century: An assessment of the Warsaw Summit, ed. by Karsten Friis, et al (London: Routledge Press, 2017). The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and must not be attributed to the NATO Defense College or to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The two years following 2014 were challenging for European security and for NATO. Russia’s behaviour on the international scene changed the nature of the debate about the future of European relations with Moscow. At the same time, a new and dangerous threat known as the Islamic State arose in the deserts south of NATO. This article offers an introductory overview of NATO’s adaptation measures in response to this changed security environment. Several modest initiatives were taken at the Wales Summit in September 2014 to deal with these challenges, but these measures were just a first step. The July 2016 Warsaw Summit agreed to a much tougher set of force goals that reflect a return to thinking about deterrence and making collective defence NATO’s first priority. NATO’s Adaptation to the New Threat Environment The events of 2014 forced NATO to reconsider its 20 years of emphasis on outof-area expeditionary operations and its focus on the crisis management and cooperative security pillars of the 2010 Strategic Concept, at the expense of the core responsibility of collective defence. With the rise of surprising new threats on two flanks, member states realized they would have to reassess the importance and centrality of collective defence and deterrence.1 NATO’s initial reaction to the events of 2014 was modest. Russia’s foreign policy behaviour in Crimea, in Ukraine, and in public statements attacking the Alliance came as a shock to most member states. NATO had grown to think of Russia as a strategic partner, not an adversary. Obviously, the hoped-for ‘peace dividend’ that had been expected to follow the end of NATO’s military mission in Afghanistan, scheduled for December 2014, could no longer be expected. With Russian behaviour in the East and the rise of a new threat to the South, the Alliance would have to respond in some way—it could not sit still. The threat had returned, but most NATO members were not immediately prepared to deal with it, militarily or psychologically. The most difficult concept to come to grips with was the clear, growing, and dangerous military imbalance in Eastern Europe that could potentially be exploited by Moscow. This had to be addressed, and much of the Wales Summit Declaration did just that.2 Nevertheless, NATO policy toward Russia in the first two years after Crimea remained relatively cautious: modest conventional force enhancements in the region, cessation of all practical cooperation with Russia, economic sanctions imposed by the EU and the USA, and so on. The debate within the Alliance was on whether to emphasize defence or dialogue. By 2016, however, 1 "Active Engagement, Modern Defense: Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon,” 19 November 2010, at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/ natohq/official_texts_68580.htm. 2 “Wales Summit Declaration Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales,” 5 September 2014, para. 22, at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_112964.htm. 4


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Volume XIV A Deep Insight Ph: NATO website the return of Russia as a potential threat to NATO interests had become obvious to all members. That said, not all members agree on the degree of the threat from the East. Some look first to the South when considering their security situation, and would prefer to see either multiple strategies that address each flank, or a single strategy that could balance NATO’s response to threats coming from any direction. This debate threatens NATO cohesion, risking the creation of a fissure between four groupings of states: those with borders shared with Russia, who fear any appearance of weakness; those who are more concerned with Mediterranean issues, such as migration, maritime security, and ungoverned spaces in North Africa and the Middle East; those who prefer to see a balanced approach with a 360-degree threat assessment; and those that are not sure which approach is best. Wales Summit At the Wales Summit in September 2014 and in follow-on meetings of NATO Defence Ministers over the following six months, various initiatives were developed, meant to serve as a conventional counter to Russian threats on NATO’s eastern flank. These were all included under the umbrella of the Readiness Action Plan (RAP), and were meant to provide assurance to member states that felt exposed to rising threats, and simultaneously to adapt the Alliance to the new security environment. Measures included the creation of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), a brigade-size joint force that can be deployed within a few days of activation; a defence investment pledge, whereby each member would, within a decade, dedicate 2 per cent of its gross domestic product to defence spending, and 20 per cent of that amount toward research, development, and long-term investment in military equipment; more exercises; enhanced air policing of the Baltic states; an enlarged and reinvigorated NATO Response Force; eight new NATO Force Integration Units to act as small headquarters for exercises or reinforcements coming to the region; the creation of a Joint Logistics Support Command Headquarters; development of a series of graduated response plans; forward deployment of some military equipment to north eastern Europe; and agreement on a strategy, developed jointly with the EU, on combatting hybrid warfare. These all made NATO stronger, providing some measure of reassurance to Allies in the East, and presumably some measure of deterrence vis-à-vis the Russian military. Some of these measures were short-term fixes, whereas others will require continued overleaf... 5


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A Deep Insight Vox Collegii longer-term adaptation. Nearly all were focused on the eastern flank. As a result, criticism arose that NATO was ignoring the growing threat from the South, and that it had no policies for dealing with two immediate threats: illegal migration and terrorism. Both of these were addressed two years later in Warsaw, but only to a small degree. Officially NATO is ‘adapting’ to the new world. The issues in this adaptation can be placed in three categories: military, political, and institutional. In the political basket, Russia dominates current thinking. Policy areas demanding adaptation include crisis management, NATO’s partnership policy, enlargement and the Open Door policy, the Defence Capacity Building initiative, support to Ukraine, NATO’s future role in Afghanistan, and the Interoperability Initiative with partners. There is also discussion brewing over whether to revise NATO’s current Strategic Concept, which was approved in Lisbon in 2010. Military issues centre on implementation of the Readiness Action Plan, including all its various elements described above. Equally important is the issue of hybrid warfare, and how to respond to threats on the lower end of the conflict spectrum— for instance, economic measures and strategic communication campaigns. Military programmes and plans for enhanced emphasis identified at the Wales summit included missile defence, cyber defence, joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and nuclear deterrence. Institutional issues are central to the success of all political and military initiatives. These include ongoing NATO reform measures—the possible reorganization of the Alliance’s operational structure; budgeting and the Defence Investment Pledge; and relations with the EU. To achieve its security goals, NATO needs to maintain or enhance its relationship with other multinational organizations, including the EU, the UN, the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, the African Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the League of Arab States. Warsaw Summit Most of the Wales initiatives were noted at the Warsaw Summit as either successfully implemented or nearing completion. The July 2016 meeting had two major outcomes: putting enhanced security measures in place, with a focus on the eastern flank, and greater emphasis on exporting stability to regions along NATO’s southern flank. Key agenda items at Warsaw concerned developing an ‘enhanced forward presence.’3 Ph: NATO website NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Ukraine, Mr Petro Poroshenko 6


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Volume XIV A Deep Insight www.flickr.com/photos/nato With respect to Russia, the summit considered how best to deal with Moscow. Following debate, it was decided not to restore more normalized relations, including exchanges and regular dialogue. But it left the door open to greater dialogue. Regarding Ukraine, NATO member states agreed to continue providing non-lethal military support to Ukraine, and to help Kiev modernize its forces. Further, a new NATO strategy on hybrid threats, written in cooperation with the EU, provides guidance when dealing with challenges which are lower on the conflict spectrum. As regards collective defence, there is to be a permanent rotational presence of four battalion-size multinational battle groups in the Baltic States and Poland.These will be provided beginning in early 2017 by four framework nations: Britain in Estonia, Canada in Latvia, Germany in Lithuania, and the United States in Poland. All will fall under the command of a new NATO multinational division headquarters in Poland. In addition, the United States will provide bilateral support via regular rotations of armoured brigades to eastern Europe beginning in 2017, with headquarters in Poland. NATO will support the creation of a multinational brigade in Romania. The USA will also pre-position equipment in Germany for an armoured brigade, one artillery brigade and a division headquarters.4 NATO re-stated its commitment to the Open Door policy on enlargement. Montenegro is set to join in 2017, and other European nations that share the same values as NATO are welcome to apply for membership when they are ready.5 NATO does not have an official role to play in the area of migration, but public demands for controls against embedded terrorists may lead to a reconsideration of its hands-off policy. For example in 2016, NATO agreed to contribute maritime assets to international efforts to stem the flow of illegal migration in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, and to work with the EU and Libya to provide enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to build regional capacity.6 3 ”Warsaw Summit Communique issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw, 8-9 July 2016,” NATO Press Release (2016) 100, 9 July 2016, at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_133169.htm. See also Guillaume Lasconjarias, “NATO and the Tale of Two Summits,” Fair Observer online, 19 September 2016, at http://www.fairobserver.com/ region/europe/the-future-of-nato-international-security-news-73884/, and Artur Kacprzyk, “Conventional Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank after the Warsaw Summit,” PISM Bulletin No. 48 (898), 3 August 2016, at http://www.pism.pl/publications/bulletin/no-48-898.meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales,” 5 September 2014, para. 22, at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_112964.htm. 4 Warsaw Summit Communique, paras. 38-45. 5 Warsaw Summit Communique, paras. 109-110. 6 Warsaw Summit Communique, paras. 92-93. continued overleaf... 7


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A Deep Insight Vox Collegii www.flickr.com/photos/nato NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President of Poland Andrzej Duda, at the Warsaw Summit Experts' Forum Countering terrorism has never been a core mission for NATO, which has generally seen such activities as criminal in nature, leaving responsibility for dealing with terrorism to civilian authorities. But, with the increasing number of attacks by nonstate terror groups on cities in Europe and North America, NATO may have to revise its views on this issue. NATO must ensure that it remains a military Alliance of ‘all for one and one for all’, avoiding potential rifts over what threats it faces, which of those are most important, and how to respond in a balanced and appropriate manner. For political reasons it will adopt a 360-degree threat assessment, but it must also face reality: NATO does not have enough resources to deal with every contingency. It must prioritize. If every threat becomes a priority, then nothing is. Other main decisions taken at the Warsaw summit included funding Afghan security forces through the year 2020 and keeping NATO troops in Afghanistan after 2016 to train Afghani forces; providing support to the EU’s military mission off the Libyan coast to crack down on smugglers; and declaring interim operational capability of the US-built ballistic missile defence system in Europe (known as the European Phased Adaptive Approach). In addition, NATO and the EU have signed a cooperation pact to work more closely on a range of issues, including maritime patrolling and cyber-attacks. The Return of Deterrence At Warsaw, the Alliance took a public stance on the continued importance of deterrence and nuclear weapons as one of 8


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Volume XIV A Deep Insight the foundations for its security, with some of the strongest words seen in a NATO communiqué in over twenty years. The Alliance asserts that deterrence rests on an appropriate mix of conventional, nuclear, and missile defence forces, and that “as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance.”7 The importance of nuclear deterrent forces has been made apparent through Russian behaviour over the past two years, leading to renewed interest in the subject by military and civilian leaders. Consensus was achieved at the Warsaw Summit, reflecting discussions in three Nuclear Planning Group meetings over an 18 month period leading up to the summit. The declaration contained language that made it clear that NATO was responding to Russian provocation. In the Warsaw declaration, the Alliance clearly stated that “The greatest responsibility of the alliance is to protect and defend our territory and our populations against attack, as set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. And so renewed emphasis has been placed on deterrence and collective defense.”8 The Summit declaration emphasized the importance of America’s partners in nuclear sharing, saying that “NATO’s nuclear deterrence posture also relies, in part, on United States nuclear weapons forward-deployed in Europe and on capabilities and infrastructure provided by Allies concerned. These Allies will ensure that all components of NATO’s nuclear deterrence remain safe, secure, and effective.”9 Shortly after the Summit, Great Britain reaffirmed its commitment to a nuclear deterrent through a parliamentary vote to renew the UK’s Trident missile submarine system. Conclusions At Warsaw, NATO reinforced its credibility as a strong, formidable military machine in the eyes of its Allies, partners, and antagonists. At the same time, it must bear in mind that it is also a political organization with responsibilities deriving from the founding Washington Treaty that range beyond military defence. NATO's long-term adaptation to the new security environment will require steps that harken back to the days of the Cold War. Some member states may be uncomfortable with those decisions. But as a military Alliance charged with defending its members against threats to Europe and North America, it is incumbent upon the Allies to act to meet that responsibility. The world is unlikely to see a quick return to the comfortable way things were only a few years ago. Accepting this reality will have consequences for the North Atlantic Alliance. For example, it has already led to the decision to increase its military presence in the most-threatened parts of its periphery, with multinational combat forces. NATO will have to strengthen its force structure, including ground forces, airpower, and other long-range strike capabilities, and enhance its graduated reinforcement planning, all with a credible nuclear deterrent as a backstop. This may require improvements to existing command structures. And it will most certainly be expensive, requiring all member states to abide by their defence investment pledge. NATO remains the ultimate guarantor of European security. Today, it is once again placing increased emphasis on its core mission of collective defence: as a political and military Alliance charged with defending its member states’territory, people, and vital interests, this is NATO’s primary mission. All other missions added since the end of the Cold War are secondary to this. At the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, NATO members reminded the world, including potential adversaries and their own publics, of this responsibility. This new emphasis on collective defence seems set to continue for many summits to come. 7 ”Deterrence and Defence Posture Review,” NATO Press Release (2012) 063, 20 May 2012, at http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_87597.htm; repeated in Warsaw Summit Communique, para. 53. 8 Warsaw Summit Communique, para. 6. 9 Warsaw Summit Communique, para. 53. 9


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A Deep Insight Vox Collegii Implementing the Alliance Maritime Strategy in the Mediterranean: NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian Alessandra Giada Dibenedetto Alessandra Giada Dibenedetto works with the Research Division of the NATO Defense College. She is currently involved in many projects at the College: participating in conferences and briefing the public, organizing events in cooperation with both the Research Division and the Public Affairs Office, and providing research support. Ms Dibenedetto holds two Master’s degrees, one in International Relations from LUISS Guido Carli, Rome, and the other in Intelligence and International Security from King’s College London. The views expressed are the responsibility of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the NATO Defense College or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A longer version of this article was originally published as NDC Research Paper no. 134, December 2016. In February 2016, NATO decided to deploy its Standing NATO Maritime Group Two in the Aegean Sea as a measure against illegal crossings and migrant traffickers. After three years of uncontrollable migrant flows to European coasts and seven months of activity in the Aegean, NATO then decided to join forces with the European Union (EU) in the wider Mediterranean Sea, given that both organizations (albeit working with different means and partnerships) face the same security challenges from their southern borders. During the July 2016 Warsaw Summit, the Alliance decided to deploy a flexible new maritime security mission in the Mediterranean Sea. The operation, named Sea Guardian, started on 9 November 2016 and represents the operationalization, for the very first time, of one of the tasks assigned by the March 2011 Alliance Maritime Strategy (AMS) to NATO’s maritime forces – maritime security operations: “We have transitioned Operation Active Endeavour, our Article 5 maritime operation in the Mediterranean, which has contributed to the fight against terrorism, to a non-Article 5 Maritime Security Operation, Operation Sea Guardian, able to perform the full range of Maritime Security Operation tasks, as needed.”1 Maritime (in)security in Mediterranean waters The Mediterranean area is, increasingly, a challenge to most European countries. The number of migrants and refugees crossing it remains extremely high: as of midSeptember 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that about 302,000 migrants and refugees had attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe this year alone.2 Despite a 58% decrease from 2015, the migration flow is still a major concern, as are its direct and indirect consequences: instability, 1 NATO, “Warsaw Summit Communiqué”, para. 91, issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016, available at: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_133169. htm#jisr 2 The data refers to the total number of crossings utilizing all three Mediterranean routes. For details see IOM, “Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 298,474; Deaths at Sea: 3,213”, Press Release, 20 September 2016, available at: https://www.iom.int/news/ mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-298474-deaths-sea-3213 10


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Volume XIV A Deep Insight a sense of insecurity, and potential acts of terror. There is the risk of more and more foreign fighters entering Europe, as Hungarian intelligence sources have recently shown. Most of the Islamic State militants involved in the attacks carried out in Paris in November 2015 and in Brussels in March 2016 entered the EU by crossing the Mediterranean Sea hidden among Syrian refugees. In addition, smuggling networks are linked to other criminal activities like drug trafficking. The worst refugee and migrant crisis since the Second World War is being handled mainly by the EU. This is due to the widespread perception of the emergency as concerning only Europe. Following the closure of the Italian operation Mare Nostrum,3 the European Commission launched, in November 2014, a mission much more limited in mandate, scope and capacity: Frontex Joint Operation (JO) Triton, which focuses on border controls in the central Mediterranean. The limits of the operation soon became clearly visible: the waters of the Mediterranean were witnessing more and more drownings. This time the response of the European Council came quickly and in a totally different form: in July 2015 European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) MED, later re-named Operation Sophia, started its mandate. Launched to disrupt the business model of human smuggling networks in the southern-central Mediterranean and prevent further loss of life at sea, the operation is currently tasked with identifying, capturing and disposing of the high seas vessels used – or suspected of being used – by migrant traffickers. NATO’s engagement in the Aegean Sea NATO’s involvement in the fight against illegal migration and trafficking arose at the request of the German, Greek and Turkish governments. In February 2016, the Alliance deployed Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) in the Aegean Sea for reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance of illegal crossings, sending the information collected to the two coastal states and Frontex, which launched the new assistance operation “Poseidon Rapid Intervention” in December 2015 Figure 1. Map of operational areas, showing NATO’s deployment in the Aegean Sea, EUNAVFOR Operation Sophia and Frontex JO Triton4 3 Mare Nostrum was launched by the Italian government on 18th October 2013, with a mandate that includes search and rescue operations and bringing human smugglers to justice. 4 The EU-Turkey statement, agreed on 18 March 2016, provides for the return to Turkey of irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands and establishes that, for every Syrian returned to Turkey, another Syrian will be resettled to the EU. continued overleaf... 11


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A Deep Insight Vox Collegii to surveil Greece’s external borders in the Aegean. The realtime information that NATO fleets share contains details on the location of migrants’ boats and on the modus operandi of smugglers. Besides monitoring and surveillance, SNMG2, led by a German flagship and typically composed of seven vessels, is also ready to perform search and rescue operations in accordance with the legal obligations stated in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. NATO’s presence in the Aegean Sea also helps support the EU-Turkey agreement.5 The area of NATO’s deployment completes the European territorial reach. Both JO Triton and Operation Sophia operate in the southern-central Mediterranean, while Operation Poseidon in the Aegean Sea has access only to Greek territorial waters; on the contrary, SNMG2 fully covers the stretch of sea between Greece and Turkey, with access to both countries’ territorial waters in critical areas. Genesis: from Operation Active Endeavour to Sea Guardian Operation Sea Guardian was born out of its predecessor Operation Active Endeavour (OAE). The latter was launched after the attacks of 9/11 – invoking the collective defence clause of the Washington Treaty – with the aim of deterring and disrupting terrorist activity in the Mediterranean Sea. Assigned forces, with NATO Standing Naval Forces on a rotating basis, have been monitoring, collecting information, controlling and boarding merchant ships in the Mediterranean for almost 15 years. Surface units, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft and two high-readiness frigate forces are available for counter-terrorism activities. Such a long experience in the Mediterranean Sea has given the Alliance valuable expertise in the field of deterrence against maritime criminal and terrorist activities. This knowledge will be put to good use by Operation Sea Guardian in a mission that will build on the work of its predecessor, while considerably expanding its scope: “Operation Sea Guardian is a standing Maritime Security Operation (MSO) aimed at working with Mediterranean stakeholders to deter and counter terrorism and mitigate the risk of other threats to security.”6 Providing maritime situational awareness, countering terrorism and human trafficking and contributing to regional capacity building have been identified as the three core missions of Ph: LT Jeremiah Lyons (NATO MARCOM) Operation Sea Guardian. Additional tasks could be performed at the request of Allies – e.g., checks on suspect vessels, actions against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, protective measures for critical infrastructure and freedom of navigation. Operation Sea Guardian will also work in tandem with EUNAVFOR’s Operation Sophia. On 8 July 2016, the Presidents of the European Council and Commission and the NATO Secretary General signed a Joint Declaration aimed at strengthening cooperation, considering that “a stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing.”7 The three leaders recognized 5 The EU-Turkey statement, agreed on 18 March 2016, provides for the return to Turkey of irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands and establishes that, for every Syrian returned to Turkey, another Syrian will be resettled to the EU. 6 Allied Maritime Command, “Operation Sea Guardian”, factsheet, available at: http://www.mc.nato.int/ops/Documents/OSG%20FactsheetV1.pdf 7 NATO, “Joint declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, Press Release, 8 July 2016, available at: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_133163.htm 12


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Volume XIV A Deep Insight the need to broaden and deepen collaboration on migration in the Mediterranean Sea. The Alliance will complement Operation Sophia’s efforts in the Mediterranean Sea by providing information, surveillance and logistic support – e.g., providing tankers which can fuel all naval ships and escorting vessels engaged in suspicious activity. Operation Sea Guardian might also complement Operation Sophia in implementing the Libyan arms embargo on the high seas, as provided for in UNSC Resolution 2292. Furthermore, the Alliance has declared its readiness – solely at the explicit request of the Libyan Government of National Accord – to help EUNAVFOR train the Libyan Navy and Coast Guard. Regional capacity building of this sort is aimed at making local forces more autonomous and improving the security of Libyan territorial waters – which no EU or NATO fleets can patrol. Regarding the assets used in maritime operations, it is worth noting that, according to the 2014 Wales Summit Declaration, NATO’s Standing Naval Forces will no longer be used for “protracted operations or for operations with low-end tasks”.8 NATO’s Aegean activity can actually be included in the category of “low-end tasks”, in that SNMG2 monitors migrant flows. In addition, it is equally logical to consider Operation Sea Guardian a “protracted operation”. Therefore, despite the Wales Summit Declaration and the commitment of having NATO Standing Naval Forces “aligned with NATO's enhanced NATO Response Force” as in the Warsaw Summit Communiqué,9 there is still a question mark as to whether the Alliance’s maritime forces will discontinue their engagement in protracted low-end missions. The answer is no, at least for now. However, a major change from OAE is that the new Operation Sea Guardian is separately resourced from the surface units, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft that constitute NATO’s Standing Naval Forces on a rotating basis. On the one hand, this allows Sea Guardian units to focus on their core tasks and to be free from NATO Response Force responsibilities; on the other hand, it allows the Standing Naval Forces to concentrate on deterrence activities and highend training. In the longer term, the assets Operation Sea Guardian will be using – NATO’s Standing Naval Forces or separate forces – will show whether NATO’s new stance will be challenged or endorsed by nations. Equally interesting, in the long run, will be the likelihood of NATO’s deployment in the Aegean Sea continuing. So far, NATO Defence Ministers have decided it will. Expectations and Prospects for Success NATO’s involvement in dealing with the migration crisis, and securing the Mediterranean Sea in general, can be considered an impressive achievement for the states shouldering the burden. By the same token, the Alliance has proved not only its willingness and readiness to take action when Allies face challenges, but also its ability to render approved strategies (the AMS in this case) operational. Nevertheless, Operation Sea Guardian is going to raise many expectations. Realistically, we can expect NATO’s cooperation with the EU in the Mediterranean to be valuable. The Alliance’s assets will enable a more comprehensive 8 NATO, “Wales Summit Declaration”, para. 71, issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Wales 5 September 2014, available at: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_112964.htm 9 NATO, “Warsaw Summit Communiqué”, para. 48. continued overleaf... 13



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