New Model of Security Emphasizes Partnership, Cooperation

By Margie Gibson
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2007 - The traditional concept of defense has given way to a new model of security, bringing concepts such as partnership and cooperation to the fore, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe said here.

Navy Adm. Henry G. Ulrich delivered that message to the 124 participants of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies' Program in Advanced Security Studies during an address here March 1. Ulrich is also commander of Allied Joint Task Force Command Naples, in Italy, and has operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq and the Mediterranean.

He told the representatives from dozens of countries in Europe and Eurasia that in this new environment allies must collaborate and find innovative solutions to international challenges.

"When I was growing up, we talked about defense. Now we're talking about security. Why? Because globalization has connected us. Ships move across the oceans carrying goods. This is globalization," he explained.

Ulrich went on to encourage the participants to acquire the skills and flexibility that will help them adapt to demands that new defense and security models pose.

The admiral illustrated those demands by telling participants how the Navy's task in the Mediterranean has changed since the Cold War. NATO then pursued a strategy of containment to defend its member states against the Soviet threat. However, the dissolution of the USSR and the increased threat of terrorism have forced NATO to change its tactics to keep its member nations secure. New goals, such as enlargement, partnership, and cooperation now shape the alliance's activities. NATO members must be able to respond to new demands, he said.

"I have to ensure a safe and secure environment, but where do I spend 60 to 70 percent of my time? Security sector reform -- that is the area where I expend most of my time and energy," he said.

Ulrich cited the Balkans as a prime example of the new approach to security. "The Balkan nations are sending people to be side by side with NATO forces. The Balkans are starting to be security exporters," he said.

Many nations must undergo a process more wide-ranging than military reform to reach this level of security partnership, he said. "This process extends to legal institutions, judicial systems, different government agencies," Ulrich explained.

Such reforms are necessary because the successful Cold War strategy of tracking a relatively limited number of Soviet ships proved ineffective when the Navy began to pursue its new mission of securing the heavily traversed Mediterranean region against terrorist attacks. The new strategy is proving successful, and is even bringing about increased cooperation between the nations that faced each other during the Cold War. The Navy is now able to survey almost 65 times the number of ships it had previously checked, and Russia and Ukraine already are participating. Additional nations soon will join those already pooling resources and knowledge, Ulrich said.

"I had to provide security to the citizens of NATO, to assure them that a ship pulling into a harbor, carrying the goods of globalization, was not going to harm their citizens," he said. "We had to go about this differently. We asked countries to collaborate, form a network and share information."

(Margie Gibson is assigned to the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies College of International and Security Studies.)

[Web Version:]