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Transforming the military to fight terrorism


Transforming the military to fight terrorism

The creation of mobile, well-trained, well-equipped forces is vital to confronting terrorism. This was one of the key messages made by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, at a high level NATO-Russia conference in Moscow.

The joint NATO-Russia conference on the role of the military in combating terrorism was held at the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation on 9 December. It brought together senior civilian and military officials, decision-makers and academics from Russia and NATO countries to discuss military strategies for fighting international terrorism.

This was the second NATO-Russia conference on this topic, following one held in February this year in Rome. The Moscow event specifically covered the following issues: military concepts and roles, crisis and consequence management, capabilities, exercises and training.

New forces for new roles

Military forces have a vital role to play in the fight again terrorism said the Secretary General in his opening speech, but they must be transformed and modernised if they are to perform this role effectively.

“The military forces of yesterday – huge arsenals of battle tanks, static headquarters and inflexible soldiers -- are not only useless in meeting these new threats,” said Lord Robertson, “They also divert scarce defence resources away from urgent and pressing modernisation.”

A vital partnership

The fight against terrorism is a key area of NATO-Russia co-operation and part of the agenda of the new NATO-Russia Council, established in May to identify and pursue opportunities for joint action “at 20”. “This is an era when Russia and the member states of NATO finally set aside their mutual suspicions and outdated stereotypes and became serious about joining forces,” said the Secretary General.

During his two-day visit to Moscow the Secretary General met Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov. They mainly discussed the fight against terrorism, the progress made by the NATO-Russia Council and the results of the Prague Summit. Lord Robertson also addressed representatives of Russian and international business.


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