Everyone Chip In

The NATO-led operation in Libya highlighted important lessons that the alliance must address, especially the long-term implications of underinvestment in defense by some members, said Ivo Daalder, US permanent ambassador to NATO. Munitions stockpiles of several allies were quickly depleted during Operation Unified Protector, even though Libya was not a large air campaign, he told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 2. “It wasn’t a major air campaign and it stretched the allies in a significant way,” said Daalder. “Ten years from now, it’s not clear we could do this again,” if the investment trends continue, he noted. One idea under consideration is the creation of a NATO-administered stockpile of precision-guided weapons for alliance use in the event of a similar campaign, he said. This would mean these allies wouldn’t have to hit up the US government for help when their small-sized stocks run low. Daalder said alliance procurement consortia, such as for NATO Global Hawks and for European missile defense, will only become more important in the future. Jointly procuring PGMs is another area where alliance members could leverage their defense budgets for greater effect, he said.