“NATO is a relic that remains relevant,” said Hans Binnendijk, senior fellow at the SAIS Center for Trans-Atlantic Relations, on Sept. 17 at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. The alliance has “been fairly flexible, adjusting … to new realities” after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said and added that NATO has been able to stay relevant by shifting its focus. When asked his thoughts about how relevant the United States is in NATO today, Binnendijk said that most European countries would answer, “Without the US, there would be no alliance.” He countered, however, “you’re going to get different answers” about needed capabilities depending on which country you ask. He explained that countries in southeastern Europe want the United States to do more about missile defense, whereas Poland would want boots on the ground.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.