At the same time that NATO ministers are being forced to confront questions about the defence of the Baltic States, they are also looking at a number of other items. One stands out as the kind of mission that is transforming NATO into a 'global security provider'.
At the request of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, NATO will dispatch some ships from their Standing Naval Maritime Group to the coast of Somalia. These ships will participate in patrols from late October through December to prevent Somali pirates hijacking ships as it passes the coast of East Africa's most dangerous failed state.
They will also provide security for ships of the World Food Programme as aid is delivered to Somalia.
This presence, together with other naval efforts including that launched by the European Union, and the US presence already in the region, should help prevent a recurrence of the capture of a ship, recently seized by Somali pirates, that was heading to Africa with tanks and other military equipment aboard.