Friday, 20 February 2009

NATO Response Force for European Defence?

Back in October, during the informal Defence Ministers meeting in London, NATO Monitor reported moves to allow the NATO Response Force to operate within Europe in the event of aggression against a NATO member state. This discussion grew out of Eastern European concerns about Russia, following the war with Georgia.

Now Reuters reports that UK Defence Secretary John Hutton has followed up on that with a new proposal to his colleagues during the Krakow ministerial debate on Allied transformation this morning.

"I hope it might make it easier for NATO to do more in Afghanistan, certain in the knowledge that there is a dedicated homeland security force that will have no other call on its priorities than European homeland security," Hutton is quoted as saying.

The FT reported Thursday that Hutton would propose a 3,000-strong force, and hoped that it would help alleviate Eastern European concerns about NATO's transformation into a 'global security provider', rather than a purely territorial defence Alliance.

NATO sources say the idea was well enough received that it will be further discussed in the Summit run-up.

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