Ewa A. ANDRYJALOWICZ, MA*
Keywords: NATO, North Atlantic Organisation, Russia, war, Threat, CBRN, WMD, weapons of mass destruction, leadership, nuclear weapons, Ukraine, terror, Article 5
In recent years, several terrorist attacks in NATO countries have shown that terrorist groups are willing to attack our soil and want to paralyze our security and defense policy.
Still, nowadays, most dangerous terrorist organizations intend to acquire Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) weapons. They want to show that they are a superpower through their threat to our security and defense policy, destabilizing our economy and influencing our mental health. They aim to create significant damage in terms of casualties and psychological effects. But, history shows that only a few individuals (lone wolves) and non-state actors have attempted to develop CBRN capabilities. Furthermore, those with specific abilities most often failed to manufacture a weapon. Those who succeeded in carrying out a CBRN attack caused fewer casualties than conventional attacks like bombings, knives, hijacking plains, cyber-attacks, and even long-lasting wars. Many of today’s principal terrorist groups – let’s say, al-Qaeda, ISIS, but also other groups like Al Shabab, Hamas, Hezbollah, and other groups like Russia’s “Wagner group” – are attracted by the potential effects of different attacks. Also, CBRN attacks include mass casualties, massive psychological impacts, societal disruption, and financial/economic losses. However, terrorist groups still face high hurdles in buying, stealing, or manufacturing CBRN weapons and finding the right opportunities to employ them. Now, NATO faces many new challenges: Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian sovereign territory (the first war in Europe since the Kosovo War in 1999), tensions between China and Taiwan, which could involve the U.S., development of modernized so-called hypersonic nuclear weapons, covid19-pandemic and after-pandemic health, and financial crisis, Iran’s aggression against Israel supporting Palestina and many more. In the next chapter, it is essential to start with Weapons of Mass Destruction that are not frequently discussed in media, although they need attention, especially regarding all threats listed above.
WMD AS A THREAT AND TYPE OF WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION
WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) are one of the biggest threats in the 21st Century because these unconventional weapons are “less” detectible and might cause more harm and casualties than conventional ones. Both terror organizations and some state and non-state actors try to destabilize NATO member states using old and new unconventional weapons to have a more psychological and economic impact on the biggest guarantor of global stability, which is NATO. The WMD is a term commonly used to describe CBRN weapons, but not all cause mass destruction because a significant amount of chemicals are needed. So, CBRN attacks may only lead to mass social disruption or psychological effects/impact. In addition, some existing weapons have the potential to kill many people, such as high explosives and other munitions are typically excluded from definitions of WMD.
Almost two decades ago, in the first presidential debate in 2004, Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush expressed their worries about national security during a presidential campaign. They have said that the most severe and significant threat to the U.S.’s national security was weapons of mass destruction used by the terrorist network. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) used or could be used by terrorists are chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological weapons that can signify-cantly kill and harm numerous humans. These weapons cause significant damage to human-made structures like buildings, such as natural structures, e.g., lakes, mountains, etc., or the biosphere. Almost two decades later, during the 2018 Brussels Summit, Heads of State and Government once again proclaimed NATO’s well-established commitment to nuclear deterrence, announcing that NATO will endure a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons exist.
These are so-called ” silent death weapons,” and we cannot see or recognize that we have already been contaminated with them. On the one hand, we can some-times smell chemicals because of their specific, e.g., `sweet’ smell. On the other hand, bacteria and viruses cannot see; we cannot smell; they reproduce quickly, leading to serious health issues and mass casualties. For instance, Chornobyl’s radiation caused many health problems, leading to diseases like cancer.
We should concentrate on different types of WMDs: what and how do they affect and harm human lives? These threats will be described in the following chapters. The following chapters will introduce other consequences of using WMDs and discuss the psychological and economic impacts. It will explain how our NATO Alies, as leaders, should protect their citizens and prevent future CBRN attacks.
Biological agents cause infections based on microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, or fungi leading to diseases such as Ebola, smallpox, anthrax, etc. Because this kind of agent can be spread as an aerosol is a very effective weapon because it can fall to the ground, be blown along by the wind, and easily contaminate people, animals, and plants. Not to forget that the threat of contamination with this agent is enormous because it could spread biological weapons using ballistic missiles. Terrorists, on the other hand, could acquire biological agents from medical research laboratories.
Chemical agents cause breathing problems because they attack the respiratory tract. In general, nerve agents in the form of liquid or aerosol can enter the human body through the skin or inhalation, causing breathing problems and even deep coma or death. These deadly toxins are blister agents like mustard gas that could be lethal to humans, blood agents like hydrogen cyanide, nerve agents like tabun or sarin, etc. However, biological or chemical weapons are less destructive than nuclear weapons because they can also damage and destroy structures, cause cancer, and injure or kill more people because of their radioactivity.
Nuclear / Radiological Weapons
It is almost impossible to imagine that ‘non-strategic’ or ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons could be used on U.S. or European soil if a conflict occurs. However, these kinds of weapons are still present. Because of that, it complicates efforts to strengthen both the U.S. and the European security architecture because these weapons pose potential risks of miscalculation and could lead to a crisis to escalation or accidental use. Nowadays, members of NATO should, on the one hand, make sure that nuclear weapons are not introduced into any potential conflict in their countries; on the other hand, they should reduce WMDs in non-strategic nuclear arsenals.
- Podvig and J. Serrat from United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, in their research paper on Lock Them Up: Zero-deployed Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe, said:
“While non-strategic nuclear weapons have not been used on the battlefield, such weapons continue to pose severe risks of accidental use, miscalculation, and inadvertent escalation. In peacetime, these risks undermine the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area. In a crisis, these dangers could lead to a catastrophic scenario. Ensuring these weapons are not deployed would mitigate these risks and pave the way towards their elimination.”
Reducing nuclear weapons would benefit the NATO States only if other countries that today possess nuclear arsenals would eliminate them. However, we are unsure if it comes to China or North Korea. We do not know how big their arsenals or nuclear power plants are; it is difficult to mitigate the threat that could be significant damage and cause many fatalities because of the spread of nuclear radioactivity.
The five NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) nuclear weapon states, including the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, and China, need to include strategic dialogue to enhance mutual understanding of nuclear policies and doctrines. Those countries must also recognize threats, work on risk reduction, recuse the advanced nuclear capabilities of North Korea, mitigate unauthorized access and use of nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and technology, and reduce North Korea’s engagement with its neighbor countries. The non-NPT Nuclear-Armed States, e.g., North Korea, are a potential threat because they have established political and military hotlines for crisis management. North Korea is not being transparent regarding enhancing its early-warning and notification procedures. These communication links should be prioritized for all nuclear-armed States.
Oliver Thränert, in his working paper at the Research Unit European and Atlantic Security from German Institute for International and Security Affairs, in his presentation at the 7th International Security Forum, which took place in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2006, claims that North Korea is a danger. That danger is based on the possibility of handing out its fissile material or nuclear devices to third countries or, even worse, to terror organizations, if needed, to make a more sophisticated damaging impact on NATO countries.
Wan, Wilfred makes a good point concerning nuclear risk reduction: “Across contexts, political commitments to reducing the role of nuclear weapons in security strategies can thus help prevent arms races and close pathways to potential nuclear weapon use.”
We also need to look at Russia from a severe perspective because this country poses the most threat to the U.S. and NATO countries. Scientists and experts like Jerry Brown (executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists), William J. Perry (who served as undersecretary of defense for research and engineering in the Carter administration and then as secretary of defense in the Clinton administration), and David Holloway (professor of International History at Stanford University) wrote a letter to current U.S. President, Joe Biden on January 18, 2021. They wanted to underline the problem with Russia’s capability to launch a nuclear missile. It seems not realistic, but it happened because Russia could launch possibly – by mistake or miscalculation – hundreds of nuclear missiles with tremendous consequences.
Our advice to President-elect Biden:
Break the dangerous pattern of nuclear competition with Russia.
While everyone knows this at some level – that an absolutely catastrophic US-Russian nuclear blunder is possible – few political leaders call for a resumption of even the level of dialogue that once existed between America and the Soviet Union. Name-calling, sanctions, and outrage are the order of the day, while the older practice of serious dialogue among civilian, military, and scholarly experts is frowned upon or not widely appreciated. When there is trouble – like the recent massive intrusion into U.S. government computer systems – the preferred U.S. response is to punish Russia by curbing communication. This is a huge mistake. Our advice to President-elect Biden:
Break the dangerous pattern of nuclear competition with Russia as with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Russia, today is an essential partner in managing the global nuclear order – in spite of the hostile relations between our two countries. It was cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union that made the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty possible. More recently, Russia played a key role in negotiating and implementing the Iran Nuclear Deal.
In light of this, your announced intention to extend New START, which will otherwise expire on February 5, is absolutely the right step to take. It will enhance the predictability of our strategic relationship with Russia and provide time for negotiating new agreements or understandings with Russia – and ideally with China, too. Revival of the Iran nuclear deal is also a vitally important goal to pursue. It is long past time that we honestly confront the addictive and self-reinforcing quality of our current tit-for-tat relationship with Russia – one that perpetuates ever-higher nuclear spending and ever-higher levels of danger. Each nuclear ratchet upward by one country provokes a reciprocal nuclear response.
The United States must deal with Russia as it is, not as we wish it to be. This means engagement and diplomacy on the issue that threatens all of humanity. Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty requires Russia and the United States to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date.” Too often, and especially in recent years, we have blatantly shunned this obligation – in part, because of actions Russia has taken that we Americans find unacceptable. But that is not what the Treaty permits, and it is not what makes sense. In this current state of dismal relations, dialogue is not a reward or an exercise of naivete; it is an imperative for survival. When things are bad – as they are now – is precisely the time to talk.
Only you, Mr. President, can make that happen.
Jerry Brown, William J. Perry, David Holloway | January 18, 2021
Even though the Cold War ended a few decades ago, we still, in the 21st Century, should be aware that a nuclear attack like a nuclear detonation, an international military action, or a terrorist attack could occur at any time. It could happen mostly by accident. Nevertheless, the threat is still with us and could have a tremendous psychological and economic impact. Recent developments in preventing nuclear threats show that it is still possible to mitigate the danger in the 21st Century at some point. William M. Moon is a Fellow at Stimson Center in Nuclear Security and a former researcher who retired in 2019 from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. He led the Cooperative Threat Reduction program to secure and eliminate Russian nuclear warheads for 23 years and introduced some possibilities to reduce the nuclear threat. He also mentioned the costs for securing a warhead that should be estimated against the costs of responding to an episode demanding unauthorized access, sabotage, or stealing such a valuable asset. Moon thinks prevention and threat reduction should be priorities before considering other investments, e.g., warfighting capabilities.
Other experts who deal with nuclear threats also underline the importance of prevention. Previous special advisor to the Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, Graham Allison, concluded that, e.g., the threat of nuclear terror should be taken seriously. He provided essential comprehensive strategies and operational plans for achieving measurable objectives for the following years. His knowledge and experiences in that field allowed him to point out some possibilities to mitigate the threat through cooperation with all countries.
RUSSIA’S NEW START WITHOUT PARTICIPATION IN NEW START
New START Treaty: Aggregate Limits:
Both the United States and the Russian Federation met the central limits of the New START Treaty by February 5, 2018, and have stayed at or below them ever since. Those limits are:
- 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;
- 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments (each such heavy bomber is counted as one warhead toward this limit);
- 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia suspended its parti-cipation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START, which will expire in 2026) that basically “killed” bilateral U.S.-Russian arms control. New START is significant for both the U.S. and Russia because I was formally managing their nuclear standoff but now not anymore.
The likely reason for Putin’s announcement was to abandon the last bilateral arms control treaty between U.S. and Russia to open doors for an unrestricted and unregulated arms race with the U.S., Putin’s war on Ukraine, that started with an invasion of its territory on February 24, 2022. After almost a year of the ongoing war without a swift victory in Ukraine, open-ended confrontation with Western countries, “frozen” bilateral relationships with the U.S., and growing tensions between the U.S. and China “forced” Putin to this decision. Because of China’s threat to Taiwan and its report on the buildup of strategic nuclear weapons, Putin feared that the U.S. would increase its offensive systems by overcoming the limits given in New START Treaty.
If the U.S. struggles, NATO will struggle. The challenges of the 21st Century are more evident now than ever before; NATO states need to act quickly and precisely to overcome the visible threats and prevent their countries from destabilizing political, economic, security, and defense.
CONSEQUENCES OF USE OF WMDs
The use of Weapons of Mass Destruction by terrorists is so efficient because they are willing to cause much damage to our countries and have a tremendous psychological and economic impact on citizens around the globe. Depending on the type of this unconventional weapon, we can talk about the consequences of using them against countries that cannot always defeat and detect them. According to the Center for Technology and National Security Policy publication from National Defense University (Defense Horizons number 5, June 2007), authors examined the so-called `snapshot’ of NATO’s Readiness for CBRN Attacks. They concluded that NATO has no clear concept and vision for civil emergencies because preparation remains a national responsibility. These researchers suggested specific initiatives such as strengthening command, control, and logistics capabilities, intensifying multilateral exercises, and sharing lessons learned to improve, first, NATO’s collective response to potential CBRN threats and second, the readiness for civil protection knowing how to combat against CBRN terrorism. Because CBRN contingencies impact national borders, the willingness to respond effectively and quickly depends on NATO allies working closely together. It will talk about this later on in the next chapter.
While discussing the consequences of using WMDs, we must mention the psychological impact on humans.
When discussing the psychological impact on our populations, we must start with a definition of Terrorism. Jerrold Post points out several reasons that lead a terrorist or the whole organization to terrorize human beings. Its motivation is to use violence or the threat of violence against noncombatants to gain political, ideological, criminal, religious, or even pathological aims through fear. The fear is their motivation because terrorists can easily convey a message to the audience of attention and recruit more potential fighters through it. This kind of threat has a very high level of concern because people are vulnerable while facing a threat but do not know from which direction it occurs. This threat could come from anywhere; it could also be our neighbor not knowing that he joined a jihad terror organization and is willing to conduct an attack in our county. We should not only wait for officials and the military to secure us, but we also should secure ourselves, and if we see something suspicious, we should say something and react to that. We should have better education for that; we should be mentally better prepared to be strong if this threat is real and happens.
PREVENTION OF CBRN AND PROTECTION FOR CBRN ATTACKS
IN THE 21ST CENTURY
To prevent our nations from CBRN threats, we need to understand that we cannot for one hundred percent defy Terrorism and protect our citizens from future terror initiatives. Still, we can certainly mitigate the consequences of this kind of threat and detect them earlier enough to guarantee the safety of our population. Jerrold Post, a specialist in terrorist psychology, said:
“Terrorism can never be totally eliminated. There will always be an idealistic teenager ready to give his or her life for the cause. The goal rather must be reducing the extent of Terrorism so that it interferes as little as possible with our open western way of life. (…) Terrorism cannot be eliminated altogether without eliminating democracy.”
What he meant by that is very simple, if we want to secure our nation one hundred percent, we need to give up our freedom and share (almost everything, including our private and business life) with the government and all elected officials.
According to Jerrold Post, there are five major elements of a psychological program that were planned for counterterrorism:
- First, the most challenging and complex element inhibits terrorists from joining terrorist groups or organizations.
- Second, producing dissension within the group could weaken their leader, and at the same time, it would minimize their cohesion and efficiency as an organization.
- Third, facilitating the exit from the group is also very challenging because if someone made that choice once to become a terrorist, there is still a possibility that they will turn back or lead to other criminal actions outside of the group. The S. protected witness program gives amnesty and financial support for a new life in return for cooperation and information-sharing.
- Fourth, reducing support for these organizations and their leaders would automatically reduce their recruitment pool and separate the terrorists from their communities.
- Finally, to insult the targeted audience from the main aim of the terrorist whose primary goal is to `terrorize.` The attractiveness of joining terrorist groups should be reduced and sustained public education is needed to mitigate public fear and terror. Moreover, coordinated strategic psychological operations can better counter suicide terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorism. Talking about countering WMD terrorism, we cannot forget to mention that these weapons, called “the silent death weapons,” cause tre-mendous health problems and lead to death.
Strong NATO Leadership
To mitigate the threat if it comes to the usage of WMDs, NATO States need to: first, establish more influence as a leader that should lead intelligence and security agencies within countries because the greatest weapon against Terrorism is high-quality intelligence. Second, all NATO members of their national intelligence should be in frequent contact. Third, it is significant to integrate all national databases and their availability to regional and international authorities. Forth, it is essential to establish the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations within the Center for International Crime Prevention. Finally, establishing an accurate monitoring and controlling system, within and between states, in the materials terror organizations need to fabricate CBRN weapons should be considerably improved.
Challenges in NATO’s Leadership
What is a Leadership? How to describe a good leader? John C. Maxwell, an author of many books about leadership, describes leaders in the following way: “Leaders see everything with a leadership bias. They focus on mobilizing people and leveraging resources to achieve their goals rather than using their efforts. Leaders who want to succeed maximize every asset and help to benefit their organization. For that reason, they are continually aware of what they have at their disposal.
NATO will face new challenges in the following years. Each ally should have the same possibility to answer to any threat; each partner should meet the NATO agreements, e.g., the 2% of GDP spending on development. NATO should be politically involved because it should not be a political organization but a defense and security organization. NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg wants to make a strong alliance even more robust. On June 14 this year, Stoltenberg said during the NATO Summit in Brussels: “NATO is continuing to adapt to keep us safe in this decade and beyond. The NATO 2030 initiative ensures our Alliance remains ready today to face tomorrow’s challenges.” Agreeing on this agenda to strengthen the Alliance is an outstanding achievement when reinforcing collective defense measures to sharpen NATO’s tech-nological edge and capacity for partner allies. What should not be working on is more political influence on NATO and changes we are making considering climate change; these topics are for policymakers, lobbyists, and economists and not for NATO alies.
In the Secretary General’s Annual Report 2020, we can find some exciting information about NATO’s technological dominance, which has always been a key to NATO’s success.
First, NATO must redouble our efforts and develop Multinational Capability Projects, e.g.:
- The NATO Flight Training Europe initiative which goal should be to create a network of pilot training campuses across Europe
- The Modular Ground-Based Air Defense project seeks to develop a flexible solution to the full range of air and missile threats
Second, NATO’s Future Surveillance and Control Capabilities
The NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) has been essential for Alliance operations and is currently undergoing modernization. Patrolled, e.g., American skies after 9/11 or assisted the Global Coalition against ISIS in the past.
Third, Land Capabilities
Last year (2020), France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the U.K. signed a Letter of Intent to launch the Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability. Moreover, the Allies also agreed to acquire capabilities together to address the threats and challenges of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense.
Fourth, NATO will invest in Innovation and Data; for example, 2020 was established for that purpose by the NATO Science and Technology Organization. Its activity, above all, should be:
- Precision Engagement
- Information Analysis
- Decision Support
- Advanced Systems Concepts
- Platforms and Materials
- Data Collection and Processing
- Communications and Networks.
Fifth, NATO should work closely with industries.
Sixth, Exercises: Ensuring the Alliance is Ready
Fighting Terrorism and developing new strategies for counterterrorism.
There are many other projects and priorities for NATO in the next ten years, but it is impossible to discuss them.
NATO’s New Strategies
Nowadays, NATO faces unpredictable external threats from the state and non-state actors, including existential challenges, Terrorism, etc. That is why security collaboration, consultations, coordination, effective deterrence, collective defense, and crisis management are essential to NATO’s stability and security across the Euro-Atlantic area. Based on these matters, the NATO Science & Technology Organization developed new Science and Technology Trends for 2020-2040 to better prepare for new threats and challenges in the 21st Century. S&T provides NATO with the intellectual and technological edge required to guarantee Alliance success across the operational and diplomatic spectrum. NATO must maintain its academic, technical, scientific, and innovation edge. It will also need to understand these developments, their potential use, and their strategic implications. The Science and Technology Office supports innovation, provides in-depth insights into challenges that NATO faces, ensures the integration of Alliance capabilities, and concentrates on an interconnected network of science and knowledge.
Possibilities of NATO
The “Heart” of the NATO Treaty, Article 5, should be adjusted to guarantee the security and defense capability of NATO allies. To make NATO more productive again, we should concentrate on its Treaty from 1949. Nowadays, is still a lack of straightforward steps that NATO should take ad hoc to overcome its threats. There is also a lack of a clear definition of the possible “attack” that could occur anytime. Especially Article 5 of the Treaty should include specific actions NATO countries will need to take while being attacked. That should consist of a required definition of an “armed attack” in response to any attack on their territory. NATO has to be ready for it and able to respond without any delay or hesitation. All allies must be best prepared for those eventualities and need to either make some changes to Article 5 or add a further article to its Treaty.
But when is “an attack” an attack? During 9/11, it was clear, but nowadays, not so much. Is a cyber-attack an “attack” or not? Is it a threat directed against one or several NATO states “an attack” or not? Is an “accidental” missile launch on an ally’s soil an attack that triggers Article 5? Article 5 specifies that an “armed attack” on a member state triggers collective action. What precisely an “armed attack” is up to NATO members.
When should NATO strike back, and when not?
The NATO Treaty from 1949 is not current because it does not include new threats like cyber, energy coercion, space, and other attacks against NATO members. Putin’s war in Ukraine is an example of a war we have learned about in history classes. However, in the 21st Century, in 2022, we might expect other types of war targeting critical infrastructure through cyber-attacks and new technologies from artificial intelligence. Is our North Atlantic Alliance prepared for those “new forms of armed attacks”?
Can a NATO member act individually regarding Russia’s aggression?
Let us assume Russia “accidentally” attacks Poland. Poland is a NATO Member State. Should Poland respond to this aggression individually, with the full awareness that Russia might launch nuclear weapons against a NATO ally? Probably not. What could NATO do to help Poland in that case? Provide Poland with defensive weapons? Absolutely. Does it mean that Poland would defend itself alone in that specific case? It could lose its integrity and sovereignty and its citizens. Could NATO hesitate to act collectively, knowing that Russia possesses nuclear weapons? Probably.
So what should all NATO members do?
First, they need to update their decision-making system. But finding a consensus among 30 members (soon 32 if Sweden and Finland join NATO) is not easy. Some crucial decisions are postponed while necessary steps should take place to deter any force against territorial integrity. All that should be included in Article 5 or an additional article to help NATO act quickly and with precision without losing time on debates and discussions, which sometimes leads to “no responses.”
Second, NATO members must update Article 5, including a clear definition of an “armed attack.” They must agree on a specific definition required for invoking Article 5. Based on a precise definition, all members will know when and how to respond to any aggressor attacking their territory. It will not only prevent our allies from unnecessary threats but also deter aggressors wanting to attack them regardless of whether accidentally or purposely.
Third, the Parties in Art. 5 (over seven decades ago) agreed that if an armed attack against one or more of the NATO member states occurs, it will be an attack against them all. They will act individually or collectively using self-defense recognized by Art. 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. It has to be clear that if an attack is an attack “against them all,” all member states (collectively and not individually) have to respond to such an attack.
The word “forthwith” in the current Article 5 does not tell us when all NATO members should be best prepared if, today, one country finds itself under attack and how quickly NATO will respond to it, within 24 hours or in several days. Moreover, a specific assistance structure that will provide to the attacked state must be included in that Article. There also must be a particular timeframe in which all members will be ready for a military response.
So, the question is if an additional Article to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty could be added. The best time to discuss this issue should have been during the NATO Summit in Madrid on June 29 and 30, 2022.
New Strategy on Article 5
(Invoking Article 5 regarding a not-armed attack?)
Since Russia attacked Ukraine, there has been a need for an upgrade of security and defense policy thinking within some NATO member states. An armed confrontation with Russia is possible nowadays, and unconventional war is more than likely using chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, psychological threads like fear, manipulation, propaganda, and cyberattacks on economic infrastructure and governmental demo-cratic architecture. NATO member states and their governments need to quickly consider their Alliance’s modernization and prepare for a new era of warfare. Article 5 of NATO was invoked after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to support the U.S.
Mohamed Amersi (chairman of the Amersi Foundation, which supports go-vernance, and the futures agenda), said: “In the 21st Century, however, conflict can take many forms. With that in mind, it’s worth considering whether the time has come to review the text of Article 5 in light of current trends in warfare, which may not be captured in the original “armed attack” language.”
Not only “armed attacks” NATO countries could face but also non-violent attacks such as cyber-attacks that might seem not devastating but could destabilize countries’ infrastructure. Is NATO prepared for cyber warfare?”
For example, when Russia hit Estonia with a cyber attack in 2007 after removing a Soviet-era war monument, Article 5 was not invoked, even knowing that this attack caused massive damage to this country. Consequently, Estonia needed to close its digital borders and clock international websites because state and commercial websites in the Department of Defense, banks, and media were targeted by this “non-armed attack.” When Iran committed a cyber attack against Albania (a NATO member state) in September last year, Article 5 was not invoked. Although, knowing that those cyber attacks are so dangerous to our countries and the confidential data of the NATO states and their country’s governments is an enormous threat to their collective security. The answer to those types of attacks is still unclear in Article 5; policymakers still struggle with a decision-making process and how they should respond to such an attack. It would be much easier, as suggested before, to adjust the NATO Treaty and add needed new strategies and steps that should be taken.
It is essential to mention that Russia’s close partner is China, with a vast military capability and more willingness to support Russia than NATO countries. New challenges in the 21st Century should motivate international experts and leaders to continue rethinking their strategies and make some changes or adjustments to Article 5 to guarantee more security to its allies. Moreover, the quality and not the quantity of NATO; new memberships are crucial but not essential; what is more important is the quality of existing partners and its military capability and ad-hoc decision-making process that must be implemented immediately after an attack occurred because there is no room for discussions but only for action. Although NATO member states want to prevent their territorial integrity and guarantee their people’s security, they are too slow in their decision-making processes.
Russia is trying to harm NATO’s safety and readiness to act right now. What can NATO do about it? – A lot, and even more, but not enough if it is still working as a political organization; we have plenty of them, from governmental (national and international governments) due to non-governmental (NGOs) and interest groups (ThinkTanks). What does NATO need to become even more effective in its decision-making process? It must primarily concentrate on security, defense, and deterrence. Of course, diplomacy plays a significant role, but it should end there. NATO should not be involved in more (time-consuming) political topics because those only slow the decision-making processes, which must be implemented quickly and precisely. Well-prepared arrangements will not allow other countries to threaten us and will not harm our allies.
- NATO members must balance their political interests and the agreement made during the NATO summit in Wales (2014). During that summit, they agreed to increase their spending by 2% (gross domestic product), which is still an essential part of the ally’s security guarantee.
2% of spending must be seriously considered, especially regarding the collective defense response in the face of new threats of the 21st Century.
What looks reality like? The new statistic on Defense expenditures of NATO countries as a percentage of GDP 2022 has been recently published (April 4, 2023) by the Statista Research Department. Defense expenditures of NATO countries as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022: (knowing that 2% is a target of NATO that every member state agreed on spending during the NATO summit in Wales)
- Greece spends 3.54% of its GDP on defense expenditures, closely followed by
- the U.S., 3.46%
- Lithuania, 2.47%
- Poland spends 2.42%
- and Germany contributes only 1.49% of its GDP and ranks in place 18 of 31 NATO member states. The reality does not look like it should be.
- Although politicians (decision-makers) do not want to give up their power and influence, especially in that particular decision-making process, they still should hand over a significant portion of their impact to experts in the military field, such as generals. They have been trained and educated in that field. They have many years of experience on the battlefield through their research, analysis, and excellent management skills. They know how to handle upcoming threats and which kind of response should be sent to any threat outside our allies. They need several years to earn that position of expertise, and elected officials do not. They can be elected tomorrow based on their popularity and political affiliation but not based on their education, specific experiences, or other military qualities that generals possess.
- It is good that NATO promotes democracy and is involved in acting based on diplomacy because it makes itself even more substantial. However, too many political discussions are more suitable for parliaments but not so much for NATO readiness. Those actions are NATO slowing down its readiness to act as a defense and security organization.
- Sanctions are good tools that can be imposed against other threatening countries, as we saw recently in an example of Russia. On the one hand, the financial impact on that particular country can be immense; on the other hand, there is a drought in its long-lasting power. The best example that illustrates the “no-power” of sanctions is China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, adopted at the 29th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress on June 10, 2021. The Annual Report to Congress from the U.S. Department of Defense based on China’s Military Power Report (CMPR), under the title “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republik of China 2022,” describes the new law. The law: “(…) was “enacted to “safeguard national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and organizations.” According to People’s Republic China (PRC) media sources, the law is intended to “counter, fight, and oppose” unilateral sanctions on the PRC imposed by foreign countries. The law was likely adopted in response to sanctions on PRC officials in connection with serious human rights abuse in Xinjiang.”
If other countries follow those kinds of laws and implement them in their parliaments, sanctions will be entirely ineffective, and NATO states will need to find another solution to force an aggressor to stop a war or prevent him from any future invasion, any possible attack.
- Allison, Graham. “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.” A Holt Paperback Hendry Holt and Company, New York, 2005: 211, 187-220.
- Barnaby, Frank. “How to Build a Nuclear Bomb. And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Nation Books, 2004.
- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 2021. https://thebulletin.org/2021/01/my-advice-to-president-elect-biden-break-the-dangerous-pattern-of-nuclear-competition-with-russia/.
- Maxwell, John, C. https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/44-inspiring-john-c-maxwell-quotes-that-will-take-you-to-leadership-success.html.
- Moodie, Micheal / Amstrong, E. / Merkeley, Tyler. “Defense Horizons number 5. Center for Tech-nology and National Security Policy, National Defense University. Responding in the Homeland: A Snapshot of NATO’s Readiness for CBRN Attacks.” (2007).
- Moon, William. “National Defense NDIA’s Business & Technology Magazine. Article: WMD Threat Reduction Programs Suffer from Neglect.” 2019. https://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ articles /2020/11/4/wmd-threat-reduction-programs-suffer-from-neglect.
- NATO’s Nuclear Deterrence Policy and Forces. 2021. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_ 50068.htm.
- NATO’s Summit in Brussels. 2021. https://www.nato.int/nato2030/events/?id=35mYHtdvOi8 V BvITS2U5TR.
- Peach, Stuart / Wells, Bryan. PDF. 2020. “NATO Science & Technology Organization.” https:// www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/2020/4/pdf/190422ST_Tech_Trends_Report_2020-2040.pdf.
- Podvig, Pavek, and Javier Serrat. “Lock them Up: Zero-deployed Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe” UNIDIR. https://unidir.org/publication/lock-them-zero-deployed-non-strategic-nuclear-weapons-europe. (2017).
- Post, Jerrold M. “The Mind of the Terrorist. The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to Al-Qaeda.” Palgrave Macmillan, (2007): 244, 227-257.
- The Secretary General’s Annual Report. Pdf. 2020 https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/ assets/pdf/2021/3/pdf/sgar20-en.pdf.
- Thränert, Oliver. “Proliferation and Non-State Actors. Presentation at the 7th International Security Forum Zurich.” Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik German Institute for International and Security Affairs, October 26-28, (2006).
- Wilferd, Wan. “Nuclear Risk Reduction: Engaging non-NPT Nuclear-Armed States. Nuclear Risk Reduction Policy.” no. 5.: 7 Geneva: UNIDIR (2021).
- “The Method Behind Putin’s New START Madness.” Carnegie Institute, https://carnegieendowment .org/2023/02/28/method-behind-putin-s-new-start-madness-pub-89161, (April 9, 2023)
- Annual Report to Congress: 2022 China Military Power Report (CMPR) the S. Department of Defense. Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republik of China 2022.
- https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_17120.htm (April 7, 2023)
- https://2001-2009.state.gov/s/ct/intl/io/nato/index.htm (April 1, 2023)
- https://legal.un.org/repertory/art51.shtml (March 22, 2023)
- https://www.fpri.org/article/2022/12/article-5-for-the-next-decade-of-nato/ (March 23, 2023)
- https://www.state.gov/new-start/ Nw START Treaty
- 175 STCTTS 16 E rev. 1 fin NATO Parliamentary Assembly
* Policy Researcher, Analyst and Advisor at the State House of Representatives in Germany
 175 STCTTS 16 E rev. 1 fin NATO Parliamentary Assembly
 Graham, Allison (2005). Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe. p. 211.
 Jerrold M., Post (2007): The Mind of the Terrorist. The Psychology of Terrorism from The IRA to Al-Qaeda.
 Pavek Podvig and Javier Serrat, Lock them Up: Zero-deployed Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons in Europe, UNIDIR, 2017, https://unidir.org/publication/lock-them-zero-deployed-non-strategic-nuclear-weapons-europe
 Cfr ibid 30.
 Wan, Wilfred (2021). Nuclear Risk Reduction: Engaging non-NPT Nuclear Armed States (Nuclear Risk Reduction Policy Brief No. 5). Geneva, Switzerland: UNIDIR.
 Oliver, Thränert (2006). Proliferation and Non-State Actors. Presentation at the 7th International Security Forum Zurich, October 26-28, 2006. Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
 Wan, Wilfred (2021), 7.
 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (2021). https://thebulletin.org/2021/01/my-advice-to-president-elect-biden-break-the-dangerous-pattern-of-nuclear-competition-with-russia/
 William M. Moon. (20209). National Defense NDIA´s Business & Technology Magazine. Article: WMD Threat Reduction Programs Suffer from Neglect. https://www.nationaldefensemagazine. org/articles/2020/11/4/wmd-threat-reduction-programs-suffer-from-neglect
 Graham, Allison. (2004). Nuclear Terrorism. The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.
 https://www.state.gov/new-start/ New START Treaty
 “The Method Behind Putin´s New START Madness.” Carnegie Institute https://carnegieendowment .org /2023/02/28/method-behind-putin-s-new-start-madness-pub-89161
 Michael, Moodie, Robert E., Armstrong with Tyler, Merkeley (2007). Defense Horizons number 5. Center for Technology and National Security Policy, National Defense University: Responding in the Homeland: A Snapshot of NATO´s Readiness for CBRN Attacks.
 Jerrold M., Post (2007): The Mind of the Terrorist. The Psychology of Terrorism from The IRA to Al-Qaeda.
 Jerrold M., Post (2007): The Mind of the Terrorist. The Psychology of Terrorism from The IRA to Al-Qaeda. Page 244.
 Cf. ibid.
 Frank, Barnaby (2004). How to Build a Nuclear Bomb. And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction.
 John, C. Maxwell https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/44-inspiring-john-c-maxwell-quotes-that-will-take-you-to-leadership-success.html
 NATO´s Summit in Brussels (2021). https://www.nato.int/nato2030/events/?id=35mYHtdvOi8 V BvITS2U5TR
 The Secretary General’s Annual Report (2020). https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets /pdf /2021/3/pdf/sgar20-en.pdf
 Stuart Peach, Bryan Wells. NATO Science & Technology Organization, March, 2020. https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/2020/4/pdf/190422-ST_Tech_Trends_Report_2020-2040.pdf
 https://navyleaguehonolulu.org/maritime-security/ewExternalFiles/2022-military-and-security-developments-involving-the-peoples-republic-of-china.pdf p. 43 of this raport.