Study: NATO must go high-tech
- By Dan Verton
- Jan 01, 1990
Despite recent successes in Bosnia and Kosovo, NATO must transform itself
from a Cold War entity designed to counter the Soviet Union in Europe to
a more expeditionary force equipped with state-of-the-art computers and
communications equipment, according to a new study by Rand Corp.
The 19-nation alliance, which was formed in 1949, faces vast new threats
that will require it to shift its focus from territorial defense to power
projection, according to the think tank's study, "NATO's Future: Implications
for U.S. Military Capabilities and Posture."
Chief among Rand's findings is the conclusion that NATO nations must invest
in upgrading critical infrastructure in selected countries and modernizing
their military forces so that they become lighter, leaner and more mobile.
"This will entail, among other things, exploiting recent advances in surveillance,
information processing, communications and precision weapons," the study
The study's author, David Ochmanek, recommended that NATO planners study
Kosovo as an example in which military operations were transformed by high-tech
command and control systems, real-time surveillance systems and precision-guided
NATO is working with the United States on the Defense Capabilities Initiative,
which is meant to enhance cooperation between the militaries of member nations
through the use of advanced computer and communications systems.
Defense Secretary William Cohen urged Congress last year to support the
DCI after Operation Allied Force uncovered shortfalls in allied interoperability
and secure communications. The technology gap forced the United States to
carry out almost all of the air strikes requiring precision-guided munitions,
"The information-sharing problem is still there," said Douglass Perritt,
deputy director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center, who spoke
recently at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference on information
assurance. "It's a trite thing to say, but you're only as strong as your