Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates after their joint meeting of NATO foreign and defense ministers in Brussels on October 14.
Secretary Clinton said, "The focal point for today's ministerial was NATO's new strategic concept, which now exists in draft form. This document and the conversation it has sparked among member states serves an important function, which is to ensure that NATO evolves as the world evolves. And to be a security alliance in the 21st century, to remain relevant and effective, NATO must have the capacity to anticipate and protect against shifting security challenges from terrorism to ballistic missiles, from cyber attacks to the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Relying on the strategies of the past simply will not suffice.
"NATO began as a regional alliance, but the threats we now face are global and our perspectives must therefore be global as well. And it was in recognition of this fact that NATO launched the Strategic Concept review. And I'd like to thank Secretary General Rasmussen for leading it and the panel of experts who did an enormous amount of work led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
"Today's meeting brings us closer to a final product. And the member states will continue to discuss and revise as we prepare for the summit next month in Lisbon. Defense ministers met earlier today to discuss NATO reform and strengthening NATO's capabilities. We will be meeting as foreign ministers right after this on other aspects of the reform agenda.
"One critical element will be an emphasis on improving coordination between civilian and military operations because today's security challenges are rarely just military. Usually they are political and always they are both. They call for the contributions of a wide range of people from military strategists and weapons specialists to diplomats and development experts. And we believe NATO must harmonize and integrate its military and civilian capacity. That's something that Secretary Gates and I are working on in our own government.
"One item not on the formal agenda was Afghanistan. But naturally, as NATO's largest ongoing operation, there was much discussion and two key elements of our strategy were discussed. First, in the shorter term, helping Afghanistan make the transition to taking the lead on its own security. And second, in the longer term, creating a strategic partnership with Afghanistan that will foster lasting stability and progress. Both objectives are critical to NATO's mission in Afghanistan.
"In addition to the NATO ministerial meeting, Secretary Gates and I met together and separately with a number of our counterparts to discuss a range of regional and global issues. The United States remains absolutely committed to NATO which has safeguarded our freedom for over 60 years and we will continue to offer whatever support we can to help finalize the strategic concept and to implement it to ensure that NATO will always stand as an effective and forceful alliance for its members' security."
You can read the Secretary's full remarks here.
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