I remember sitting in the North Atlantic Council meeting late Sunday afternoon, on March 27, when we made the decision to take on the mission in Libya. Today, NATO's operations are over. I'm proud of NATO's incredible work in Libya and the tens of thousands of lives saved. I'm proud of the real Alliance effort this proved to be.
It's important to understand NATO's success in Libya was not just the result of one or two nations acting under NATO's umbrella. Fourteen Allies and four partners participated in the operation.
Admiral Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and I have an op-ed in yesterday's International Herald Tribune which sets out how this Alliance effort succeeded. Here's an excerpt (read the rest here):
"The crucial and irreplaceable U.S. contribution to the overall effort was to enable other allies and partners to fully participate in the operation. In all, 14 NATO members and 4 partner countries provided naval and air forces for NATO's three missions.
"Together, these 18 countries bore the heaviest brunt of the alliance effort. While U.S. planes flew a quarter of all sorties over Libya, France and Britain flew one third of all missions -- most of them strikes -- and the remaining participants flew roughly 40 percent. The non-U.S. NATO and coalition partners flew 75 percent of the sorties overall.
"Ten years earlier, in NATO's war in Kosovo, the United States was responsible for dropping 90 percent of all precision-guided munitions, with other allies responsible for the remaining 10 percent. In this operation, the percentages were reversed: Allies struck 90 percent of the more than 6,000 targets destroyed in Libya. And they did so with a precision that is historically unprecedented."Editor's Note: This entry also appears on The Official Blog of Ivo Daalder -- U.S. Ambassador to NATO.