President Barack Obama and the other NATO leaders will meet in Chicago this weekend, and one of the issues they plan to highlight is their continued commitment to defense capabilities.
When we talk about capabilities in a military alliance like NATO, we are talking about the "hardware" that make up a military: the fighter jets, helicopters, ships, and other systems that are the true "pointy end of the sphere" in a modern military. Capabilities also include some less obvious things that allow our soldiers and sailors to do what we need them to do, like reconnaissance technology, secure computer networks, and the heavy-lifting ships and cargo aircraft that let us not only do what we need to do, but also where we need to do it.
The United States and our 27 NATO Allies make up the most effective alliance in human history. If the men and women of its armed forces are its heart, mind, and soul, then think of "capabilities" as the muscle. At the NATO Summit in Chicago, you will see discussion of the Alliance Ground Surveillance system, an Alliance Missile Defense capability, and others. The United States and our Allies are working together to put the most modern tools to use in our collective defense, and in some cases sharing the burdens of buying and operating them just as we all enjoy the benefits of the security they provide.
Stay tuned to DipNote this week for more posts on the Chicago Summit. On Twitter, follow @USNATO and #Chicago2012 for Summit updates. All week, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder (@USAmbNATO) is answering your questions. Send your questions to him using #AskIvo.
For more information on the Summit, please see the Department of State's 2012 NATO Summit website.