NATO Transformation in the Context of Global Financial and Economic Crisis

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-6-80-89

D. Mironova, Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences, Russian Academy of Sciences (INION), 51/21, Nakhimovskii Prosp., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (

Abstract. The article focuses on the main aspects of NATO development in the context of global financial and economic crisis. The consequences of this crisis have greatly influenced not only the economic sector of Euro-Atlantic countries, but all spheres including the defence policy. The central part of the article is devoted to the impact of budget cuts on NATO. The author pays attention to the fact that since the onset of the crisis, national governments of NATO member countries have implemented cuts to defence programmes and assets. This problem was deepened by disparity of the NATO defence shares between the EU member states and the U.S., as well as differences in defence budgets of the U.S. European allies. Today, non-U.S. NATO countries’ share is just 27% of NATO defence budget (to compare with 36% in 2000). Moreover, only four European allies – Estonia, Greece, the United Kingdom and Poland – met in 2015 the NATO target of the 2% of GDP spent for the defence. The fact is that such a situation potentially endangers critical capabilities of NATO. In addition, as a result of funding difficulties, most European countries were forced to reduce investments in equipment, as well as in research and development. So, the author comes to a conclusion that global financial and economic crisis has become an important milestone in the ongoing process of NATO transformation. The allies have been challenged not only to find necessary resources for maintaining the existing alert level, but also for overcoming capability disparities. Thus, the concept of “Smart Defence” and the “Connected Forces Initiative” are both under consideration in the article. The author insists that these efforts are part of broader measures undertaken to bolster military readiness and effectiveness of the Alliance. Along with it, the decisions made at September 2014 Wales Summit are also described as a very important element of NATO transformation which marked its new stage. Finally, taking a fast-paced international environment into account, the author concludes that the eventual economic recovery and a broad NATO reform will help to keep the Alliance relevant. 

Keywords: global financial and economic crisis, NATO, NATO transformation, defence budget cuts, “Smart Defence”, “Connected Forces Initiative” 

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For citation:
Mironova D. NATO Transformation in the Context of Global Financial and Economic Crisis. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 6, pp. 80-89.

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