After the 2008 global economic meltdown, many nations reduced military budgets and pooled resources in response to economic uncertainties.
For example, at one time, Bulgaria and neighboring Romania each had their own very small submarine fleets. Then, as wear and tear necessitated taking equipment out of service, the countries had neither funds nor particular need to replace the old equipment. They instead opted to share vessels in order to meet training needs - while also saving money.
This is just one instance of security cooperation driven by today's shrinking defense budgets. But it exemplifies the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) long-term "smart defense" strategy which calls for such cooperation - along with prioritization and specialization - in the face of both tightening budgets and the reality that today's militaries typically join forces in "hot spot" responses related to peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction.
That's according to University of Cincinnati researcher Ivan Dinev Ivanov, visiting assistant professor of political science in UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.
Ivanov will present an overview of NATO's smart defense strategy at the American Political Science Association's annual conference August 29-Sept. 1.
That examination, titled "The Effect of NATO Partnerships on the Alliance's Smart Defense," studies to what extent NATO has been successful in persuading its allies and partners to contribute to the alliance's smart defense focus.
Ivanov's overview analysis compares 27 different nations that participated in the NATO Partnership for Peace Program some time between 1994 and 2012.
Some of these nations already were or have become NATO members, while others maintain partnership status.
His research found that those with closer ties to the alliance are more likely conduct security policies in line with smart defense, including
Given current unrest in countries like Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East or in sub-Saharan Africa, NATO's ability to engage its members and progress in various smart defense initiatives could matter even more in coming years.
NATO's broader security focus in the modern era contrasts with its 1949 founding, when it was dedicated to guaranteeing security for Europe against the risk of Soviet expansion and incursion. In fact, today, Russia has a special seat in the NATO-Russia Council.
For the most part, today's NATO members are not particularly concerned about territorial defense, in part because they are surrounded by like-minded friendly nations.
Instead, they need to field specialized personnel and combat troops far from home in order to collectively meet the international community's needs for crisis response, stabilization and reconstruction.
--ANI (Posted on 27-08-2013)