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As NATO looks ahead to the seminal 2014 Summit in Wales this September, today on June 25 2014, Atlantic Council and the Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies will convene leaders and experts from across Europe and North America to discuss the role of NATO and the broader transatlantic community in an era of emerging security challenges and key report findings, including defining a new strategy for NATO, the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on NATO’s strategic calculus, and NATO’s future role in international security.

In each case, working with recognized experts and former senior officials from Europe and the United States, the Atlantic Council and IBM have produced a set of policy-oriented briefs focused on NATO reform and cyber security, with the aim to provide thought leadership and innovative policy-relevant solutions for NATO’s continued organizational reform and role in cyber security.

Strategic latency may be of greatest concern in the proliferation of WMD, weapons that raise the specter of what Sir Martin Rees called “our final hour.”

For country of concern, achieving some level of latent capability might be a strategy to keep options open. Confining a particular nation to a latent capability short of acquiring actual nuclear weapons may be a goal. It is common today for experts to say that with its extensive, advanced nuclear and related technologies, Japan could build nuclear weapons in less than a year if it ever made such a decision.

The rapid, worldwide adoption of advances in computing, robotics, bioengineering, and more by state and nonstate actors is reshaping what future national security threats and opportunities will look like. There have been many examples of ways in which NATO engaged in identifying and acting upon those security issues.

It is important to recognise that the danger and challenge of instability during the Cold War was rooted in military technology and the political realities of the US-Soviet security relationship. Analysis of the sophistication of that technology, the size of facilities, and its relationship to other capabilities sometimes leads to attempts at more precise guestimates as to how long it would take to realize that capability if and when a decision were made.

Active nuclear diplomacy has grown out of Cold War efforts to regulate testing and reduce nuclear arsenals and roll back and prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Wallander outlines (here) US and Russian concepts of strategic stability in the twentieth and twenty first century under the paradigm of Mutually Assured Destruction, including the political context of geopolitical political competition that defined that age. The advent of nuclear weapons changed the course of the world as well as the war.

It was President Clinton who first proposed to Boris Yeltsin that Russia should join NATO. In 2002 this led, under the NATO enlargement process, to the creation of the NATO-Russia Council. To reduce the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union, has led to greater investment by the United States and other governments in better security for nuclear weapons and material globally, including billions of dollars through the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

President Obama’s administration has invested more than $5 billion in it. That figure includes funds given to Russia and other countries to help secure their nuclear weapons arsenals, to convert research reactors so they burn fuel that cannot be used in weapons, and to improve the physical protection and accounting of nuclear explosive materials such as plutonium and highly-enriched uranium. The Obama administration’s goals for arms control and security cooperation with Russia are the right ones, but they cannot be achieved as long as US-Russian strategic stability is in question.

Unfortunately, we now see a high risk that Moscow will make good on its threats to Ukrainian, Georgia and Moldova. Minister of State for Europe David Lidington, visiting Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia in the past months in support of the European Neighborhood Policy, speak frequently on the importance of respect for Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty in the face of external aggression, repeatedly calling on the Russian Federation to de-escalate tensions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

In the absence of meaningful EU-Russia relations, a joint U.S.-EU stance has the greatest prospect of countering Russian actions. Russia has destroyed a massive amount of trust. At the same time, there are many crises that cannot be solved without Russia in a globally networked world. The case of Ukraine demonstrates the need for a more sustainable and more compre- hensive security architecture in Europe – not against Russia, but with Russia. That’s why we need to do everything we can to help Russia find its way back to a policy of dialogue.

The 2012 Seoul summit, of 47 world leaders, expanded the scope of the NSS process to include radioactive source security. The world leaders gathered at the Hague Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) on 24 and 25 March 2014 committed to continue the work to make the world a safer place by Reducing the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world.

In an independent research, (here) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center of Global Security Research investigates factors on How Technology (and smart defense) is Changing Our Concepts of Security and whether the advance and spread of technology in the electronic and digital age has had greater strategic significance in our times than the advance and spread of technology had during the industrial revolution. Certainly, the defeat of the Russian fleet in the Tsushima Straits in 1905 by a Japanese Navy demonstrated a century ago that newcomers could use technology to quickly catch up and surpass and thus alter history for decades to come.

The security challenges we face today can be relate to a specific location. For example, in considering risks associated with latent technologies, Iran continued to pursue an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle ostensibly for civilian purposes but with clear weapons potential. We remain concerned that Tehran may have a clandestine nuclear weapons program, in contradiction to its obligations as a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

There is growing risk, or miscalculations, and of regional wars or nuclear terrorism. States new to the nuclear enterprise may not have effective safeguards to secure nuclear weapons and materials or to secure the capability to safely manage and regulate civil reactors.There is growing apprehension about terrorists acquiring weapons or nuclear material.

Hundreds of pounds of weapons-usable uranium are being stored at civilian sites, including in South Africa and Belarus, the document said. Scores of research reactors, where security is generally lower than at military sites, still operate with fuel composed of weapons-grade explosives, including more than 60 in Russia alone.

Meanwhile, global plutonium stocks are rising, the report said, with more than 100 metric tons produced since 1998, enough to build at least 20 thousand nuclear weapons. The loss of even a small amount of this material from any of the hundreds of sites where they are stored could have catastrophic consequences, the report said. “In today’s global environment, a nuclear … device would not just impact one city or one country; it would gravely damage us all.

Successful leadership in nuclear policy will require continuous, diligent, and multinational assessment of emerging risks and consequences. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in good standing such as Japan or suspected of being in violation such as Iran, often finds itself on lists of those with a nuclear weapons potential. As Iran builds up the number of its gas centrifuges and improves their quality, the estimate of the number of years until Iran could have a nuclear weapon has declined from many to few.

Intensive negotiations are now proceeding on the comprehensive agreement, with all parties seemingly committed to trying to reach agreement by the time the JPA expires on July 30, 2015. Before the Desert Storm campaign to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, public statements suggested that it would take about 10 years for Saddam Hussein to acquire nuclear weapons. After the war, discoveries by the United Nations Special Commission inspectors caused speculation that Iraq may have been closer. Nuclear secruity behind the creation of global standards for nuclear materials could have a more lasting and significant impact. Active nuclear Diplomacy to sett regulations and international agreements designed to protect nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands.

With the 2011 Arab Spring, many in the West grew hopeful that the spirit of democracy was finally taking root. Instead, as in Iraq, more recently, Jihadists in Iraq and Syria, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) are capturing cities, energy facilities, and military hardware daily. They now, even, control a territory the size of Jordan and are building a state from which they aspire and are increasingly able to attack US regional interests, allies, and the United States itself. ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has proved itself a far more serious foe than al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or other adversaries of the post-9/11 years. It’s more Maoist in its operational and strategic outlook. The current Islamist phase of terrorism might end, but terrorism is unlikely to die completely.

In ISIL we have one of the biggest threats our world has faced. We need to be clear about the nature of that threat. The scale is formidable and growing. Terrorism poses a real and serious threat to the security and safety of the Alliance and its members. It is a global threat that knows no border, nationality or religion – a challenge that the international community must tackle together. NATO’s work on counter-terrorism focuses on improved threat awareness and preparedness, developing adequate capabilities and enhancing engagement with partner countries and other international actors.

While direct military intervention in either Syria or Iraq is politically fraught and will certainly present a pair of extremely difficult scenarios upon which to achieve consensus, there are prudent military options well worth exploring now, writs James Stavridis. This region of the world is spinning rapidly out of control, with dangerous implications for both Europe and the United States. Regional dynamics in several different theaters during the next couple decades will have the potential to spill over and create global insecurity.

The Middle East and South Asia are the two regions most likely to trigger broader instability. The destructive power and precision of conventional weapons is apparent in the use of these weapons in Iraq, and those technologies are already ten years old. If developed, the use of cyber weapons have the potential to achieve a disarming first strike which effectively defeats a country even before it even knows that it faces war.

North Korea remains East Asia’s conspicuous “strategic outlier.” Its provocative behavior and adversarial policies (first and foremost directed against South Korea and Japan) have long stymied the building of a post-Cold War order in the region. These issues have been made far more worrisome by the “dual crises” involving North Korea. If China’s strategy again fails, North Korea will become an even larger danger to regional stability. In the case of the NPT, North Korea has withdrawn and Iran may.

Nuclear threat reduction should be orgnasized around a clear goals; a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to put an end to them as threat to world. Unlike the theories and models of difficult scenarios, one of the most well known examples of early warning is the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line set up by the United States and Canada during the early days of the Cold War. Nations and national militaries also maintain significant early warning capabilities as do private sector companies.

The dream cyber warning network would detect most attacks before they occur and quickly detect and stop the rest, preferably automatically. As a result of previous summits, Alliance members agreed to sign memoranda of understanding with NATO to share warning and other information.

Smart defense initiatives in which states share and pool resources and cooperate in developing smart military systems based on mutual need. But there are limits to how much capability these measures can squeeze out of swindling budgets. Despite the gentleman´s agreement reached by NATO members in 2002 to maintain a floor for national defense budgets of at leas 2 percent of gross domestic product, of the major powers only Britain tops that mark.

Currently only four states fulfil the nonbinding reguirement the USA, Estonia, Greece and Great Britain. And national studies report that, unless budget trends are altered, Britain, too, may fall below that 2 percent threshold in 2017. Britain, however, has never stood by when Europe’s security is in peril. They are part of a long tradition in defence of liberty and may not fall the 2 % threshold. But, other Europeans and Germans especially need to increase defence spending.

NATO has to deal with a new and more challenging security environment. Indeed, NATO has to respond when we see new challenges, and we have seen new challenges emanating both in the south, with violence, turmoil, in Iraq, Syria, North Africa, ISIL. But we also see challenges coming from the east and new crises, including the Ukraine conflict, threats from terrorism and cyber attacks. We must do more to increase investment in our defence as the challenges to our security have increased. The 2 percent goal endorsed at the 2014 NATO summit in Wales should be taken seriously.