As NATO has appointed its first intelligence chief, do you think this kind of position is really needed and what is the best way how to improve NATO’s intelligence capabilities? Read few comments.
Garret Martin, Professorial Lecturer, School of International Service, Editor at Large at the European Institute, American University
Certainly, improving intelligence sharing has been a long standing concern for NATO, dating as far back to the organization’s military operations in the Balkans in the 1990s. Early experiences at intelligence sharing were hardly satisfactory. Moreover, it is also true that the new Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence could help to streamline and better coordinate the intelligence efforts of the Alliance. In the past, NATO’s military and civilian intelligence channels routinely produced differing assessments for NATO Ambassadors, without any attempt to reconcile the differences.
That being said, I am not sure this new intelligence post will fundamentally improve NATO’s capabilities. The organization still has to deal with a number of constraints. These include, for instance, the strict divisions between intelligence and police operations in many European countries or the balancing act of not encroaching on the counter-terrorism role of Europol. And even more significant, most of the intelligence sharing within NATO occurs at a bilateral level.