Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

Smart Defense: A Critical Appraisal

Jakob Henius, Jacopo Leone MacDonald

March 2012

NATO Defense College


The concept of "Smart Defence" has in the last few months gained a critical position within the political and technical debates surrounding NATO and its future prospects as a security provider. Secretary General Rasmussen has adopted the concept as one of the core objectives of his mandate, often describing it as a vital priority for the Alliance. According to the keynote speech he delivered at the Munich Security Conference in February 2011, Smart Defence can be defined as a specific approach capable of "ensuring greater security, for less money, by working together with more flexibility," ultimately cooperating with others "with the aim to pool and share resources so that [NATO members] can together afford to acquire the necessary capabilities."