NATO Allies have successfully completed the first of 29 ongoing multinational Smart Defence projects which are to help ensure that NATO remains fit for the future. The project, to develop a multinational logistics partnership on helicopter maintenance in Afghanistan, was part of the initial batch of projects launched by NATO leaders at their Chicago Summit in May 2012.
The United-States-led project established helicopter facilities in Afghanistan allowing Allies to pool their spare parts, tools and technicians to make the most of their deployed resources. The project, which was completed this past spring, has led to significant cost savings and it has reduced the time needed to repair helicopters. It is hoped that the project can serve as a model for future deployments.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has stressed the importance of Smart Defence in the current climate of budget austerity. He has also called on Allies to increase investment in defence and security once economies improve as part of wider efforts to ensure the Alliance has the capabilities it needs to meet emerging security challenges such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy and cyber security.
The Secretary General highlighted the importance of multinational cooperation to improve capabilities during his recent July visit to the NATO airbase in Pápa, Hungary. The base hosts the Strategic Airlift Capability which pools the use of three C-17 heavy transport aircraft. “This is a perfect example of smart cooperation: nations working together to provide a capability which they could not afford on their own,” he said.
The remaining 28 multinational projects focus on range of areas to improve protection of NATO forces, better sustainment and better training. They also aim to enhance operational effectiveness, economies of scale and connections between NATO forces.
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