OCTOBER PROGRAM John Deni, US Army War College, presents “NATO and Article 5: The Transatlantic Alliance and the Twenty-first Century Challenges of Collective Defense”

“NATO and Article 5: The Transatlantic Alliance and

the Twenty-first Century Challenges of Collective Defense”

Date:  Thursday, October 18, 2018

Time:  Membership Social at 7:30 p.m.  Program at 8:00 p.m.


Access: Open to the public and free for members, students and accompanying family members, educators, and active military and their families. $10.00 charge for non-members

Professor Deni’s theme:

For much of the last 25 years, NATO has focused on crisis management in places such as Kosovo and Afghanistan, resulting in major changes to alliance strategy, resourcing, force structure, and training. Re-embracing collective defense —which lies at the heart of the Treaty of Washington’s Article 5 commitment— is no easy feat, and not something NATO can do through rhetoric and official pronouncements. Nonetheless, this shift is vitally necessary if the alliance is to remain the bulwark of Western defense and security. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its invasion of Ukraine have fundamentally upended the security environment in Europe, thrusting NATO into the spotlight as the primary collective defense tool most European states rely upon to ensure their security.

Collective defense is one of the alliance’s three core missions, along with crisis management and cooperative security. It is defined in Article 5, the most well-known and arguably the most important part of NATO’s founding treaty, which states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.” Although all three missions are vital to the interests of NATO’s many member states, collective defense has become first among equals once again. However, three very significant hurdles stand in the way of the alliance and its member states as they attempt to re-embrace collective defense. These loosely correspond to an ends-ways-means construct. First is the alliance’s strategy toward Russia. Is Russia an adversary, a partner, neither, or both? How should strategy and policies change to place the alliance and its members on more solid ground when it comes to managing Russia? Second are the ongoing disputes over resourcing and burden-sharing. In recent years, it has become commonplace for American leaders to publicly berate European allies in an effort to garner more contributions to the common defense. How might the alliance better measure and more equitably share security burdens? Third is the alliance’s readiness to fulfill its objectives. Many allies have announced or are implementing increases in defense spending. However, governments of European NATO member states are strongly incentivized by domestic politics to favor acquisition of military hardware or spending on personnel salaries and benefits, usually at the expense of readiness. The result is that NATO military forces risk quickly becoming hollow in a way that is often under-appreciated, which will prevent the alliance from fulfilling the collective defense promise inherent in Article 5. The book examines all such questions to assess NATO’s return to collective defense and offer a roadmap for overcoming those challenges in both the short and long-term.


Deni picture

Professor John R. Deni

JOHN R. DENI is a Research Professor of Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) Security Studies at the U.S. Army War College’s (USAWC) Strategic Studies Institute (SSI). He is also an adjunct lecturer at the American University’s School of International Service. Previously, he worked for 8 years as a political advisor to senior U.S. military commanders in Europe. Prior to that, he spent 2 years as a strategic planner specializing in U.S. security cooperation and military-to-military relations. While working for the U.S. military in Europe, Dr. Deni was also an adjunct lecturer at Heidelberg University’s Institute for Political Science—there, he taught graduate and undergraduate courses on U.S. foreign and security policy, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), European security, and alliance theory and practice. With degrees from the College of William & Mary, American University, and George Washington University, Dr. Deni has spoken at conferences and symposia throughout Europe and North America. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of seven books, including NATO and Article 5, along with authoring several peer-reviewed monographs and journal articles.

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The Savannah Council on World Affairs is also grateful to Morris & Templeton Insurance for its support.