In New NATO, a Division of Military Labor ; US Attempts to Create a New Form of Military Alliance. Will It Work against Iraq?

By Ann Scott Tyson Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, November 27, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

In New NATO, a Division of Military Labor ; US Attempts to Create a New Form of Military Alliance. Will It Work against Iraq?


Ann Scott Tyson Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


A Huey UH-1 helicopter swoops in above a boarded-up building and disgorges a team of Slovenian Special Forces troops, who slide down ropes and leap onto a small balcony.

The troops toss in a "flash-bang" grenade, which explodes with a blinding light and noise to disorient the enemy. Then they storm the building, rescuing a "hostage" within minutes.

In a viewing stand below, wearing a camouflaged Slovenian field jacket, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sizes up the demonstration with a word: "Excellent!"

Here in the foothills of the Alps, soldiers of this tiny European nation want to show the world they have the right stuff. Although few in number, their skill is a crucial ingredient in what Washington is promoting as a new kind of global military alliance - one that pools specialized forces across national borders.

The idea is to exploit "niche" capabilities to fill gaps in the resources of the broader alliance by drawing either from individual countries or from a consortium of nations. In essence, it is a military division of labor in which countries make valued - if narrow - contributions while gaining protection under an umbrella of collective defense.

For Slovenia and six other candidate nations, the specialized skills are a vehicle for gaining entry to NATO, which formally invited them to join last week. Some "niche" forces in high demand include special forces troops, mountain soldiers, engineers, peacekeepers, and explosive experts who dispose of ordinances left behind from conflicts.

Slovenia, a mountainous, former republic of Yugoslavia with 2 million people, is eager to prove its ability to contribute to global security. Recently, Slovenia dispatched military police and helicopter troops to Bosnia, demining teams to Afghanistan, and supplied 80 metric tons of inherited Yugoslav small arms and ammunition to the fledgling Afghan national Army. A Slovenian is also among the many foreign liaison officers stationed at US Central Command in Tampa, Fla., the headquarters for the Afghan campaign.

Pentagon officials say that the willingness of smaller nations to play a role - without developing full-scale, "360 degree" militaries of their own - has helped break down resistance to the "niche" idea among NATO members.

"Frankly, in years gone by, there had been some hesitation about this, that somehow specialization - real specialization - was something you shouldn't do in the alliance," says a senior Pentagon official.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

In New NATO, a Division of Military Labor ; US Attempts to Create a New Form of Military Alliance. Will It Work against Iraq?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?