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NATO Approves 'Smart Defense'

RIA Novosti

16:13 03/02/2012 BRUSSELS, February 3 (RIA Novosti) - The NATO defense ministers approved on Friday the Smart Defense plan consisting of the projects that aim to “build greater security with fewer resources but more coordination and coherence."

The initiatives, proposed by the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, include building defense capabilities, based on cutting-edge technology – intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) as well as logistics and training.

“Allies are discussing a number of projects which will deliver real improvements and make maximum use of the limited resources we have”, Rasmussen said. “By the time we meet in Chicago, I would expect us to have political agreement on a significant number of projects, as well as a longer term approach, which sees Smart Defense at the hub of the way we do business.”

ISR technology includes among others the development of advanced drones, satellite observation capabilities and battlefield surveillance.

Among other top priority issues of the Smart Defense plan, NATO names projects for air-to-air refueling, remote-controlled vehicles that make it possible to open routes in environments with improvised explosive devices and logistics support projects for helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.

“The Smart Defense initiative is mainly based on the idea of using high military technology,” Alexander Golts, a Moscow-based military defense expert said, adding that NATO’s plan is an attempt to catch up with U.S. defense technology.

“In most of the joint operations the military capabilities of the NATO states play a subordinate role while the U.S. takes the lead. That is why NATO wants not to spend more, but spend better.”

In order to enter force, the Smart Defense program must be ratified by the NATO member states during the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago.

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