LCDR Robin K. Myers, USN

United States Marine Corps
Command and Staff College
Marine Corps University
2076 South Street
Marine Corps Combat Development Command
Quantico, Virginia 22134-5068


LCDR Robin K. Myers, USN
AY: 1996-97
Approved:___________________________________ (Mentors) ___________________________________
Date: 15 April 1997






Author: LCDR Robin K. Myers, USN

Thesis: There will be military issues and financial costs associated with the eastward enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While no military obstacles should prevent new members from joining NATO, failure by NATO's current members to adequately address enlargement's financial costs may create a new dividing line in Europe.

Discussion: Much has been written on whether NATO should expand eastward. The issue will, however, be resolved by collective agreement among the Alliance's sixteen members. Despite the importance of enlargement, there has been little discussion of its military and financial implications.

Potential military implications fall into three categories: command and control issues, force compatibility issues, and infrastructure requirements. While there are many issues contained in each of these categories, none is too difficult to solve or should preclude NATO's eastward expansion. NATO's view of its missions and roles will determine, however, the difficulty of solving each military issue.

There are diverse opinions on what will be the financial costs associated with NATO enlargement. President Clinton argues that NATO enlargement can occur with little long term financial costs to the United States, as he expects NATO current members and future members will finance over 85% of the associated costs.

Conclusions: There are no military implications of NATO enlargement which should prevent a state from becoming a full member of the NATO Alliance. Failure by the United States and NATO to ensure the costs of enlargement are adequately funded risks increased resentment by NATO's newest members, creates the possibility of two security tiers within NATO, and severely limits the likelihood of further new members. If the Clinton Administration believes NATO enlargement is beneficial to the security of the United States, it must address whether its willingness to fund only a minimum share of enlargement's costs will negatively impact relations with NATO's new members and create a new dividing line in Europe.


INTRODUCTION .......................................... 1

WHITHER NATO? ......................................... 3

Views on NATO's Future Missions .................. 3

Views on NATO Enlargement ........................ 5


Command and Control ................................ 10

Force Compatibility Issues ......................... 16

Infrastructure Requirements ........................ 22


Costs to the United States ......................... 27

Costs to Current NATO Members ...................... 30

Costs to Prospective Members ....................... 30

CONCLUSION ............................................ 33





Since the fall of the Warsaw Pact in 1989, many authors have written articles on the future course and role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Many of these articles have discussed whether NATO should offer membership to former Warsaw Pact states and/or to the successor states of the former Soviet Union. In fact, the process to enlarge NATO to the east already has the full support of both the United States' President and the NATO Secretary General. Following his re-election, President Clinton reiterated his foreign policy goal of expanding NATO membership;(1)

following the December 1996 North Atlantic Council meeting, Secretary General Solana indicated the first offers to potential new members would come in July 1997.(2)

Ultimately, however, the decision to enlarge NATO eastward will be a political decision made by collective agreement among the sixteen current NATO members.

Whenever the offers are made, the militaries of both NATO's current states and the new members will be forced to integrate into a common defense structure. The pace and degree of this integration will be a function of both what NATO sees as its role in international relations and the difficulty of this military integration. Some have argued that this task will be particularly difficult not only because the new members' weapons are primarily those of NATO's former adversaries, but also because the Russians will view every step taken towards integration as an additional threat to their national security. NATO has not published a detailed plan for military integration, yet one may identify four areas of central importance regardless of the plan adopted. These integration issues are:

(1) command and control,

(2) force compatibility,

(3) infrastructure requirements, and

(4) financial implications.

I intend to analyze the military implications associated with NATO enlargement in each of the first three categories and then evaluate enlargement's financial implications to the United States, current NATO members, and future members. I will do so by identifying the primary arguments within each issue and assess their validity and possible impact on NATO enlargement. While the military implications of expanded NATO membership will be time consuming and costly to resolve, none is unsolvable or should prevent a nominated state from becoming a full member. If NATO and its member states fail to resolve these problems effectively, however, enlargement may result in a new dividing line through the center of Europe.


The debate on the future of NATO began almost as soon as the Western security community realized the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union were no longer likely to invade Western Europe. This debate expanded following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.(3)

The primary issue in this debate was, and still is, what role NATO should play in the future security architecture of Europe and the world. A second, but related issue is whether NATO should offer membership to the states of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact.

Views on NATO's Future Missions

On the primary issue, there are three schools of thought. One school, strongly advocated by Karsten Voigt, President of the North Atlantic Assembly and a member of the German Bundestag, views a future NATO as the maintainer of European, if not wider, stability and security.(4)

Since the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact have collapsed, there is no longer a conventional military threat to NATO. Instead of focusing defensively, NATO must be capable of responding to various "multi-faceted and multi-directional" risks if stability in Europe and the security of its members, whether old or new, is to be preserved.(5)

To execute this change in mission, NATO members, future members, and Partnership-for-Peace states must "prepare forces for future contingency operations."(6)

This school's view may be summarized in that NATO must assume new missions in non-traditional areas or risk irrelevance, that it must "go out of area or it will go out of business."(7)

Of note, both President Clinton and NATO Secretary General Javier Solana support this view.

Others, including Henry Kissinger, are not willing to be so interventionist out of area, but prefer to remain focused on European security issues. In this case, NATO is the vehicle by which a perceived security vacuum between NATO's eastern and Russia's western border may be filled.(8)

The goal of this school is to ensure both the continued democratization and economic viability of the states in this region. NATO's primary role would be to maintain the peace and limit threats to stability, which would have negative impacts upon the European Union and all the European economies.(9)

One of this school's fundamental beliefs is that Europe's primary future threat is instability, a threat which could undermine European economic prosperity.

Still others argue that NATO is fundamentally a defensive organization, that the collective defense promise of Article Five of the Washington Treaty is too important to pursue either enlargement or engage in expanded missions. Josef Joffe and Michael Mandelbaum agree, for example that the fundamental raison d'être for NATO remains unchanged from Lord Ismay's immortal saw: "to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down," although both soften their terms.(10)

These proponents argue that the West is not yet secure from the threat of a re-emergent, expansionistic Russia. Since the future is so uncertain, NATO must focus on what it knows and does best. Further, any movement away from a strong defensive posture will not only be increasingly difficult and expensive to recoup, but also may result in the United States lessening its commitment to European security.

Consistent with and similar to the three positions on NATO's future role, three major schools of thought have emerged on the question of NATO enlargement. Two schools agree enlargement should go forward, one strongly opposes enlargement.(11)

Views on NATO Enlargement

The first school, supported by the Clinton Administration and the NATO Secretariat, wishes to keep NATO enlargement open, in principle, to all Partnership-for-Peace states. Once the Partner has progressed sufficiently towards achieving NATO's membership requirements, then application for and offer of membership will be made. Supporters of this school are "motivated by the search for stability through integration, not by a sense of immediate threat," and that "enlargement is stability-driven, rather than threat-driven."(12)

In President Clinton's words, "[t]he enlargement of NATO is not directed against any state; NATO does not see any nation as its enemy."(13)

RAND analysts Ronald Asmus and Stephen Larrabee identify a second school of thought on NATO enlargement, which "while no NATO member officially articulates this view, it has considerable support behind the scenes."(14)

This shadowy school holds that NATO should limit new membership to a handful of states based on an assessment of "strategic criteria," rather than the functional criteria contained in the 1995 Study on NATO Enlargement; yet, the criteria are never defined. After this assessment, NATO should "close the door" to further new members for the immediate future. Proponents of this school believe there is increasing risk vis-à-vis Russia: the more states which join NATO will result in reduced security for all.(15)

Since some believe Russian resurgence is "either already underway or inevitable,"(16)

limiting membership to a small handful is "thus both the only way to keep from overburdening the Alliance with new commitments and destroying its cohesion and the best strategy for minimizing conflict with Russia over enlargement."(17)

Interestingly, this view closely parallels that of Russian government. Recently, a member of President Yeltsin's advisory council argued that "Russia's aim is to create so much trouble over the first wave of NATO enlargement that NATO will give up its plans for a second and even third wave of enlargement."(18)

The timing of enlargement is a subject of debate in both these schools. Some advocate a "go fast" approach, that NATO must expand while Russia is politically weak and unable to oppose it. Others argue for a "go slow" approach, that by "proceeding incrementally will minimize the possibility of a hostile Russian response."(19)

Both agree, however, that enlargement should parallel the expansion of the European Union (E.U.) eastward. NATO agrees; the Alliance views its enlargement as "a parallel process with and will complement that of the European Union," although NATO's and the E.U.'s expansions will proceed independently.(20)

Since one of NATO's broad aims is to "promote conditions of 'stability and well being,' including particularly economic conditions," enlarging NATO in parallel with the E.U. will promote a self-reinforcing process of increased economic prosperity and increased military security.(21)

Although generally not stated explicitly, there are powerful economic incentives for non-member states to join NATO. One of these incentives is the belief that collective defense is less expensive, over the long term, than national defense. Since a NATO member need only provide its agreed upon component to the common defense structure, it need not retain a full range of combat capability. The expectation is that "[a]lliances save money."(22)

Perhaps more importantly, integration into NATO provides new members their first "foot in the door" to Western institutions. As NATO membership confers a tacit acknowledgement of being part of the "western community," future NATO members expect they will receive significant benefits to further their transitions to market economies and, eventually, membership in the E.U.

The final school on NATO enlargement believes there is no need for it at all. A recent New York Times editorial argues "[t]he key to consolidating peace in Europe lies not in expanding NATO but in encouraging Russia to live in harmony with its neighbors and accept deep negotiated reductions in its nuclear arsenal." Enlargement of NATO is "as likely to provoke Moscow's hostility as it is to deter it."(23)

Diplomat and scholar George Kennan most succinctly argues this view. If NATO enlarges, then one may expect it

to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations; and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.

Kennan believes NATO enlargement "would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era."(24)

To others in this school, such as Michael Brown, "enlargement is unnecessary given the current strategic and political situation in Europe." This argument asserts there is little likelihood of Russian aggression in the near term with its weakened military forces. If such aggression did emerge, then NATO would have sufficient time to extend defense guarantees to other states.(25)

Finally, some in this school believe NATO has presented its members' citizens and legislatures with a fait accompli, that NATO will enlarge regardless of the risks, benefits, or costs. To this element, then, enlargement can occur but only if the Article Five security guarantees are either removed or made to apply only to current members.(26)

The issue of, and timetable for, NATO enlargement remains in debate. Yet, those who advocate NATO enlargement, along with an expansion of NATO's missions into non-traditional roles, lead the executive branches of NATO itself, the likely prospective members, and the United States. While, of course, the legislatures of NATO's sixteen current members must ratify a new member's accession, I believe this will occur for Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.(27)

For the remainder of this paper, I will assume NATO will continue on the path towards both enlargement and the expansion of its missions to out-of-area operations, crisis management, and peacekeeping.(28)

Those who disagree with this policy have not, however, conceded defeat. While most realize they cannot impact the immediate political decisions on NATO enlargement, they hope to delay or effectively prevent implementation by other means. One such means is to argue that the technicalities of military integration should prevent or considerably delay it.


The public discussion on the future course of NATO has focused upon NATO's future roles and whether to expand eastward; there has been little open discussion of the military implications of enlargement and these new roles. The military problems of enlargement may be divided into four broad categories, namely command and control issues, force compatibility issues, and infrastructure requirements. Although other areas of contention exist, these categories offer a broad view of the primary military issues which must be resolved as NATO expands. Within each category, several substantive issues must be addressed as NATO proceeds towards enlargement.

Command and Control

Perhaps the most important military implication of NATO's enlargement is the future of command and control relationships. Effective and appropriate command and control standards will ensure new members are fully integrated into NATO operations. In fact, the Study on NATO Enlargement specifically requires each new member to become interoperable with NATO command and control systems.(29)

Although this requirement refers to hardware, there are other command and control issues which NATO must address.

Language. The first implication of NATO enlargement on command and control is the issue of language. Although NATO has two "official" languages (English and French), since the withdrawal of France from the integrated military structure, English has been the de facto language of NATO military communications. To become fully integrated NATO members, states need a core of competent English speakers. In Hungary, for example, the number of officers "who now speak English has more than doubled, up from just 500 a year ago."(30)

Other eastern states are likely face the same problem and are developing their own core of English speakers. Naturally, it will take time for this core to become fully competent in English, but without it, neither NATO or the state itself can consider its military as fully integrated into NATO's command and control infrastructure.

Major Subordinate Commands. A second command and control issue, not so easily solved, regards organizational structures. The current NATO major subordinate commands under the Supreme Allied Commander are (1) Allied Forces North West Europe (AFNORTHWEST), (2) Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT), and (3) Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSOUTH). How the new members will integrate into this structure remains unanswered, but there are alternatives. One option would be to expand the current organization, with new members "integrated into existing NATO headquarters."(31)

This is the current position from the Study on NATO Enlargement; its authors later admit, however, that "[t]he Alliance will have to consider whether a limited number of new headquarters may be needed and any need for existing headquarters to cover new Areas of Responsibility."(32)

While such parallel expansion would ensure a rapid integration of the new members with minimum disruption of the status quo, it would also leave the new members' forces in a subordinate position, with little opportunity for leadership or command.

Further, there remains the practical problem of Hungary. Whereas both Poland and the Czech Republic would fit naturally into an eastern extension of AFCENT's area of responsibility, Hungary would not. It does not share a common border with any NATO state, or either Poland or the Czech Republic, a unique (and unenviable) position. In fact, the defining distinction between AFCENT and AFSOUTH is that they are non-contiguous, separated by non-NATO Austria and Switzerland.(33)

Because of this separateness, Hungary may perhaps more naturally fall within AFSOUTH's area of responsibility. Plus, Hungarian forces have worked closely with AFSOUTH in support of NATO's operations in Bosnia. The deciding factor may be the fact that the AFCENT commander is a German general officer. While speculative, memories of German domination during World War II may result in Hungary requesting its forces fall under the American-led AFSOUTH.

A second alternative would be for NATO to establish a new organization specifically designed to include forces from the new member states. Such an organization could be a new Allied Forces Eastern Europe (AFEAST), with only the armed forces from new member states manning it. This new organization would be co-equal with the current major subordinate commands, but with an eastern focus.

The primary attraction of this new organization would be the opportunity for the new members to demonstrate their full integration into NATO. A Polish commander of a new AFEAST, for example, would be highly motivated to ensure his forces, of whatever nationality, were fully capable of supporting NATO missions. Further, such an organization could allay certain Russian fears by precluding the stationing of current NATO members' troops in new members' territories. The primary disadvantage to this arrangement would be the new AFEAST's lack of familiarity with NATO's policies and procedures. Such unfamiliarity could lead to increased friction among the major subordinate commanders. Additionally, other Russians could view such an organization as a significant threat to their national security. Instead of several separate armies, they would see the proposed AFEAST as a further concentration of military power on Russia's western border.

Combined Joint Task Forces. Finally, NATO has adopted the combined joint task force (CJTF) concept as the primary organizational structure to address its role in crisis management and peacekeeping. This concept calls for the formation of several CJTF nuclei headquarters (within selected current headquarters) which could respond to a specific crisis or need. Member states would then provide appropriate national forces to the CJTF commander to execute the mission.(34)

Similar to integration into NATO's major subordinate commands, the Alliance must address how the new member states will participate in future CJTF structures and operations. If NATO chooses to have new members participate only as subordinate elements in CJTFs, then the new members may develop resentments similar to those possible regarding the major subordinate military commands. And, if NATO is unwilling to establish a major subordinate command in the new member states, one wonders whether this will preclude a new member from ever heading a CJTF. While initially the new members will lack the experience and capabilities to represent NATO as a CJTF headquarters nucleus, this will not always be so. Especially as all three of the likely new members have strongly endorsed their full participation in the full range of NATO military commitments, one may eventually demand command of a CJTF. Of course, this command and control issue may not become active for several years, it must be addressed by the NATO leadership.

The three command and control issues discussed above are serious issues which NATO must address if it hopes to fully integrate the new members into its military structure. The issue of language, with new members' lack of sufficient competent English speakers experienced in military parlance, will, however, be resolved relatively easily over time. Nor will this issue limit the military usefulness of the new members' forces until the language issue is resolved. Poland, for example, effectively integrated a battalion to Bosnia as part of the 1996 Implementation Force and received some praise from the NATO leadership.(35)

As for the place the new members will occupy in the major subordinate commands and in CJTFs, these issues are politically difficult because they are linked to the intra-NATO debate on increased Europeanization of the NATO military structure. Advocated primarily by the French government, Europeanization would increase the number of NATO's military commands headed by European, rather than American, officers. But, in a sense, this is an easily solvable issue. Organizations and command relationships are readily adaptable to their leaders' needs and requirements, being little more than lines on paper. Similarly, new members' future desires for command may be addressed as the new members increase their capabilities and familiarity with NATO operations. Of course, new members should not be assigned to inferior or subordinate positions forever so that they feel NATO does not value their contributions. But, none of the command and control issues discussed here are so difficult or too difficult to solve that they could prevent NATO enlargement.

Force Compatibility Issues

One of the greatest concerns which have emerged in the discussion of NATO enlargement is the issue of compatibility of military forces. One may define "force compatibility" as the ability of military hardware and systems to work together seamlessly. Typically, one accomplishes this by the standardization of equipment among allies and the use of mutually accepted doctrine and tactics. Each of these two components of force compatibility, both standardized equipment and doctrinal issues, have implications for NATO enlargement.

Weapon system compatibility. The first concern over NATO enlargement and force compatibility is the incorporation of the weapons systems of the former Warsaw Pact into NATO's military organization. Critics have argued that the hardware of the proposed members will not be able to fight well alongside NATO's current equipment. They have subscribed to this argument first because they see new members' hardware as fundamentally different from NATO's and, secondly, they believe that this equipment is less capable or inferior to Western equipment. This dissimilarity of forces occurs throughout the whole spectrum of the proposed members' armed forces, from a soldier's issue rifle to the latest fighter aircraft.

This argument is flawed, however, for two reasons. First, with the change in NATO's military focus from passive defense to active engagement, the requirement for strict weapon system conformity and compatibility has decreased. Even after almost 50 years, a large variety of non-standard equipment exists among NATO member states. Further, the likelihood of German and Polish units fighting side-by-side to repel a massive invasion from the east is small; the likelihood that these same units will have adjoining areas of responsibility in a NATO-led peace enforcement operation is high. While in the first case, the requirement for compatible weapon systems is high, there is much less a requirement for such compatibility in the second case. Specific differences in weapon systems would be much less important. Indeed, NATO may prefer to use military units from new member states for CJTF missions as these units would likely be less expensive to fund than a similarly manned and equipped unit from the United States, France, or Great Britain. Ironically as well, these differences may become a hidden strength. A high-low mix of weapons, for example, may provide the future NATO CJTF commander with the exact force mix needed to accomplish his mission.

Secondly, the argument is spurious in that the German military has incorporated a large amount of the former East German army's and air force's equipment into its current order of battle. On 1 January 1995, Germany incorporated these former East German forces into its common defense structure and assigned them to NATO.(36)

The Germans have been most successful at integrating the more technologically advanced weapons systems from the east, particularly the MiG-29 fighter-bomber, but such integration could occur at all levels.

Force modernization. The issue of compatibility raises the parallel issue of force modernization and/or westernization. Most of the former Warsaw Pact states want to modernize and westernize their forces as rapidly as possible. The assumption is that these states must modernize rapidly to ensure their equipment will match NATO's. To do so will be extremely expensive, however. "A group of Polish experts, for example, recently reckoned it would cost their government $1.5 billion to meet NATO's membership standards."(37)

One could argue that since the new democracies do not have the funds to allocate to achieve this force modernization, they cannot fully "integrate" into NATO. Hungary even took a step away from westernization when in 1993 it accepted 28 MiG-29 fighters from Russia. Admittedly, the government was unwilling to do so, but took the fighters as payment for debts remaining from the former Soviet Army.(38)

Additionally, this argument is based upon a false assumption. This assumption is that all NATO forces are currently at the same level of modernity, which is demonstrably untrue. For example, Greece and Italy continue to fly F-104s as air defense interceptors, an aircraft which has long been retired from active service in the United States.

Doctrine. On a doctrinal level, there remains a concern over the integration of the former Warsaw Pact militaries into NATO. While there has been little discussion on this issue, one could argue that those forces were organized, trained, and equipped to fight in accordance with the offensive maneuver doctrine of the former Soviet Union. Much of that doctrine likely remains not only in the training and organization of these states, but also in the mental conditioning and thought of the militaries' leaders. Unfortunately, this mentality and residual doctrine, being offensively oriented, are fundamentally opposed to NATO's core beliefs in deterrence and defense. Since military cultures change slowly, as slowly as the leadership changes over time, the former Warsaw Pact states are mentally unable, in the short run, from becoming fully compatible with NATO doctrine, much less tactics, techniques, and procedures. In fact, the United States' senior defense attaché in Budapest recently admitted that there was a challenge in the "reeducation process so that they [Hungarian soldiers] can think and act NATO."(39)

I believe the argument on mental adaptability is flawed. While mental adaptation to new doctrines, tactics, techniques, and procedures may be difficult and extremely time consuming for the new members, it is not an impossible task. Fortunately, defense transformation is occurring in the prospective members' militaries and progressing rapidly. Why is it occurring so rapidly?

First, the military leadership of these former Warsaw Pact states may never have actually accepted the offensive maneuver doctrine. The destructive battles of a nuclear World War III, which would likely have occurred in Central Europe, would have been suicidal to the armies involved.

More important, however, is today's changed strategic and international security situation. It is highly unlikely that any of the states between Russia and NATO will engage in offensive warfare, especially as a lone actor. An offensively oriented doctrine and mindset would be inappropriate given each state's unique strategic realities. Further, there is the reality of budgets. The armies of the former Warsaw Pact cannot afford the luxury of an offensively oriented force.

Linked to the changed security environment is the desire of these states to join NATO. NATO has stated very specific requirements regarding the new members' military foci: to facilitate their early entry into NATO, these states must change their doctrine and tactics to reflect NATO's defensive orientation and must "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations."(40)

This change in doctrine has also recently been reinforced by the states' experience with Partnership-for-Peace and in Bosnia. By training alongside NATO forces, and by working alongside NATO forces to accomplish a mission, the Partners have shown that they are not prisoners to their pre-1989 doctrine.

The force compatibility issues of weapon systems compatibility, modernization, and doctrine will affect the manner and employment of new members' military forces in an expanded NATO. But the argument that these issues could limit or delay NATO enlargement is a red herring: NATO already manages to incorporate a large variety of weapons into its military structure, including weapons from the former Warsaw Pact and weapons no one considers modern. Similar to command organization concerns, doctrinal issues are an military choice, not a Lamarckian acquired characteristic. Especially as it moves towards new mission areas, NATO should welcome the variety of weapons, and their relative inexpensiveness, of the new members' forces.

Infrastructure Requirements

The third broad category of military implications of NATO enlargement regards infrastructure concerns. The major issues in this category are whether enlargement will require the basing of current NATO members' forces in new members' territories, the cost of such basing (particularly regarding the modernization of facilities), and the requirement to expand the NATO military headquarters in Mons, Belgium, to accommodate the expanded NATO's staff.

Forward basing. A debate has occurred on the issue of whether NATO enlargement implies that current members' ground forces would (or will) be based in new members' territories. Some believe, or have almost axiomatically assumed, that any expansion of NATO military power to the east, especially the nuclear and military guarantees which are central to NATO membership, "will be seen in Moscow as a change in the balance of power and an extension of Washington's . . . sphere of influence." Scholars of international relations who support this view, such as Michael Brown at Harvard, estimate the consequences of such an action would be severe: it would undermine Russia's nascent democracy, it would lead Russia to a more aggressive and intimidating policy to the states not yet members, and it would provide the opportunity for Russia's radical nationalists "to make a politically powerful case for reviving Russia's moribund military forces."(41)

NATO has attempted to downplay this issue. The 1995 Study, for example, states "[t]he Alliance has no a priori requirement for the stationing of Alliance troops on the territory of new members." A parallel statement applies to nuclear weapons.(42)

Potential new members are strongly reminded, however, to expect full participation in Alliance mission requirements, to include the possibility of NATO requesting the forward stationing of military hardware in new members' territories.(43)

Further, the level of attention this issue has generated from the Russian government may reflect domestic political agendas and hope for concessions on any future NATO-Russia modus vivendi. While the Russians justifiably are concerned about the possibility of NATO storing nuclear weapons in new members' territories, the Russian government is likely more concerned with the possible presence of Unites States forces in those territories. American troop presence results in extensive American interest and concern, a level of interest and concern the Russians likely do not want so close to their border. I find it unlikely the Russian government would address this issue so consistently and vehemently if the expected possibility was simply, for example, Italian troops in Poland.(44)

Infrastructure modernization. Aside from these political considerations of forward basing, there are practical and functional aspects to consider. NATO's forces, which primarily are volunteers, expect all "housekeeping" facilities to be at Western standards, including barracks, sanitation, and food, as well as the support services of heat and electricity. The task and cost of achieving these standards and providing these services has typically fallen upon the host nation. This task may be financially daunting to the new members. A recent article estimates the "United States has spent more than $100 million, much of it to upgrade the local military infrastructure" for NATO's operations from Taszar, Hungary, in support of the Bosnian missions.(45)

As prospective members modernize their national infrastructure, the problem of adequate support services will be solved. This solution, however, will likely take decades to accomplish. Consequently, the practical limits of the current infrastructure may serve to reduce the likelihood of forward basing current members' troops to the East. Additionally, if one believes that Russia poses no immediate threat to European security, the requirement for forward-based troops is reduced. After all, even if threatened, even a minimum of NATO troops in country, there perhaps on a rotational basis for exercises and training, would help serve as the "trip-wire" to activate an Alliance response.

NATO's Military Headquarters. The third infrastructure issue regards the NATO headquarters. Although the Study on NATO Enlargement did not specifically address military implications for current members, its authors did insert a note of warning at the end of the study:

Enlargement will lead to new activities and a need for increased resources. Additional office space will be needed at NATO HQ [Headquarters] to accommodate new members and possible increases to the staffs of the IS [International Staff] and IMS [International Military Staff]. Operating and capital costs in the Civil Budget will grow.(46)

Naturally, the Study's authors did not identify who would fund this growth, only that "[n]ew members will be expected to contribute." Earlier, the Study asserts that new members will be expected to contribute at a level commensurate with their "ability to pay."(47)

By extension, NATO must ask current members to complement those contributions. NATO may have a difficult task in convincing member states, all of whom have declining defense budgets and force structures, to fund a headquarters expansion at Mons.

Perhaps no issue has generated as much attention and focus from the Russian government as the basing of current NATO members' troops in the territory of the new members. The purpose of this attention is that government's attempt to reinforce President Yeltsin's domestic political support and to influence NATO's future relationship with Russia. Neither of these purposes, however, truly directly relate to NATO enlargement: Yeltsin and his advisors will continue to use NATO as a "whipping boy" to satisfy nationalist conservatives and NATO and Russia will come to some agreement clarifying their strategic relationship. But simply because Russia opposes the stationing of NATO troops in the East does not mean NATO should not admit additional members; to do otherwise would be to grant Russia a de facto veto over NATO enlargement.

Regarding the issue of NATO's headquarters expansion at Mons, this is essentially a practical problem and not an enlargement issue, per se. The difficulty in this problem is that it carries a price. It is highly doubtful though that a NATO member would veto enlargement over its share in the cost of expanding the Mons headquarters.


The cost of the Mons headquarters expansion is likely to be insignificant when compared to the overall financial implications of enlargement. In general, NATO has only reluctantly discussed these financial implications while attempting to downplay them. Yet, these implications may become the largest issue which may preclude new members militaries from rapidly becoming fully capable and participating NATO members.

Costs to the United States

In the United States, there has been virtually no public discussion on the financial costs of NATO enlargement. In fact, there are only two official estimates, one from Congress and one from the President. From the legislative point of view, a Congressional Budget Office study estimated "that the U.S. may have to assume new costs of $5 billion to $19 billion out of a total cost of between $60 billion to $125 billion over a 15 year period." Most of this cost would likely be allocated for infrastructure improvements in new members' territories.(48)

President Clinton's recent Report to Congress presents a far rosier view of the expected costs of NATO enlargement to the United States. The Report estimates the bulk of United States expenditure would come in "direct enlargement costs" in the ten years following new members accession (i.e., to 2009), for a total of $1.5 - $2.0 billion.(49)

These figures represent the estimate for only the United States' share (approximately 15%, based on NATO common funding requirements) of all direct enlargement costs. The report estimates this category of costs will total $9.0 - $12.0 billion before 2009.(50)

In other categories of expected expenditures, identified as "new member costs for military restructuring" and "NATO regional reinforcement capabilities," the Report argues these costs would be borne primarily by the new members themselves or NATO's current European members. The expected cost in each category is $3.0 - $4.5 billion and $4.5 - $5.5 billion, respectively. Expenditures by the United States for these categories would only be in those areas where a specific assistance program was appropriated by Congress.(51)

Consequently, the President's Report estimates the total cost of NATO enlargement through 2009 will be between $27 - $35 billion, of which the United States' share would be only $1.5 - $2.0 billion (or, no more than 7.4% of the total). Even if the United States contributed an additional $100 million each year in assistance programs, the total would not exceed $3.0 billion (maximum 11% of the total cost).

The implications of these numbers are significant. The United States is the primary advocate of NATO enlargement, even accelerated enlargement, but appears willing to fund only the smallest amount it can under NATO common funding requirements. Even if the United States voluntarily adds 50% over the President's estimate in assistance programs, the United States will still appear niggardly in European eyes. When compounded by the fact that the United States currently has the world's largest and healthiest economy, this poor opinion may deepen into resentment and damage the United States' relations with European states, particularly the new members. In fact, this unwillingness to contribute significantly to the cost of NATO enlargement may cause results similar to what the President's report identifies as the costs and risks of not enlarging NATO. In this section, the Report states "[i]f we fail to seize this historical [sic] opportunity to help integrate, consolidate and stabilize Central and Eastern Europe, we would risk a much higher price later." It

would send the message to Central and Eastern Europe that their future does not lie with NATO and the West, . . . would be destabalizing in the region and would encourage nationalist and disruptive forces throughout Europe.(52)

Further, discretionary spending is already very limited in the current federal budget. This is particularly true in the Department of Defense's budget, which funds most of the United States' contribution to NATO. Additional funding earmarked for NATO, which will almost certainly exceed the President's estimates, will further stress the defense budget, especially as the Department's leaders attempt to manage the uncertainties of the Quadrennial Defense Review, the certain decline in force structure, the modernization versus readiness debate, and the increased importance of the Asia-Pacific region.

Costs to Current NATO Members

The European members of NATO are also experiencing declining defense budgets, force structures, and willingness to deploy (or station) troops beyond their borders. Recently for example, Great Britain's Labour Party "promised to complete a strategic defence review within six months of taking office" and raised the issue of withdrawing home Britain's lone remaining tank division in Germany because of its significant expense.(53)

If Britain's military budget is so tight that there is active consideration on repatriating this symbolic division, then there will be little money available to finance Britain's share of NATO enlargement. While there has been little discussion of these financial issues in the European pres, one can only wonder what a new Labour government in Britain, or any of the current NATO members, will be willing to pay for an expanded NATO.

Costs to Prospective Members

Karsten Voigt, President of the North Atlantic Assembly, has argued that "the cost of membership [to new members] is a variable that will depend entirely on what a country offers or is asked to contribute" and that those costs will be spread over time. On the enlargement issue, Voigt has reiterated that NATO's requirement is only that new members achieve "the minimum level of interoperability required for military effectiveness as quickly as possible."(54)

Since NATO believes much of the "harmonization" of military forces can occur after incorporation of new members, there will be no large, up-front costs to new members and what costs do emerge may be spread over time. Even so, one study estimates the three primary candidates for membership will share a combined bill of at least $2.5 billion. This figure does not include the cost of modernizing and/or westernizing their armed forces.(55)

While all the prospective new members have acknowledged their willingness to fund their costs for joining NATO, they continue to hope for assistance from the current members to lessen the expense. If such assistance is not forthcoming, it will be a rude shock to the governments and their economies. While such a shock is unlikely to dampen their desire for NATO membership, it will likely result in increased skepticism regarding Unites States or NATO-led initiatives. More importantly, however, this shock will almost certainly smother the initial new members' willingness to fund a second wave of enlargement. After funding most of the costs for their own membership, these states will be unwilling to contribute substantially to a prospective member's costs, perhaps to the point of invoking their veto rights.

The financial costs of NATO enlargement are unknowable in advance. Yet, one's willingness to spend money, and how much money to spend, is directly related to the benefit one expects to receive from the product. In the United States, if the President believes in NATO enlargement as strongly as he has declared, then he must educate both Congress and the American public on both the strategic and military benefits he expects the United States will realize and provide a realistic estimate of the costs for those benefits. His February 1997 Report to Congress discusses the benefits adequately, if shallowly, while the discussion of costs takes such a limited view as to virtually discredit the United States' leadership on this issue. And if the United States takes a minimum stance, one cannot realistically expect the economically-strained NATO members to compensate for the shortfall. Even less capable of increasing their contributions are the governments of the prospective members. Their economies are under even greater strain than those of Western Europe.

The cost of NATO enlargement is a difficult issue for politicians to address in this era of tax cuts and peace dividends. It is not, however, the issue over which new members should or should not be admitted to NATO. If the NATO member states agree with the geo-political decision to enlarge NATO, then they must be willing to fund the implications of that enlargement. The real vacuum in Europe is not in the security of the East, but in the political and financial will of the West.


The issue of NATO enlargement has generated much discussion in the six years since the fall of the Soviet Union. That discussion has centered on the political and strategic advisability of enlargement; there has been relatively little discussion on the military and financial implications. This paper has discussed those implications, primarily focused upon the categories of command and control, force compatibility, infrastructure requirements, and financial considerations. Each of the issues raised in these categories is individually a difficult problem, and NATO must address and solve each one as it enlarges, yet none is so technically or physically difficult to prevent enlargement. Indeed, the final decision to enlarge NATO will be a political decision taken by collective agreement among the governments of NATO's sixteen members.

One should not assume, however, that enlargement is a foregone conclusion. The issue of financial considerations may prove the stumbling block over which NATO enlargement trips and falls. There has been little public discussion, either in North America or Europe, on the benefits, implications, and costs of enlargement. Little visible attempt has been made to educate either the populace or the legislatures on these issues, especially on the issue of costs. While all members certainly agree that there should be no second-class citizens in NATO, a full discussion has not yet occurred on the costs associated with ensuring new members are fully integrated into NATO's defense structure and operational vision. To do less would not only create a de facto two-tier system, but also would generate resentment among the new members who, after all, NATO expects to fund the majority of their accession costs. If the legislatures of NATO's member states agree with the geo-political decision to enlarge the Alliance, then they must be willing to fund that enlargement to fully integrate the new members. In the words of General Klaus Naumann, chairman of the Alliance's military committee, "there can be no second-class citizens in NATO," but "[i]f you want good defense, you have to pay for it."(56)

The issues raised in this paper will not disappear even if the first wave of new members are successfully integrated into NATO. The Alliance's willingness to accept new members is not limited to a handful of states in Central Europe; any Partnership-for-Peace member is a candidate for accession. Certainly there are PfP states, such as the Baltic republics, which have a strong political desire to become NATO members, but cannot yet meet NATO's membership requirements.(57)

NATO and its members will again be forced to confront these issues. The willingness of NATO and its members to do so will largely be a function of how effectively they address them during the first wave of enlargement. If the initial enlargement process becomes too contentious or too expensive, NATO's "open door" promise to other states will become hollow. Such a result would negatively impact the whole of NATO's (and its individual members') diplomatic and security relations with its eastern neighbors, perhaps for decades to come. Thus, while none of the issues raised in this paper are inherently difficult to solve, if NATO and the United States do not solve them effectively and without rancor, then one may expect the exact opposite of what NATO hopes to achieve through enlargement. A new European security architecture could emerge with reduced stability and security for all as NATO will have lowered the curtain to additional members.



1. . William J. Clinton, White House Press Conference, 08 November 1996.


2. . Javier Solana, "Shaping NATO for the 21st Century," NATO Review 45 (January 1997), 3.


3. . Some of the early articles in this debate are:

Asmus, Ronald D., Richard L. Kugler, and F. Stephen Larrabee. "Building a New NATO." Foreign Affairs 72 (September/October 1993): 28-40.

Clarke, Jonathan. "Replacing NATO." Foreign Policy 93 (Winter 1993-1994): 22-40.

Harries, Owen. "The Collapse of 'The West.'" Foreign Affairs 72 (September/October 1993): 41-53.

Hickman, William F. "NATO: Is It Worth the Trouble." Naval War College Review 46 (Summer 1993): 36-46.

Sloan, Stanley R. "NATO's future in a new Europe: an American perspective," International Affairs 66 (July 1990): 495-511.


4. . Karsten Voigt, "NATO enlargement: A Holistic Approach for the Future," SAIS Review 15 (Summer-Fall 1995): 121-136.


5. . North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Study on NATO Enlargement, September 1995, para. 10. The authors of this Study divided its six chapters into 81 consecutively numbered paragraphs. For ease of reference, citations of the Study will be made by paragraph number.


6. . Javier Solana, "NATO's role in Bosnia: Charting a new course for the Alliance," NATO Review 44 (March 1996), Web edition, 3.


7. . Asmus and others, 31.


8. . Henry Kissinger, "NATO: Make It Stronger, Make It Larger," The New York Times, 14 January 1997, 15.


9. . Michael Rühle and Nicholas Williams, "NATO Enlargement and the European Union," World Today 51 (May 1995): 84-85.


10. . Josef Joffe, "Is There Life After Victory? What NATO Can and Cannot Do," The National Interest 41 (Fall 1995): 24-25. See also Michael Mandelbaum, The Dawn of Peace in Europe (New York: The Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1996), 15-20 for a comprehensive discussion on this topic.


11. . These schools of thought are discussed in detail in:

Asmus, Ronald D. and F. Stephen Larrabee. "NATO and the Have-Nots." Foreign Affairs 75 (November/December 1996): 13-20. Brown, Michael E. "The Flawed Logic of NATO Expansion." Survival 37 (Spring 1995): 34-52.


12. . Karsten Voigt, "NATO enlargement: sustaining the momentum," NATO Review 44 (March 1996), Web edition, 3.


13. . William J. Clinton, "Text of a Letter from the President to the Chairmen of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Armed Services and the House Committees on International Relations and National Security," The White House, 24 February 1997.


14. . Asmus and Larrabee, 15.


15. . Asmus and Larrabee, 15.


16. . Brown, 34.


17. . Asmus and Larrabee, 15.


18. . Michael Dobbs and David Hoffman, "Yeltsin Stands Firm Against Larger NATO," The Washington Post, 22 February 1997, A01.


19. . Brown, 34.


20. . Study on NATO Enlargement, para. 18.


21. . Lord Ismay, NATO: The First Five Years, 1949-1954 (The Netherlands: Bosch-Utrecht, n.d.), 15.


22. . Report to the Congress on the Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Rationale, Benefits, Costs, and Implications, Executive Summary, 3.


23. . "Wrong Time to Expand NATO," The New York Times, 25 October 1996, 38.


24. . George Kennan, "A Fateful Error," The New York Times, 05 February 1997, 23.


25. . Brown, 35-36.


26. . David Fromkin, "Hidden Danger in a New NATO," The New York Times, 18 December 1996, A27.


27. . In fact, Hungarian Prime Minister Laszlo Kovacs has started to lobby U.S. Senators on this issue and believes he has the support of at least one, Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). See Nora Boustang, "Getting Their Kicks on Embassy Row," The Washington Post, 05 March 1997, A16.


28. . Secretary of State Albright proposed recently an even faster timetable than NATO itself, with NATO and the initial new states completing accession negotiations before the end of 1997. See Michael Dobbs, "Albright Urges Accelerated NATO Growth," The Washington Post, 19 February 1997, A16.


29. . Study on NATO Enlargement, para 45(h).


30. . William Drozdiak, "Staging Post for Bosnia Fortifies U.S.-Hungarian Alliance," The Washington Post 17 February 1997, Web edition, 3.


31. . Study on NATO Enlargement, para. 45(b).


32. . Study on NATO Enlargement, para. 45(b).


33. . North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO Handbook (Brussels, 1995), 171.


34. . Anthony Cragg, "The Combined Joint Task Force concept: a key component of the Alliance's adaptation," NATO Review 44 (July 1996): 7-10.


35. . "Poland and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization," Advertisement in "NATO & Global Defense Issues On the Occasion of the NATO Ministerials," insert to The Washington Times, 10 December 1996, 4.


36. . Volker Rühe, "East German Forces Assigned to NATO," NATO Review 43 (March 1995), 18.


37. . "A NATO Compromise," Foreign Report, 30 January 1997, 2-3.


38. . Drozdiak, 3. Reportedly, the Hungarian government has sold some of these fighters to Malaysia.


39. . Drozdiak, 3.


40. . Study on NATO Enlargement, para. 5.


41. . Brown, 41-43.


42. . Study on NATO Enlargement, paras. 45(e) and 49.


43. . Study on NATO Enlargement, paras. 51 and 45(e).


44. . For example, recently both President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin reiterated their concerns over NATO forces in new members' territories. Yeltsin, addressing the Duma, stated that enlargement could "cause direct damage to our security." Chernomyrdin, while in Washington DC, stated "I'm worried about Russia," and "[d]evelopments in Russia could take an ominous turn" if NATO enlarges. The points are woven into any Russian government discussion of NATO enlargement despite NATO's constant position, from the September 1995 Study on Enlargement onward, regarding nuclear weapons and troops in new members' territories. See Andrei Kozyrev, "NATO is Not Our Enemy," Newsweek, 10 February 1997, 31; Jim Hoagland and David Hoffman, "NATO Plans Worry Russia's Premier, The Washington Post, 04 February 1997, A01; "Lukin: Levers of Influence With Europe Should be Maintained," FBIS Translation of Radio Rossii, Moscow, Russia, 16 January 1997; David Hoffman, "Yeltsin Vows to 'Restore Order,' Pledges Government Shakeup," The Washington Post, 07 March 1997, A01.


45. . Drozdiak, 2.


46. . Study on NATO Enlargement, para. 57.


47. . Study on NATO Enlargement, para. 56.


48. . Lee H. Hamilton, "A Deliberate Pace for NATO Enlargement," in "NATO & Global Defense Issues On the Occasion of the NATO Ministerials," insert to The Washington Times, 10 December 1996, 4.


49. . Report to the Congress on the Enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Rationale, Benefits, Costs and Implications, NATO Enlargement's Military Implications and Financial Costs (Washington, DC: 1997), Web edition, 10. Direct enlargement costs are defined as "interoperability between the forces of current and new members and for extending NATO's integrated command, communication and air defense surveillance system." See Executive Summary, 2.


50. . Report to Congress, NATO Enlargement's Military Implications and Financial Costs, 3-4; 9.


51. . Report to Congress, NATO Enlargement's Military Implications and Financial Costs, 7-8.


52. . Report to Congress, Executive Summary, 3.


53. . "Labour approaches a minefield," The Economist, 01 February 1997, Web edition, 1-3.


54. . Voigt, "Sustaining the Momentum," 4-5.


55. . "NATO Expansion Will Costs [sic] Billions and Risks Destabilizing Europe Says New Report," British American Security Information Council Press Release, 28 November 1995.


56. . William Drozdiak, "NATO Expansion 'on the Cheap' May Have Surcharge," The Washington Post, 12 March 1997, A22.


57. . William Drozdiak, "Baltics Fear Being Wallflowers at NATO Expansion Party," The Washington Post, 13 October 1996, A45.


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Asmus, Ronald D. and F. Stephen Larrabee. "NATO and the Have-Nots: Reassurance After Enlargement." Foreign Affairs 75 (November/December 1996): 13-20.

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________. White House Press Conference, 08 November 1996.



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