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NATO Transformation Think Tank Bringing International Experts to ODU

An advisory report about the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, tentatively referred to by organizers as the "Norfolk Manifesto," will emerge from an international think tank gathering Feb. 19-21 hosted by Old Dominion University and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT).

The meeting has been organized by the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), a nongovernment organization based in Brussels, Belgium. Troels Froling, the ATA secretary general, leads the association's delegation that will arrive in Norfolk on Wednesday and Thursday.

Also supporting the meeting is the EURISC Foundation, a security-related research coalition based in Bucharest, Romania. Adrian Gheorghe, ODU's Batten Endowed Chair of System of Systems Engineering and the honorary president of EURISC, helped to plan the program. Liviu Muresan, executive president of the EURISC Foundation and Chris Prebensen, secretary general of ATA Norway, will also take part in the meeting.

Experts in military science, political science, economics, system of systems engineering and other fields will try at the weekend meeting to identify global challenges coming in the next 25 years and how NATO should evolve to meet those challenges. The manifesto that is produced will be part of an ATA study report on NATO transformation that will be made public at The Hague, Netherlands, in May. NATO, which observes its 60th birthday in April with a summit to be held in Strasbourg, France, and nearby Kehl, Germany, has sought input from organizations such as the ATA for its current Multiple Futures transformation project.

Should NATO de-emphasize military deterrence in favor of support for police and other security operations? Should it serve more as a Red Cross-type organization? Should it focus more on terrorism and critical infrastructure security, such as protecting the Internet and international supply lines? Should it actively seek new members in Eastern Europe or from among eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea countries? Should NATO change its name to reflect expanded membership or altered mission? Gheorghe said these and other questions will be considered by the think tank participants.

On Friday, participants will visit SACT headquarters in Norfolk to confer with military officials involved with NATO, including Italian Navy Adm. Luciano Zappata, NATO's deputy supreme allied commander, transformation; Lt. Gen. James Soligan, deputy chief of staff, transformation; and Rear Adm. Richard Leaman, deputy chief of staff, transformation support.

The main think tank session will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Innovation Research Park@ODU Building One. ODU acting President John Broderick will extend a welcome.

Presentations by experts on the university faculty will include:

• James Koch, president emeritus and Board of Visitors Professor of Economics, who will discuss the current global economy and how it is likely to change in the next two decades.

• Gheorghe, formerly the director of the Centre of Excellence on Risk and Safety Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who will share his expertise on critical infrastructure protection as well as geopolitical issues in the Black Sea region.

• Regina Karp, associate professor of political science and international studies, who will share her expertise on arms control and European security. She is a former senior project leader at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and co-editor of the journal Contemporary Security Policy.

On April 30 at ODU, an Azalea Festival Symposium, hosted by Allied Command Transformation and the university will focus on the festival's most honored nation, the Czech Republic, and explore issues important both to that country and NATO.

This article was posted on: February 18, 2009

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