Flags at NATO HQ headquarters Brussels

Sitrep: NATO Threat Environment 'Uncertain And Degraded'

A senior alliance official explained how it is balancing threats from Russia with terrorism.

Flags at NATO HQ headquarters Brussels

A senior NATO representative revealed the threat from Russia is balanced alongside that from non-state actors and terrorism.

Speaking to BFBS Sitrep, NATO's Assistant Secretary-General for Defence Investment, Camille Grand, explained the strategy behind protecting an alliance in which members have varied capability.

"NATO has been looking at threats from a 360-degree perspective and we do recognise that there are major challenges coming from our eastern border, with a more assertive Russia that has gone through a major modernisation of its forces, as well as instability in the south that comes from often non-state actors and terrorism," he said.

"So, we really try to balance those two in the way we approach our threat environment – which we see as more as uncertain and degraded."

Mr Grand described Defence Investment as the "division that oversees cooperation, in armament and in technology", helping allies to deliver an effective contribution to group security.

NATO nations are expected to commit 2% of GDP to defence, securing their protection from foreign threats under Article 5 of the organisation – an attack on one member is an attack on all members.

A "360-degree perspective" of the threat environment has also seen space and cyber as new military domains.

Having now monitored the threat for a sustained amount of time, the official said cyber-specific operations "do not start on the day of the declaration of war" but are instead ongoing.

New battlegrounds require more money and more powerful technology – NATO members varying in both categories.

"What we have to do is to make sure that the allies that are a bit lacking behind are catching up and that the allies that are ahead of the pack preserve a requirement for interoperability with the whole group without being slowed down," he explained.

Mr Grand described the UK as a "core player" with the second largest defence budget in the group (behind the US), noting its role in nuclear deterrence.

Days after Defence Secretary Ben Wallace rejected suggestions tanks and some heavy armour could be mothballed within the Army, Mr Grand also gave specific mention to UK expertise in the "maritime environment" and "the air domain".

The upcoming Integrated Review is expected to shape the future UK contribution to NATO, as the group continues to observe “extreme threats” and what Mr Grand calls a "return to great power competition".

You can hear the programme live on Thursdays on BFBS Radio 2 at 16:30 (UK time) and at 18:30 (UK time) BFBS via DAB+ across the UK. 

Listen online and via our radio App in the UK and overseas.  Hear BFBS also on FM in Scotland, Colchester, Salisbury Plain, Aldershot, Catterick, Brize Norton, Lisburn, Holywood and Aldergrove and Blandford Forum in the UK and on all overseas stations. 

On Sky Channel 0211/Freesat 786.

Click here to listen live.