Alliance Ground Surveillance and the future of NATO's smart defense
Nelson, Jack A.
Yost, David S.
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Twenty-three years after its inception in 1991, NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program is nearly an operational reality. Though AGS is a significant accomplishment, the political, economic, and strategic concerns of individual Allies have tempered the pursuit of a more robust acquisition. AGS will provide an important capability advance for the Alliance, but it obviously cannot overcome all the systemic capability shortcomings that the Alliance's Smart Defense (SD) initiative hopes to address. Given NATO's struggles with AGS, its label as a flagship SD program may be undeserved'or illustrative of the challenges facing SD. While AGS appears to mirror the NATO AWACS acquisition, neither provides an ideal template for further SD programs. Instead, the successes and failures of AGS suggest an evolution in joint Alliance procurements. While focusing on efficiencies'a traditional SD ideal that is insufficient in isolation'AGS reinforces a more important principle in the Alliance: sustaining NATO's political cohesion.
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