At a joint news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the meeting was "productive and far-ranging" and the Strategic Concept Review was developed to "ensure that NATO evolves as the world evolves."
"To remain relevant and effective, NATO must have the capacity to anticipate and protect against shifting security challenges, from terrorism to ballistic missiles, from cyberattacks to the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. … NATO began as a regional alliance, but the threats we now face are global, and our perspective must therefore be global as well," Clinton said, adding it is critical for NATO to "harmonize and integrate its military and civilian capacities."
Gates told reporters he was briefed Wednesday by U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, who along with several other defense ministers told him they were "heartened by what they saw on the ground" in Afghanistan.
In his greeting to the ministers, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, "Starting today, and over the course of the next few weeks, we will shape and agree (on) the new strategic concept" that will be considered during the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, next month, the alliance said in a release.
Rasmussen said the road map will guide NATO through the next decade as well as reform the organization.
"It is critical that we get it right," he said. "NATO's core mission, to protect the 900 million citizens of NATO countries from attack, must never change -- but it must be (a) modern defense against modern threats."
Concerning missile defense, Rasmussen said ministers must decide "if we want NATO to be able to defend all of Europe against the threat of missile attack."
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