MONS, Belgium – General John Craddock, attending a NATO seminar in Reykjavik, Iceland examining future security issues, spoke of the need to think strategically when planning for security in the High North.
He suggested that while the Arctic was not a region of conflict now, many environmental and geo-political developments in the Arctic have the potential to create conflict therefore NATO is studying the role it can and should have in the future.
"The current strategic situation in the High North would change dramatically if this region becomes one where competition outmuscles cooperation,” said Gen Craddock. "We all must work diligently to ensure that cooperation, and not competition, shapes the character of the developing strategic situation.”
General Craddock opined that NATO could contribute greatly to facilitating cooperation in areas such as the development and security of shipping routes, energy security, surveillance and monitoring, search and rescue, resource exploration and mining, and crisis response among others, stating that, "A comprehensive policy that prevents strategic competition will be much cheaper than a policy that engenders it.”
He concluded his remarks by saying that the time is now to anticipate potential crises and to prepare for them. "Crisis response necessitates preparation,” he warned, "even if cooperation continues to prevail over conflict.”
"Our security environment demands a forward looking, proactive, comprehensive approach to security. Today, our Alliance demonstrates it understands this reality.”