NATO has shown its determination to help Ukraine defends against Russian invasion But ensuring it has the latest technologies to tackle climate change poses another challenge for the 30-nation alliance.
“We now face a Russian invasion of Ukraine, a conflict on European soil of such magnitude that many would have thought unthinkable just a few years ago,” David van Weel, NATO’s assistant secretary general, said. for new security challenges, to Euronews. The next.
“It just goes to show that we have to be prepared for anything.”
one of the major immediate threats Cyber attackWhich, according to Van Wiel, has become a major part of the fighting in Ukraine.
The war has been fought with both bombs and bytes, with Russia launching cyber-attacks against Ukraine before invading the country on Feb. 24, which continues to face critical infrastructure attacks.
The best way to defend against it is to be flexible, Van Weil advised.
“Make sure that any attack can be repulsed quickly and that the system is not compromised in a very serious way. At NATO we work on this resilience and we help allies to increase that resilience. We have to respond to the attacks that we see happening,” he said.
Technology now plays a substantial role in warfareWhich, according to Van Weel, changes the character.
“Innovation changes the nature of warfare and you have to adapt as both defender and attacker. You have to adapt to those new technologies,” he said.
Right now, Russia is using a large number of Iranian drones to attack civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, which means NATO must help Ukraine defend against a new threat.
“It’s a constant game of adapting to distractions and then making sure you have new technological, innovative solutions to face that threat,” Van Weel told Euronews Next.
How does NATO use the technology?
To this end, the alliance has two initiatives: the Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (Diana) and the NATO Innovation Fund, a venture capital fund. Both focus on bringing deep technology dual-use solutions to the armed forces.
In addition to Deep Tech, NATO also considers the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and the use of autonomous vehicles, aircraft or ships important. Quantum computing will be the next technology NATO will tackle.
But the key to all of these technologies, van Weel said, are start-ups, so the alliance can “ensure we have the latest technologies to protect our 1 billion citizens.”
However, the biggest challenge is to establish better communication with the innovators.
“Often the military doesn’t know what new technologies are coming and many innovators don’t know what is needed in a military context,” he said, adding that bridging the gap is NATO’s number one priority. ,
The second is to get those new technologies up to speed quickly.
“Defense organizations and governments in general are not known for their fast procurement processes,” he said.
“Our challenge really is to make sure we have a practical, flexible way to interact with innovators and make new technologies relevant as quickly as possible.”
threat of nuclear war
Nuclear weapons have been around for nearly 80 years, but fears have grown that Russian President Vladimir Putin will use them.
US President Joe Biden warned that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at its highest level in 60 years since the invasion of Russia.
Van Wiel said: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must not be fought and that is a message that has been made very, very clear to President Putin and in the public domain, which I will now repeat.”
“So the consequences of using a nuclear weapon are very serious and I think he is very, very, very aware of that.”
fight against climate change
But war is not the only threat to the alliance.
while world leaders meet in Egypt UN Conference on Climate Change (COP27)Van Weel also warned of the imminent threat of climate change.
He said this would lead to more natural disasters, more migration and greater shortages of food, water and energy.
“We now see in Europe how important it is that we have our energy security and that we actually get through the winter in a civilized way,” he said.
“So the number of challenges is much greater than just the traditional military threat and NATO as a security organization preparing for it.”
The organization has an action plan to deal with the growing threat.
The first part is awareness and knowing what is happening, such as the opening of the Northern Sea Route, the retreat of ice or the drying up of the Sahel region, and how this could affect food, water and migration.
The second part is understanding and adapting to how climate change affects NATO bases and troops, as extreme temperatures mean some troops work in 50 degrees Celsius heat, while military bases can experience flooding.
Being part of the solution is the last part.
“As society moves away from fossil fuels, the armed forces will not be left behind. And we need to think about changing that,” van Wiel said.
“We are also part of the solution and we are sustainable for the future”.