At the Lisbon Summit, November 2010, NATO leaders endorsed a new Strategic Concept, which states that the Alliance will "engage in a process of continual reform, to streamline structures, improve working methods and maximise efficiency." In parallel, NATO also enaged in the reform of its Command Structure – the NATO Command Structure Review - and that of its Agencies – the NATO Agencies Review. The Agencies' Review aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of capabilities and services, to achieve greater synergy between similar functions and increase transparency and accountability.
In a series of "All Hands” calls with the Allied Joint Force Command Naples headquarters workforce, Adm. Bruce W. Clingan, Commander JFC Naples, explained what thoughts shape his beliefs in leading the operational headquarters.
"War is political,” said Clingan. "We are not.”
With these persuasive words, the Commander's rhythmic efforts to communicate to the civilian and military workforce and the contributing nations that support this operational headquarters set the framework toward enabling the transition to a warfighting headquarters.
"We must master the art of warfighting first,” he said. Clingan went on to explain that contributing Alliance nations must be prepared to execute a "high-end” conflict – for example, including but not limited to specialties ranging from within the cyber realm to kinetic and other non-kinetic operations.
"We must master the operational art (of our given training specialties),” he said. And, where guidance may be lacking, Clingan suggested that we must take the initiative to help develop the appropriate guidance.
Many in the audience were impressed with the commander's open engagements with the workforce.
"Planning is the foundation of our success,” Clingan emphasized. "If (a mission) is going to take 50 years to achieve, then we need to work toward developing plans that achieve objectives in a relevant timeframe.”
Clingan also took the opportunity to highlight to the headquarters staff the value of "effects-based thinking.”
"Effects-based thinking is a powerful tool,” he said. "I like plans of action and milestones because they help us measure progress toward our intended results.”
"We cannot do everything,” Clingan continued, making a practical connection with the gathered workforce. He acknowledged that the collective approach to achieving his number one priority of transforming this headquarters to a warfighting command will take "wise choices” and that he values the contributions and ideas of leaders at all levels throughout the command.
"Leadership and courage matter,” he said. Explaining that this transformation is not just about the move to the new Lago Patria headquarters, Clingan said that there is a strong rationale for change.
"Organizations must be able to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and in depth,” he said. "NATO is on this path.”
Clingan acknowledged that in order to provide an effective and accurate response to current and future security threats and challenges, the Alliance will continue to need its own Command and Control capability; however, that capability must continue to evolve from the present structure to better suit contemporary threats and challenges.
A leaner command structure, that better capitalizes on command and control structures within the NATO Force Structure, and uses more up-to-date technology, is needed to allow the Alliance to maintain its level of ambition, to maintain robust command and control and deployable military capabilities, and to prevail in operations in a dynamic and complex environment across NATO's agreed missions and capabilities.
As mandated by NATO nations,” Clingan said, "the new NATO Command Structure will require our transformation to a warfighting headquarters and will require work to make this transition… it is going to take leadership and courage – yours.”
"My intent is to make this transition seamlessly,” Clingan said. "I am acutely mindful of causing minimum disruption to our staff and your families.”
"I am asking each of you to help lead and to help maintain the preparedness of the most powerful alliance in the world,” he said.