Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group releases joint statements

In two joint statements, released at the Munich Security Conference 2019, the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG) urges greater cooperation to address imminent threats to Euro-Atlantic security.

NATO country flags wave at the entrance of NATO headquarters in Brussels. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

For the past four years, Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn, and their respective organisations — the European Leadership Network (ELN), the Munich Security Conference (MSC), the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) — have been working with former and current officials and experts from a group of Euro-Atlantic states and the European Union to test ideas and develop proposals for improving security in areas of existential common interest. The EASLG operates as an independent and informal initiative, with participants from the United States, Canada, Russia, and 15 European countries, who reflect the diversity of the Euro-Atlantic region.

In two joint statements released at the Munich Security Conference 2019, the EASLG urges greater cooperation to address imminent threats to Euro-Atlantic security. The list of signatories includes former military leaders, defense ministers, foreign ministers, and chiefs of security and intelligence. In particular, they propose a renewal and deepening of crisis management dialogue instruments as well as a joint approach to cyber threats.

Statement on Support for Crisis Management Dialogue and Strategic Stability in the Euro-Atlantic Region

Today, the United States, NATO, and Russia continue to severely curtail dialogue on crisis management in the Euro-Atlantic region, depriving ourselves of an essential tool to prevent an incident from turning into a catastrophe. The lack of effective and reliable crisis management dialogue and tools sharpens mistrust and undercuts progress on broader issues, including the implementation of the Minsk II agreement, Ukraine, and the US/NATO-Russia relationship.

The absence of dialogue — in particular, crisis management dialogue intended to avoid or resolve incidents that could breed escalation — severely undercuts the sustained communication essential for reaching mutual understandings on and maintaining strategic stability.

Nations must begin the process of rebuilding trust so that it will again be possible to address major security challenges in the Euro-Atlantic region — as was done throughout the Cold War, and must be done today. The current stalemate in crisis management dialogue is in no nation’s or organization’s interest.

Read the full statement with concrete policy recommendations here.

Statement on Support for Cooperation among Governments to Address Cyber Threats to Nuclear Weapons Systems

The world has crossed over to a new nuclear era in which cyber capabilities transform the nuclear risks. A successful cyberattack on nuclear weapons or related systems — including nuclear planning systems, early warning systems, communication systems, and delivery systems, in addition to the nuclear weapons themselves — could have catastrophic consequences.

The nations in the Euro-Atlantic region are confronting a range of significant issues today. But none should distract from urgently supporting and pursuing practical steps now that can reduce real and potentially catastrophic dangers associated with cyber threats.

For this purpose, the EASLG recommends concrete actions in two priority areas to build a better understanding of the global nature of the threat and to develop cooperative approaches to reduce the threat.

Read the full statement with policy recommendations here.

15 February 2019, by Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group