The paper highlights disinformation around attacks on 5G phone masts and a land war on the European continent and argues NATO must do more against hybrid and conventional threats.
The paper, created by the SNP Westminster Defence Team has been released ahead of NATO leaders meeting in Madrid next week to discuss the new ‘NATO Strategic Concept’, replacing the one that has broadly guided the Alliance since 2010. The Strategic Concept is a key document for the Alliance. It reaffirms NATO’s values and purpose, and provides a collective assessment of the security for the decade ahead.
One of the recommendations from the paper titled ‘Strong States, Resilient Societies and a Renewed International system‘ is that NATO must do more to build resilience to so-called ‘hybrid threats’ such as cyber attacks and disinformation within societies.
Additionally, the paper calls for NATO to pursue the closest possible relationship with the European Union as two unique organisations with shared values and interests in the Euro-Atlantic area.
The paper also argues for increased conventional defence investment. Pointing out that in November 2021, the UK Prime Minister stated that Allies “have to recognise that the old concepts of fighting big tank battles on European land mass are over, and there are other, better things we should be investing in, in FCAS, in the future combat air system, in cyber, this is how warfare in the future is going to be.”
The paper goes on to add that “these words reflected UK Government policy, which shrunk the UK Armed Forces to their smallest size since the 1701 War of the Spanish Succession while investing more funding into the development and purchase of emerging military technology. While recognising the continued need to invest in maintaining technological superiority, the return of land war to the European continent should banish the illusion that future conflicts will be fought primarily in cyberspace or with autonomous weapons: an armoured capability must be a necessary element of any equipment plan designed to defend Europe”.
The paper recommends that “the next decade must see an end to the era of cuts to the Armed Forces, both in terms of funding and personnel numbers”.
SNP Defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald MP said:
“As NATO Allies meet in Madrid to agree their strategy for the next decade, the UK Government has an opportunity to turn the page on its troubled relationship with international law and our European neighbours. The moment demands no less.
NATO and the EU are the twin guarantors of Euro-Atlantic security order. It is long past time the UK Government recognises this, brings an end to its petty avoidance of our European neighbours and signs a comprehensive defence and security agreement with the EU.
As a party that wishes to see Scotland succeed as an independent member of the international community in NATO and the EU, it is vital that we are active participants in the ongoing debate about Euro-Atlantic security. These recommendations are made in a genuine spirit of wanting to see strengthened states, societies and systems to best protect all those living under the alliance, including those here in Scotland where support for NATO is in excess of 70 per cent.”