Chicago Sun-Times
The 2012 NATO Chicago Summit brings world leaders to Chicago May 20-21

April 2012 Archives

The Chicago Host Committee released a study on Monday claiming the May NATO Summit will bring $128 million to the city. Sun-Times reporters Abdon M. Pallasch and Fran Spielman have the story HERE.

Does the study portray an overly robust scenerio? Perhaps. If all goes well, Chicago's reputation could well be globally enhanced. If protestors cause trouble, it's another story--one the folks who did the study wanted to ignore.

The 15-page study states: "In addition to the quantitative impacts described in this report, Chicago is likely to experience other,less tangible effects from the Summit. These include immediate and long term international
attention, reinforcement of Chicago's brand as a world class city, and elevation of Chicago's role as
host for future global events. At an international event of this scale, protests or other unscheduled
disruptions may also occur, which could result in mixed media attention; however, the value of
exposure is difficult to estimate reliably and was not within the scope of this analysis."

Read the Deloitte study...


WASHINGTON--In advance of the May NATO Summit, two White House national security experts are in Chicago today for briefings as well as the ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Romania.

Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes and NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall are meeting with the Chicago Host Committee and are appearing at two events, one hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, and the other hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Below, from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs...


Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting, The White House
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Special Assistant to President Obama, and Senior Director for European Affairs, National Security Staff

His Excellency Petr Gandalovič, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States
His Excellency Žygimantas Pavilionis, Ambassador of Lithuania to the United States
His Excellency Adrian Cosmin Vieriţa, Ambassador of Romania to the United States

At the May 20-21 NATO Summit in Chicago, President Obama will host leaders from more than fifty countries and international organizations to discuss pressing issues facing the transatlantic alliance.

The Obama administration has focused on the revitalization of alliances and partnerships as a fundamental element of its national security policy. Through NATO, the United States and Europe are bound by collective defense commitments and common values. Following its adoption of a new Strategic Concept at the 2010 Lisbon Summit and the successful conclusion of Operation Unified Protector in Libya, NATO must now make further progress in Afghanistan, address defense capability requirements - such as missile defense - in a time of declining defense budgets, and continue to enhance its cooperation with partners.

Please join The Chicago Council and a panel of White House officials and ambassadors from Central and Eastern European countries for a briefing on the outcomes of the April 18-19 meeting of NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers, a discussion of the issues on the NATO Summit agenda, as well as an assessment of the current trends in U.S.-CEE relations, and the future outlook for the transatlantic alliance.

Ben Rhodes is deputy national security advisor for Strategic Communications, overseeing President Obama's national security communications, speechwriting, and global engagement. Previously, he served as deputy director of White House Speechwriting, and as a senior speechwriter for the Obama campaign. Prior to joining Obama for America, he worked for several years as special assistant to Lee Hamilton at the Wilson Center, where he helped draft the Iraq Study Group Report and the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. He is the coauthor, with Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean, of Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall is special assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and senior director for European Affairs on the National Security Staff. Previously, she was the adjunct senior fellow for Alliance Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations, a senior research scholar at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation, and founding senior adviser to the Stanford-Harvard Preventive Defense Project. She previously served as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia in the first Clinton Administration and as chief foreign affairs and defense policy advisor to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
His Excellency Petr Gandalovič has been ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States since May 2011. From 2006 to 2011, he was a member of the Chamber of Deputies in the parliament of the Czech Republic and served on both the Foreign Committee and the Agricultural Committee. From 1997 to 2002, he served as the consul general of the Czech Republic in New York. Prior to this, he worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as director general of the Economic and Information Section and as an advisor to the foreign minister.

His Excellency Žygimantas Pavilionis has been ambassador of Lithuania to the United States since August 2010. Previously, he acted as ambassador-at-large and chief coordinator for Lithuania's presidency of the Community of Democracies and chief coordinator for transatlantic relations. From 2002 to 2004 he served as the head of the European Integration and Political Cooperation department. From 1999 to 2002 he worked in Brussels at the Lithuanian Permanent Mission.
His Excellency Adrian Cosmin Vieriţa is the ambassador of Romania to the United States. From 2006 to 2008, he served as state secretary for European Affairs at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Between 2002 and 2006, he was ambassador of Romania to the Federal Republic of Germany. He has also held various other positions with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

InterContinental Hotel
505 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611


5:00 p.m.
Registration and cash bar reception
5:30 p.m.
Presentation and discussion

7:00 p.m.
Members $10
Nonmembers $20
President's Circle, Corporate, Sponsor, Donor, and Student Members complimentary

Twenty iReps, or citizen reporters, have been chosen to attend the NATO summit in Chicago, meet with NATO officials and broadcast via social media channels.

Below is one of the winning entries. Watch other winners here.

Top NATO defense officials are meeting at NATO headquarters on Wednesday and Thursday to map strategic guidance for Afghanistan in advance of the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 20-21. Read the NATO memo on the meeting HERE.

Chicago hosts a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners for three days starting Monday; it's a bookend to the May NATO Summit. Read Lynn Sweet column on the two summits HERE.

WASHINGTON--Russia and China need to help pay for NATO forces in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday after a meeting of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs and others in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Chicago in May.

"We will highly appreciate contributions from Russia, from China, from other international partners that are stakeholders in what is going on in Afghanistan and in the region," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen discussed the "road ahead" with NATO's 28 Allies, with 22 non-NATO members of the international force in Afghan with the Afghan foreign and defence ministers, with the European Union High Representative, the United Nations Special Representative and the foreign minister of Japan.

"At our summit in Chicago, one month from now, all these countries and organisations will come together at the highest level. Other countries who have an interest in Afghanistan's stability will join us too. I expect the leaders of around 60 countries and international organisations to join us. This will be the biggest summit NATO has ever held," Rasmussen said at a press conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

"And the reason is simple: Afghanistan is a concern for the whole world. We all want to see a country that is safer, stronger and more stable. That is what we are building together. And we are making progress.

"We are making progress on the ground. We have now trained more than 330,000 Afghan security forces. Afghan soldiers and police are providing security for areas where half the country's population lives - and I expect them to step forward in more areas soon, as transition takes hold across the country.

"On the contrary, we have a common interest in leaving behind a strong Afghan Security Force that can guarantee peace and stability and security in Afghanistan also beyond 2014.

"And this is the reason why we appeal to the whole international community to contribute to financing a strong Afghan Security Force after 2014. It's not just a responsibility for NATO or ISAF. We will highly appreciate contributions from Russia, from China, from other international partners that are stakeholders in what is going on in Afghanistan and in the region. So I think that's the best response to that statement that we would welcome financial contributions from Russia, China and other countries to ensure strong, sustainable Afghan Security Force beyond 2014."

Lori Healey, the executive director of the NATO host committee, told the Niagara Foundation today that she does not expect protests to cause problems for Chicago.

Watch this clip from NBCChicago:

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Coast Guard is banning boats from around the lakefront McCormick Place--and other stretches of Lake Michigan during the May NATO Summit in Chicago.

Details of the temporary security areas are in the Federal Register, read them HERE.

Summary from the Coast Guard:

"The Coast Guard is establishing four separate security zones on both the waters and waterfront area of Chicago Harbor and the Chicago River. These temporary security zones are intended to restrict vessels, regardless of the mode of propulsion, and people from certain land and water areas in Chicago Harbor and the Chicago River during the NATO Summit and associated events, which will be held in Chicago from May 16, 2012, through May 24, 2012. These security zones are necessary to protect visiting government officials and dignitaries from the potential dangers associated with a large scale, international political event."


WASHINGTON--Defense Sec. Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium for meetings to prepare for the Chicago NATO Summit.

This is the last major gathering of NATO and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) before the May 20-21 NATO Summit at McCormick Place.

"We are just one month away from our Chicago summit. So this is the time to make sure our preparations are on track as we enter the final stretch," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the start of the series of ministerial meetings. (Click below for NATO release on two-day meeting.)

More from NATO on the defense package to be discussed at the Chicago Summit:

"NATO has already done substantial work on developing the Alliance's capabilities in areas such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. At the forthcoming NATO Summit in Chicago on 20-21 May, heads of state and government will lay the foundations for the Alliance's future forces to 2020.

"In Chicago, we will take the next steps, by approving a specific set of commitments and measures, and embracing the new approach we call Smart Defence," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

"The Smart Defence concept encourages nations to maximise the efficiency of their defence spending by focusing on greater prioritisation, specialisation and multinational cooperation in their acquisition of modern equipment.

"Leaders at the Chicago Summit are expected to approve a package of defence measures which includes specific multinational projects and a strong commitment to making Smart Defence the new way the Alliance does business. It will also include measures to sustain and increase the links between the armed forces of different NATO nations.

"In Chicago, we will adopt a series of measures in the fields of education and training, exercises and technology, to make sure that our forces maintain the strong connections they have developed during our operations. We call it the Connected Forces Initiative," the Secretary General said.


"NATO's firm goal is to complete the transition to full Afghan security responsibility by the end of 2014, within the timetable we all agreed. And NATO's firm intention is to continue supporting Afghanistan after 2014. Because our partnership with the Afghan people is for the long term."

WASHINGTON--The Chicago NATO Summit in May will include leaders of the countries contributing troops to Afghanistan, known collectively as ISAF--the International Security Assistance Force. As NATO leaders are preparing for the Chicago Summit---Defense and Foreign ministers are in Brussels today at NATO Headquarters--a briefing on Monday here will feature Major General John A. Toolan Jr., a U.S. Marine who is the Commander of International Security Assistance Force, Regional Command Southwest (RC-SW).

Click below for details....

How will the May NATO Summit impact Chicago's image? A big reason Mayor Rahm Emanuel brought the summit to Chicago was to sell the city to the global community. An April 25 panel at DePaul University mulls how the city will fare in the spotlight.

NATO 'Summit or Plummet?' panel tonight

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Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington hosts a panel discussion tonight on the potential benefits and pitfalls of hosting the NATO summit. The program runs from 6:30 until 8 tonight at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark. It's open to the public, but reservations are recommended. 312-642-4600.

Panelists include Rachel Bronson, vice president of studies at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Steve Bynum, senior producer of Worldview, and peace activist Marilyn Katz, president of MK Communications.

WASHINGTON--Former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer hits Chicago on Tuesday to speak to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, running a speakers series in connection with the May NATO Summit in Chicago.

In other Chicago NATO activities in the run-up to the meeting of world leaders: The Chicago NATO Host Committee was scheduled to conduct a briefing for the Loop Alliance on Tuesday morning.

From the Chicago Council on Global Affairs:

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Copresident, Security and Defence Agenda; Pieter Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Justice and Security, Leiden University; and former NATO Secretary General

"The European Union (EU) is the world's largest economy and foreign aid purveyor, and its defense spending surpasses that of the BRICs combined. Yet Europe is in a prolonged crisis. Greece has received a second bailout, while many other eurozone economies are experiencing negative growth and enacting deeper austerity measures. The EU is struggling to find common positions among its members on both internal and foreign policy issues, while the United States is pivoting toward the Asia-Pacific region. Is Europe's influence in the world waning? What are the implications of the current crisis for the future of NATO and the transatlantic alliance? How can the alliance address these challenges? Join The Chicago Council and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer for a continental perspective on the developments in Europe and the future of the transatlantic alliance."

The Chicago NATO Summit in May is drawing a global conference on child malnutrition to the city on the same day--May 21. Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet story on the "1,000 Days" child malnutrition summit is HERE.

Despite the loss of the G-8 summit to Camp David, Chicago hotel operators are still optimistic that the NATO summit will provide a way to show off the city and fill rooms.

Exactly, how many rooms is still a big question, however, Hotel News Now reports. "The government still hasn't released a lot of their rooms and where they're going to be," one hotel COO said.

The Chicago NATO Summit in May includes heads of states and their foreign and defense ministers--in the U.S. we call them cabinet secretaries. The defense and foreign ministers have been meeting amongst themselves in the run-up to Chicago and a NATO spokesman in a Monday briefing gives an over-view HERE.

The Secret Service--in charge of overall security at the May NATO Summit in Chicago--just issued a bid request for equipment to protect visiting global leaders, from crash proof concrete barriers to fences that can't be climbed. Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet has the report HERE.

EU leaders to attend NATO summit in Chicago

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European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso will join NATO members at the Chicago summit May 20-21, New Europe Online reports.