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Research Report


Atlantic Council
Copyright Date: May. 17, 2010
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 58
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 4-4)

    At their Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl in April, 2009, Alliance leaders directed Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to convene a broadly-based group of qualified experts to prepare the ground for a new NATO Strategic Concept. The Group of Experts, led by its chair Madeleine K. Albright (United States) and vice-chair Jeroen van der Veer (The Netherlands), began work in September 2009. In line with its mandate to encourage an open discussion of NATO’s organisation and purpose, the Group engaged in an extensive series of seminars and consultations with scholars and officials, civilian and military alike, from within and outside the Alliance....

  2. (pp. 5-12)

    The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) enters the second decade of the twenty-first century as an essential source of stability in an uncertain and unpredictable world. Looking ahead, the Alliance has ample grounds for confidence. The democratic principles that initially brought it together remain valid. The Cold War rivalry that once stirred fears of nuclear Armageddon has long since disappeared. NATO’s role in maintaining the unity, security and freedom of the Euro-Atlantic region is ongoing. Its status as the globe’s most successful political-military Alliance is unchallenged. Yet NATO’s past accomplishments provide no guarantee for the future. Between now and 2020,...

  3. Part Two: Further Analysis and Recommendations

    • (pp. 13-18)

      Through its policies and actions, NATO has helped to forge for itself a zone of security, peace, and relative prosperity in a world that is more tumultuous and uncertain than when, in 1999, the previous Strategic Concept was adopted. The Alliance remains a cornerstone of stability in the Euro-Atlantic region thanks to its political cohesion, commitment to mutual defence, and wide-ranging capabilities. Over the past two decades, it has successfully integrated twelve new members from Central and Eastern Europe, developed vital new partnerships, and taken on a number of missions that contribute daily to its own security and to that...

    • (pp. 19-21)

      NATO’s overriding purpose, set out in the North Atlantic Treaty, is “to safeguard the freedom, common heritage, and civilisation” of its members. The treaty signatories proposed to achieve this objective by uniting “their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security.” These actions have always required that the Alliance perform certain core tasks the nature of which has evolved in keeping with alterations in the international security landscape. In the past two decades, as threats to the Euro-Atlantic region have grown more mobile and diverse, NATO has assumed new and broader missions that could hardly have...

    • (pp. 22-30)

      The passing years have created the need for a NATO of greater flexibility and reach, causing the Alliance to turn more often to partners for help in responding to threats and in making the most effective use of its resources. Productive relationships with other countries and organisations enable NATO to be more vigilant, better prepared, and smarter in what it does. Although NATO’s formal partnership arrangements began in Europe, they have since spread to encompass the Mediterranean and Middle East. In addition, some countries participate in NATO missions but do not fall within a formal partnership structure; these are categorized...

    • (pp. 31-36)

      Since 1999, the Alliance has almost doubled in size, confronted a number of new dangers, engaged in operations more distant and complex than any previously attempted, lived through a severe international economic crisis, and established political dialogues and partnerships that extend far beyond the Euro-Atlantic region. Not surprisingly, these rapid changes have been accompanied by considerable internal strain. The new Strategic Concept allows the Alliance to take stock of recent events and to search for a fresh consensus on issues that are central to the future management and direction of the organisation. These issues include:

      Lessons of Afghanistan

      Guidelines for...

    • (pp. 37-46)

      NATO’s 1999 Strategic Concept included a section on “Guidelines for the Alliance’s Forces” which established goals for transforming capabilities to meet the challenges of a new century. The document called for a well-trained and equipped force and command structure able to provide collective defence, respond rapidly to emergencies, and engage in complex joint operations beyond Allied territory. At the same summit in Washington, leaders approved a separate Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI) to address five broad NATO force needs: 1) Mobility and Deployability, 2) Sustainability and Logistics, 3) Effective Engagement, 4) Survivability, and 5) Interoperable Communications. Although necessary and timely, the...

    • (pp. 47-48)

      The process of developing a new Strategic Concept should provide a timely reminder to all that NATO serves unique and indispensable functions. Without NATO during the Cold War, the Euro-Atlantic region would have entered the twenty-first century deprived of freedom in its East and with no common strategy in its West; the world would still be hostage to a superpower rivalry, with nuclear annihilation a single miscalculation away.

      Without NATO in the 1990s, the newly-freed states of Central and East Europe would have lacked a powerful incentive to embrace democracy internally and to mend fences with external rivals. Meanwhile, the...