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NATO - Present and future

 

NATO and its partners will continue to promote and defend common fundamental values such as democracy, individual freedom, rule of law, market economy, peaceful settlement of conflicts, openness and transparency, but also international co-operation in order to successfully address the challenges of the new millennium.

The 2010 Strategic Concept of the Alliance (http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_68172.htm )

At their Summit meeting in Lisbon (19-20 November 2010), NATO Heads of State and Government adopted a fundamental document for the Alliance in next decade, entitled “Active Engagement, Modern Defence : NATO's New Strategic Concept”. This document will serve as the Alliance's roadmap for the next ten years, reconfirms the commitment of Allies to defend one another against attack as the bedrock of Euro-Atlantic security and lays out NATO's vision for an evolving Alliance that will remain able to defend its members against modern threats, committing NATO to become more agile, more capable and more effective.

It will serve as guide for NATO decision-makers on how to further transform the Alliance as well as their own national defence structures and capabilities. The Concept also gives the public in Alliance countries and beyond a clear sense of NATO’s core tasks, future roles, capabilities and deepening partnerships.

Stressing that the time has come for NATO to develop new capabilities and new partnerships, the new Strategic Concept paves the way for the Alliance to modernise its ability to carry out its core mission of collective defence, while continuing to promote international stability.

The new Strategic Concept urges Allies to invest in key capabilities to meet emerging threats and agree to develop within NATO the capabilities necessary to defend against ballistic missile attacks and cyber attacks.

The new Strategic Concept offers partner countries around the globe more opportunities for dialogue and cooperation and commits NATO to reinforce cooperation with Russia. It also keeps the door firmly open to membership in NATO to European democracies.

The document highlights the need for NATO to remain ready to play an active role in crisis management operations, whenever it is called to act. Finally, it points to the need for the Alliance to remain cost-effective and makes continuous internal reform a key aspect of the way the Alliance will do business in the future.

 

NATO's objectives for the future:

Transformation

As threats evolve and change, NATO is bound, in its turn, to undergo changes so that it may adequately respond to this challenge. The transformation process will at all times be based on NATO’s core values.

Due to the increasing number and complexity of NATO’s operations, the transformation of the collective defense system has become a constant requirement for each Member State. Given the global financial crisis and the limited resources allotted to defense, Member States will have to make further efforts to maintain the defense system to optimal standards.

Collective defense

Collective defense is and remains the main objective of NATO. In order to maintain security of its Member States, NATO may have to act beyond their borders to remove threats wherever they occur, thereby creating a safer international environment.

Stabilizing Afghanistan

One of the most difficult operations of the Alliance is currently taking place in Afghanistan, under the UN mandate. The main challenges are represented by the opposition groups of extremist insurgents, as well as the need for Afganistan’ to increase its level of development, improve governance, create better equipped and trained armed forces, establish good neighborly relations with its neighbors.

The prospect to give Afghan citizens a chance to live in peace and freedom, to guarantee a safe and secure region, and  security for NATO Member States depends on the successful completion of this task. In order to support the operation in Afghanistan, NATO pays special attention to developing closer cooperation with Afghanistan neighboring countries, such as Pakistan and Central Asian partner countries.

The success of this operation cannot be achieved by military means alone. Support is provided in addition for proper training and equipment of the Afghan forces. The objective is to make sure that the Afghan army can take over progressively the major stabilization activities currently carried out by ISAF.

Cooperation with other international organizations and non-member states

Both in Afghanistan and other areas where NATO carries out its operations and missions, it cooperates with other international organizations such as UN, EU or the World Bank. NATO is not specialized in civil reconstruction. Therefore, it establishes partnerships with organizations that have expertise in areas such as building political institutions, economic and social development, creating an effective legal system etc.

In its missions and operations NATO cooperates with non-member states as well. These countries contribute troops and other resources to the successful completion of operations and missions they take part in.

NATO has expanded cooperation with partner countries and international organizations in areas such as fighting terrorism, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, energy security but also protection against cyber attacks. In this regard, the UN-NATO declaration, signed in September 2008, will serve to increase cooperation between the two organizations in key areas, including NATO support for UN operations and activities in preventing terrorism.

Using the experience gained in implementing defense reform, but also through training and educational programs, NATO provides support for “security building” to certain non-member countries in developing their capacity to solve security problems. In this regard, NATO has developed institutional mechanisms for partnership – the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative - and strengthened its relations with countries in the Asia Pacific region. The NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia Commissions are very useful in preparing the two partner states to meet NATO membership criteria, helping them accomplish the necessary reforms.

NATO will also continue to develop its relations with Russia and intensify cooperation in fields of common interest such as fighting terrorism and stabilizing Afghanistan, while sticking to its values and principles.

NATO-EU Partnership

NATO attaches great importance to its relations with the European Union, which develops its own Common Foreign and Security Policy. NATO wants to establish a solid partnership with the European Union, not only with regard to military cooperation in geographical areas of common concern such as Kosovo and Afghanistan, but in point of political dialogue as well.

In developing this partnership, both organisations will seek to avoid activity overlapping and to have Member States get extensively involved in the operations of each organization, in order to use most efficiently the shared resources available.

Addressing new types of threats present and future

Although operations are the most visible part of NATO activity, the North Atlantic Alliance is currently concerned with new types of threats such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, energy security or cyber attacks. These threats are complex and have both a civilian and a military dimension. Therefore, NATO does not want to have a monopoly in terms of countering them, but to make its own contribution to the common response to these threats.

Given the unpredictibility of these threats, NATO seeks to anticipate challenges and use political and military resources available in order to reduce risks as much as possible.

 

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