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Old Thursday, December 09, 2010
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“Strategic Concept
For the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty
Adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon
Active Engagement, Modern Defence
We, the Heads of State and Government of the NATO nations, are
determined that NATO will continue to play its unique and essential role in
ensuring our common defence and security. This Strategic Concept will guide
the next phase in NATO’s evolution, so that it continues to be effective in a
changing world, against new threats, with new capabilities and new partners:
It reconfirms the bond between our nations to defend one another against
attack, including against new threats to the safety of our citizens.
It commits the Alliance to prevent crises, manage conflicts and stabilize
post-conflict situations, including by working more closely with our
international partners, most importantly the United Nations and the
European Union.
It offers our partners around the globe more political engagement with the
Alliance, and a substantial role in shaping the NATO-led operations to
which they contribute.
It commits NATO to the goal of creating the conditions for a world without
nuclear weapons – but reconfirms that, as long as there are nuclear
weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance.
It restates our firm commitment to keep the door to NATO open to all
European democracies that meet the standards of membership, because
enlargement contributes to our goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace.
It commits NATO to continuous reform towards a more effective, efficient
and flexible Alliance, so that our taxpayers get the most security for the
money they invest in defence.
The citizens of our countries rely on NATO to defend Allied nations, to deploy
robust military forces where and when required for our security, and to help
promote common security with our partners around the globe. While the
world is changing, NATO’s essential mission will remain the same: to ensure
that the Alliance remains an unparalleled community of freedom, peace,
security and shared values.
Core Tasks and Principles
1. NATO’s fundamental and enduring purpose is to safeguard the freedom and
security of all its members by political and military means. Today, the
Alliance remains an essential source of stability in an unpredictable world.
2. NATO member states form a unique community of values, committed to the
principles of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
The Alliance is firmly committed to the purposes and principles of the Charter
of the United Nations, and to the Washington Treaty, which affirms the
primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of
international peace and security.
3. The political and military bonds between Europe and North America have
been forged in NATO since the Alliance was founded in 1949; the
transatlantic link remains as strong, and as important to the preservation of
Euro-Atlantic peace and security, as ever. The security of NATO members
on both sides of the Atlantic is indivisible. We will continue to defend it
together, on the basis of solidarity, shared purpose and fair burden-sharing.
4. The modern security environment contains a broad and evolving set of
challenges to the security of NATO’s territory and populations. In order to
assure their security, the Alliance must and will continue fulfilling effectively
three essential core tasks, all of which contribute to safeguarding Alliance
members, and always in accordance with international law:
a. Collective defence. NATO members will always assist each other
against attack, in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington
Treaty. That commitment remains firm and binding. NATO will
deter and defend against any threat of aggression, and against
emerging security challenges where they threaten the fundamental
security of individual Allies or the Alliance as a whole.
b. Crisis management. NATO has a unique and robust set of
political and military capabilities to address the full spectrum of
crises – before, during and after conflicts. NATO will actively
employ an appropriate mix of those political and military tools to
help manage developing crises that have the potential to affect
Alliance security, before they escalate into conflicts; to stop ongoing
conflicts where they affect Alliance security; and to help consolidate
stability in post-conflict situations where that contributes to Euro-
Atlantic security.
c. Cooperative security. The Alliance is affected by, and can affect,
political and security developments beyond its borders. The
Alliance will engage actively to enhance international security,
through partnership with relevant countries and other international
organisations; by contributing actively to arms control, nonproliferation
and disarmament; and by keeping the door to
membership in the Alliance open to all European democracies that
meet NATO’s standards.
5. NATO remains the unique and essential transatlantic forum for consultations
on all matters that affect the territorial integrity, political independence and
security of its members, as set out in Article 4 of the Washington Treaty. Any
security issue of interest to any Ally can be brought to the NATO table, to
share information, exchange views and, where appropriate, forge common
6. In order to carry out the full range of NATO missions as effectively and
efficiently as possible, Allies will engage in a continuous process of reform,
modernisation and transformation.
The Security Environment
7. Today, the Euro-Atlantic area is at peace and the threat of a conventional
attack against NATO territory is low. That is an historic success for the
policies of robust defence, Euro-Atlantic integration and active partnership
that have guided NATO for more than half a century.
8. However, the conventional threat cannot be ignored. Many regions and
countries around the world are witnessing the acquisition of substantial,
modern military capabilities with consequences for international stability and
Euro-Atlantic security that are difficult to predict. This includes the
proliferation of ballistic missiles, which poses a real and growing threat to the
Euro-Atlantic area.
9. The proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction,
and their means of delivery, threatens incalculable consequences for global
stability and prosperity. During the next decade, proliferation will be most
acute in some of the world’s most volatile regions.
10. Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of the citizens of NATO
countries, and to international stability and prosperity more broadly. Extremist
groups continue to spread to, and in, areas of strategic importance to the
Alliance, and modern technology increases the threat and potential impact of
terrorist attacks, in particular if terrorists were to acquire nuclear, chemical,
biological or radiological capabilities.
11. Instability or conflict beyond NATO borders can directly threaten Alliance
security, including by fostering extremism, terrorism, and trans-national illegal
activities such as trafficking in arms, narcotics and people.
12. Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, more organised and more costly
in the damage that they inflict on government administrations, businesses,
economies and potentially also transportation and supply networks and other
critical infrastructure; they can reach a threshold that threatens national and
Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security and stability. Foreign militaries and
intelligence services, organised criminals, terrorist and/or extremist groups
can each be the source of such attacks.
13. All countries are increasingly reliant on the vital communication, transport and
transit routes on which international trade, energy security and prosperity
depend. They require greater international efforts to ensure their resilience
against attack or disruption. Some NATO countries will become more
dependent on foreign energy suppliers and in some cases, on foreign energy
supply and distribution networks for their energy needs. As a larger share of
world consumption is transported across the globe, energy supplies are
increasingly exposed to disruption.
14. A number of significant technology-related trends – including the development
of laser weapons, electronic warfare and technologies that impede access to
space – appear poised to have major global effects that will impact on NATO
military planning and operations.
15. Key environmental and resource constraints, including health risks, climate
change, water scarcity and increasing energy needs will further shape the
future security environment in areas of concern to NATO and have the
potential to significantly affect NATO planning and operations.
Defence and Deterrence
16. The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territory
and our populations against attack, as set out in Article 5 of the Washington
Treaty. The Alliance does not consider any country to be its adversary.
However, no one should doubt NATO’s resolve if the security of any of its
members were to be threatened.
17. Deterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional
capabilities, remains a core element of our overall strategy. The
circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be
contemplated are extremely remote. As long as nuclear weapons exist,
NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.
18. The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the
strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States;
the independent strategic nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France,
which have a deterrent role of their own, contribute to the overall deterrence
and security of the Allies.
19. We will ensure that NATO has the full range of capabilities necessary to deter
and defend against any threat to the safety and security of our populations.
Therefore, we will:
maintain an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces;
maintain the ability to sustain concurrent major joint operations and
several smaller operations for collective defence and crisis
response, including at strategic distance;
develop and maintain robust, mobile and deployable conventional
forces to carry out both our Article 5 responsibilities and the
Alliance’s expeditionary operations, including with the NATO
Response Force;
carry out the necessary training, exercises, contingency planning
and information exchange for assuring our defence against the full
range of conventional and emerging security challenges, and
provide appropriate visible assurance and reinforcement for all
ensure the broadest possible participation of Allies in collective
defence planning on nuclear roles, in peacetime basing of nuclear
forces, and in command, control and consultation arrangements;
develop the capability to defend our populations and territories
against ballistic missile attack as a core element of our collective
defence, which contributes to the indivisible security of the Alliance.
We will actively seek cooperation on missile defence with Russia
and other Euro-Atlantic partners;
further develop NATO’s capacity to defend against the threat of
chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons of mass
develop further our ability to prevent, detect, defend against and
recover from cyber-attacks, including by using the NATO planning
process to enhance and coordinate national cyber-defence
capabilities, bringing all NATO bodies under centralized cyber
protection, and better integrating NATO cyber awareness, warning
and response with member nations;
enhance the capacity to detect and defend against international
terrorism, including through enhanced analysis of the threat, more
consultations with our partners, and the development of appropriate
military capabilities, including to help train local forces to fight
terrorism themselves;
develop the capacity to contribute to energy security, including
protection of critical energy infrastructure and transit areas and
lines, cooperation with partners, and consultations among Allies on
the basis of strategic assessments and contingency planning;
ensure that the Alliance is at the front edge in assessing the
security impact of emerging technologies, and that military planning
takes the potential threats into account;
sustain the necessary levels of defence spending, so that our
armed forces are sufficiently resourced;
continue to review NATO’s overall posture in deterring and
defending against the full range of threats to the Alliance, taking
into account changes to the evolving international security
Security through Crisis Management
20. Crises and conflicts beyond NATO’s borders can pose a direct threat to the
security of Alliance territory and populations. NATO will therefore engage,
where possible and when necessary, to prevent crises, manage crises,
stabilize post-conflict situations and support reconstruction.
21. The lessons learned from NATO operations, in particular in Afghanistan and
the Western Balkans, make it clear that a comprehensive political, civilian and
military approach is necessary for effective crisis management. The Alliance
will engage actively with other international actors before, during and after
crises to encourage collaborative analysis, planning and conduct of activities
on the ground, in order to maximise coherence and effectiveness of the
overall international effort.
22. The best way to manage conflicts is to prevent them from happening. NATO
will continually monitor and analyse the international environment to
anticipate crises and, where appropriate, take active steps to prevent them
from becoming larger conflicts.
23. Where conflict prevention proves unsuccessful, NATO will be prepared and
capable to manage ongoing hostilities. NATO has unique conflict
management capacities, including the unparalleled capability to deploy and
sustain robust military forces in the field. NATO-led operations have
demonstrated the indispensable contribution the Alliance can make to
international conflict management efforts.
24. Even when conflict comes to an end, the international community must often
provide continued support, to create the conditions for lasting stability. NATO
will be prepared and capable to contribute to stabilisation and reconstruction,
in close cooperation and consultation wherever possible with other relevant
international actors.
25. To be effective across the crisis management spectrum, we will:
enhance intelligence sharing within NATO, to better predict when
crises might occur, and how they can best be prevented;
further develop doctrine and military capabilities for expeditionary
operations, including counterinsurgency, stabilization and
reconstruction operations;
form an appropriate but modest civilian crisis management
capability to interface more effectively with civilian partners, building
on the lessons learned from NATO-led operations. This capability
may also be used to plan, employ and coordinate civilian activities
until conditions allow for the transfer of those responsibilities and
tasks to other actors;
enhance integrated civilian-military planning throughout the crisis
develop the capability to train and develop local forces in crisis
zones, so that local authorities are able, as quickly as possible, to
maintain security without international assistance;
identify and train civilian specialists from member states, made
available for rapid deployment by Allies for selected missions, able
to work alongside our military personnel and civilian specialists
from partner countries and institutions;
broaden and intensify the political consultations among Allies, and
with partners, both on a regular basis and in dealing with all stages
of a crisis – before, during and after.
Promoting International Security through Cooperation
Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation
26. NATO seeks its security at the lowest possible level of forces. Arms control,
disarmament and non-proliferation contribute to peace, security and stability,
and should ensure undiminished security for all Alliance members. We will
continue to play our part in reinforcing arms control and in promoting
disarmament of both conventional weapons and weapons of mass
destruction, as well as non-proliferation efforts:
We are resolved to seek a safer world for all and to create the
conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with
the goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in a way that
promotes international stability, and is based on the principle of
undiminished security for all.
With the changes in the security environment since the end of the
Cold War, we have dramatically reduced the number of nuclear
weapons stationed in Europe and our reliance on nuclear weapons
in NATO strategy. We will seek to create the conditions for further
reductions in the future.
In any future reductions, our aim should be to seek Russian
agreement to increase transparency on its nuclear weapons in
Europe and relocate these weapons away from the territory of
NATO members. Any further steps must take into account the
disparity with the greater Russian stockpiles of short-range nuclear
We are committed to conventional arms control, which provides
predictability, transparency and a means to keep armaments at the
lowest possible level for stability. We will work to strengthen the
conventional arms control regime in Europe on the basis of
reciprocity, transparency and host-nation consent.
We will explore ways for our political means and military capabilities
to contribute to international efforts to fight proliferation.
National decisions regarding arms control and disarmament may
have an impact on the security of all Alliance members. We are
committed to maintain, and develop as necessary, appropriate
consultations among Allies on these issues.
Open Door
27. NATO’s enlargement has contributed substantially to the security of Allies; the
prospect of further enlargement and the spirit of cooperative security have
advanced stability in Europe more broadly. Our goal of a Europe whole and
free, and sharing common values, would be best served by the eventual
integration of all European countries that so desire into Euro-Atlantic
The door to NATO membership remains fully open to all European
democracies which share the values of our Alliance, which are willing and
able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership, and
whose inclusion can contribute to common security and stability.
28. The promotion of Euro-Atlantic security is best assured through a wide
network of partner relationships with countries and organisations around the
globe. These partnerships make a concrete and valued contribution to the
success of NATO’s fundamental tasks.
29. Dialogue and cooperation with partners can make a concrete contribution to
enhancing international security, to defending the values on which our
Alliance is based, to NATO’s operations, and to preparing interested nations
for membership of NATO. These relationships will be based on reciprocity,
mutual benefit and mutual respect.
30. We will enhance our partnerships through flexible formats that bring NATO
and partners together – across and beyond existing frameworks:
We are prepared to develop political dialogue and practical
cooperation with any nations and relevant organisations across the
globe that share our interest in peaceful international relations.
We will be open to consultation with any partner country on security
issues of common concern.
We will give our operational partners a structural role in shaping
strategy and decisions on NATO-led missions to which they
We will further develop our existing partnerships while preserving
their specificity.
31. Cooperation between NATO and the United Nations continues to make a
substantial contribution to security in operations around the world. The
Alliance aims to deepen political dialogue and practical cooperation with the
UN, as set out in the UN-NATO Declaration signed in 2008, including through:
enhanced liaison between the two Headquarters;
more regular political consultation; and
enhanced practical cooperation in managing crises where both
organisations are engaged.
32. An active and effective European Union contributes to the overall security of
the Euro-Atlantic area. Therefore the EU is a unique and essential partner for
NATO. The two organisations share a majority of members, and all members
of both organisations share common values. NATO recognizes the
importance of a stronger and more capable European defence. We welcome
the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which provides a framework for
strengthening the EU’s capacities to address common security challenges.
Non-EU Allies make a significant contribution to these efforts. For the
strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, their fullest involvement in
these efforts is essential. NATO and the EU can and should play
complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international
peace and security. We are determined to make our contribution to create
more favourable circumstances through which we will:
fully strengthen the strategic partnership with the EU, in the spirit of
full mutual openness, transparency, complementarity and respect
for the autonomy and institutional integrity of both organisations;
enhance our practical cooperation in operations throughout the
crisis spectrum, from coordinated planning to mutual support in the
broaden our political consultations to include all issues of common
concern, in order to share assessments and perspectives;
cooperate more fully in capability development, to minimise
duplication and maximise cost-effectiveness.
33. NATO-Russia cooperation is of strategic importance as it contributes to
creating a common space of peace, stability and security. NATO poses no
threat to Russia. On the contrary: we want to see a true strategic partnership
between NATO and Russia, and we will act accordingly, with the expectation
of reciprocity from Russia.
34. The NATO-Russia relationship is based upon the goals, principles and
commitments of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and the Rome Declaration,
especially regarding the respect of democratic principles and the sovereignty,
independence and territorial integrity of all states in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Notwithstanding differences on particular issues, we remain convinced that
the security of NATO and Russia is intertwined and that a strong and
constructive partnership based on mutual confidence, transparency and
predictability can best serve our security. We are determined to:
enhance the political consultations and practical cooperation with
Russia in areas of shared interests, including missile defence,
counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, counter-piracy and the
promotion of wider international security;
use the full potential of the NATO-Russia Council for dialogue and
joint action with Russia.
35. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace are central
to our vision of Europe whole, free and in peace. We are firmly committed to
the development of friendly and cooperative relations with all countries of the
Mediterranean, and we intend to further develop the Mediterranean Dialogue
in the coming years. We attach great importance to peace and stability in the
Gulf region, and we intend to strengthen our cooperation in the Istanbul
Cooperation Initiative. We will aim to:
enhance consultations and practical military cooperation with our
partners in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council;
continue and develop the partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia
within the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia Commissions, based
on the NATO decision at the Bucharest summit 2008, and taking
into account the Euro-Atlantic orientation or aspiration of each of
the countries;
facilitate the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans, with
the aim to ensure lasting peace and stability based on democratic
values, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations;
deepen the cooperation with current members of the Mediterranean
Dialogue and be open to the inclusion in the Mediterranean
Dialogue of other countries of the region;
develop a deeper security partnership with our Gulf partners and
remain ready to welcome new partners in the Istanbul Cooperation
Reform and Transformation
36. Unique in history, NATO is a security Alliance that fields military forces able to
operate together in any environment; that can control operations anywhere
through its integrated military command structure; and that has at its disposal
core capabilities that few Allies could afford individually.
37. NATO must have sufficient resources – financial, military and human – to
carry out its missions, which are essential to the security of Alliance
populations and territory. Those resources must, however, be used in the
most efficient and effective way possible. We will:
maximise the deployability of our forces, and their capacity to
sustain operations in the field, including by undertaking focused
efforts to meet NATO’s usability targets;
ensure the maximum coherence in defence planning, to reduce
unnecessary duplication, and to focus our capability development
on modern requirements;
develop and operate capabilities jointly, for reasons of costeffectiveness
and as a manifestation of solidarity;
preserve and strengthen the common capabilities, standards,
structures and funding that bind us together;
engage in a process of continual reform, to streamline structures,
improve working methods and maximise efficiency.
An Alliance for the 21st Century
38. We, the political leaders of NATO, are determined to continue renewal of our
Alliance so that it is fit for purpose in addressing the 21st Century security
challenges. We are firmly committed to preserve its effectiveness as the
globe’s most successful political-military Alliance. Our Alliance thrives as a
source of hope because it is based on common values of individual liberty,
democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and because our common
essential and enduring purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its
members. These values and objectives are universal and perpetual, and we
are determined to defend them through unity, solidarity, strength and resolve.
"People take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities".
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