NATOs 19 leaders have agreed today on a new Strategic Concept to guide the Alliance in the coming years. This essential document sets forth NATO's role in Euro-Atlantic security and provides a strategic framework for Alliance military planners. The 1999 Strategic Concept is the sixth such document to be approved by NATO. The last Strategic Concept was produced in 1991.
NATOs new Strategic Concept is responsive to changes in the Euro-Atlantic security environment, focused on the following key elements:
Collective Defense: The Strategic Concept underscores the enduring core mission of NATO as the collective defense of its members under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.
Military Capabilities: The Concept reaffirms Allies determination to strengthen Alliance defense capabilities by ensuring forces that are more mobile, sustainable, survivable and able to engage effectively on the full spectrum of NATO missions.
New Missions: The Concept calls for improvements in NATO's capability to undertake new missions to respond to a broad spectrum of possible threats to Alliance common interests, including: regional conflicts, such as in Kosovo and Bosnia; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; and transnational threats like terrorism.
New Members: The Concept underscores NATOs continued openness to new members and Allies commitment to enlargement as part of a broader effort to enhance peace and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic community.
Strengthened Partnerships: The Concept reinforces Alliance efforts to build wide-ranging partnerships with the aim of increasing transparency and mutual confidence in security matters and enhancing the capacity of allies and partners to act together.
European Capabilities: The Concept highlights development of a European Security and Defense Identity within NATO as an essential element of NATO's ongoing adaptation, enabling European allies to make a more effective contribution to Euro-Atlantic security.