Nato's Strategic Concept
NATO’s Strategic Concept (NSC) is a document outlining the framework for the work of the Alliance, i.e. its programme policy. With the Strategic Concept of 1999 NATO’s strategy has been adapted to the situation in the post-Cold War period, while retaining the pledge provided for by Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty (collective defence) and taking account of current security threats. Today, NATO faces security and strategic challenges radically different from those in the past, which require effective responses.
At the Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl on 3 and 4 April 2009, NATO’s Heads of State and Government tasked the Secretary General to develop a new NATO Strategic Concept to be ready for adoption by NATO’s next Summit in Portugal in November 2010. Shortly upon assuming office in August 2009, the new Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, appointed a Group of Experts led by Dr Madeleine K. Albright. The aim of the Group of Experts was to present to NATO their analyses, conclusions and recommendations regarding the NSC by May 2010. The Group of Experts prepared an interim progress report before NATO’s Foreign Minister’s meeting in December 2009. A broad transatlantic consensus on the new Alliance strategy is an essential component for the Alliance to successfully adapt to new security threats and challenges.
The process of concept development was divided into three phases. The first phase, i.e. the reflection phase, from September 2009 to March 2010, a wide number of events was organised, including a series of four official seminars devoted to enabling a strategic discussion. Besides official representatives of Alliance member and partner states, it included representatives of global and regional international organisations, think-tanks, non-governmental and academic spheres.
The first Strategic Concept seminar NATO’s Fundamental Security Tasks took place in Luxembourg on 16 October 2009. The participants addressed NATO’s fundamental tasks and functions in the future. The second seminar, entitled NATO's Engagement in an Era of Globalization, was held at the Brdo Congress Centre in Slovenia on 13 November 2009. There were four panel discussions at the seminar: Experience of previous operations and their influence on the NATO future strategy; facing security threats; the breadth of the Alliance’s commitment spectrum; a comprehensive approach and possibilities for its improvement. The third seminar entitled Partnerships and Beyond, was held in Oslo, Norway, in January 2010 and the last of the four seminar, entitled Transformation, Structures, Forces and Capabilities, was held in February 2010 in Washington DC, in the USA.
As part of the second phase, i.e. the consultation phase running from March to April 2010, the members of the Group of Experts travelled to each NATO capital to discuss with governments and parliamentary committees about their conclusions and recommendations. By May 2010, the Group of Experts presented its analyses and recommendations to the Secretary General, who had, based on the Group of Experts report, prepared the first draft of the new Strategic Concept for negotiation among Allies. The Secretary General was expected to use the political guidelines to prepare the new Strategic Concept before the summer of 2010. The draft concept prepared by the Secretary General was after that negotiated among Allies at the NATO summit. The third phase, i.e. drafting and final negotiation phase was running from May to autumn 2010. Once the text has been harmonised, the Secretary General presented it at the NATO Summit in Portugal in 2010, where it was approved by Heads of State and Government and become NATO’s Strategic Concept.