[Text] NATO Strategic Concept – 2010 version

November 19 2010Active engagement, modern defense

Strategic Concept for the Defense and Security of Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon


We, the Heads of State and Government of the Allies, are determined that NATO will continue to play its unique and essential role, which is to guarantee our common defense and security. This Strategic Concept will guide the next phase of NATO's evolution, so that it continues to be effective in a changing world, in the face of new threats, with new capabilities and new partners:

  • It reconfirms our countries' commitment to defend each other against attack, including new threats to the security of our citizens.
  • It commits the Alliance to preventing crises, managing conflicts and stabilizing post-conflict situations, in particular by working more closely with our international partners, first and foremost the United Nations and the European Union.
  • It offers our partners around the world greater political engagement with the Alliance and a substantial role in guiding 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 it reconfirms that, as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.
  • It reaffirms our firm commitment to keep NATO's door open to all European democracies that meet the membership criteria, as enlargement contributes to our goal of a Europe free, whole and at peace.
  • It commits NATO to continuous reform, so that the Alliance becomes more effective, more efficient and more flexible and that our taxpayers obtain maximum security for the money they invest in defense.

The citizens of our states rely on NATO to defend Allied nations, to deploy robust military forces where and when our security demands, and to help promote common security with our partners around the world. . While the world changes, NATO's core mission remains the same: to ensure that the Alliance remains an unparalleled community of freedom, peace, security and shared values.

Basic tasks and principles

  1. NATO's fundamental and unchanging objective is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. Today, the Alliance remains a vital source of stability in an unpredictable world.
  2. NATO member states form a unique community of values, committed to the principles of individual freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The Alliance is resolutely committed to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations as well as the Washington Treaty, which affirms the primary responsibility of the UN Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security.
  3. Political and military ties between Europe and North America have been forged within NATO since the Alliance was founded in 1949; the transatlantic bond remains as strong and as important as ever for the preservation of Euro-Atlantic peace and security. The security of NATO member states 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 contemporary security environment harbors multiple and changing challenges for the security of the territory and populations of NATO countries. To guarantee this security, the Alliance has the duty and the will to continue to effectively fulfill three essential fundamental tasks, all of which contribute to the safeguarding of its members, and always in compliance with international law:
    1. Collective defense. Members of the Alliance will always lend each other mutual assistance against attack, in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. This commitment remains firm and binding. NATO will take measures to deter and defend against any threat of aggression and any emerging security challenge that would compromise the fundamental security of one or more Allies or the Alliance as a whole.
    2. Crisis management. NATO has a unique and powerful range of political and military capabilities to act on the full range of crises, whether before, during or after a conflict. It will actively employ an appropriate mix of these political and military tools to help manage emerging crises that could affect Alliance security before they escalate into conflict, to end ongoing conflicts that undermine Alliance security and to help build stability in post-conflict situations where this contributes to Euro-Atlantic security.
    3. cooperative security. The Alliance is subject to, but can also influence, political and security developments occurring beyond its borders. It will work actively to strengthen international security, by engaging in partnership with the appropriate countries and international organizations, by actively contributing to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, and by keeping its door open to membership of all European democracies that meet NATO standards.
  5. NATO remains the sole and indispensable forum for transatlantic consultation on all matters affecting the territorial integrity, political independence and security of its member states, as provided for in Article 4 of the Washington Treaty. Any security issue of interest to one of the Allies can be discussed at the NATO table for the sharing of information, for an exchange of views and, where appropriate, for the construction of a common approach.
  6. To be able to carry out the full range of NATO missions as effectively and efficiently as possible, Allies will engage in a continuous process of reform, modernization and transformation.

The security environment

  1. Today, the Euro-Atlantic area is at peace, and the threat of a conventional attack on NATO territory is low. This is a historic achievement for the policies that have guided NATO for more than half a century: maintaining robust defence, Euro-Atlantic integration and active partnership.
  2. However, the conventional threat cannot be ignored. Many regions and countries around the world have embarked on the acquisition of significant modern military capabilities, with consequences that are difficult to predict for international stability and Euro-Atlantic security. These include the proliferation of ballistic missiles, which represent a real and growing threat to the Atlantic Eurozone.
  3. The proliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery could have incalculable consequences for global stability and prosperity. Over the next ten years, this proliferation will be highest in some of the world's most volatile regions.
  4. Terrorism is a direct threat to the security of citizens of NATO countries and, more broadly, to international stability and prosperity. Extremist groups continue to spread, or grow, in areas of strategic importance to the Alliance, and modern technology increases the threat and potential impact of a terrorist attack, particularly if these groups were to acquire nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological capabilities.
  5. Instability or conflict beyond NATO's borders can directly threaten the security of the Alliance, in particular by fueling extremism, terrorism or illicit transnational activities, such as the trafficking of arms, drugs and 'Human being.
  6. Cyberattacks are increasing in frequency, are better organized and cause more costly damage to administrations, companies, economies, even transport and supply networks or other critical infrastructures; they risk reaching a threshold that could threaten the prosperity, security and stability of States and of the Euro-Atlantic area. Foreign armed forces and intelligence services, organized crime, terrorist and/or extremist groups are all possible sources of attack.
  7. All countries are increasingly dependent on communication, transport and transit routes, vital arteries on which international trade, energy security and prosperity are based. These spaces must be the subject of more sustained international action if they are to be able to resist attacks or disruptions. For their energy needs, some NATO countries will become more reliant on foreign suppliers and, in some cases, foreign power and distribution networks. As an ever-increasing share of global consumption moves across the globe, energy supplies are increasingly exposed to disruption.
  8. Various major technological trends – including the development of laser weapons, electronic warfare techniques and technologies limiting access to space – appear likely to have a serious global impact, which will have repercussions on military planning and operations of NATO.
  9. Major environmental and resource constraints, including health risks, climate change, water scarcity and increased energy needs, will also help shape the future security environment in areas of interest to the Alliance and could significantly affect NATO planning and operations.

defense and deterrence

  1. The primary responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend the territory and people of its member countries against attack, in accordance with Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. The Alliance does not consider any third country as its adversary. However, no one should doubt its determination should the security of one of its Member States be threatened.
  2. Deterrence, articulated around an appropriate combination of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a central element of our overall strategy. The conditions under which recourse to nuclear weapons could be envisaged are extremely improbable. As long as there are nuclear weapons, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.
  3. The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, in particular those of the United States; the independent strategic nuclear forces of the United Kingdom and France, which have their own deterrence role, contribute to the overall deterrence and to the security of the Allies.
  4. We will ensure that NATO has the full range of capabilities needed to deter and defend against any threat to the safety and security of our people. Consequently :
    • we will maintain an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional forces;
    • we will maintain our ability to simultaneously support large-scale joint operations and several smaller-scale operations for collective defense and crisis response, including at strategic distance;
    • we will retain and develop robust, mobile and projectable conventional forces for the exercise of Article 5 responsibilities and for Alliance expeditionary operations, including with the NATO Response Force;
    • we will carry out the training, exercises, contingency planning and exchange of information necessary to ensure our defense against all conventional or new security challenges and to provide any Ally, as necessary, with visible assurance and reinforcement ;
    • we will ensure the widest possible participation of Allies in collective defense planning on nuclear roles, in the stationing of nuclear forces in peacetime and in command, control and consultation arrangements;
    • we will develop our capacity to protect our populations and our territories against a ballistic missile attack, as one of the central elements of our collective defence, which contributes to the indivisible security of the Alliance. We will actively seek cooperation with Russia and other Euro-Atlantic partners in the area of ​​missile defence;
    • we will further develop NATO's capacity to defend itself against the threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction;
    • We will continue to develop our ability to prevent, detect, defend against and recover from cyberattacks, including using NATO planning to strengthen and coordinate national cyber defense capabilities, placing all NATO agencies NATO under centralized protection and by better integrating NATO's watch, warning and response functions with those of member countries;
    • we will strengthen our ability to detect and defend against international terrorism, including through deeper threat analysis, more consultation with our partners and the development of appropriate military capabilities, including to help local forces respond train themselves to fight against terrorism;
    • we will develop our capacity to contribute to energy security, including through the protection of energy infrastructure and critical transit areas and routes, through cooperation with partners and through consultations among Allies based on strategic assessments and plans of circumstance ;
    • we will ensure that the Alliance is at the forefront of assessing the security impact of emerging technologies and that military plans take into account potential threats;
    • we will feed the defense budgets at the levels necessary for our armed forces to have sufficient means;
    • We will continue to review NATO's overall deterrence and defense posture against all threats to the Alliance, taking into account changes in a changing international security environment.

Security through crisis management

  1. Crises and conflicts beyond NATO's borders can constitute a direct threat to the security of the territory and the populations of the countries of the Alliance. Accordingly, NATO will engage, where possible and necessary, to prevent or manage a crisis, stabilize a post-conflict situation or assist in reconstruction.
  2. Lessons learned from NATO operations, particularly in Afghanistan and the Western Balkans, clearly show that a comprehensive approach – political, civil and military – is essential for effective crisis management. The Alliance will actively engage with other international actors before, during and after a crisis to promote collaboration in the analysis, planning and conduct of activities on the ground, with the aim of maximizing coherence and effectiveness. overall international action.
  3. The best way to manage a conflict is to prevent it from occurring. NATO will constantly monitor and analyze the international environment to anticipate crises and, when necessary, take active measures to prevent them from developing into full-blown conflicts.
  4. Should conflict prevention fail, NATO will be ready and able to manage hostilities. NATO has unique means of conflict management, including an unrivaled ability to project and sustain robust military forces on the ground. The operations she leads have demonstrated the indispensable contribution the Alliance can make to international conflict management efforts.
  5. Even after a conflict ends, the international community must often continue to provide support to create the conditions for lasting stability. NATO will be ready and able to contribute to stabilization and reconstruction, in close cooperation and consultation, where possible, with other relevant international actors.
  6. To be effective across the spectrum of crisis management:
    • we will strengthen intelligence sharing within NATO, in order to better anticipate the possible appearance of a crisis and the best way to prevent it;
    • we will further develop military doctrine and capabilities for expeditionary operations, including counter-insurgency and stabilization and reconstruction operations;
    • We will create, drawing lessons from NATO operations, an appropriate but modest civilian crisis management structure to interact more effectively with civilian partners. This capacity may also be used for planning, conducting and coordinating civilian activities until conditions are met for the transfer of these responsibilities and tasks to other actors;
    • we will strengthen integrated civil-military planning for the full range of crises;
    • we will develop our ability to train and scale up local forces in crisis areas so that local authorities are able, as quickly as possible, to maintain security without international assistance;
    • we will identify and train civilian specialists from Member States, who will be made available for rapid deployment by Allies for specific missions and who will be able to work alongside our military and civilian specialists from countries or institutions partners;
    • We will broaden and intensify political consultations among Allies and with partners, both on a regular basis and during all stages of a crisis – before, during and after.

Promoting international security through cooperation

Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation
  1. NATO seeks to ensure its security at the lowest possible force level. Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation contribute to peace, security and stability and must ensure undiminished security for all member countries of the Alliance. We will continue to play our role in strengthening arms control and promoting disarmament, whether of conventional arms or weapons of mass destruction, as well as in non-proliferation efforts.
    • We are determined to move towards a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, in an approach that promotes international stability and is based on the principle of undiminished security for all.
    • As a result of changes in the security environment since the end of the Cold War, we have radically reduced the number of nuclear weapons stationed in Europe, as well as our reliance, in NATO strategy, on nuclear weapons. We will seek to create the conditions for further reductions.
    • For any future reductions, our goal should be to try to get Russia to agree to increase transparency about its nuclear weapons in Europe and to redeploy them away from the territory of NATO member countries. Any new measures will have to take into account the disparity between the stockpiles of short-range nuclear weapons, which are larger on the Russian side.
    • We are committed to conventional arms control, which provides predictability and transparency and is a means of keeping armaments at the minimum level required for stability. We will work to strengthen the conventional arms control regime in Europe on the basis of reciprocity, transparency and host country consent.
    • We will examine how our political means and military capabilities can contribute to international counter-proliferation efforts.
    • Nations' decisions on arms control and disarmament can impact the security of all Alliance member countries. On these issues, we are determined to maintain appropriate consultations among Allies, and to intensify them if necessary.
Open door
  1. NATO enlargement has contributed substantially to the security of the Allies; the prospect of further enlargement and the spirit of cooperative security have advanced stability more broadly in Europe. Our objective of a free and whole Europe, sharing common values, would be best served by the eventual integration of all European countries that so wish into Euro-Atlantic structures.
    • NATO's door remains wide open to all European democracies which share the values ​​of our Alliance, who are willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership and whose membership can contribute to security and to common stability.
  1. It is within the framework of a vast network of partnership relations with countries and organizations around the world that the promotion of Euro-Atlantic security can best be ensured. These partnerships make a concrete and valuable contribution to the success of NATO's fundamental tasks.
  2. Dialogue and cooperation with partners can make a concrete contribution to strengthening international security, defending the values ​​on which our Alliance is based, NATO operations and preparing interested countries for membership. to NATO. These relationships will be based on reciprocity, mutual benefit and respect.
  3. We will strengthen our partnerships in flexible ways that bring Allies and partners together – across existing frameworks and beyond.
    • We are ready to develop political dialogue and practical cooperation with any country or relevant organization around the world that shares our interest in peaceful international relations.
    • We will be open to consultation with any partner country on security issues of common interest.
    • We will provide our operations partners with a structural role in formulating strategy and decisions regarding the NATO-led missions to which they contribute.
    • We will further develop our existing partnerships while preserving their specificity.
  4. Cooperation between NATO and the UN in operations around the world continues to make an important contribution to security. The Alliance intends to deepen political dialogue and practical cooperation with the UN, as set out in the declaration signed by the two organizations in 2008, notably through:
    • a strengthened connection between the headquarters of the two organizations;
    • more regular political consultations;
    • reinforced practical cooperation for the management of crises in which the two organizations intervene.
  5. An active and effective European Union contributes to the overall security of the Euro-Atlantic area. This is why the EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. Both organizations are composed, largely, of the same states, and all their members share the same values. NATO recognizes the importance of a stronger and more efficient European defense. We welcome the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which provides a framework for strengthening the EU's capacity to address common security challenges. Non-EU Allies are making a significant contribution to this effort. For the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, their fullest involvement in this effort is essential. NATO and the EU can and must play complementary and mutually reinforcing roles in support of international peace and security. We are determined to make our contribution to create more favorable circumstances through which:
    • we will fully strengthen the strategic partnership with the EU, in the spirit of openness, transparency, complementarity and respect for the autonomy and institutional integrity of the two organizations which are complete and mutual;
    • we will improve our practical cooperation in operations, across the full spectrum of crises, from coordinated planning to mutual support on the ground;
    • we will expand our policy consultations to include all issues of common interest, in order to share assessments and points of view;
    • we will cooperate more closely in capacity development, so as to minimize duplication and maximize cost-effectiveness.
  6. NATO-Russia cooperation is of strategic importance because it contributes to the creation of a common space of peace, stability and security. NATO poses no threat to Russia. On the contrary, we want a real strategic partnership between NATO and Russia, and we will act accordingly, expecting a reciprocal attitude from Russia.
  7. The NATO Russia relationship is based on the objectives, principles and commitments set out in the NATO Russia Founding Act and the Rome Declaration, with particular reference to respect for democratic principles as well as sovereignty, independence and the territorial integrity of all States in the Atlantic Eurozone. Despite some differences on specific issues, we remain convinced that NATO and Russian security are inseparably linked and that a strong and constructive partnership, based on mutual trust, transparency and predictability, would serve to the best of our safety. We are determined:
    • to strengthen political consultations and practical cooperation with Russia in areas where our interests overlap, including missile defence, the fight against terrorism, the fight against drugs, the fight against piracy and the promotion of international security in the sense large ;
    • to exploit the full potential of the NATO Russia Council for the benefit of dialogue and joint action with Russia.
  8. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace are at the heart of our vision of a free, whole and peaceful Europe. We are firmly committed to developing relations of friendship and cooperation with all Mediterranean countries, and we intend to further develop the Mediterranean Dialogue in the years to come. We attach great importance to peace and stability in the Gulf region, and we intend to intensify our cooperation within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. We will use:
    • to strengthen consultations and practical military cooperation with our partners in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council;
    • to continue and develop partnerships with Ukraine and with Georgia within the NATO Ukraine and NATO Georgia commissions, based on the decision taken by NATO at the Bucharest Summit in 2008, and taking into account the the Euro-Atlantic orientation or aspiration of each of these countries;
    • to facilitate the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans, with the aim of ensuring lasting peace and stability there, based on democratic values, regional cooperation and good neighborly relations;
    • to deepen cooperation with the countries currently participating in the Mediterranean Dialogue and to remain open to the inclusion of other countries in the region in this Dialogue;
    • to develop a deeper security partnership with our Gulf partners and to remain ready to welcome new partners within the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
reform and transformation
  1. Unique in history, NATO is a security alliance that deploys military forces capable of operating together whatever the environment, which can control operations anywhere thanks to its integrated military command structure and which has critical capabilities that few Allies could afford individually.
  2. NATO must have sufficient resources – financial, military and human – to carry out its missions, which are essential for the security of the populations and territory of the Alliance countries. However, these resources must be used as efficiently and effectively as possible. Consequently :
    • we will maximize the deployability of our forces and their ability to sustain operations in the field, including by undertaking targeted efforts to achieve NATO force employability objectives;
    • we will ensure maximum coherence in defense planning, so as to reduce unnecessary duplication and to focus the development of our capabilities on the requirements of the contemporary world;
    • we will jointly develop and operate capacities, for reasons of profitability and as a sign of solidarity;
    • we will preserve and strengthen the common funding capacities, standards, structures and procedures that bind us together;
    • we will engage in a process of continuous reform to streamline structures, improve working methods and maximize efficiency.
An Alliance for the XNUMXst Century
  1. We, NATO's political leaders, are determined to continue renovating our Alliance to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. We are firmly committed to preserving its effectiveness as the world's most successful political-military alliance. Our Alliance thrives as a source of hope because it is based on the shared values ​​of individual freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and because our common goal – essential and immutable – 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 our unity, solidarity, strength and determination.

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