NATO has developed a number of partnership tools and mechanisms to support cooperation with partner countries through a mix of policies, programmes, action plans and other arrangements. Many tools are focused on the important priorities of building capabilities and interoperability, and supporting defence and security-related reform.
Most of these partnership tools were originally developed in the framework of NATO’s cooperation with Euro-Atlantic partners through the Partnership for Peace (PfP). However, with the reform of NATO’s partnerships policy in April 2011, steps were taken to open the “toolbox” to all partners, across and beyond existing regional partnership frameworks.
From 2012 onwards, all partners have access to a new Partnership Cooperation Menu, which comprises some 1, 400 activities. An Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP) is jointly developed and agreed between NATO and each partner country that requests one. These two-year programmes are drawn upon, among other things, the activities in the extensive Partnership Cooperation Menu, according to each country’s specific interests and needs. IPCPs form the basis of a partner’s cooperation with NATO. In addition, a myriad of other tools are available to partners, according to the specific areas of cooperation they wish to develop with the Alliance.
Partner countries have made and continue to make significant contributions to the Alliance’s operations and missions, whether it be supporting peace in the Western Balkans and Afghanistan, training national security forces in Iraq, monitoring maritime activity in the Mediterranean Sea, or helping protect civilians in Libya.
A number of tools have been developed to ensure that partner forces are capable of participating actively in NATO-led operations. They include the following:
The Planning and Review Process (PARP) helps develop the interoperability and capabilities of forces which might be made available for NATO training, exercises and operations. It also provides a framework to assist partners to develop effective, affordable and sustainable armed forces as well as promoting wider defence and security-sector transformation and reform efforts. PARP is open to Euro-Atlantic partners on a voluntary basis and is open to other partner countries on a case-by-case basis, upon approval of the North Atlantic Council. Under PARP, planning targets are negotiated with each country and regular reviews measure progress. PARP is conducted by Allies and participating partners together.
The Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) Evaluation and Feedback Programme is used to develop and train partner land, maritime, air or special operations forces that are declared available for NATO-led operations and the NATO Response Force, so that they meet NATO standards. This can often take a few years, but it ensures that partner forces are effective and interoperable with Allied forces once deployed. Some partners use the OCC as a strategic tool to transform their defence forces. The OCC has contributed significantly to the increasing number of partner forces participating in NATO-led operations and the NATO Response Force.
The Political-Military Framework (PMF) sets out principles, modalities and guidelines for the involvement of all partner countries in political consultations and decision-shaping, in operational planning and in command arrangements for operations to which they contribute. A review of the Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations was launched at the 2010 Lisbon Summit to update the way NATO works together with partner countries and shapes decisions on the operations and missions to which they contribute. This review was conducted, in consultation with partners, in 2011.
The Defence Education Enhancement Programmes (DEEPs) are tailored programmes through which the Alliance advises partners on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the security, defence and military domain. DEEPs focus on faculty building or so-called “educate the educators” programmes. They can cover areas such as how to teach leadership and critical thinking. DEEPs are open to all NATO partners. The Military Training and Exercise Programme (MTEP) allows partners to take part in exercises to promote interoperability. Through the MTEP, a five-year planning horizon provides a starting point for exercise planning and the allocation of resources. The Bi-Strategic Command Military Cooperation Division, which is principally located at SHAPE in Mons, Belgium, is responsible for supporting partner involvement in exercises. In addition, and on a case-by-case basis, Allies may invite partners to take part in North Atlantic Council-level crisis-management exercises that engage ministries in participating capitals, and national political and military representation at NATO Headquarters, in consultations on the strategic management of crises during an exercise.
The Partnership Action Plan on Terrorism (PAP-T) is a framework through which Allies and partner countries work to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism, through political consultation and a range of practical measures. It facilitates consultation and cooperation in areas such as intelligence-sharing, terrorism-related training and exercises, and the development of capabilities for defence against terrorist attack or for dealing with the consequences of such an attack. Other areas of cooperation include border management and security, air defence and air-traffic management. Defence against terrorism is also the first of three key priorities of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, which over time has initiated a broad range of activities in topical areas related to the defence against terrorism. PAP-T was launched at the Prague Summit in 2002 and continues to evolve in line with the joint aims and efforts of Allies and partners.
Opportunities for cooperation between NATO and partners in the areas of armaments, air defence, and airspace and air traffic management are provided through the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD), the Air Defence Committee (ADC) and the Air Traffic Management Committee (ATMC).
Several tools have been developed to provide assistance to partner countries in their own efforts to transform defence and security-related structures and policies, and to manage the economic and social consequences of reforms. An important priority is to promote the development of effective defence institutions that are under civil and democratic control.
Some of the main tools supporting transformation include the following:
Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs) offer partners the opportunity to deepen their cooperation with NATO and sharpen the focus on domestic reform efforts. Developed on a two-year basis, these plans include a wide range of objectives and targets for reforms on political issues as well as security and defence issues. They are designed to bring together all the various cooperation mechanisms through which a partner country interacts with the Alliance. Since the launch of the IPAP in 2002, five countries have chosen to develop IPAPs with NATO. The development of IPAPs is open to all partners, on a case-by-case basis, upon approval of the North Atlantic Council.
The Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building (PAP-DIB) aims to reinforce efforts by partner countries to reform and restructure their defence institutions to meet domestic needs as well as international commitments. Launched in 2004, the PAP-DIB defines common objectives, encourages exchange of relevant experience and helps tailor and focus bilateral defence and security assistance programmes for partner countries to support them in conducting these reforms. The objectives of the Action Plan include, for instance, effective and transparent arrangements for the democratic control of defence activities, civilian participation in developing defence and security policy, compliance with international norms and practices in the defence sector and effective management of defence spending. The Planning and Review Process (PARP) mechanism serves as a key instrument for implementing the Action Plan’s objectives.
Education and training in a number of areas is offered to decision-makers, military forces, civil servants and representatives of civil society through institutions such as the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany; the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy; and some 20 national Partnership Training and Education Centres. Moreover, the Education and Training for Defence Reform initiative supports the education of civilian and military personnel in efficient and effective management of national defence institutions under civil and democratic control.
In addition, a Professional Development Programme can be launched for the civilian personnel of defence and security establishments to strengthen the capacity for democratic management and oversight. Training provided under such a programme is closely aligned to the partner country's overall defence and security-sector reform objectives and harmonised and de-conflicted with the bilateral efforts of individual Allies and other programmes.
Through the Partnership Trust Fund policy, individual Allies and partners support practical demilitarization projects and defence transformation projects in partner countries through individual Trust Funds.
The Building Integrity Initiative is aimed at promoting good practice, strengthening transparency, accountability and integrity to reduce the risk of corruption in the defence establishments of Allies and partners alike. This includes developing a tailored programme to support the Afghan National Security Forces as well as supporting good practice in contracting and implementation of the NATO Afghan First Policy.
The NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme promotes joint cooperative projects between Allies and partners in the field of security-related civil science and technology. Funding applications should address SPS key priorities -- these are linked to NATO’s strategic objectives and focus on projects in direct support to NATO’s operations, as well as projects that enhance defence against terrorism and address other security threats.
Disaster response and preparedness is also an important area of cooperation with partners. The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) is a “24/7” focal point for coordinating disaster-relief efforts among NATO and partner countries. The Centre has guided consequence-management efforts in more than 45 emergencies, including fighting floods and forest fires, and dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes. Partners are represented on many of the Alliance’s civil emergency planning groups and are also involved in education and training in this area.
Women, peace and security and the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1325 have been the subject of a policy developed and approved by Allies and partners in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). This UN resolution reaffirms the role of women in conflict and post-conflict situations and encourages greater participation of women and the incorporation of gender perspectives in peace and security efforts. The “NATO/EAPC policy for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and related issues” was first issued in December 2007 and has since been reviewed. It is supported by an Action Plan, which mainstreams related issues into NATO’s operations and policies. Many partner countries have been associating themselves with this policy including all 22 Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries, as well as partners Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.