NATO publishes new policy to combat weapons of mass destruction proliferation
The North Atlantic Council decided on 31 August 2009 to make public a new strategic policy for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and defending against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.
The document, which stems from the Bucharest Summit in 2008, was endorsed by Heads of State and Government at the Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl in April 2009 and constitutes a new basis for NATO’s efforts in the field of WMD.
“The document is comprehensive in scope,” said Ambassador Jacek Bylica, Head of NATO’s WMD Centre. “It is guided by a clear vision: that the Alliance – its populations, territory and forces – will be secure from threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and related materials. It provides high-level political guidance for our future activities in support of international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and regimes, as well as for military planning and capacity-building for defending against the threats posed by these weapons.”
The new document highlights “strategic enablers” that will allow the Alliance to prevent the proliferation of WMD, protect against a WMD attack, and recover should an attack take place. These enablers consist of intelligence and information sharing, international outreach and partner activities, as well as public diplomacy and strategic communication.
“In implementing this policy, NATO will foster cooperation with partners, and international and regional organizations in order to develop a common understanding of the WMD threat,” Ambassador Bylica said. “It will encourage participation in and compliance with international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.”
At the 2006 NATO Summit in Riga, the spread of WMD and the possibility that terrorists will acquire them were identified as the main threats to the Alliance over the next 10-15 years.