The Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism

  • Last updated: 11 Mar. 2015 12:30

The Partnership Action Plan against 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.

b050609ac 9th June 2005 Meetings of the Defence Ministers North Atlantic Council Meeting - General View

The PAP-T underlines the importance of protecting fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as upholding the rule of law in combating terrorism.

The Action Plan is the main platform for joint efforts by Allies and Partners in the fight against terrorism. It also reflects the determination of Allies and Partners to keep the Euro-Atlantic Partnership active and relevant to the changing security environment.

How does cooperation work in practice?

The PAP-T is a key element in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. It has also been offered to countries that participate in NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue and other interested countries, on a case-by-case basis. Participating countries agree on the level of their participation individually with NATO.

The Action Plan facilitates greater intelligence sharing and cooperation in areas such as border security, terrorism-related training and exercises, the development of capabilities for defence against terrorist attack and for managing the consequences of such an attack.

Consultations and information sharing

Allies and Partners consult regularly on their shared security concerns related to terrorism in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). They also exchange views and experience in seminars and workshops held under EAPC/PfP auspices. Partner countries may seek direct political consultations with NATO, individually or in smaller groups, on their concerns related to terrorism. In addition, NATO and Partner countries have established an EAPC/PfP Intelligence Liaison Unit at the Allied Strategic Command for Operations in Mons, Belgium, to facilitate more effective intelligence exchange.

An increasing number of non-NATO countries share information on equipment development and procurement activities to improve their national capabilities to combat terrorism. Through the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work, Allies and Partners are developing technological capabilities and solutions for defence against terrorism.

Operations and exercises

Partner countries and other non-member countries are contributing to NATO-led operations and exercises that help combat terrorism. Russia and Ukraine have contributed frigates to Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s maritime counter-terrorism operation in the Mediterranean, and Mediterranean-rim countries are also providing intelligence to this operation. Moreover, a number of non-member countries are contributing to the fight against terrorism through their support for NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and in the Balkans.

A range of exercises in combating terrorism are regularly undertaken as part of the PfP programme. Exercises organized by individual Allies and Partners “in the spirit of PfP” are also used to develop capabilities for combating terrorism.

Assisting Partners’ efforts against terrorism

Under NATO’s Political-Military Steering Committee, focused meetings are scheduled by Partners and Allies to address specific needs related to terrorism. Mentoring programmes are being developed on specific terrorism-related issues, in order to share specific experiences in combating terrorism.

NATO/PfP Trust Fund projects are also supporting Partner countries by destroying surplus and obsolete munitions or hazardous materials that could pose a security risk in the hands of terrorists.  

NATO also supports Partner countries in conducting studies on infrastructure protection and other aspects of defence against terrorism.

Allies work with Partners on defence and security-sector reform, primarily through the IPAP and PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP), to support efforts to develop efficient, democratically-controlled, properly-structured and well-equipped forces able to contribute to combating terrorism. Through these mechanisms, Partners can choose to make counter-terrorism a priority area and fix related objectives in coordination with the Alliance.

Borders are one of the first lines of defence against terrorism. Under the PAP-T, NATO and Partner countries have been working to enhance various aspects of border management and security, including addressing the challenge of illegal trafficking. Partner countries participating in IPAP and/or PARP can choose to develop objectives in the area of border security. Courses on border security and management are also open to Partners at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany, and in the PfP Training Centers in Turkey and Greece.

Through the PAP-T, NATO and Partners also cooperate on air defence, air-traffic management, and improving the interoperability of their forces for joint counter-terrorism operations. Cooperation in the fields of logistics and arms control is also ongoing.

Targeting terrorist finances

The EAPC format of the Economic Committee has provided a forum for exchange of information and views on the economic aspects of the international fight against terrorism. This has included, in particular, regulatory provisions barring the financing of terrorist activity and analysis of the methods and sources of finance for terrorist groups. The NATO Defence College has also dedicated a number of events to examining the financial and economic aspects of the fight against terrorism.

Civil emergency planning

NATO and Partner countries share related information and actively participate in civil emergency planning activities to assess risks and reduce vulnerability of the civil population to terrorism and attacks using chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents. This includes developing crisis-management procedures and active participation in field exercises.
Allies and Partners have implemented a civil emergency planning action plan endorsed by the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC). In particular, Partners associate themselves with the efforts being undertaken within the SCEPC and its planning boards and committees to work on all possible options to provide support, when requested, to national authorities in the event of a terrorist attack.

Cooperating with other international organizations

Through the PAP-T, NATO cooperates with a number of international organizations – such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

NATO is committed to cooperation with the United Nations, which has a primary role in the international community’s response to terrorism, and works closely with the UN Counter Terrorism Committee. The PAP-T was communicated to the UN Security Council as an initial contribution to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.
Representatives of other international organizations are regularly invited to seminars and other activities organized under the PAP-T.

Science and environment

The Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS) promotes scientific cooperation between NATO Allies, Partner countries and Mediterranean Dialogue countries. The programme offers grants to scientists across these countries to collaborate on priority research areas.

Defence against terrorism is the first of three key priorities under the SPS work programme. Since the cooperative programme was redirected to security in 2004, over 230 activities have been initiated in a range of topical areas related to defence against terrorism. Special consideration is given to the social and psychological aspects of international terrorism and its root causes. Other areas include the rapid detection of chemical, biological, radiological nuclear (CBRN) agents and weapons, and rapid diagnosis of their effects on people, physical protection against CBRN agents, decontamination and destruction of CBRN agents and weapons, food security, explosives detection, eco-terrorism countermeasures and defence against cyber-terrorism.

How did this policy evolve?

Meeting at very short notice a day after the September 2001 attacks against the United States, ambassadors from NATO and Partner countries unconditionally condemned the attacks and pledged to undertake all efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism. The PAP-T is a manifestation of this resolve. It was launched by the North Atlantic Council in consultation with Partners at the Prague Summit in 2002. The programme continues to evolve and expand in line with the joint aims and efforts of Allies and Partners.