NATO has, for instance, put into practice airlift support from Burundi to Mogadishu and has escorted an AU ship that carried Burundi military equipment for one of the battalions that it had airlifted into Mogadishu.
NATO has also been providing subject matter experts for the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) of the AU that supports AMISOM. These experts offer expertise in specific areas for a period of six months renewable at the AU’s request.
In addition to this logistical and planning support, NATO is also a member of the International Contact Group on Somalia.
How NATO support has developed
The AU made a general request to all partners, including NATO, on 17 January 2007 for financial and logistical support to AMISOM. It later made a more specific request to NATO on 22 May 2007 requesting strategic airlift support for AU member states willing to deploy in Somalia under AMISOM.
On 7 June, the North Atlantic Council agreed, in principle, to support this request. NATO’s support was initially authorized until 21 August 2007 and has since been renewed for periods of six months and, more recently, for one year, following AU requests. The latest to be agreed by the North Atlantic Council runs until 16 January 2013.
Strategic sealift support was requested at a later stage and agreed in principle by the NAC on 15 September 2009. This support is currently authorized until 16 January 2013, at the AU’s request.
Subject matter experts
NATO provides subject matter experts for the AU PSOD that supports AMISOM. These experts offer expertise in areas such as maritime planning, strategic planning, financial planning and monitoring, procurement planning, air movement coordination, communications, IT, logistics, human resources, military manpower management and contingency planning. There is currently authorisation for three experts based in Addis Ababa for a period of six months renewable, at the AU’s request. One is a strategic planner; another a logistics/human resources expert; and the third a communications and IT planner expert.
NATO has been offering AU students the possibility of attending courses at the NATO School Oberammergau in areas such as crisis management exercises. Other appropriate training facilities are being identified, based on AU requirements.
Working with other international organizations
In addition to logistical and planning support, NATO is also a member of the International Contact Group on Somalia. It was first invited to attend these meetings in June 2009 and has participated in subsequent meetings - the latest one in September 2011 in Copenhagen.