Enhancing strategic awareness of the security implications of energy developments
While NATO is not an energy institution, energy developments, such as supply disruptions, affect the international security environment and can have far-reaching security implications for some Allies. As a result, NATO closely follows relevant energy trends and developments and seeks to raise its strategic awareness in this area. This includes consultations on energy security among Allies and partner countries, intelligence-sharing, as well as specific events, such as workshops, table-top exercises, and briefings by external experts. An important event in this regard was the North Atlantic Council’s seminar on global energy developments in January 2014, which underscored the security implications of recent energy trends. NATO also seeks to ensure that its military is well aware of the role energy developments can play in the NATO’s strategic environment, and has started to organise training courses in this regard.
Supporting the protection of critical energy infrastructure
All countries are increasingly reliant on vital energy infrastructure, including in the maritime domain, on which energy security and prosperity depend. Energy infrastructure is also one of the most vulnerable assets, especially in areas of conflict. Since infrastructure networks extend beyond borders, attacks on complex energy infrastructure by hostile states, terrorists or hacktivists can have repercussions across regions. For this reason, NATO seeks to increase its competence in supporting the protection of critical energy infrastructure, mainly through training and exercises. Protecting energy infrastructure is, however, primarily a national responsibility. Hence, NATO's contribution focuses on areas where it can add value, notably the exchange of best practices with partner countries, many of which are important energy producers or transit countries, and with other international institutions and the private sector. By protecting important sea lanes, NATO's counter-piracy operations also make an indirect contribution to energy security.
Enhancing energy efficiency in the military
Enhancing energy efficiency in the military focuses on reducing the energy consumption of military vehicles and camps, as well as minimising the environmental footprint. Work in this area concentrates on bringing together experts to examine existing national endeavours and proposing multinational projects. It also includes studying the behavioural aspects of saving energy in exercises and operations, as well as developing common energy efficiency standards and procedures. A significant step forward in this area is the adoption of NATO’s “Green Defence” framework in February 2014. It seeks to make NATO more operationally effective through changes in the use of energy, while saving resources and enhancing environmental sustainability. NATO also continues to implement the Smart Energy Team (SENT) project, supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, with the goal to find Smart Energy solutions for the military.