NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IEDs), Countering -
    Countering improvised explosive devices An improvised explosive device (IED) is a type of unconventional explosive weapon that can take any form and be activated in a variety of ways. They target soldiers and civilians alike. In today’s conflicts, IEDs play an increasingly important role and will continue to be part of the operating environment for future NATO military operations. IEDs are one of the main causes of casualties among troops and exact a heavy toll on local populations. With the aim of reducing the risks posed by IEDs, the Alliance helps members and partners in developing their own counter-IED (C-IED) capabilities, with a particular emphasis on education and training, doctrine development and improving counter-measure technologies. NATO developed a C-IED Action Plan with three main focus areas: defeating the device (DtD) itself, attacking the network (AtN) and preparing the forces (PtF). With defeating the device, various branches within NATO look at how to detect and neutralise IEDs, exploit the IEDs as a source of information, prepare and train soldiers for an IED environment, develop technology to prevent IED attacks and protect soldiers and civilians. Neutralisation of IED may be the most visible part of the C-IED effort  but in order for it to be truly effective, it must be preceded with efforts to indentify and disrupt the networks emplacing, building and procuring IEDs. The Alliance focuses on reducing the frequency and severity of IED attacks, while also attacking the networks that facilitate them. Understanding the various threat networks at the tactical to strategic levels is vital to success in current and future operations where battle lines are no longer linear. C-IED efforts encompass work, research, testing and training conducted at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia (United States), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters in Afghanistan, as well as at various Centres of Excellence (CoEs) and NATO Agencies. These different commands, agencies and divisions focus on training, exercises, doctrine development, development of capabilities to defeat IEDs, sharing information and bringing together non-NATO actors to disrupt the network before IEDs kill or injure troops and civilians. Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) Action Plan The C-IED Action Plan guides the Alliance’s efforts to reduce the effects of IEDs and acts as an umbrella for the coordination of the various actors involved in C-IED. It covers all levels of C-IED, from the strategic to the tactical. It is built around several different areas, including information-sharing, closer cooperation with other international organisations and law enforcement agencies to reduce the threat posed by transnational networks facilitating the employment of IEDs, specialized training for troops deployed to areas where IEDs are widely used and improving equipment used to detect IEDs and protect troops. A revised version of the 2010 Action Plan was approved by NATO in October 2013. The new Action Plan emphasises the need to institutionalise C-IED in the NATO Command and Force structures and to support nations' efforts in doing the same. This means ensuring that this capability stays relevant for NATO operations in order to reduce the impact of IEDs. It also recognises the need to improve understanding and intelligence to support the main effort of the “attack the network” pillar of C-IED capability in support of NATO operations. In this context, the use of biometric information is seen as a key element in countering the threat anonymity.  ACT has the overall responsibility for monitoring the implementation of different aspects of the Action Plan and leverages the NATO C-IED Task Force to coordinate and synchronise efforts across NATO Headquarters, Strategic Commands and other NATO bodies. Equipment and technology IEDs can be hidden anywhere: in animals, planted in roads or strapped to a person. They can be detonated via cell phones or trip wires, among other methods. They can be deployed everywhere: in a combat environment or in the middle of a busy city. The adaptability of IEDs to almost any situation makes them difficult to detect and stop, which is why NATO members and partners are using several methods to increase counter IED capabilities. In line with the NATO Secretary General’s goal of promoting multinational cooperation in defence spending, the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) has identified 19 initiatives for multinational armaments cooperation in the fight against IEDs. These initiatives, such as joint acquisition of equipment, joint testing of new technology, technological research cooperation and development of common equipment standards, have been regrouped into a C-IED Materiel Roadmap. The expert communities within NATO’s Air Force, Army and Naval Armaments Groups have a multitude of studies spanning from detection capabilities to neutralisation, and to minimising effect through soldier, platform and installations protection. These studies yield information-sharing among Allies and partners, standards for effective C-IED in a coordinated and interoperable manner throughout operations, and many cooperative activities including Smart Defence initiatives. These efforts are closely supported by the NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG) studies as well as work ongoing under the Science and Technology Organization (S&TO). The CNAD also developed a Voluntary National Contribution Fund (VNCF) to support multinational projects in the C-IED Action Plan, such as pre-deployment training of Weapon Intelligence Teams. NATO members also have access to a Clearing House database, established to facilitate information-sharing on current and future C-IED equipment programmes and to help identify possible areas of cooperation. Additionally, NATO has several capability development projects within the Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work (DAT POW) that focus on developing sensors and information technology to detect IEDs. In addition to the DAT POW, a counter-measure programme designed to identify and deliver short-term capability solutions, specifically includes a C-IED initiative. Among various actors supporting this initiative, the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) is taking the lead in testing various stand-off detection technologies. The C-IED Centre of Excellence in Spain is concentrating on collecting and sharing lessons learned, as well as researching explosively formed projectiles– this kind of IED allows insurgents to hit and destroy both light and heavy armoured vehicles at low cost and with poorly designed penetrators. For its part, the EOD Centre of Excellence in Slovakia is focusing on activities, technologies and procedures for IED “Render-Safe” operations in line with the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) initiative within the same programme. Additional DAT POW C-IED projects focus on route clearance, building a NATO C-IED information-management tool or conducting table-top and live exercises to train our troops in a high-threat IED environment. One such exercise is Northern Challenge, led by the Icelandic Coast Guard.  The aim of the exercise is to provide a unique possibility of training mainly for IED teams serving in, or being deployed to, international missions. NATO, in cooperation with NCI Agency, helps to coordinate and execute the joint acquisition of C-IED capabilities through a common-funded system or nationally provided funds. NCI Agency analyses emerging technology in an operational environment to ensure they fit with the Alliance’s needs and conducts research and experimentation in response to the Alliance’s urgent requirements. Information-sharing and intelligence NATO’s initial C-IED efforts were on detecting and neutralising IEDs. This initial reaction focused on protecting troops against the device by adapting equipment and personal protection, which also led to changes in pre-mission training to include IED disposal. However, C-IED work is not just about detection and neutralisation, but also about addressing the networks behind the IEDs. In line with this, NATO utilises both military and civilian means in the fight against IEDs. Information-sharing between international and national law enforcement agencies, as well as border and customs agencies, is instrumental in mapping adversary networks. This helps to disrupt the operational IED chain. NATO also trains its troops on how to interact with civilians during deployment. The information provided by civilians who know the area can be instrumental in preventing IED attacks. Education and training NATO forces undergo pre-deployment training to prepare them for operations in an IED environment. They also receive further instruction in-theatre to update their training and deal with regional challenges. NATO, with Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in the lead, also focuses on decreasing the gaps between countries in training, standardization and doctrine development regarding C-IED. One of the most important aspects of C-IED training is being able to stop networks before emplacement of IEDs, recognise IEDs and safely disable them before they injure or kill troops and civilians. In line with this, ACT offers several C-IED training programmes executed by the C-IED Integrated Product Team, including a Staff Officer Awareness Course, an Attack the Network Tactical Awareness Course, a Weapons Intelligence Team Course and a C-IED Train the Trainer Course. Several Centres of Excellence (COEs) also offer specialised courses and training useful for an IED environment. The principal aim of the C-IED COE in Madrid, Spain, for example, is to enhance the capabilities of participants to counter, reduce and eliminate threats from IEDs by offering multinational courses for C-IED experts. The Centre also provides a wide range of subject-matter experts to train and educate national and international forces to conduct C-IED operations. The C-IED COE, in concert with the private sector, also focuses on attacking the network. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) COE in Trenčín, Slovakia concentrates on “defeating the device”. The EOD COE improves the capabilities of EOD specialists called upon to neutralise IEDs by providing training and expertise in the field of explosive ordnance detection, neutralisation and disposal. In addition to training, the EOD COE also focuses on standardization and doctrine development and developing capabilities for EOD and IED technology improvements. Due to their related fields of specialisations, the EOD COE and the C-IED COE are cooperating with each other. Additionally, the COEs have close links with others that specialise in areas that add to the field of countering IEDs, including the Military Engineering (MILENG) COE in Ingolstadt, Germany, the Defence Against Terrorism (DAT) COE in Ankara, Turkey, the Military Medical (MILMED) COE in Budapest, Hungary, and the Human Intelligence (HUMINT) COE in Oradea, Romania.
  • IMS Office of the Gender Advisor (IMS GENAD)
    IMS Office of the Gender Advisor (IMS GENAD) The IMS Office of the Gender Advisor is the Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) within the International Military Staff (IMS) providing information and advice on gender issues and on the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and Related Resolutions. It also serves as the Secretariat for the NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives (NCGP). The personnel forming the IMS Office of the Gender Advisor report directly to the Director General (DGIMS), and are responsible to: Provide advice and support to the DGIMS on gender issues, including the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and Related Resolutions. The Chief of the Office represents the IMS in Committees, Working Groups and HQ Task Forces and maintains liaison with the International Staff (IS) and the NATO Military Authorities (NMAs). Promote awareness on the effective integration of a gender perspective into military operations. Facilitate the dialogue with Partner countries on relevant gender issues. Provide briefings on significant milestones and the status of integration of the gender perspective within the Alliance. Respond to internal and external requests for information. Collect and disseminate information from NATO and Partner Nations regarding national programmes, policies and procedures on gender related issues, including the implementation of UNSCRs 1325 and Related Resolutions. Liaise with international organizations and agencies concerned with the integration of a gender perspective into military operations, as well as with gender related issues, in accordance with approved documents Coordinate the organization of NCGP and EC meetings in accordance with NATO protocol. Disseminates NCGP recommendations. The IMS Gender Advisor advises the NCGP Chairperson. Facilitates the exchange of information among NATO Nations, on gender related policies and gender mainstreaming. Contact information IMS Office of the Gender Advisor Chief : LTC Jesus Ignacio GIL RUIZ ESPAR Admin. Assistant: MSgt Coenaerts Sandra NATO HQ Boulevard Leopold III B – 1110 Brussels Fax: +32.2.707.5988 E-mail: CWINF Web Site: http:/ Publications 2012: BI-Strategic Command Structure (BI-SCD) 40-1 ( PDF/270Kb ) 2011: Indicators (adapted in Rome November 2011) ( PDF/22Kb ) 2011: How can gender make a difference to security in operations ( PDF/754Kb ) 2010: Template for pre-deployment gender training ( PDF/667Kb ) 2009: Gender Training and Education: Recommendations on implementation of UNSCR 1325 ( PDF/549Kb ) 2008: Improving the gender balance (18 Nov 2008) (.PDF/7,5 MB) 2007: Guidance for NATO Gender Mainstreaming (.PDF/45KB) Terms of Reference: Committee on Gender Perspectives (.PDF/262KB) Meeting Records 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2001 National reports 2013 ( ZIP/5.07Mb ) 2012 ( ZIP/13.6Mb ) 2011 ( ZIP/3.21Mb ) 2010 ( ZIP/1.4Mb ) 2009 ( ZIP/0.5Mb ) 2008 ( ZIP/1.05Mb ) National Action Plans Actions Plans ( ZIP/47Mb )
  • Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs)
    Individual Partnership Action Plans Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs) are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO. They are designed to bring together all the various cooperation mechanisms through which a partner country interacts with the Alliance, sharpening the focus of activities to better support their domestic reform efforts. An IPAP should clearly set out the cooperation objectives and priorities of the individual partner country, and ensure that the various mechanisms in use correspond directly to these priorities. It is a partnership tool that allows NATO to provide focused country-specific advice on defence and security-related domestic reform and, when appropriate, on larger policy and institutional reform. Partners can also support or contribute to another partner’s IPAP. Intensified political dialogue on relevant issues may be an integral part of an IPAP process. Furthermore, IPAPs also make it easier to coordinate bilateral assistance provided by individual Allies and partner countries, as well as coordinate efforts with other relevant international institutions. Objectives covered fall into the general categories of political and security issues; defence, security and military issues; public information; science and environment; civil emergency planning; and administrative, protective security and resource issues. IPAPs were launched at the Prague Summit in November 2002. On 29 October 2004, Georgia became the first country to agree an IPAP with NATO. Azerbaijan agreed its first IPAP on 27 May 2005 and Armenia on 16 December 2005. On 31 January 2006, Kazakhstan also agreed an IPAP with NATO, Moldova on 19 May 2006 and two Balkan countries in 2008: Montenegro in June and Bosnia and Herzegovina in September.  Partners periodically review their IPAPs with NATO. However, while some have already completed three IPAP cycles such as Armenia and Azerbaijan and are developing a fourth, other partners choose to be less active. Georgia and Montenegro have since moved from this mechanism as they pursue their membership aspirations through development of Annual National Programmes and, in the case of Montenegro, within the Membership Action Plan process.
  • Information and communications programmes
    Communications and information programmes With an intergovernmental organization like NATO, individual member governments are responsible for explaining their national defence and security policies as well as their role as members of the Alliance to their respective publics. Complementing these efforts are the programmes developed by NATO itself since NATO also has an obligation to inform publics in member countries and audiences worldwide about its policies and objectives. NATO aims to promote dialogue and understanding, while contributing to the public’s knowledge of security issues and promoting public involvement in a continuous process of debate on security. To do so, it engages with the media, develops communications and information programmes for selected target groups including opinion leaders, academic and parliamentary groups, and youth and educational circles. It seeks to reach audiences worldwide, in particular, through the website, the NATO TV Channel on the Internet and social media activities. It also disseminates hardcopy materials and implements programmes and activities with external partners, while at the same time supporting the NATO Secretary General in his role as spokesperson for the Organization.  In sum, communication or public diplomacy efforts encompass all measures and means to inform, communicate and cooperate with a broad range of audiences worldwide, with the aim of raising levels of awareness and understanding about NATO, promoting its policies and activities, and thereby fostering support for, trust and confidence in the Alliance. Communicating with the public was a concern of the Alliance from its inception. As early as May 1950, just one year after the signing of the Washington Treaty, the North Atlantic Council issued a resolution in which it committed itself to: “Promote and coordinate public information in futherance of the objectives of the Treaty while leaving responsibility for national programs to each country...” (18 May 1950). The same ethos drives NATO’s communications and information programmes today, as reasserted by NATO Heads of State and Government in 2009: “As NATO adapts to 21st century challenges in its 60th anniversary year, it is increasingly important that the Alliance communicates in an appropriate, timely, accurate and responsive manner on its evolving roles, objectives and missions. Strategic communications are an integral part of our efforts to achieve the Alliance’s political and military objectives.” However, the substantial changes brought about with the information age, mobile media and user-generated content imply a process of constant reform and modernization: communication tools have multiplied and have the potential to hit a bigger and more diverse audience. At the same time, the need for instant communication, direct interaction and information-sharing is increasing. Role of the communications and information programmes NATO’s communications and information programmes complement public information activities initiated by the governments of each member country. They are principally undertaken by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, which also coordinates all strategic communication activities across all NATO civilian and military bodies and harmonizes all public diplomacy activities undertaken by other entities belonging to the NATO structure. Types of activities To adjust to advances in technology, the rise of the 24-hour news cycle and the increasing popularity of social media, the Alliance uses internet-based media and public engagement, in addition to traditional media, to build awareness of and support for NATO’s evolving role, objectives and missions. In short, the Alliance employs a multi-faceted and integrated approach in communicating and engaging with the wider public. Communicating and engaging with the public 24h media operations Press and media provide support for the NATO Secretary General, as the principal spokesperson for the Alliance, in addition to arranging briefings and interviews with journalists, organizing press conferences and press tours, conducting media monitoring and hosting exhibits. They also ensure that at major events, such as summits or ministerial meetings, adequate resources are available for journalists, senior officials and real-time coverage of events. A Media Operations Centre focuses on NATO-led operations and all related media activities. It ensures the coordination of activities, the harmonization of messages and the day-to-day management of communication activities touching on any one of NATO’s operations or missions. People-to-people engagement NATO organizes cooperation programmes, visits, seminars and conferences involving opinion leaders, parliamentarians, civic society groups and experts in member and partner countries. Effectively, NATO staff help to explain NATO and disseminate information in NATO and partner countries, as well as countries where NATO is engaged, by interacting with academics, think-tanks, bloggers and any other group with an interest in NATO and NATO-related issues. An original project is NATO’s SILK-Afghanistan programme, which provides free internet access for Afghan universities and governmental institutions in support of NATO’s operation in the country. Visitors can be welcomed to NATO Headquarters and receive briefings and have discussions with experts from NATO’s International Staff, International Military Staff and national delegations on all aspects of the Alliance’s work and policies. Alternatively, NATO officials, including the Secretary General and other senior Alliance officials, participate in special flagship events in member countries and partner countries. Mass communication, image-building and branding The Alliance publishes and disseminates material that covers a broad range of NATO-related topics in both electronic and print formats, often in a variety of NATO and partner country languages. The website provides access to details about NATO policies and activities, including public statements, background information, official documents, video interviews, audio files and real-time coverage of major NATO-related events. It also gives access to the resources of the NATO multimedia library, which inter-alia caters for internal and external requests on NATO-related publications. The online NATO TV Channel offers video stories and releases b-roll to broadcast media outlets, thereby broadening NATO’s reach further still. Additionally, the in-house TV and radio studios cover VIP press events and facilitate broadcast media outreach. While publicly releasable official documents, statements and video stories are offered online, there are also texts, brochures and other products that exist, which explain policy and lend insight into the underlying objectives and rationale of the Organization. They seek to raise public awareness and contribute to an informed public debate on relevant aspects of security policy. Promoting security cooperation Communications and information programmes help to stimulate debate on NATO issues and contribute to strengthening knowledge of its goals and objectives in academic circles. Additionally, they give the Alliance access to the views and analysis of the general public and specialized groups within it. Many of the information activities have an interactive, two-way character, enabling the Organization to listen to and learn from the experience of the audiences it addresses, identify their concerns and fields of interest and respond to their questions. There are several instances where NATO is locally set up to increase the impact of its work and interact more frequently with its audiences, for instance with its information offices in Moscow and Kiev. There are also information points in other partner countries and so-called “contact point embassies”, which are literally NATO member country embassies located in partner countries that serve as links between NATO Headquarters in Brussels and target audiences in partner countries. Coordinating NATO’s strategic communications activities As well as harmonizing public diplomacy activities undertaken by other NATO entities, the Public Diplomacy Division also coordinates all strategic communication activities across all NATO civilian and military bodies. Working mechanisms The North Atlantic Council and Secretary General are in charge of the overall direction of communications and information programmes for both the civilian and military sides of the Alliance. Civilian dimension The Committee on Public Diplomacy (CPD) acts as an advisory body to the NAC on communication, media and public engagement issues. It makes recommendations to the NAC regarding how to encourage public understanding of, and support for, the aims of NATO. In this respect, the Committee is responsible for the planning, implementation and assessment of NATO’s public diplomacy strategy. Representatives from each of the NATO member countries constitute the CPD, with the Assistant Secretary General of the Public Diplomacy Division serving as the Chairman and the Public Information Advisor representing the Director of the International Military Staff. Military dimension Members of the International Staff who run the different communications and information programmes work closely with the Public Information Advisor to the Chairman of the Military Committee. Although administratively part of the International Military Staff (IMS), the military Public Information Advisor’s office also works with the International Staff to facilitate this coordination. The Military Committee, as well as the Chairman of the Military Committee in his role as the principal military spokesperson, also provides guidance to direct the communications and information programmes, with SACEUR and SACT providing guidance on the communication efforts of Allied Command Operations and Allied Command Transformation, respectively. Evolution of the communications and information programmes The founding members of NATO understood the importance of informing public opinion. As early as August 1950, a modest NATO Information Service was set up and developed in the Autumn with the nomination of a Director. The service – similarly to the rest of the civilian organization of the Alliance – did not receive a budget until July 1951. It effectively developed into an information service in 1952, with the establishment of an international staff headed by a Secretary General (March 1952), to which the information service was initially attached. Later, in 1953, the Committee on Information and Cultural Relations (now the Committee on Public Diplomacy) was created. As such, from 1953, every mechanism was in place for the development of fully-fledged communications and information programmes. Since then and over time, NATO’s public diplomacy programmes have adapted to changes in the political and security environment, as well as to the technical innovations that have a direct impact on communication work.
  • Integrated Air and Missile Defence, NATO -
    NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence is the integration of capabilities and overlapping operations of all services (air, land and maritime forces) to deter and defend all Alliance territory, populations and forces to ensure freedom of action by negating an adversary’s ability to achieve adverse effects from its air and missile capabilities. It includes a network of interconnected systems to detect, track, classify, identify and monitor airborne objects, and – if necessary – to intercept them using surface-based or airborne weapons systems, as well as the procedures necessary to employ the systems. NATO member countries started working together in the 1970s to establish an integrated air defence structure and system, combining national assets supplemented as needed by NATO elements. Operating together is both more effective and more efficient in protecting against air attacks than national air defence systems operating independently. With the advent of an Alliance ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability, this structure is now known as the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS). It comes under the command and control of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). The NATINAMDS is a cornerstone of NATO air and missile defence policy, and a visible indication of cohesion, shared responsibility and solidarity across the Alliance. Components The NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System is comprised of the four functional areas of ‘Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence’ ‘Surveillance’, ‘Active Air Defence’ and ‘Passive Air Defence’. All four functional areas contribute to the Defensive Counter Air (DCA) mission and provide the basis for the protection of Alliance populations, territory and forces and the projection of air and missile defence firepower. Depending on the mission, NATO Allies commit forces (land, air and maritime) which are assigned to SACEUR. However, the decision on the size and shape of the forces and their equipment to be provided remains a national responsibility.  The Air Command and Control System Air Command and Control (Air C2) is essential to the success of any operation. The Air C2 structure in NATO is a patchwork of disparate and aging systems that in many cases are reaching the end of their planned operational life. In recognition of the increasingly joint nature of military operations – as well as of the need to replace aging equipment – NATO has developed a new and more robust capability that will be a C2 system for all air operations. This system, called Air Command and Control System (ACCS), will facilitate the planning, tasking, execution and coordination of all integrated air and missile defence missions in peacetime, crisis and conflict. ACCS will support all of NATO’s static and deployed operations and missions. Tasks NATO air policing NATO air policing is a peacetime mission which requires an Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS), an Air Command and Control (Air C2) structure and Quick Reaction Alert (Interceptor) (QRA(I)) aircraft to be available on a 24/7 basis.. This enables the Alliance to detect, track and identify to the greatest extent possible all aerial objects approaching or operating within NATO airspace so that violations and infringements can be recognised, and the appropriate action taken. Although not all Allies possess the necessary means to provide air policing of their airspace, other countries provide assistance when needed to ensure that no country is left at a disadvantage and equality of security is provided for all. SACEUR is responsible for the conduct of the NATO air policing mission.. Theatre ballistic missile defence In 2010, NATO fielded an Interim theatre ballistic missile defence capability to protect Alliance forces against ballistic missile threats. Ballistic missile defence At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, Allied leaders decided to develop a ballistic missile defence (BMD) capability to pursue collective defence. Specifically, they decided that the scope of the current Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme’s command, control and communication capabilities would be expanded beyond the capability to protect deployed forces to also include NATO European territory, forces and populations. The United States’ European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) and other possible national contributions were welcomed as valuable national contributions to the NATO BMD architecture. In May 2012 at the Chicago Summit, NATO leaders declared that the Alliance had achieved an Interim NATO BMD capability. This is a significant first step in implementing NATO’s BMD capability. It offers the maximum coverage within available means to defend NATO’s populations, territory and forces across southern Europe against a ballistic missile attack. The Alliance remains committed to installing full BMD coverage for all NATO European territory by the end of this decade. Mechanisms The Air and Missile Defence Committee (AMDC) is the senior multinational policy advisory and coordinating body regarding all elements of NATO’s integrated air and missile defence, and relevant air power aspects. It reports directly to the North Atlantic Council (NAC). The Military Committee Working Group (Air Defence) is responsible for reviewing, advising and making recommendations on air and missile defence issues to NATO’s Military Committee. Other groups dealing with air and missile defence-related issues include NATO’s Defence Policy and Planning Committee (Reinforced) with particular responsibilities on ballistic missile defence, the Missile Defence Project Group, the BMD Programme Office, and the NATO-Russia Council Missile Defence Working Group. In October 2013, NATO-Russia missile defence-related discussions were paused by Russia, and in April 2014, NATO suspended all cooperation with Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis. AMDC and cooperation with partners Since 1994, the AMDC has maintained a dialogue with NATO partner countries to promote mutual understanding, transparency and confidence in air defence matters of common interest. The air defence partner cooperation programme includes fact-finding meetings with air defence experts, seminars and workshops, visits to air defence facilities and installations, joint analytical studies and a programme for the exchange of unclassified air situation data.
  • Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR), Joint -
    Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (JISR) Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance is vital for all military operations. It provides information and intelligence to decision-makers and action-takers, helping them make informed, timely and accurate decisions. While surveillance and reconnaissance can answer the questions “what,” “when” and “where”, the combined elements from various intelligence sources and disciplines provide the answers to “how” and “why”. When all of this is combined, you create Joint ISR. For over 60 years, the enduring success of NATO has been achieved through the close cooperation between Allies who are driven by a shared set of democratic beliefs and values.  These Allies work together in NATO to bring stability to a complex 21 st century security environment. NATO’s 2012 Chicago Summit established the objective to strengthen cooperation and ensure tighter connections between Allied forces. During the Summit, the Allied Heads of State and Government expressed the ambition to provide NATO with an enduring and permanently available JISR capability, giving the Alliance the eyes and ears it needs to achieve strategic decision advantage. Components Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) provides the foundation for all military operations, and its principles have been used in warfare for centuries. The individual elements of ISR are: Intelligence : the final product derived from surveillance and reconnaissance, fused with other information; Surveillance : the persistent monitoring of a target; and Reconnaissance : information-gathering conducted to answer a specific military question. Both surveillance and reconnaissance can include visual observation (for example soldiers on the ground covertly watching a target, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) with cameras), as well as electronic observation. The difference between surveillance and reconnaissance has to do with time and specificity; surveillance is a more prolonged and deliberate activity, while reconnaissance missions are generally rapid and targeted to retrieve specific information. Once surveillance and reconnaissance information has been obtained, intelligence specialists can analyse it, fuse it with other information from other data sources and produce the intelligence which is then used to inform military and civilian decision-makers, particularly for the planning and conduct of operations. While all countries have their own sources and methods for the production of intelligence, it is not always easy for them to share their intelligence with Allies.  Sometimes this is due to security concerns, sometimes to internal procedural requirements, and sometimes to technological constraints. The objective of NATO Joint ISR is to champion the concept of “need to share” over the concept of “need to know.”  This does not mean that all Allies will automatically share everything, but rather that NATO can facilitate the procedures and technology to promote sharing while simultaneously providing information assurance (i.e., the protection of data and networks).  This way, Allies can have a holistic picture of whatever crisis is occurring and NATO decision-makers can make well-informed, timely and accurate decisions. To achieve this ambition, the following must be in place: Trained ISR experts Having a cadre of experts within NATO who fully understand how to use ISR to support NATO’s decision-makers; and Information assurance: protection of data and networks Special procedures need to be in place to provide information assurance; it takes time and resources to obtain a genuinely efficient, secure, holistic and relevant Joint ISR system. In fact, it took ten years to develop the successful mission network used in Afghanistan, and NATO intends to capitalise on that effort. Mechanism The experience the Alliance gained from its operations in Afghanistan and Libya has resulted in collection assets (for example information gathering equipment such as surveillance aircraft) becoming far more accessible to military personnel, even at the lowest tactical levels. Assets that would have been used only for strategic purposes at the discretion of military generals 15 years ago are now widely available and their use is decentralised. This shift occurred because NATO member countries procured significant numbers of maritime, land and airborne collection assets to help them locate adversaries, who often operate in complex environments and among civilian populations. To enable information-gathering to take place, and to ensure that information is analysed and intelligence is produced for decision-makers, there are a number of primary actors involved, including: Surveillance and reconnaissance collection assets Their role is to collect information. Examples include Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS), AWACS aircraft which use radar, observation satellites, electronic assets and special ground reconnaissance troops. Intelligence analysts Their role is to exploit and analyse information from multiple sources. Examples include national military and civilian analysts working at the strategic level in intelligence organisations, imagery analysts at all levels, and encryption experts. Decision-makers Their role is to use intelligence to inform their decision-making. Examples include political leaders and military commanders. Evolution Based on the experience NATO Allies gained in recent operations, the Alliance is looking to establish a permanent, effective ISR system. NATO aims to provide Allies with a mechanism which brings together: data and information gathered through Smart Defence projects such as the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system or the AWACS; and a wide variety of national ISR capabilities, including troops on the ground, maritime and air assets, space-based platforms such as satellites, and Special Operations Forces. To provide a foundation for NATO’s Joint ISR ambition, the Alliance is currently developing a JISR project aimed at providing the following pillars: Training and education The personnel involved with the Joint ISR capability in NATO will possess expertise to guarantee the efficiency of the JISR enterprise. This area of the project examines ways to ensure that NATO personnel receive the highest standard of ISR training and education. Doctrine and procedures To improve interoperability, efficiency, coherence and effectiveness, Joint ISR doctrine and procedures will be continuously developed and reviewed, from strategic thinking to tactical procedures. Networking environment NATO communication and information systems (CIS) will guarantee efficient collaboration and sharing of ISR data, products and applications between the Allies. This is the core business of NATO’s Joint ISR effort. Technical trials take place every two years in order to demonstrate and assess progress on the Alliance’s JISR capabilities in a real-world environment.  The latest trial, Unified Vision, took place in Norway in 2014. It was the largest JISR event in the history of the Alliance.
  • Inteqal: Transition to Afghan lead
    Inteqal: Transition to Afghan lead Inteqal – the Dari and Pashtu word for transition – is the process by which the lead responsibility for security in Afghanistan is gradually being transitioned from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to the Afghan National Security Forces. Implementation is well underway with Afghan forces taking the lead for security for around 87 per cent of the Afghan population. The aim is for Afghan forces to have full responsibility for security across the country by the end of 2014. This target was set at the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon and confirmed by Allied leaders at the Chicago Summit in May 2012. Transition Tranches Transition Tranche 1 On 22 March 2011, President Karzai announced the first set of Afghan provinces and districts to start transition. This decision was based upon operational, political and economic considerations, drawing on the assessment and recommendations of the Afghan government and NATO/ISAF through the Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal Board (JANIB). Download (.JPG/1,7Mb) Transition Tranche 2 On 27 November 2011, following the decision-making process above, President Karzai announced the second set of Afghan provinces, districts and cities for transition implementation. Download (.JPG/1,8Mb) Transition Tranche 3 On 13 May 2012, President Karzai announced the third set of areas to enter the transition process, covering over 75 per cent of the Afghan population. This decision marked the beginning of transition in every one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, including every provincial capital, covering almost two-thirds of the country's districts. Download (.JPG/2Mb) Transition Tranche 4 On 31 December 2012, President Karzai announced the fourth group of Afghan provinces, cities and districts to enter the transition process. With this decision, 23 provinces out of 34 have fully entered transition and 87 per cent of the population now lives in areas where ANSF is in the lead for security. Download (.JPG/1Mb) Transition Tranche 5 On 18 June 2013, President Karzai announced the launch of the fifth and final tranche of transition. Once this decision has been fully implemented, the 11 remaining provinces will fully enter into transition and Afghan forces will be in the lead for security across the whole country. Download (.JPG/1.4Mb) Transition Process explained Transition draws on the JANIB’s recommendations, which are based on a thorough assessment of the security, governance and development situation on the ground. The following elements are taken into consideration as part of the decision-making process: the capability of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to shoulder additional security tasks with less assistance from ISAF; the level of security allowing the population to pursue routine daily activities; the degree of development of local governance, so that security will not be undermined as ISAF assistance is reduced; and whether ISAF force level and posture are readjusted as ANSF capabilities increase and threat levels diminish. For transition to be successful, the Afghan National Security Forces, under effective Afghan civilian control, need to assume their security responsibility on a sustainable and irreversible basis – albeit with some level of continued support from ISAF. The transition implementation can take up to 18 months for each area, depending on conditions on the ground. ISAF principles for transition At the NATO Lisbon Summit in November 2010, ISAF Heads of State and Government agreed a list of principles which guide ISAF’s gradual shift from a combat to an increasingly supporting role. These principles, which have since been fully incorporated in the transition implementation process, include: ensuring a better alignment of NATO/ISAF assistance with Afghan national priority programmes; working through increasingly capable Afghan institutions; adjusting ISAF’s troop profile and configuration by reinvesting some of the transition dividend, where appropriate, to meet critical security, training and mentoring needs; further strengthening Afghan National Security Forces capacity; and supporting the evolution of the international civilian effort, including that of the ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), to enable greater Afghan capacity and leadership. Evolution of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) In June 2011, Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) nations agreed a set of principles for the evolution and ultimate dissolution of their PRTs. PRTs have evolved, shifting their efforts from direct delivery to providing technical assistance and building the capacity of provincial and district governments to provide essential services to the Afghan people. By the time transition is completed, all PRTs will have handed over their functions to the Afghan government, traditional development actors, non-governmental organisations and the private sector, and will have phased out. Key Dates 28 August 2008 Lead security responsibility for Kabul city transferred to Afghan forces. 19 November 2009 President Karzai, having won a second presidential term, expresses his ambition to see the Afghan National Security Forces take the lead security responsibility across Afghanistan by the end of 2014. 20 July 2010 Kabul Conference; the Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal Board (JANIB) is established as the mechanism to assess districts and provinces for Transition. 20 November 2010 NATO Lisbon Summit; the Inteqal process is agreed between the Afghan government and NATO. 22 March 2011 Afghan New Year; President Karzai announces the first set of Afghan provinces and districts to start the transition process. 17 July 2011 First transition ceremony takes place in Bamyan Province. 27 November 2011 President Karzai announces the second set of Afghan provinces, districts and cities to start the transition process. 13 May 2012 President Karzai announces the third tranche of transition. 31 December 2012 President Karzai announces the fourth set of Afghan provinces, districts and cities to start the transition process. 18 June 2013 President Karzai announces the fifth and final tranche of transition. Video Afghan forces take the lead for Afghanistan 18 Jun. 2013 newYTPlayer('nxlS8VxohzM','87441',530,300); President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen mark the fifth and final tranche of transition. With this decision, Afghan National Security Forces will take the lead for security across the whole of the country. Afghan forces take the lead for Afghanistan 18 Jun. 2013 President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen mark the fifth and final tranche of transition. With this decision, Afghan National Security Forces will take the lead for security across the whole of the country. Afghan transition enters final stages 17 Jun. 2013 In Afghanistan, the Afghan forces are taking responsibility for the whole country. For Afghans, though, the transition of their country has a wider importance. With a presidential election planned for 2014, the country has many other issues to address. Provincial centres help ally Afghan forces 21 Dec. 2012 The operational coordination program aims to help unify the Afghan security forces and this Swedish lead provincial centre in Balkh has seen much success. Jowzjan, a natural transition? 08 May. 2012 More and more areas of Afghanistan are transitioning to Afghan security control in preparation of the start of the coalition drawdown in 2014. We profile Jowzjan province in northern Afghanistan. Jowzjan`s Soldiers 26 Apr. 2012 Colonel Gulbahar leads the men of the 3rd Kandak, 1st Brigade in Jowzjan. The capital of the province was handed over to Afghan forces in January. Since then, security has been stable. Moving On In Kapisa and Surobi 10 Apr. 2012 Despite an attack on French trainers by two rogue Afghan soldiers, the French and the Afghan army have managed to maintain a good working relationship. The French are based north from Kabul in the province of Kapisa and the district of Surobi. Herat and Farah in Transition 19 Mar. 2012 Herat and Farah province residents are happy with security in the provinces and have faith in their security forces, although they see the need for them to develop. Views From Jalalabad 14 Dec. 2011 Security for the eastern city of Jalalabad has been handed over to the Afghans. Shopkeepers are confident about the future but have concerns about the numbers of police and whether they’ll be properly equipped. Jalalabad Determined to Transition 25 Jan. 2012 Change is underway in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. The repsonsibility for securing the city has been handed from the Americans to the Afghans, in a process being referred to as transition. Securing the Afghan North 07 Feb. 2012 Handing Over Security In Ghazni 06 Mar. 2012 Polish soldiers, Afghan security forces and people on the street talk about security in Ghazni city, a month after transition to ANSF.
  • International Board of Auditors for NATO (IBAN)
    International Board of Auditors for NATO (IBAN) The International Board of Auditors for NATO (IBAN) is the independent, external audit body of NATO. Its main mandate is to provide the North Atlantic Council and the governments of NATO member countries with assurance that common funds have been properly used for the settlement of authorised expenditure. Guided by three core values - independence, integrity and professionalism - the IBAN strives to be the respected voice of accountability within NATO.  Tasks and responsibilities The IBAN is responsible for auditing the expenditure incurred by NATO. The IBAN conducts several types of audits: Financial audits of NATO bodies result in an audit opinion on the presentation of the financial statements and on the compliance with budgetary authorisations and applicable regulations. Performance audits are carried out to evaluate the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the activities and operations of NATO bodies. NATO Security Investment Programme (NSIP) audits cover the expenditure made by NATO bodies and member countries under the NISP. The audit results in the certification of the final amount charged to NATO. Working mechanisms The IBAN is composed of six Board Members, appointed by Council for a four-year, non-renewable term.  Board Members are usually members of their respective national audit institution or government officials with audit experience.  They have independent status and report only to the Council. The Chairman of the Board is appointed by the Council for a two-year term.  The Board is assisted by auditors and secretarial staff with NATO International Staff status. IBAN Board Members (from left to right) Mr Jan Vylita (Czech Republic), Mr Marius Winters (The Netherlands), Dr Charilaos Charisis (Chairman, Greece), Mrs Kirsten Astrup (Norway), Mr Salih Tanrikulu (Turkey), Mr Marcus Popplewell (United Kingdom)
  • International Military Staff (IMS)
    International Military Staff The International Military Staff (IMS) is the executive body of the Military Committee (MC), NATO’s senior military authority. It is responsible for preparing assessments, studies on NATO military issues identifying areas of strategic and operational interest and proposing courses of action. It also ensures that NATO decisions and policies on military matters are implemented by the appropriate NATO military bodies. The IMS’ work enables the Military Representatives of the Alliance’s 28 member countries to deal with issues rapidly and effectively, ensuring that the MC provides the North Atlantic Council (NAC) with consensus-based advice on all military aspects of policy, operations, and transformation within the Alliance. The IMS is an independent body within NATO that comprises approximately 500 dedicated military and civilian personnel from NATO’s member states, working in an international capacity for the common interest of the Alliance. It is headed by a Director General and divided into five functional divisions and several branches and support offices. It is able to move swiftly into a 24/7 crisis mode for a limited period of time without additional personnel. The strength of the IMS lies in exchanging information and views with the staffs of the Military Representatives, the civilian International Staff (IS), the Strategic Commanders, the multinational Working Groups, and NATO Agencies, ensuring effective and efficient staff work. Role and responsibilities The International Military Staff is the essential link between the political decision-making bodies of the Alliance and NATO’s Strategic Commanders (the Supreme Allied Commander Europe – SACEUR - and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation - SACT) and their staffs. The role of the IMS is to provide the best possible strategic military advice and staff support for the Military Committee.   Working mechanism The IMS is headed by a Director General, at the level of a three star general or flag officer, assisted by 12 general/flag officers who head the divisions and administrative support offices within the IMS. Several key positions are located within or attached to the Office of the Director General of the IMS: the Executive Coordinator (EXCO): the incumbent manages staff activities and controls the flow of information and communication, both within the IMS as well as between the IMS and other parts of NATO Headquarters; the Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Advisor (PA&SCA): the incumbent advises the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the MC, and the Director General of the IMS on strategic communications and public affairs matters. The Advisor works closely with the office of the Chairman of the Military Committee, acting as military spokesperson for the Chairman, and as the main source of information for all MC matters and activities; the Financial Controller (FC): the incumbent advises key officials on all IMS financial and fiscal matters; the Legal Officer (LO): this person provides guidance on all legal issues to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the MC, the Director General of the IMS and all organisations under the authority of this office, and the MC. the NATO Office on Gender Perspectives (NOGP): they provide advice and support to the IMS on gender issues. It is the permanent focal point for collecting, providing and sharing information regarding national programmes, policies and procedures on these issues, including the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security (UNSCRs 1325 and 1820). It maintains liaison with the NATO IS and international organisations concerned with the integration of a gender perspective into military operations, as well as with gender-related issues. The five divisions The IMS’ key role is to support the MC, and to do this it is organised into five functional divisions responsible for the following: The Intelligence Division provides intelligence support to all NATO HQ elements, NATO member states and NATO Commands. The Division provides strategic warning and situation awareness to all NATO HQ elements. Its core activities are: developing a NATO Intelligence framework, architecture and intelligence capabilities; providing customer-oriented policies and NATO-Agreed Intelligence Assessments; advising on intelligence sharing matters and conducting intelligence liaison activities. The Operations Division closely monitors ongoing NATO operations, follows exercises and training and provides advice on all related NATO operations. It also follows the implementation of decisions taken by the MC with regard to NATO operations. The Division’s core activities: crisis response planning and operations; management of contingency reactions to international crises; planning and conducting all operations of air, land and maritime matters. The Plans and Policy Division is involved in all policy and planning matters such as Alliance defence policy and strategic planning. This division supports and gives military advice to the Director general of the IMS (DGIMS) and the Chairman of the MC essentially on three areas: Strategic Policy and Concept; Nuclear Deterrence and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Policy; Defence and Force Planning. The Cooperation and Regional Security (C&RS) Division develops military Cooperative Security Policy and is the main point of contact for NATO HQ military Cooperative Security with partners from the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and with Partners Across the Globe. Additionally, C&RS is the main military contact with all non-NATO member states who conduct operations with the Alliance. Military advice on NATO involvement in different aspects of disarmament, arms control and cooperative security issues is also developed. The Logistics and Resources Division develops and defines policies and principles, plans and concepts on all matters concerning logistics, medical, armaments, research and development, and civil emergency planning. In addition, the Division is the focal point for NATO’s military manpower, financial and security investment issues. Additional functions and offices The NATO HQ Consultation, Command and Control Staff (NHQC3S), combines the communications elements of both the IMS and the IS. This means it is an integrated staff with IMS and IS personnel that serves the NAC, the MC and the C3 Board. Two of its branches are mainly coordination branches: one is focused on overall policy and governance of the C3 domain and the other focuses on the implementation aspects. The Information Assurance and Cyber Defence Branch, the Information Communities of Interest Services Branch and the Spectrum and C3 Infrastructure Branch are subject-matter branches. The NATO Situation Centre (SITCEN) serves as the focal point within the Alliance for the receipt, exchange and dissemination of information. It monitors political, military and economic matters of interest to NATO and partner countries on a 24-hour basis. The SITCEN also provides facilities for the rapid expansion of consultation during periods of tension and crisis.
  • International Staff
    International Staff Some 1,000 civilians work within NATO's International Staff (IS) at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The primary role of the IS is to provide advice, guidance and administrative support to the national delegations at NATO Headquarters. It helps to implement decisions taken at different committee levels and, in doing so, supports the process of consensus-building and decision-making within the Alliance. The IS is headed by NATO’s Secretary General, who from an administrative point of view, is also a member of the IS. Staff members are recruited from NATO member countries. Worldwide, some 6,000 civilians work for NATO in different agencies and strategic and regional commands. The IS is currently being reviewed as part of a broader package of reform being undertaken within the Organization, in line with commitments made under the 2010 Strategic Concept.   Role and responsibilities The IS is an advisory and administrative body that supports the delegations of NATO members at different committee levels and helps implement their decisions. For instance, the IS produces policy papers, background notes, reports and speeches on issues relevant to NATO’s political and military agenda. It supports and advises committees, and prepares and follows up on their discussions and decisions, therefore facilitating the political consultation process. It also liaises closely with NATO’s International Military Staff (IMS) located in the same building in Brussels. The IMS is the executive body of the Military Committee – NATO’s senior military authority. Members of the IS owe their allegiance to the Organization throughout the period of their appointment. They are either recruited directly by the Organization or seconded by their governments and each appointment is approved by the Secretary General. Vacancies within the IS are announced on NATO’s website and are open to member country citizens. The structure of the International Staff The International Staff includes the Office of the Secretary General, seven divisions, each headed by an Assistant Secretary General, and a number of independent offices headed by directors. The Private Office The Secretary General heads the IS and has a Private Office that includes a director and staff, the Deputy Secretary General, a Policy Planning Unit and the Council Secretariat. Divisions The IS fulfills a number of roles filled by different divisions: Political Affairs and Security Policy Division: this division provides political advice and policy guidance. It has the lead role in the political aspects of NATO's core security tasks, including regional, economic and security affairs, as well as relations with other international organisations and partner countries. Defence Policy and Planning Division: this division develops and implements the defence policy and planning dimension of NATO’s fundamental security tasks. This includes defence planning, the Alliance's nuclear policy, defence against weapons of mass destruction and certain aspects of operational planning. Operations Division: Operations provides the operational capability required to meet NATO's deterrence, defence and crisis management tasks. Responsibilities include NATO's crisis management and peacekeeping activities, and civil emergency planning and exercises. Defence Investment Division: this division is responsible for developing and investing in assets and capabilities aimed at enhancing the Alliance's defence capacity, including armaments planning, air defence and security investment. Emerging Security Challenges Division: this division was more recently created to deal with a growing range of non-traditional risks and challenges. It started its work at the beginning of August 2010 and is focusing on terrorism, nuclear issues, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cyber defence and energy security, as well as NATO’s science programme. Public Diplomacy Division: communicating with the wider public is one of NATO’s priorities. The Public Diplomacy Division is responsible for informing different target audiences about NATO's activities and policies through the media, the NATO website, multimedia products, seminars and conferences. Executive Management Division: this division manages staff, finances and security standards. It is tasked with ensuring that NATO's IS works efficiently and also provides support to all elements operating at NATO headquarters, including support and conference services, information management and NATO's human and financial resources. Independent offices Also within the IS are the NATO Office of Security and the NATO Office of Resources, both headed by a Director; the Intelligence Unit; the Office of the Legal Adviser; the Office of the Financial Controller; and an independent International Board of Auditors. The NATO Office of Security is a distinct body responsible for coordinating, monitoring and implementing NATO's security policy, for overall security within NATO and for the NATO Headquarters Security Service. The NATO Office of Resources was created in 2007. Under the direction of the Director, it brings together all IS members working on NATO military common-funded issues, with the aim of reinforcing military common-funded resource management at NATO HQ. Evolution of the International Staff The IS was created in 1951 to support the North Atlantic Council (NAC). It was made responsible for the preparation and follow-up of action in all matters of the Council. The 'Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’ defined its status, which National Representatives and International Staff negotiated and signed in September 1951. Throughout the years, the IS has been reorganised many times. One of the most recent restructuring exercises stemmed from the November 2002 Prague Summit, when NATO leaders approved a package of measures to enhance the Alliance's ability to meet new security threats. This included a reorganisation of NATO's IS and the implementation of modern management processes. The restructuring aimed to ensure a fairer redistribution of responsibilities among divisions, strengthen management of the staff and improve coordination on key issues and programmes. More recently, a review of the IS has been launched as part of a larger package of reform – that of the military command structure, organisations and agencies, and NATO committees. This process forms part of NATO’s commitment to “engage in a process of continual reform, to streamline structures, improve working methods and maximise efficiency”, made in the Strategic Concept endorsed at the Lisbon Summit, November 2010.  
  • Interoperability: Connecting NATO Forces
    Interoperability: Connecting NATO Forces An Alliance of 28 nations can only work effectively together in joint operations if provisions are in place to ensure smooth cooperation. NATO has been striving for the ability of NATO forces to work together since the Alliance was founded in 1949. Interoperability has become even more important since the Alliance began mounting out-of-area operations in the early 1990s. NATO’s interoperability policy defines the term as the ability for Allies to act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve tactical, operational and strategic objectives. Specifically, it enables forces, units and/or systems to operate together and allows them to share common doctrine and procedures, each others’ infrastructure and bases, and to be able to communicate. Interoperability reduces duplication, enables pooling of resources, and produces synergies among the 28 Allies, and whenever possible with partner countries. Components Interoperability does not necessarily require common military equipment. What is important is that the equipment can share common facilities, and is able to interact, connect and communicate, exchange data and services with other equipment. Through its technical (including hardware, equipment, armaments and systems), procedural (including doctrines and procedures) and human (including terminology and training) dimensions, and complemented by information as a critical transversal element, interoperability supports the implementation of such recent NATO initiatives as Smart Defence and Connected Forces.  Mechanisms Interoperable solutions can only be achieved through the effective employment of standardization, training, exercises, lessons learned, demonstrations, tests and trials. By strengthening relationships with the defence and security industry and by using open standards to the maximum extent possible, NATO is pursuing interoperability as a force multiplier and a streamliner of national efforts. Evolution NATO militaries have achieved high level of interoperability through decades of joint planning, training and exercises. More recently, Alliance members have put their interoperability into practice and developed it further during joint operations and missions in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere. These operations have also enabled NATO’s partner countries to improve interoperability with the Alliance.
  • Iraq, NATO and the 2003 campaign against -
    NATO and the 2003 campaign against Iraq The March 2003 campaign against Iraq was conducted by a coalition of forces from different countries, some of which were NATO member countries and some were not. NATO as an organization had no role in the decision to undertake the campaign or to conduct it. With tensions escalating prior to events, in February 2003 Turkey requested NATO assistance under Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The Alliance undertook a number of precautionary defensive measures to ensure Turkey's security in the event of a potential threat to its territory or population as a consequence of the crisis. On 21 May 2003, the Alliance also agreed to support one of its members – Poland - in its leadership of a sector in the US-led Multinational Stabilization Force in Iraq. NATO assistance in the field NATO's assistance to Turkey and support to Poland were responses to requests made by the two countries. It reflects the Alliance's commitment to the security of its member states and policy of making its assets and experience available wherever and whenever they are needed, in accordance with NATO’s founding treaty. Support to Turkey Following a request by Turkey, NATO deployed surveillance aircraft and missile defences on Turkish territory from 20 February to 16 April 2003. The first NATO defensive assets arrived in Turkey the day after the decision was made and the last elements effectively left the country on 3 May. Operation Display Deterrence NATO’s Integrated Air Defence System in Turkey was put on full alert and augmented with equipment and personnel from other NATO commands and countries; Four NATO Airborne Early Warning and Command Systems aircraft (AWACS) were deployed from their home base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, to the Forward Operating Base in Konya, Turkey. The first two were deployed on 26 February and the two others on 18 March. Their mission was to monitor Turkish airspace and provide early warning for defensive purposes. The aircraft flew close to 100 missions and more than 950 hours; Three Dutch ground-based air defence PATRIOT batteries were deployed to South-eastern Turkey on 1 March, followed by two US batteries. Their main task was to protect Turkish territory from possible attacks with tactical ballistic missiles; Preparations were made to augment Turkey’s air defence assets with additional aircraft from other NATO countries; Equipment and material for protection from the effects of chemical and biological attack was offered by several NATO countries. Civil emergency planning In addition, on 3 March 2003, the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) received a request for assistance from Turkey for capabilities that might be needed by medical teams, civil protection teams and airport personnel to deal with the consequences of possible chemical or biological attacks against the civilian population. Command of the operation The deployment of Operation Display Deterrence was authorized by NATO's Defence Planning Committee on 19 February 2003 and began the next day. The operation was conducted under the overall command of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and run by what was then NATO's regional headquarters Southern Europe (AFSOUTH). Support to Poland The US-led Multinational Force (MNF), known by the name of Operation Iraqi Freedom, ousted Saddam Hussein’s regime. Following the end of the March campaign, the Polish government requested NATO support in the context of its planned leadership of one of the sectors in the MNF. The North Atlantic Council agreed to this request on 21 May and tasked NATO’s military authorities to provide advice on what type of support could be given. On 2 June, following a review of this advice, the Council agreed to aid Poland in a variety of supporting roles, including force generation, communications, logistics and movements. However, NATO did not have any permanent presence in Iraq. Poland formally assumed command of the Multinational Division (MND) Central South in Iraq on 3 September 2003. It withdrew from the coalition in October 2008. The evolution of NATO’s involvement The decisions to assist Turkey and support Poland were the culmination of formal and informal consultations on a possible NATO role in Iraq, which began in 2002. UNSCR 1441 Iraq was suspected of possessing weapons of mass destruction. On 8 November 2002, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 1441 to offer Iraq a final chance to comply with its disarmament obligations that had been repeatedly stated in previous UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR). In a special declaration issued at the Prague Summit on 21-22 November, NATO heads of state and government pledged support for the implementation of this resolution. In December, the United States proposed six measures, which NATO could take in the event of a possible military campaign against Iraq, should its government fail to comply with UNSCR 1441. These ranged from the protection of US military assets in Europe from possible terrorist attacks to defensive assistance to Turkey in the event of a threat from Iraq. Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, refused to comply and therefore raised suspicions among Security Council members. This prompted some to support immediate military action and others to insist that the weapon inspectors be given more time to conduct their work. The division in the UN was also reflected at NATO since there was no consensus among Alliance members either as to whether military action should be taken against Iraq. The request from Turkey Invocation of Article 4 Early February 2003, the United States put forward to the North Atlantic Council a proposal to task the Alliance’s military authorities to begin planning deterrent and defensive measures in relation to a possible threat to Turkey. No consensus was reached on this since members disagreed on the need for and timing of such measures. In the morning of 10 February 2003, Turkey formally invoked Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, asking for consultations in the North Atlantic Council on defensive assistance from NATO in the event of a threat to its population or territory resulting from armed conflict in neighbouring Iraq. Disagreement The request by Turkey was debated over several days, but no agreement was reached. Whereas there was no disagreement among NATO countries about their commitment to defend Turkey, there was a disagreement on whether deterrent and defensive measures should be initiated and, if so, at what point? Three member countries - Belgium, France and Germany - felt that any early moves by NATO to deploy defensive measures to Turkey could influence the ongoing debate at the United Nations Security Council in regard to Iraq and the effort to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. Reaching consensus On 16 February, with the cohesion of the Alliance under strain in the face of continued disagreement among the member countries, Lord Robertson, the Secretary General of NATO acting in his capacity as Chairman, concluded that no further progress on this matter could be made within the Council. On the same day, with the concurrence of all member countries, the matter was taken up by the Defence Planning Committee. Composed of all member countries but France, which did not participate in NATO's integrated military structure at the time, the Committee was able to reach agreement on the next steps. It decided that NATO military authorities should provide military advice on the feasibility, implications and timelines of three possible defensive measures to assist Turkey. The Committee then reviewed this advice and on 19 February it authorized the military authorities to implement, as a matter of urgency, defensive measures to assist Turkey under the name of Operation Display Deterrence. The decision-making bodies The decision to provide support to Turkey was made by the Defence Planning Committee. Alliance support for Poland’s role in the multinational stabilization force was agreed on in the North Atlantic Council.
  • Iraq, NATO’s assistance to -
    NATO’s assistance to Iraq The Alliance demonstrated its commitment to helping Iraq create effective armed forces and, ultimately, provide for its own security by establishing the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) in 2004. It was withdrawn from Iraq on 31 December 2011 when the mandate of the mission expired and agreement could not be reached on the legal status of NATO troops operating in the country. The NTM-I was set up in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1546 and at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government. It was not a combat mission. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring, and on equipment donation and coordination through the NATO Training and Equipment Co-ordination Group. From 2004 to 2011, it trained over 5,000 military personnel and over 10,000 police personnel in Iraq. Nearly 2,000 courses were provided in Allied countries and over 115 million euro’s worth of military equipment and a total of over 17.5 million euros in trust fund donations from 26 Allies for training and education at NATO facilities. The aim of NTM-I was to help Iraq develop a democratically-led and enduring security sector. In parallel and reinforcing the NTM-I initiative, NATO and the Iraqi government established a structured cooperation framework to develop the Alliance’s long-term partnership with Iraq. The aim and contours of the mission NATO helped the Iraqi government build the capability to ensure, by its own means, the security needs of the Iraqi people. It did not have a direct role in the international stabilisation force that was in Iraq from May 2003 until 31 December 2011 (the US-led combat mission “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was succeeded by “Operation New Dawn” in September 2010). Operationally, NTM-I specialised at the strategic level with the training of mid- to senior-level officers. By providing mentoring, advice and instruction support through in- and out-of-country training and the coordination of deliveries of donated military equipment, NTM-I made a tangible contribution to the rebuilding of military leadership in Iraq and the development of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). In 2007, Allies decided to extend their training assistance to Iraq by including gendarmerie-type training of the federal police in order to bridge the gap between routine police work and military operations. In December 2008, on the request of Prime Minister Al-Maliki, NATO expanded the Mission to other areas including navy and air force leadership training, defence reform, defence institution building, and small arms and light weapons accountability. NTM-I delivered its training, advice and mentoring support in a number of different settings. Over time, over a dozen member countries and one partner country contributed to the training effort either in or outside Iraq, through financial contributions or donations of equipment. In-country training and coordinating The Strategic Security Advisor and Mentoring Division The Strategic Security Advisor and Mentoring Division within NTM-I consisted of three mobile teams of advisors who worked in close cooperation with the Iraqi leadership in the Prime Minister’s National Operation Centre, the Minister of Defence’s Joint Operations Centre, and the Minister of Interior’s National Command Centre. Through intensive training programmes and daily mentoring support NATO helped the Iraqis to achieve Full Operational Capability in the three operations centres. The NATO Training, Education and Doctrine Advisory Division The National Defence University is the overarching institution under which Iraqi Officer Education and Training (OET) is managed. A NATO advisory mentoring team, within the NATO Training, Education and Doctrine Advisory Division, assisted the Iraqi Ministry of Defence with the development of a three-year degree course at the military academy at Ar Rustamiyah and a War College to compliment the Joint Staff College for senior security officials. It focused on the training of middle and senior-level personnel so as to help develop an officer corps trained in modern military leadership skills. It also aimed to introduce values that are in keeping with democratically-controlled armed forces. The National Defence College The North Atlantic Council agreed to support the establishment of the Iraqi National Defence College on 22 September 2004 and it was officially opened on 27 September 2005. In 2010, NTM-I personnel advised and assisted the Iraqi Ministry of Defence with the development of syllabi and lectures. The Defence Language Institute (DLI) and Defence and Strategic Studies Institute (DSSI) Located in Baghdad, DLI teaches civilian and military officials English. It is attached to the National Defence College. NATO played a key role in its establishment by advising on the course curriculum and assisting in the acquisition of its facilities, computers and furniture. NTM-I advisors also assisted Iraqis in the DSSI with the establishment of a digital military library capability. The Armed Forces Training and Education Branch The Armed Forces Training and Education Branch is part of the on-going standardisation of educational facilities at Ar Rustamiyah. Through this branch, NATO personnel developed and assisted the Non-commissioned Officer and Battle Staff Training courses. Out-of-country training NATO training schools NTM-I also facilitated training outside Iraq at NATO education and training facilities and national Centres of Excellence throughout NATO member countries. In order to allow an increasing number of Iraqi personnel to take part in specialised training outside of Iraq, NATO supported the establishment of the Defence Language Institute mentioned above. The NATO Training and Equipment Coordination Group This group, under the control of Allied Command Transformation, was established at NATO HQ on 8 October 2004. Based in Brussels, it worked with the Training and Education Synchronization Cell in Baghdad to coordinate the requirements of the Iraqi government for out-of-country training and equipment that was offered by NATO as a whole or by individual NATO member countries. Coordinating bilateral assistance Additionally, NATO helped to coordinate bilateral assistance provided by individual NATO member countries in the form of additional training, equipment donations and technical assistance both in and outside Iraq. Command of the mission The NATO mission was a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO’s North Atlantic Council. Nonetheless, NATO’s training missions were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US Forces - Iraq (USF-I). The NTM-I commander, who commanded the NATO effort in the country, was dual-hatted: he was also United States Forces Iraq (USF-I) Deputy Commanding General for Advising and Training (A&T). He reported to the Supreme Allied Commander Operations at SHAPE, Belgium for all matters related to NATO efforts in the country. The latter then reported, via the Chairman of the Military Committee, to the North Atlantic Council. US Forces - Iraq provided a secure environment for the protection of NATO forces in Iraq. The NATO chain of command had responsibility for close area force protection for all NATO personnel deployed to Iraq or the region. The evolution of NATO’s training effort in Iraq In a letter sent to the NATO Secretary General on 22 June 2004, the interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ilyad Allawi requested NATO support to his government through training and other forms of technical assistance. At their Summit meeting in Istanbul on 28 June 2004 - the day that sovereignty was formally transferred to an Interim Iraqi Government - NATO leaders agreed to assist Iraq with the training of its security forces and encouraged member countries to contribute. The NATO Training Implementation Mission A Training Implementation Mission was established on 30 July 2004. Its goal was to identify the best methods for conducting training both inside and outside the country. In addition, the mission immediately began training selected Iraqi headquarters personnel in Iraq. The first elements of the mission deployed on 7 August, followed by a team of about 50 officers led by Major General Carel Hilderink of the Netherlands. Expanding NATO's assistance On 22 September 2004, based on the mission's recommendations, the North Atlantic Council agreed to expand NATO's assistance, including establishing a NATO-supported Iraqi Training, Education and Doctrine Centre in Iraq. In November 2004, NATO's military authorities prepared a detailed concept of operations for the expanded assistance, including the rules of engagement for force protection. On 9 December 2004, NATO Foreign Ministers authorised the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to start the next stage of the mission. The activation order for this next stage was given by SACEUR on 16 December 2004. It paved the way for the deployment of 300 additional staff, including trainers and support staff, and a significant increase in the existing training and mentoring given to mid- and senior-level personnel from the Iraqi Security Forces. It also changed the mission’s name from NATO Training Implementation Mission to NATO Training Mission-Iraq. By February 2005, the new mission was fully staffed and funded. Niche training options At the summit meeting in Riga, November 2006, heads of state and government agreed to develop niche training options within the mandate of the NTM-I on the request of the Iraqi Prime Minister. A few months later, training was extended to include gendarmerie-type training of the national police. In December 2008, the mission was expanded to other areas. These areas included navy and air force leadership training, police training, defence reform, defence institution-building and standardised officer education and training. In 2010, NTM-I expanded once again, with developments within the Training, Education Doctrine Advisory Division and, more specifically, the Officer Education and Training Directorate, where greater interaction and support were developed between trainers and Iraqi participants. In addition, in response to Minister of Interior Bolani’s request to the Alliance of 8 September 2010, Italy announced its intention on 5 October 2010 to provide specialized training in the area of oil policing to the Government of Iraq. The training constituted an important contribution to the NATO Training Mission Iraq and the Alliance training support activities with the Government of Iraq.  Legal status of NTM-I personnel in Iraq On 26 July 2009, NATO and the Government of the Republic of Iraq signed an agreement regarding the training of Iraqi Security Forces (LTA). This agreement provided legal protection for NATO to continue with its training mission until the end of 2011. Extension of this mandate did not prove possible so the NTM-I was permanently withdrawn from Iraq on 31 December 2011. However, NATO remains committed to developing a long-term relationship with Iraq through its structured cooperation framework. Following the closure of NTM-I, a NATO Transition Cell was set up in order to bridge from an operational training mission to a sustained partnership. This Transition Cell operated for one year, from June 2012 until end May 2013. Transition from NTM-I to an enduring partnership NATO’s commitment to developing a long-term relationship with Iraq materialised in the decision to grant the country partner status in April 2011. Following the closure of NTM-I, a NATO Transition Cell was set up in order to bridge from an operational training mission to a sustained partnership. And a first step was taken in May 2012, when Iraq officially submitted a draft Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme. This programme aims to provide a framework for regular dialogue and training cooperation in areas such as the fight against terrorism, cross-border organised crime and critical energy infrastructure protection.
  • Iraq, NATO’s relations with -
    NATO’s relations with Iraq Over recent years, NATO has developed relations with a range of countries beyond the Euro-Atlantic area. Iraq is counted among these countries, which are referred to as “partners across the globe”. Building on cooperation that has developed through the NATO Training Mission in Iraq from 2004 to 2011, NATO and Iraq have agreed to enhance their security dialogue and to promote the further development of the Iraqi Security Forces through capacity building, education and training. Cooperation between NATO and Iraq is based on principles of respect for sovereignty, international law, joint ownership and mutual benefit. The partnership serves to anchor and bolster Iraq’s capacity to contribute constructively to regional security. It reflects NATO’s long-standing commitment to the development of Iraq’s capabilities to address shared challenges and threats. Through a jointly agreed Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, NATO and Iraq are undertaking further efforts to develop the capacity of Iraq’s security institutions and to cultivate the expertise of its national defence academies. This programme provides a framework for political dialogue and for training cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, crisis management and critical energy infrastructure protection. Prior to the closure of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) in December 2011, NTM-I staff played a major role in enabling the partnership between NATO and Iraq, matching requests from Iraqi ministries with areas of cooperation open to NATO partners, and coordinating the participation of some 500 Iraqi officers and officials in courses each year. A NATO Transition Cell operated in Baghdad from June 2012 to end May 2013 to ensure a smooth transition from the NTM-I to a regular partnership programme.  This helped the Iraqi government to develop an inter-agency mechanism, the Iraqi Coordination Cell, to determine what capabilities the country needed to develop and facilitate the design and implementation of its cooperation with NATO. The signing of the NATO-Iraq cooperation programme on 24 September 2012, by NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh Al-Fayyadh, marked the formal accession of Iraq to NATO’s “partnership family”. This accord reflects NATO’s commitment to the growing role Iraq plays in building regional stability, peace and democracy. The main areas of cooperation include education and training, response to terrorism, counter-IED, explosive ordnance disposal, defence Institution building and communication strategy.
  • Ireland, NATO’s relations with -
    NATO’s relations with Ireland NATO’s relations with Ireland are conducted through the Partnership for Peace framework, which Ireland joined in 1999. NATO and Ireland actively cooperate on humanitarian, rescue, peacekeeping and crisis management and have developed practical cooperation in a range of other areas, as provided for in Ireland’s Individual Partnership Programme (IPP). NATO highly values its relations with Ireland. The Allies view Ireland as an effective and pro-active partner and contributor to international security, which shares key values such as the promotion of international security, democracy and human rights. Irish cooperation with NATO is based on a longstanding policy of military neutrality, which allows for its armed forces to be used for peacekeeping and crisis management where there is a UN mandate, a government decision and parliamentary approval. From this basis Ireland selects areas of cooperation with NATO that match joint objectives. Ireland’s participation in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) has focused on enhancing the interoperability of its armed forces and its capacity to participate in multinational crisis-response operations. Ireland is currently contributing to the NATO-led peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan. In the past, it supported the NATO-led operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Framework for cooperation NATO and Ireland decide upon areas of cooperation in Ireland’s Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP), which is jointly agreed for a two-year period. The current IPCP focuses on the enhancement of skills and expertise in areas such areas as operational and generic planning for peacekeeping and peace support, communications (including cyber defence), command and control, operational procedures and logistics. Activities include training courses, seminars, workshops, conferences, exercises and certification and standardisation procedures. Participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) is aimed at enhancing Ireland’s ability to take part in multinational peace-support operations, improving capabilities and developing interoperability with Allies and other partners. Key areas of cooperation Security cooperation In 1997, Ireland deployed personnel in support of the NATO-led peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many of its forces formed part of an international military police company, primarily operating in Sarajevo. Ireland began contributing to the NATO-led Kosovo peacekeeping force (KFOR) in 1999 and has provided a truck cargo support company, an infantry company and staff officers. Additionally, Ireland was in command of Multinational Task Force Centre (MNTF-C) from 2007 to 2008. Currently, 12 personnel are deployed as part of KFOR. Since 2002 Ireland has also been providing staff officers and non-commissioned officers for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Currently, 7 personnel are deployed as part of ISAF. Based on the considerable peacekeeping experience of the Irish Defence Forces, Ireland contributes actively to a variety of PfP activities in areas such as generic planning for peacekeeping and peace support, communications, command and control, operational procedures, logistics and training. The Irish Defence Forces also operate a UN peacekeeping school, which offers courses that are open to all Allies and Partners. Since 2010, the Irish Defence Ordnance School also offers training courses on improvised explosive device disposal. Defence and security sector reform Participating in peacekeeping operations and engaging in PfP activities has complemented Ireland’s own process of military transformation. Participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) assists Ireland in developing the capabilities and interoperability of the forces it declares available for PfP activities, including NATO-led operations, while also supporting Irelands’s efforts to meet capability goals in the EU framework. Ultimately, the Irish Defence Forces are improving their expeditionary peace-support-operation capabilities through PARP. Over the years, along with individual Allies and partners, Ireland has contributed to ten Partnership Trust Fund projects. The include projects partner countries. for the destruction of mines in Montenegro and Serbia, the destruction of ammunition for small arms and light weapons in Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine, and the removal of dangerous chemicals in Moldova, as well as projects aimed at building integrity and transparency in defence and security institutions. Science and environment Under the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, scientists from Ireland have participated in numerous advanced research workshops and seminars on a range of topics, including science in the policy-making process, suicide bombing, and security and culture. Public information In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Ireland is the embassy of Hungary. Milestones in relations 1997 Ireland sends its first contingent of troops to support the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 1999 Ireland joins the Partnership for Peace. Irish forces participate in the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo. 2000 Ireland submits its first Individual Partnership Programme. 2001 Ireland joins the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP). 2002 Irish staff personnel are assigned to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Ireland participates in Cooperative Safeguard 2002, a humanitarian exercise, in Iceland. 2005 Ireland, along with several other Allies and partners, responds to the request from the United States for assistance to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. 2007-2008 Ireland commands MNTF-C in Kosovo. 2008 Ireland participates in Crisis Management Exercise (CMX 2008). 2010 Ireland starts offering courses to international personnel in improvised explosive device disposal. 2011 Ireland participates as observer in Cyber Coalition 2011. 2012 Ireland participates as observer in Cyber Coalition 2012. 2013 In February, Anders Fogh Rasmussen becomes the first NATO Secretary General to visit Ireland. He discusses current cooperation and the potential for strengthening ties between NATO and Ireland with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Defence Minister Alan Shatter. He also attends an informal meeting of European Union defence ministers in Dublin.
  • ISAF's Mission in Afghanistan
    ISAF's Mission in Afghanistan NATO’s primary objective in Afghanistan is to enable the Afghan government to provide effective security across the country and develop new Afghan security forces to ensure Afghanistan can never again become a safe haven for terrorists. The 48 nations which make up the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are supporting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the conduct of security operations throughout the country. Since 2011, responsibility for security has gradually been transitioned to the Afghans and ISAF’s mission has shifted from a combat-centric role to a more enabling role focusing on training, advising and assisting. The launch of the final stage of the transition process in June 2013 means that Afghan forces are taking the lead for security across the whole country. ISAF’s priorities In support of the Afghan government, ISAF is helping the ANSF to reduce the capability and the will of the insurgency as well as promoting the growth in capacity and capability of the ANSF. ISAF is also helping to create the space and lay the foundations for improvements in governance and socio-economic development to provide a secure environment for sustainable stability. ISAF provides support to the government and international community in security sector reform, including mentoring, training and operational support to the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP). The aim is to build professional, independent and sustainable ANA and ANP forces that are able to provide security and law enforcement to the Afghan people throughout the country. This work is carried out jointly by the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) and ISAF’s Joint Command (IJC), together with the European Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) and other important national actors. NTM-A focuses on training initial recruits and building the institutional training capability of the ANSF, while the IJC is responsible for developing fielded ANSF units through advice and assistance. ISAF has also contributed to reconstruction and development in Afghanistan through multinational Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) - led by individual ISAF nations - securing areas in which reconstruction work is conducted by national and international actors. Where appropriate – and in close coordination and cooperation with the Afghan government and the United Nations Assistance Mission Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) – ISAF has provided practical support for reconstruction and development efforts as well as support for humanitarian assistance efforts conducted by other actors. Through the PRTs, ISAF has also helped the Afghan authorities strengthen the institutions required to fully establish good governance and the rule of law as well as to promote human rights. The principal role of the PRTs in this respect is to build capacity, support the growth of governance structures and promote an environment in which governance can improve. By the time transition to Afghan lead for security is completed at the end of 2014, all PRTs will have been phased out and their functions handed over to the Afghan government, traditional development actors, non-governmental organisations and the private sector. ISAF Mission Evolution Transition to Afghan lead for security started in July 2011 and is well underway. The ANSF are growing stronger and more capable. As a result, ISAF’s role has changed from leading operations to enabling the Afghan security forces to conduct independent operations themselves. This means that ISAF’s mission has evolved from one focused primarily on combat to an enabling Security Force Assistance (SFA) role, which centres on training, advising and assisting its Afghan partners. The aim of this evolution is to ensure that ISAF continues to support the development of ANSF operational effectiveness, so that they are able to fully assume their security responsibilities by the completion of the transition to full Afghan security responsibility at the end of 2014. As ANSF progress towards that goal, the ISAF forces are gradually stepping back and starting to redeploy back to their home countries. This drawdown is taking place in a coordinated, measured and gradual way in line with the ANSF’s capacity to manage the security situation. An important milestone was reached on 18 June 2013, when the fifth and last tranche of transition areas was announced by the Afghan government. With that, the ANSF will take the lead for security across the country and ISAF will complete its shift from a combat to a support role. This is a critical step in the transition towards full Afghan security responsibility by end 2014, which was agreed with the Afghan government at the NATO Summit in Lisbon in 2010 and reaffirmed at the NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012. (More on ISAF mission evolution) ISAF’s mission in Afghanistan will cease at the end of 2014. However, as agreed by Allied leaders and their ISAF partners with the Afghan government at the Chicago Summit in May 2012, NATO will lead a new mission to continue training, advising and assisting the Afghan national security forces after 2014. The post-2014 mission will be called “Resolute Support” and will not be a combat mission. It will be smaller in size and will focus on national and institutional-level training and the higher levels of army and police commands across Afghanistan. ISAF's mandate The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been deployed since 2001 under the authority of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which authorised the establishment of the force to assist the Afghan government in the maintenance of security in Kabul and its surrounding areas – in particular to enable the Afghan authorities as well as UN personnel to operate in a secure environment. At that time, the operation was limited to the Kabul area, and its command was assumed by ISAF nations on a rotational basis. In August 2003, upon request of the UN and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, NATO took command of ISAF. Soon after, the UN mandated ISAF’s gradual expansion outside of Kabul. While not technically a UN force, ISAF is a UN-mandated international force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Fifteen UN Security Council Resolutions relate to ISAF, namely: 1386, 1413, 1444, 1510, 1563, 1623, 1707, 1776, 1817, 1833, 1890, 1917, 1943, 2011 and 2069. A detailed Military Technical Agreement agreed between the ISAF Commander and the Afghan Transitional Authority in January 2002 provides additional guidance for ISAF operations. History of ISAF Origin of ISAF ISAF was created in accordance with the Bonn Conference in December 2001. Afghan opposition leaders attending the conference began the process of reconstructing their country by setting up a new government structure, namely the Afghan Transitional Authority. The concept of a UN-mandated international force to assist the newly established Afghan Transitional Authority was also launched  this occasion to create a secure environment in and around Kabul and support the reconstruction of Afghanistan. These agreements paved the way for the creation of a three-way partnership between the Afghan Transitional Authority, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and ISAF. NATO takes on ISAF command On 11 August 2003, NATO assumed leadership of the ISAF operation, bringing the six-month national rotations to an end. The Alliance became responsible for the command, coordination and planning of the force, including the provision of a force commander and headquarters on the ground in Afghanistan. This new leadership overcame the problem of a continual search to find new nations to lead the mission and the difficulties of setting up a new headquarters every six months in a complex environment. A continuing NATO Headquarters also enables small countries, less able to take over leadership responsibility, to play a strong role within a multinational headquarters. Expansion of ISAF’s presence in Afghanistan ISAF’s mandate was initially limited to providing security in and around Kabul. In October 2003, the United Nations extended ISAF’s mandate to cover the whole of Afghanistan  ( UNSCR 1510 ), paving the way for an expansion of the mission across the country. Stage 1: to the north In December 2003, the North Atlantic Council authorised the then Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General James Jones, to initiate the expansion of ISAF by taking over command of the German-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kunduz. The other eight PRTs operating in Afghanistan in 2003 remained under the command of Operation Enduring Freedom, the continuing US-led military operation in Afghanistan. On 31 December 2003, the military component of the Kunduz PRT was placed under ISAF command as a pilot project and first step in the expansion of the mission. Six months later, on 28 June 2004, at the Summit meeting of the NATO Heads of State and Government in Istanbul, NATO announced that it would establish four other Provincial Reconstruction Teams in the north of the country: in Mazar-e-Sharif, Meymanah, Feyzabad and Baghlan. This process was completed on 1 October 2004, marking the completion of the first phase of ISAF’s expansion. ISAF’s area of operations then covered some 3,600 square kilometres in the north and the mission was able to influence security in nine northern provinces of the country. Stage 2: to the west On 10 February 2005, NATO announced that ISAF would be further expanded, into the west of Afghanistan. This process began on 31 May 2006, when ISAF took on command of two additional PRTs, in the provinces of Herat and Farah and of a Forward Support Base (a logistic base) in Herat. At the beginning of September, two further ISAF-led PRTs in the west became operational, one in Chaghcharan, capital of Ghor Province, and one in Qala-e-Naw, capital of Badghis province, completing ISAF’s expansion into the west. The extended ISAF mission led a total of nine PRTs, in the north and the west, providing security assistance in 50% of Afghanistan’s territory. The Alliance continued to make preparations to further expand ISAF, to the south of the country. In September 2005, the Alliance also temporarily deployed 2,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to support the 18 September provincial and parliamentary elections. Stage 3: to the south On 8 December 2005, meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the Allied Foreign Ministers endorsed a plan that paved the way for an expanded ISAF role and presence in Afghanistan. The first element of this plan was the expansion of ISAF to the south in 2006, also known as Stage 3. This was implemented on 31 July 2006, when ISAF assumed command of the southern region of Afghanistan from US-led Coalition forces, expanding its area of operations to cover an additional six provinces – Daikundi, Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan and Zabul – and taking on command of four additional PRTs. The expanded ISAF led a total of 13 PRTs in the north, west and south, covering some three-quarters of Afghanistan’s territory. The number of ISAF forces in the country also increased significantly, from about 10,000 prior to the expansion to about 20,000 after. Stage 4: ISAF expands to the east, takes responsibility for entire country On 5 October 2006, ISAF implemented the final stage of its expansion, by taking on command of the international military forces in eastern Afghanistan from the US-led Coalition. In addition to expanding the Alliance’s area of operations, the revised operational plan also paved the way for a greater ISAF role in the country. This includes the deployment of ISAF training and mentoring teams to Afghan National Army units at various levels of command.
  • Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI)
    Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Background ?? Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) NATO's Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, launched at the Alliance's Summit in the Turkish city in June 2004, aims to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering countries of the broader Middle East region practical bilateral security cooperation with NATO. ? more News