Investing in strong partnerships

  • Last updated: 05 Jul. 2012 15:01

Cooperative security is one of NATO’s three essential core tasks. In an unpredictable, fast-changing and increasingly interconnected world, it is essential for the Alliance to invest in strong partnerships with countries and organizations around the globe.

“Partnership is not a choice between staying at home or going global. It is not peripheral to our business – it is part of NATO’s core business. In almost all areas, we need effective partnerships to be successful. To manage crises. To defend against emerging security challenges. And to promote stability,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in a major policy speech at Chatham House in London, on 4 July.

The Allies’ policy of partnership and cooperative security has stood the test of time. Over the past two decades, NATO’s partnerships have continued to evolve, adapting to changes in the security environment.

Today, partners are deployed alongside Allies in operations from the Balkans to Afghanistan. Partners are also working with NATO to address global challenges that require global responses, such as terrorism, piracy and cyber defence.

No one country or organization can deal with the complex and unpredictable challenges of the evolving security environment on its own. Euro-Atlantic security is best assured through a wide network of partner relationships with countries and organizations around the globe. For this reason, cooperative security is identified as one of NATO’s three essential core tasks in NATO’s new Strategic Concept, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010.

Allies agreed at the summit that NATO’s partnerships “can provide frameworks for political dialogue and regional cooperation in the field of security and defence; contribute to strengthening our common values; and are essential to the success of many of our operations and missions.

At the Chicago Summit in May 2012, the 28 Allied leaders met with counterparts from 13 partner countries from around the globe, which have recently made particular political, operational and financial contributions to NATO-led operations. It was a unique opportunity to discuss lessons learned from cooperation and to exchange views on common security challenges.

Leaders stressed the need to maintain interoperability and interconnectedness with partner forces through joint training and exercises, even when not actively engaged in operations. They also underlined their readiness to cooperate in new areas “in a demand and substance-driven way”.

“I believe there is considerable scope for developing clusters of willing and able Allies and partners ready to cooperate in specific areas,” said NATO’s Secretary General at Chatham House, pointing to areas such as training and education, emerging security challenges, and Smart Defence.