Partner countries have made and continue to make significant contributions to the Alliance’s operations and missions, whether it be supporting peace in the Western Balkans and Afghanistan, training national security forces in Iraq, monitoring maritime activity in the Mediterranean Sea, or helping protect civilians in Libya.
A number of tools have been developed to ensure that partner forces are capable of participating actively in NATO-led operations. They include the following:
The Planning and Review Process (PARP) helps develop the interoperability and capabilities of forces which might be made available for NATO training, exercises and operations. It also provides a framework to assist partners to develop effective, affordable and sustainable armed forces as well as promoting wider defence and security-sector transformation and reform efforts. PARP is open to Euro-Atlantic partners on a voluntary basis and is open to other partner countries on a case-by-case basis, upon approval of the North Atlantic Council. Under PARP, planning targets are negotiated with each country and regular reviews measure progress. PARP is conducted by Allies and participating partners together.
The Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) Evaluation and Feedback Programme is used to develop and train partner land, maritime, air or special operations forces that are declared available for NATO-led operations and the NATO Response Force, so that they meet NATO standards. This can often take a few years, but it ensures that partner forces are effective and interoperable with Allied forces once deployed. Some partners use the OCC as a strategic tool to transform their defence forces. The OCC has contributed significantly to the increasing number of partner forces participating in NATO-led operations and the NATO Response Force.
The Political-Military Framework (PMF) sets out principles, modalities and guidelines for the involvement of all partner countries in political consultations and decision-shaping, in operational planning and in command arrangements for operations to which they contribute. A review of the Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations was launched at the 2010 Lisbon Summit to update the way NATO works together with partner countries and shapes decisions on the operations and missions to which they contribute. This review was conducted, in consultation with partners, in 2011.
The Defence Education Enhancement Programmes (DEEPs) are tailored programmes through which the Alliance advises partners on how to build, develop and reform educational institutions in the security, defence and military domain. DEEPs focus on faculty building or so-called “educate the educators” programmes. They can cover areas such as how to teach leadership and critical thinking. DEEPs are open to all NATO partners. The Military Training and Exercise Programme (MTEP) allows partners to take part in exercises to promote interoperability. Through the MTEP, a five-year planning horizon provides a starting point for exercise planning and the allocation of resources. The Bi-Strategic Command Military Cooperation Division, which is principally located at SHAPE in Mons, Belgium, is responsible for supporting partner involvement in exercises. In addition, and on a case-by-case basis, Allies may invite partners to take part in North Atlantic Council-level crisis-management exercises that engage ministries in participating capitals, and national political and military representation at NATO Headquarters, in consultations on the strategic management of crises during an exercise.
The Partnership Action Plan on Terrorism (PAP-T) is a framework through which Allies and partner countries work to improve cooperation in the fight against terrorism, through political consultation and a range of practical measures. It facilitates consultation and cooperation in areas such as intelligence-sharing, terrorism-related training and exercises, and the development of capabilities for defence against terrorist attack or for dealing with the consequences of such an attack. Other areas of cooperation include border management and security, air defence and air-traffic management. Defence against terrorism is also the first of three key priorities of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, which over time has initiated a broad range of activities in topical areas related to the defence against terrorism. PAP-T was launched at the Prague Summit in 2002 and continues to evolve in line with the joint aims and efforts of Allies and partners.
Opportunities for cooperation between NATO and partners in the areas of armaments, air defence, and airspace and air traffic management are provided through the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD), the Air Defence Committee (ADC) and the Air Traffic Management Committee (ATMC).