NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • Oceanography and meteorology
    Meteorology and oceanography Today, the Alliance is often operating, or monitoring conditions that affect its strategic interests, beyond the borders of its member nations. It therefore needs to have the most accurate, timely and relevant information – both current and forecasted – describing the meteorological and oceanographic (METOC) aspects of these environments. For example, comprehensive weather and flood forecasting and oceanographic features such as wave heights, temperature, salinity, surf and tidal movements, or even the presence of marine life, can seriously affect military activities. NATO cooperation in METOC support for its forces aims to ensure that Allies get the information they need through efficient and effective use of national and NATO assets. This information helps allied forces exploit the best window of opportunity to plan, execute, support and sustain military operations. Furthermore, it helps them optimize the use of sensors, weapons, targeting, logistics, equipment and personnel. To advise the Military Committee, a METOC working group was recently formed from two separate meteorology and oceanography groups. The NATO Meteorological and Oceanographic Military Committee Working Group The NATO Meteorological and Oceanographic Military Committee Working Group [MCWG(METOC)] advises the Military Committee on METOC issues. It also acts as a standardization authority by supervising two subordinate panels on military meteorology and military oceanography. MCWG(METOC), which comprises delegates from each allied country, meets annually to address military METOC policy, procedures and standardization agreements between NATO and partner countries. It relies to a large extent on the resources of NATO members, most of which have dedicated civil and/or military METOC organizations. The group supports NATO and national members in developing effective plans, procedures and techniques for providing METOC support to NATO forces and ensuring data is collected and shared. In a more general sense, it encourages research and development as well as liaison, mutual support and interoperability among national and NATO command METOC capabilities that support allied forces. NATO created the MCWG(METOC) by merging the former Military Oceanography Group and the Military Committee Meteorology Group in 2011. The role of NATO countries NATO member countries are expected to provide the bulk of METOC information and resources. At the same time, national delegates are able to steer policy, when needed, through the MCWG(METOC) and act as the approval authority for standardization. Among other tasks, nations are expected to: contribute to a network of data collection sites and platforms, provide METOC analysis and forecasts, and provide military METOC support products and services, such as tactical decision aids (TDAs) and acoustic predictions. NATO established a METOC Communications Hub collocated with the Bundeswehr Geo-Information Office in Germany to better enable information-sharing among Allies and partner countries. Other allied nations also contribute to data-sharing capabilities by, for example, sustaining databases of oceanographic information or taking a lead responsibility in supporting specified operations and missions. Climate change The interdependencies and importance of climate change was one of the motivating factors for combining the former oceanography and meteorology groups. NATO nations and partners monitor global situations like climate change that affect security interests. In this respect, it collaborates with international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Meteorological Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization. NATO military METOC policies and procedures, including those supported by the MCWG(METOC), facilitate hazard assessment and prediction capabilities and rapid response for natural disasters. The working group helps NATO members and partner countries look at how, within their national civil or military METOC capabilities, or within a collective capability, they are assessing and preparing for climate change and other national security threats.
  • Open Door policy (NATO Enlargement)
    NATO enlargement The foreign ministers of four aspirant countries – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ – meet NATO foreign ministers at the Chicago Summit in May 2012. NATO’s door remains open to any European country in a position to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership, and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. Since 1949, NATO’s membership has increased from 12 to 28 countries through six rounds of enlargement. Albania and Croatia were invited to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit in April 2008 and formally became members when the accession process was completed on 1 April 2009. Currently there are four partner countries that aspire for NATO membership: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ and Montenegro. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ has, like Albania and Croatia, been participating in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for a number of years to prepare for possible membership. At Bucharest, Allied leaders agreed to invite the country to become a member as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the issue over the country’s name has been reached with Greece. They also invited Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to start Intensified Dialogues on their membership aspirations and related reforms. Furthermore, Allied leaders agreed that Georgia and Ukraine – which were already engaged in an Intensified Dialogue with NATO – will become members of NATO. In December 2008, Georgia and Ukraine were invited to develop Annual National Programmes (ANPs). Georgia did so under the auspices of the NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC), which was established in September 2008 to oversee NATO’s assistance to Georgia following the conflict with Russia and to play a central role in supervising the process set in hand at the Bucharest Summit. Georgia and Ukraine both submitted their first ANPs in 2009. In terms of Ukraine, while no longer pursuing NATO membership since 2010, Ukraine has maintained the existing level of cooperation with the Alliance and has fulfilled the existing agreements. Ukraine has continued to participate actively in the ANP process which plays a key role in determining Allied support for Ukraine’s domestic reform process. In December 2009, Montenegro was invited to join the MAP, as was Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 2010.  However,  the latter’s first Annual National Programme will only be accepted by the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s principal decision-making body, when the immovable property issue has been resolved. NATO’s “open door policy” is based on Article 10 of its founding treaty. Any decision to invite a country to join the Alliance is taken by the North Atlantic Council on the basis of consensus among all Allies. No third country has a say in such deliberations. NATO’s ongoing enlargement process poses no threat to any country. It is aimed at promoting stability and cooperation, at building a Europe whole and free, united in peace, democracy and common values. Aspirant countries Countries that have declared an interest in joining the Alliance are initially invited to engage in an Intensified Dialogue with NATO about their membership aspirations and related reforms. Aspirant countries may then be invited to participate in the MAP to prepare for potential membership and demonstrate their ability to meet the obligations and commitments of possible future membership. Participation in the MAP does not guarantee membership, but it constitutes a key preparation mechanism. Countries aspiring to join NATO have to demonstrate that they are in a position to further the principles of the 1949 Washington Treaty and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. They are also expected to meet certain political, economic and military criteria, which are laid out in the 1995 Study on NATO Enlargement. 1995 Study on Enlargement In 1995, the Alliance published the results of a Study on NATO Enlargement that considered the merits of admitting new members and how they should be brought in. It concluded that the end of the Cold War provided a unique opportunity to build improved security in the entire Euro-Atlantic area and that NATO enlargement would contribute to enhanced stability and security for all. It would do so, the Study further concluded, by encouraging and supporting democratic reforms, including the establishment of civilian and democratic control over military forces; fostering patterns and habits of cooperation, consultation and consensus-building characteristic of relations among members of the Alliance; and promoting good-neighbourly relations. It would increase transparency in defence planning and military budgets, thereby reinforcing confidence among states, and would reinforce the overall tendency toward closer integration and cooperation in Europe. The Study also concluded that enlargement would strengthen the Alliance’s ability to contribute to European and international security and strengthen and broaden the transatlantic partnership. According to the Study, countries seeking NATO membership would have to be able to demonstrate that they have fulfilled certain requirements. These include: a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; the fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflicts; the ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutional structures. Once admitted, new members would enjoy all the rights and assume all the obligations of membership. This would include acceptance at the time that they join of all the principles, policies and procedures previously adopted by Alliance members. Accession process Once the Allies have decided to invite a country to become a member of NATO, they officially invite the country to begin accession talks with the Alliance. This is the first step in the accession process on the way to formal membership. The major steps in the process are: 1. Accession talks with a NATO team These talks take place at NATO Headquarters in Brussels and bring together teams of NATO experts and representatives of the individual invitees. Their aim is to obtain formal confirmation from the invitees of their willingness and ability to meet the political, legal and military obligations and commitments of NATO membership, as laid out in the Washington Treaty and in the Study on NATO Enlargement. The talks take place in two sessions with each invitee. In the first session, political and defence or military issues are discussed, essentially providing the opportunity to establish that the preconditions for membership have been met. The second session is more technical and includes discussion of resources, security, and legal issues as well as the contribution of each new member country to NATO’s common budget. This is determined on a proportional basis, according to the size of their economies in relation to those of other Alliance member countries. Invitees are also required to implement measures to ensure the protection of NATO classified information, and prepare their security and intelligence services to work with the NATO Office of Security. The end product of these discussions is a timetable to be submitted by each invitee for the completion of necessary reforms, which may continue even after these countries have become NATO members. 2. Invitees send letters of intent to NATO, along with timetables for completion of reforms In the second step of the accession process, each invitee country provides confirmation of its acceptance of the obligations and commitments of membership in the form of a letter of intent from each foreign minister addressed to the NATO Secretary General. Together with this letter they also formally submit their individual reform timetables. 3. Accession protocols are signed by NATO countries NATO then prepares Accession Protocols to the Washington Treaty for each invitee. These protocols are in effect amendments or additions to the Treaty, which once signed and ratified by Allies, become an integral part of the Treaty itself and permit the invited countries to become parties to the Treaty. 4. Accession protocols are ratified by NATO countries The governments of NATO member states ratify the protocols, according to their national requirements and procedures. The ratification procedure varies from country to country. For example, the United States requires a two-thirds majority to pass the required legislation in the Senate. Elsewhere, for example in the United Kingdom, no formal parliamentary vote is required. 5. The Secretary General invites the potential new members to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty Once all NATO member countries notify the Government of the United States of America, the depository of the Washington Treaty, of their acceptance of the protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of the potential new members, the Secretary General invites the new countries to accede to the Treaty. 6. Invitees accede to the North Atlantic Treaty in accordance with their national procedures 7. Upon depositing their instruments of accession with the US State Department, invitees formally become NATO members Evolution of NATO’s “open door policy” NATO’s “open door policy” is based upon Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, which states that membership is open to any “European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area”. The enlargement of the Alliance is an ongoing and dynamic process.  Since the Alliance was created in 1949, its membership has grown from the 12 founding members to today’s 28 members through six rounds of enlargement in 1952, 1955, 1982, 1999, 2004 and 2009. The first three rounds of enlargement – which brought in Greece and Turkey (1952), West Germany (1955) and Spain (1982) – took place during the Cold War, when strategic considerations were at the forefront of decision-making. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 signalled the end of the Cold War and was followed by the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the breakup of the Soviet Union. The reunification of Germany in October 1990 brought the territory of the former East Germany into the Alliance. The new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe were eager to guarantee their freedom by becoming integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions. NATO enlargement was the subject of lively debate in the early 1990s. Many political analysts were unsure of the benefits that enlargement would bring. Some were concerned about the possible impact on Alliance cohesion and solidarity, as well as on relations with other states, notably Russia. It is in this context that the Alliance carried out a Study on NATO Enlargement in 1995 (see above). Post-Cold War enlargement Based on the findings of the Study on Enlargement, the Alliance invited the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to begin accession talks at the Alliance’s Madrid Summit in 1997. These three countries became the first former members of the Warsaw Pact to join NATO in 1999. At the 1999 Washington Summit, the Membership Action Plan was launched to help other aspirant countries prepare for possible membership. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia were invited to begin accession talks at the Alliance’s Prague Summit in 2002 and joined NATO in 2004. All seven countries had participated in the MAP. Bucharest Summit decision s At the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, Allied leaders took a number of steps related to the future enlargement of the Alliance. Several decisions concerned countries in the Western Balkans. The Allies see the closer integration of Western Balkan countries into Euro-Atlantic institutions as essential to ensuring long-term self-sustaining stability in this region, where NATO has been heavily engaged in peace-support operations since the mid 1990s. Albania and Croatia were invited to start accession talks to join the Alliance and joined NATO in April 2009. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 1 was assured that it will also be invited to join the Alliance as soon as a solution to the issue of the country’s name has been reached with Greece. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro were invited to start Intensified Dialogues on their membership aspirations and related reforms (Montenegro was invited to join MAP in December 2009 and Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 2010; MAP will be fully activated for the latter once the Tallinn condition on the registration of immovable defence property has been met). Allied leaders also agreed at Bucharest that Georgia and Ukraine, which were already engaged in Intensified Dialogues with NATO, will one day become members. In December 2008, Allied foreign ministers decided to enhance opportunities for assisting the two countries in efforts to meet membership requirements by making use of the framework of the existing NATO-Ukraine Commission and NATO-Georgia Commission – without prejudice to further decisions which may be taken about their applications to join the MAP. 4 April 1949 Signature of the North Atlantic Treaty by 12 founding members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. Article 10 of the Treaty provides the basis for NATO’s “open door policy”. 18 February 1952 Accession of Greece and Turkey. 6 May 1955 Accession of the Federal Republic of Germany. 30 May 1982 Spain joins the Alliance (and the integrated military structure in 1998). October 1990 With the reunification of Germany, the new German Länder in the East become part of NATO. January 1994 At the Brussels Summit, Allied leaders reaffirm that NATO remains open to the membership of other European countries. 28 September 1995 Publication of NATO Study on Enlargement. 8-9 July 1997 At the Madrid Summit, three partner countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – are invited to start accession talks. 12 March 1999 Accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, bringing the Alliance to 19 members. 23-25 April 1999 Launch of the Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the Washington Summit. (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia join the MAP.) 14 May 2002 NATO Foreign Ministers officially announce the participation of Croatia in the MAP at their meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland. May 2002 President Leonid Kuchma announces Ukraine’s goal of eventual NATO membership. 21-22 November 2002 At the Prague Summit, seven partner countries – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – are invited to start accession talks. 26 March 2003 Signing ceremony of the Accession Protocols of the seven invitees. 29 March 2004 Accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. 21 April 2005 Launch of the Intensified Dialogue on Ukraine’s aspirations to NATO membership and related reforms, at an informal meeting of foreign ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania. 21 September 2006 NATO Foreign Ministers in New York announce the decision to offer an Intensified Dialogue to Georgia. 28-29 November 2006 At the Riga Summit, Allied leaders state that invitations will be extended to MAP countries that fulfil certain conditions. 2-4 April 2008 At the Bucharest Summit, Allied leaders invite Albania and Croatia to start accession talks; assure the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ that it will be invited once a solution to the issue of the country’s name has been reached with Greece; invite Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to start Intensified Dialogues; and agree that Georgia and Ukraine will become members in future. 9 July 2008 December 2008 Accession Protocols for Albania and Croatia are signed. Allied Foreign Ministers agree that Georgia should develop an Annual National Programme under the auspices of the NATO-Georgia Commission. 1 April 2009 Accession of Albania and Croatia. 4 December 2009 NATO Foreign Ministers invite Montenegro to join the MAP. 22 April 2010 NATO Foreign Ministers invite Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the MAP, authorising the North Atlantic Council to accept the country’s first Annual National Programme only when the immovable property issue has been resolved. 1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
  • Operation Active Endeavour
    Operation Active Endeavour Under Operation Active Endeavour, NATO ships are patrolling the Mediterranean and monitoring shipping to help deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorist activity. The operation evolved out of NATO’s immediate response to the terrorist attacks against the United States of 11 September 2001 and, in view of its success, is being continued. As the Alliance has refined its counter-terrorism role in the intervening years, the operation’s mandate has been regularly reviewed and its remit extended. The experience that NATO has accrued in Active Endeavour has given the Alliance unparalleled expertise in the deterrence of maritime terrorist activity in the Mediterranean Sea. This expertise is relevant to wider international efforts to combat terrorism and, in particular, the proliferation and smuggling of weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhanced cooperation with non-NATO countries and civilian agencies. The aim of the operation and its current functions Operation Active Endeavour is NATO’s only Article 5 operation on anti-terrorism. It was initiated in support of the United States immediately after 9/11. It therefore aims to demonstrate NATO's solidarity and resolve in the fight against terrorism and to help deter and disrupt terrorist activity in the Mediterranean. NATO forces have hailed over 115 000 merchant vessels and boarded some 162 suspect ships. By conducting these maritime operations against terrorist activity, NATO’s presence in these waters has benefited all shipping traveling through the Straits of Gibraltar by improving perceptions of security. NATO is helping to keep seas safe, protect shipping and control suspect vessels. Moreover, this operation is also enabling NATO to strengthen its relations with partner countries, especially those participating in the Alliance’s Mediterranean Dialogue. Keeping seas safe and protecting shipping Keeping the Mediterranean’s busy trade routes open and safe is critical to NATO’s security. In terms of energy alone, some 65 per cent of the oil and natural gas consumed in western Europe pass through the Mediterranean each year, with major pipelines connecting Libya to Italy and Morocco to Spain. For this reason, NATO ships are systematically carrying out preparatory route surveys in “choke” points as well as in important passages and harbours throughout the Mediterranean. Tracking and controlling suspect vessels Since April 2003, NATO has been systematically boarding suspect ships. These boardings take place with the compliance of the ships’ masters and flag states in accordance with international law. What happens in practice is that merchant ships passing through the eastern Mediterranean are hailed by patrolling NATO naval units and asked to identify themselves and their activity. This information is then reported to NATO’s Maritime Commander in Northwood, the United Kingdom. If any­thing appears unusual or suspicious, teams of between 15 and 20 of the ships’ crew may board vessels to inspect documen­tation and cargo. Compliant boarding can only be conducted with the consent of the flag state and/or the ship’s master. NATO personnel may otherwise convey this information to the appropriate law enforcement agency at the vessel’s next port of call. The suspect vessel is then shadowed until action is taken by a responsible agency/authority, or until it enters a country’s territorial waters. Unexpected benefits While the mandate of Active Endeavour is limited to deterring, defending, disrupting and protecting against terrorist-related activity, the operation has had a visible effect on security and stability in the Mediterranean that is beneficial to trade and economic activity. NATO ships and helicopters have also intervened on several occasions to rescue civilians on stricken oil rigs and sinking ships. This includes helping 84 workers to evacuate an oil rig in high winds and heavy seas in December 2001 and winching women and children off a sinking ship carrying some 250 refugees in January 2002 as well as helping to repair the damaged hull. Operation Active Endeavour provided the framework for the maritime component of NATO’s assistance to the Greek government to ensure the safe conduct of the 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games in August and September 2004. Task Force Endeavour conducted surveillance, presence and compliant boarding operations in international waters around the Greek peninsula with Standing Naval Forces surface ships, supported by maritime patrol aircraft and submarines and in coordination with the Hellenic Navy and Coast Guard. Closer cooperation with partners The increased NATO presence in the Mediterranean has also enhanced the Alliance’s security cooperation programme with seven countries in the wider Mediterranean region – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. This programme - the Mediterranean Dialogue - was set up in 1995 to contribute to regional security and stability and to achieve better mutual understanding between NATO and its Mediterranean Partners. Mediterranean Dialogue countries are equally concerned by the threat of terrorism and have already been cooperating with NATO in Active Endeavour by providing intelligence about suspicious shipping operating in their waters. Enhanced coordination and cooperation mechanisms are currently being developed. Command and structure of the operation The operation is under the overall command of, and is conducted from, Maritime Command Headquarters, Northwood (United Kingdom) through a task force deployed in the Mediterranean. Task Force Endeavour consists of a balanced collection of surface units, submarines and maritime patrol aircraft. The operation also regularly makes use of NATO’s two high-readiness frigate forces, which are permanently ready to act and capable of conducting a wide range of maritime operations. The current operational pattern uses surface forces as reaction units to conduct specific tasks such as locating, tracking, reporting and boarding of suspected vessels in the light of intelligence. The NATO Standing Naval Forces rotate in providing periodic support to Operation Active Endeavour either through “surges” (when an entire force participates) or through individual units being put on call when the operation has no regularly assigned forces. Evolution An Article 5 deployment The deployment was one of eight measures taken by NATO to support the United States in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, following the invocation of Article 5, NATO’s collective defence clause, for the first time in the Alliance’s history. The deployment started on 6 October and was formally named Operation Active Endeavour on 26 October 2001. Together with the dispatch of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft to the United States, it was the first time that NATO assets had been deployed in support of an Article 5 operation. Since October 2001, NATO ships have been patrolling the Mediterranean and monitoring shipping, boarding any suspect ships. Compliant boarding operations are essential to the successful continuation of the operation. They are limited to trying to establish whether a vessel is engaged in terrorist activity. Moreover, in March 2003, Active Endeavour was expanded to include providing escorts through the Straits of Gibraltar to non-military ships from Alliance member states requesting them. This extension of the mission was designed to help prevent terrorist attacks such as those off Yemen on the USS Cole in October 2000 and on the French oil tanker Limburg two years later. The area was considered particularly vulnerable because the Straits are extremely narrow and some 3000 commercial shipments pass through daily. In total, 488 ships took advantage of NATO escorts until Task Force STROG (Straits of Gibraltar) was suspended in May 2004. Forces remain ready to move at 30-days notice. Covering the entire Mediterranean One year later, in March 2004, as a result of the success of Active Endeavour in the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO extended its remit to the whole of the Mediterranean. At the June 2004 Istanbul Summit, Allied leaders decided to enhance Operation Active Endeavour (OAE). They also welcomed offers by Russia and Ukraine to support the operation. An evolving operation In the revised Concept of Operations approved by the North Atlantic Council on 23 April 2009, the Military Committee highlighted two considerations: the need to further enhance information-sharing between NATO and other actors in the region; the fact that in some cases, the operation is hampered by the lack of consent to conduct compliant boarding of suspect vessels. In addition, the Operational Plan approved in January 2010, is shifting Operation Active Endeavour from a platform-based to a network-based operation, using a combination of on-call units and surge operations instead of deployed forces; it is also seeking to enhance cooperation with non-NATO countries and international organisations in order to improve Maritime Situational Awareness. In February 2013, as a result of the reform of the military command structure initiated in 2011, the operation changed command. Initially, OAE was under the overall command of Joint Forces Command (JFC), Naples, and was conducted from the Allied Maritime Component Command Naples, Italy (CC-Mar Naples). From 22 February 2013, it came under the command of, and is conducted by, Maritime Command Headquarters, Northwood (United Kingdom). Contributing countries Being an Article 5 operation, Operation Active Endeavour initially involved member countries only. Some NATO members, mainly Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey, contribute directly to the operation with naval assets. Escort operations in the Straits of Gibraltar used to involve the use of fast patrol boats from northern European Allies Denmark, Germany and Norway. Spain also provides additional assets in the Straits. Operation Active Endeavour relies heavily on the logistic support of Mediterranean NATO Allies. From 2004, partner and non-NATO countries started offering their support. All offers are considered on a case-by-case basis. To date, Exchanges of Letters have been signed between NATO and Israel, Morocco, Russia and Ukraine. In addition, Finland and Sweden have informally expressed their interest in contributing to the operation. Georgia has sent a liaison officer to Naples following the signing of a tactical Memorandum of Understanding with NATO in 2010 on the exchange of information. Russia deployed vessels twice, in 2006 and 2007, and Ukraine a total of five times since 2007.
  • Operations, Counter-piracy -
    Counter-piracy operations Piracy in the Gulf of Aden, off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean is undermining international humanitarian efforts in Africa and the safety of one of the busiest and most important maritime routes in the world – the gateway in and out of the Suez Canal. NATO has been helping to deter and disrupt pirate attacks, while protecting vessels and helping to increase the general level of security in the region since 2008. On the request of United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in late 2008, NATO started to provide escorts to UN World Food Programme (WFP) vessels transiting through these dangerous waters under Operation Allied Provider (October-December 2008). In addition to providing close protection to WFP chartered ships, NATO conducted deterrence patrols and prevented, for instance, vessels from being hijacked and their crews being taken hostage during pirate attacks. This operation was succeeded by Operation Allied Protector (March-August 2009), which continued to contribute to the safety of commercial maritime routes and international navigation. It also conducted surveillance and fulfilled the tasks previously undertaken by Operation Allied Provider. This operation evolved in August 2009 in Operation Ocean Shield. Operation Ocean Shield also contributes to providing maritime security in the region and is helping to reduce the overall pirate attack success rate. The latter has been significantly reduced since multinational operations began. In order to respond to new piracy tactics, NATO has created greater synergies with other initiatives, recognised the continued need for regional capacity-building, within means and capabilities, and focused on areas where it provides added value. The March 2012 Strategic Assessment highlighted the need to erode the pirates’ logistics and support base by, among other things, disabling pirate vessels or skiffs, attaching tracking beacons to mother ships and allowing the use of force to disable or destroy suspected pirate or armed robber vessels.   NATO is conducting counter-piracy activities in full complementarity with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and with actions against piracy initiated by other actors, such as the European Union. Operation Ocean Shield – ongoing The mission, its objectives and scope Piracy and armed robbery are disrupting the delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, as well as threatening vital sea lines of communication (SLOC) and economic interests off the Horn of Africa, in the Gulf of Aden and in the Indian Ocean. Building on the two previous counter-piracy missions conducted by NATO, Operation Ocean Shield principally focuses on at-sea counter-piracy operations. NATO vessels conduct, for instance, helicopter surveillance missions to trace and identify ships in the area, they help to prevent and disrupt hijackings and to suppress armed robbery. NATO has also agreed, at the request of the UN, to escort the UNSOA - United Nations Support Office for AMISOM - supply vessels to the harbour entrance of Mogadishu. The Alliance has broadened its approach to combating piracy by offering, within means and capabilities to regional states that request it, assistance in developing their own capacity to combat piracy activities. More recently, NATO has also taken on measures aimed at eroding the pirates' logistics and support bases. In sum, NATO's role is to prevent and stop piracy through direct actions against the pirates, as well as provide naval escorts and deterrence, while increasing cooperation with other counter-piracy operations in the area in order to optimise efforts and tackle the evolving pirate trends and tactics. This operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council on 17 August 2009 and the mandate has been extended until the end of 2016. Composition and command of the naval force The current rotation The Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) is currently conducting Operation Ocean Shield under the command of Commodore (Royal Danish Navy) Aage Buur Jensen. Throughout his six-month command, the Danish flagship HDMS Absalon will be supported by ITS Mimbelli (Italy).Commodore Jensen is under the overall command of Vice Admiral Peter D. Hudson, Allied Maritime Command Headquarters Northwood (MARCOM), in the United Kingdom, which provides command and control for the full spectrum of joint maritime operations and tasks. From its location in Northwood, it plans, conducts and supports joint maritime operations. It is also the Alliance's principal maritime advisor and contributes to development and transformation, engagement and outreach within its area of expertise. Previous rotations Rear Admiral Eugenio Diaz del Rio (Spain) Flagship ESPS Cristobal Colon (initially ESPS Alvaro de Bazan) TCG Gökçeada (Turkey) HNLMS Evertsen (The Netherlands) ITS Mimbelli (Italy) TCG Gelibolu (Turkey)* HMNZS Te Mana (New Zealand)* * Ships initially assigned to the rotation. June - Dec. 2013 – SNMG1 Rear Admiral Henning Amundsen (Norway) Flagship HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (Norway) FF Esben Snare (Denmark) USS De Wert (USA) HNLMS Van Speijk (Netherlands) Frigate UPS Hetman Sagaidachny (Ukraine) January-June 2013 - SNMG2 Rear Admiral Antonio Natale (Italy) ITS San Marco (Flagship – Italy)*; USS Halyburton (United States)*; HDMS Iver Huitfeldt (Denmark)*; USS Nicholas (United States); HNLMS Van Speijk (The Netherlands); TCG Gokova (Turkey). * Ships initially assigned to the rotation. June- Dec. 2012 - SNMG1 Rear Commodore Ben Bekkering (Dutch Navy) HNLMS Evertsen (Flagship – The Netherlands) USS Taylor (United States) HNLMS Bruinvis (NL submarine) January-June 2012 - SNMG2 Rear Admiral Sinan Tosun (Turkish Navy) TCG Giresun (Flagship – Turkey); HDMS Absalon (Denmark); ITS Grecale (Italy); RFA Fort Victoria (United Kingdom); USS De Wert (United States); USS Carney (United States).* * Ships initially assigned to the rotation. June 2011-Dec. 2011 - SNMG1 Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi (Italian Navy) ITS Andrea Doria (Flagship – Italy); USS Carney (United States); USS De Wert (United States); NRP D. Francisco De Almeida (Portugal). Dec. 2010- June 2011 - SNMG2 Commodore Michiel Hijmans (Royal Netherlands Navy) HNLMS De Ruyter (Flagship – The Netherlands); HDMS Esbern Snare (Denmark) TCG Gaziantep (Turkey); and USS Laboon (United States). Aug. – early Dec. 2010 - SNMG1 Commodore Christian Rune (Denmark) HDMS Esbern Snare (Flagship, Denmark); HMS Montrose and RFA Fort Victoria (United Kingdom); USS Kauffman and USS Laboon (United States); ITS Bersagliere (Italy); and HNLMS Zeeleeuw (NL submarine). March-August 2010 - SNMG2 12 March-30 June: Commodore Steve Chick (UK) HMS Chatham (Flagship, United Kingdom) HS LIMNOS (Greece) - under national control from 30 May ITS SCIROCCO (Italy) - under national control from 5 June TCG Gelibolu (Turkey) USS Cole (United States) 1st July-6 August: Commodore Michiel Hijmans (Royal Netherlands Navy) HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (Flagship, The Netherlands) TCG Gelibolu (Turkey) USS Cole (United States) Nov. 2009-March 2010 - SNMG1 Commodore Christian Rune (succeeded Rear Admiral Jose Pereira de Cunha (PO) from 25 January 2010). NRP Álvares Cabral (outgoing flagship, Portugal) HDMS Absalon (incoming flagship, Denmark) HMS Fredericton (Canada) USS Boone (United States) HMS Chatham (United Kingdom) Aug. – Nov. 2009 - SNMG2 Commodore Steve Chick (UK) HS Navarinon (Greece) ITS Libeccio (Italy) TCG Gediz (Turkey) HMS Cornwall (United Kingdom) USS Donald Cook (United States) SNMG1 and SNMG 2 NATO has two Immediate Reaction Forces: the Standing NATO Maritime Groups composed of the SNMG1 and the SNMG2; and the Standing NATO Maritime Mine Countermeasure Groups (SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2). The Standing NATO Maritime Groups are a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels (including their helicopters) are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participating in exercises to actually intervening in operational missions. These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability for operations and other activities in peacetime and in periods of crisis and conflict. They also help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits to different countries, support transformation and provide a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions. SNMG1 and SNMG2 alternate between each other for the six-month rotations of Operation Ocean Shield and otherwise function according to the operational needs of the Alliance, therefore helping to maintain optimal flexibility. Their composition varies and they are usually composed of between six and ten ships from as many NATO member countries. SNMG1 and SNMG2 both come under the command of MARCOM, as do all Standing NATO Forces i.e., SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2 since the implementation of the new NATO Command Structure, 1 December 2012. Past operations Operation Allied Protector (March-August 2009) The mission, its objectives and scope Operation Allied Protector helped to deter, defend against and disrupt pirate activities in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa.  From 24 March until 29 June 2009, the operation was conducted by SNMG1 vessels. As previously indicated, SNMG1 is usually employed in the Eastern Atlantic area, but it can deploy anywhere NATO requires. The first phase of Operation Allied Protector was undertaken as the force left for NATO’s first ever deployment to South East Asia. It made a short visit to Karachi (Pakistan) on 26-27 April. However, with the increase in pirate attacks, on 24 April NATO had already decided to cancel the other two port visits planned to Singapore and Australia. As such, the second phase of the operation, which was meant to take place as SNMG1 made its return journey towards European waters end June, was brought forward to 1 May. From 29 June 2009, the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) took over responsibility from SNMG1. It had conducted NATO’s first counter-piracy operation – Operation Allied Provider (see below).   Composition and command of the naval force 24 March-29 June 2009 SNMG1   Rear Admiral Jose Pereira de Cunha (PO) NRP Corte Real (flagship, Portugal) HMCS Winnipeg (Canada) HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (The Netherlands) SPS Blas de Lezo (Spain) USS Halyburton (United States) 29 June-August 2009 SNMG2   Commodore Steve Chick (UK) ITS Libeccio (frigate, Italy) HS Navarinon (frigate F461, Greece) TCG Gediz (frigate F495, Turkey) HMS Cornwall (frigate F99, United Kingdom) USS Laboon (destroyer DDG58, United States)   Operation Allied Provider (October-December 2008) The mission, its objectives and scope Allied Operation Allied Provider was responsible for naval escorts to World Food Program (WFP) vessels and, more generally, patrolled the waters around Somalia. Alliance presence also helped to deter acts of piracy that threatened the region. While providing close protection for WFP vessels and patrolling routes most susceptible to criminal acts against merchant vessels, NATO ships could use force pursuant to the authorized Rules of Engagement and in compliance with relevant international and national law. Allied Provider was a temporary operation that was requested by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, on 25 September 2008. NATO provided this counter-piracy capacity in support of UNSC Resolutions 1814, 1816 and 1838, and in coordination with other international actors, including the European Union. NATO Defence Ministers agreed to respond positively to the UN’s request on 9 October, during an informal meeting held in Budapest, Hungary. Following this decision, planning started to redirect assets of SNMG2 to conduct anti-piracy duties. SNMG2 was already scheduled to conduct a series of Gulf port visits in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates within the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). As such, it started to transit the Suez Canal on 15 October to conduct both duties at the same time. Composition and command of the naval force At the time of the operation, SNMG2 comprised seven ships from Germany, Greece, Italy, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, of which three were assigned to Operation Allied Provider: ITS Durand de la Penne (flagship, destroyer D560, Italy); HS Temistokles (frigate F465, Greece); HMS Cumberland (frigate F85, United Kingdom). The other four ships (FGS Karlsruhe-Germany; FGS Rhön-Germany; TCG Gokova-Turkey; and USS The Sullivans-USA) continued deployment to ICI countries. This was the first time a NATO-flagged force deployed to the Gulf. At the time of the operation, SNMG2 was commanded by Rear Admiral Giovanni Gumiero, Italian Navy, who was appointed to this post in July 2008. He reported to the Commander of Allied Component Command Maritime (CC-Mar) Naples. CC Mar Naples was one of the three Component Commands of Allied Joint Force Command Naples. 
  • Operations, NATO naval -
    NATO naval operations The world population is reliant on the seas and oceans for international commerce, as a source of food and for vital supplies of oil and natural gas. It is NATO’s responsibility to help protect international commerce from potential threats, as well as its member countries’ maritime resources and territory from possible attacks that may come from the sea. Since the launch of NATO’s first Article 5 operation - Operation Active Endeavour – in October 2001 and its counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa (October 2008), it has drafted a new Alliance Maritime Strategy to further institutionalise operational flexibility and strengthen the ties between NATO countries and its partners. This strategy was adopted in January 2011, in full consistency with the 2010 Strategic Concept. The strategy stipulates that NATO maritime forces will enhance the Alliance’s security by contributing to deterrence and collective defence, crisis management, cooperative security and maritime security. Deterrence and collective defence NATO has significant maritime capabilities and inherently flexible maritime forces, which are key to deterring aggression. As such, maritime activities contribute to nuclear deterrence as well as to deterrence from conventional attacks. NATO will ensure it has the capabilities to deploy its maritime forces rapidly, to control sea lines of communication, to preserve the freedom of navigation and to conduct effective mine counter-measure activities. Crisis management NATO maritime forces can also play an important role in crisis management. These responsibilities can range from enforcing an arms embargo, to conducting maritime interdiction operations, to contributing to the Alliance’s counter-terrorism efforts, and to providing immediate humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Cooperative security The activities of NATO’s maritime forces not only contribute to ensuring Alliance security. The engagement with partners helps to build regional security and stability, contributes to conflict prevention and facilitates dialogue. These efforts also invite contact, positive interaction and cooperation with other relevant actors in international maritime activities, such as the United Nations and the European Union. Maritime security The strategy reiterates NATO’s commitment to pursue its maritime security activities, which help to protect vital sea lines of communication and maintain the freedom of navigation. Surveillance, patrolling and the sharing of information, for instance, all contribute to supporting law enforcement, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and countering potential terrorist or illegal activities. This approach involves working with other international partners and ensuring an ongoing modernisation of NATO’s maritime capabilities. More importantly, it will ensure that the Alliance is prepared to confront all possible, including asymmetrical, threats, and answer the security challenges of the 21st century.
  • Operations and missions , NATO -
    NATO operations and missions NATO is an active and leading contributor to peace and security on the international stage. Through its crisis-management operations, the Alliance demonstrates both its willingness to act as a positive force for change and its capacity to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. Since its first major peace-support operation in the Balkans in the early 1990s, the tempo and diversity of NATO operations have increased. NATO has been engaged in missions that cover the full spectrum of crisis-management operations – from combat and peacekeeping, to training and logistics support, to surveillance and humanitarian relief. Today, just under 100,000 military personnel are engaged in NATO missions around the world, successfully managing complex ground, air and naval operations in all types of environment. These forces are currently operating in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Mediterranean, off the Horn of Africa and in Somalia. Current operations and missions NATO in Afghanistan Afghanistan constitutes the Alliance’s most significant operational commitment to date. Established by United Nations (UN) mandate in 2001, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been under NATO leadership since August 2003. ISAF currently comprises approximately 87,000 troops from 49 different countries deployed throughout Afghanistan. Its mission is to extend the authority of the Afghan central government in order to create an environment conducive to the functioning of democratic institutions and the establishment of the rule of law. It also aims to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists. In addition to its reconstruction role through its 28 Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) spread across the country, a major component of ISAF is the establishment of professional Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to enable Afghans to assume responsibility for the security of their country. By end 2014, gradual transition of security responsibility from ISAF troops to the Afghan army and police forces will be fully implemented and the ISAF mission will come to a close. During that period, ISAF will increasingly shift to a training and advising role, but will continue to support combat operations alongside Afghan forces, as necessary. Beyond 2014, NATO has stated its commitment to supporting Afghanistan, namely with the sustainment of the ANSF. This will include training, advising, assisting and contributing funds to sustain the ANSF. NATO in Kosovo While Afghanistan remains NATO’s primary operational theatre, the Alliance has not faltered on its other commitments, particularly in the Balkans. Today, approximately 5,000 Allied troops operate in Kosovo as part of NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR). Having first entered Kosovo in June 1999 to end widespread violence and halt the humanitarian disaster, KFOR troops continue to maintain a strong presence throughout the territory, preserving the peace that was imposed by NATO nearly a decade earlier. Following Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008, NATO agreed it would continue to maintain its presence on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. It has since helped to create a professional and multi-ethnic Kosovo Security Force, which is a lightly armed force responsible for security tasks that are not appropriate for the police. Meanwhile, progress has been achieved in the European Union-sponsored dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. The normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is key to solving the political deadlock over northern Kosovo. Monitoring the Mediterranean Se a NATO operations are not limited only to zones of conflict. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, NATO immediately began to take measures to expand the options available to counter the threat of international terrorism.  In October 2001, it launched the maritime surveillance operationActive Endeavour , focused on detecting and deterring terrorist activity in the Mediterranean. Since April 2003, NATO has been systematically boarding suspect ships. These boardings take place with the compliance of the ships’ masters and flag states and in accordance with international law. The increased NATO presence in these waters has benefited all shipping travelling through the Straits of Gibraltar by improving perceptions of security. More generally, the operation has proved to be an effective tool both in safeguarding a strategic maritime region and in countering terrorism on and from the high seas. Additionally, the experience and partnerships developed through Operation Active Endeavour have considerably enhanced NATO’s capabilities in this increasingly vital aspect of operations. Counter-piracy off the Horn of Africa Building on previous counter-piracy missions conducted by NATO (Operation Allied Provider and Operation Allied Protector - see below), Operation Ocean Shield is focusing on at-sea counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa. Approved on 17 August 2009 by the North Atlantic Council, this operation is contributing to international efforts to combat piracy in the area. It is also offering, to regional states that request it, assistance in developing their own capacity to combat piracy activities. Supporting the African Union Well beyond the Euro-Atlantic region, the Alliance continues to support the African Union (AU) in its peacekeeping missions on the African continent. Since June 2007, NATO has assisted the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by providing airlift support for AU peacekeepers. Following renewed AU requests, the North Atlantic Council has agreed to extend its support by periods of six months and has done this on several occasions. NATO also continues to work with the AU in identifying further areas where NATO could support the African Standby Force. Terminated operations and missions NATO in Bosnia and Herzegovina With the break-up of Yugoslavia, violent conflict started in Bosnia and Herzegovina in April 1992. The Alliance responded as early as summer 1992 when it enforced the UN arms embargo on weapons in the Adriatic Sea (in cooperation with the Western European Union from 1993) and enforced a no-fly-zone declared by the UN Security Council. It was during the monitoring of the no-fly-zone that NATO engaged in the first combat operations in its history by shooting down four Bosnian Serb fighter-bombers conducting a bombing mission on 28 February 1994. In August 1995, to compel an end to Serb-led violence in the country, UN peacekeepers requested NATO airstrikes. Operation Deadeye began on 30 August against Bosnian Serb air forces, but failed to result in Bosnian Serb compliance with the UN’s demands to withdraw. This led to Operation Deliberate Force, which targeted Bosnian Serb command and control installations and ammunition facilities. This NATO air campaign was a key factor in bringing the Serbs to the negotiating table and ending the war in Bosnia. With the signing of the Dayton Peace Accord in December 1995, NATO immediately deployed a UN-mandated Implementation Force (IFOR) comprising some 60,000 troops. This operation (Operation Joint Endeavour) was followed in December 1996 by the deployment of a 32,000-strong Stabilisation Force (SFOR). In light of the improved security situation, NATO brought its peace-support operation to a conclusion in December 2004 and the European Union deployed a new force called Operation Althea. The Alliance has maintained a military headquarters in the country to carry out a number of specific tasks related, in particular, to assisting the government in reforming its defence structures. NATO in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ Responding to a request from the Government in Skopje to help mitigate rising ethnic tension, NATO implemented three successive operations there from August 2001 to March 2003. First, Operation Essential Harvest disarmed ethnic Albanian groups operating throughout the country. The follow-on Operation Amber Fox provided protection for international monitors overseeing the implementation of the peace plan. Finally, Operation Allied Harmony was launched in December 2002 to provide advisory elements to assist the government in ensuring stability throughout the country. These operations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ demonstrated the strong inter-institutional cooperation between NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. NATO remains committed to helping the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ integrate into Euro-Atlantic structures. To that end, NATO Headquarters Skopje was created in April 2002 to advise on military aspects of security sector reform; it still operates today. NATO’s first counter-terrorism operation On 4 October 2001, once it had been determined that the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. had come from abroad, NATO agreed on a package of eight measures to support the United States. On the request of the United States, the Alliance launched its first-ever counter-terrorism operation – Operation Eagle Assist - from mid-October 2001 to mid-May 2002. It consisted of seven NATO AWACS radar aircraft that helped patrol the skies over the United States; in total 830 crew members from 13 NATO countries flew over 360 sorties. This was the first time that NATO military assets were deployed in support of an Article 5 operation. The second Gulf Conflict During the second Gulf Conflict, NATO deployed NATO AWACS radar aircraft and air defence batteries to enhance the defence of Turkey. The operation started on 20 February, lasted until 16 April 2003 and was called Operation Display Deterrence. The AWACS aircraft flew 100 missions with a total of 950 flying hours. Protecting public events In response to a request by the Greek government, NATO provided assistance to the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Athens with Operation Distinguished Games on 18 June – 29 September 2004. NATO provided intelligence support, provision of Chemical, Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) defence assets and AWACS radar aircraft. This was the first operation in which non-Article 4 or 5 NATO assistance was provided within the borders of a member country. In the same vein, NATO responded to a request made by the Latvian government for assistance in assuring the security of the Riga Summit in November 2006. NATO provided technical security, CBRN response capabilities, air and sea policing, improvised explosive device (IED) detections, communications and information systems and medical evacuation support. NATO and Iraq   NATO conducted a relatively small but important support operation in Iraq from 2004 to 2011 that consisted of training, mentoring and assisting the Iraqi Security Forces. At the Istanbul Summit in June 2004, the Allies rose above their differences and agreed to be part of the international effort to help Iraq establish effective and accountable security forces. The outcome was the creation of the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I). The NTM-I delivered its training, advice and mentoring support in a number of different settings. All NATO member countries contributed to the training effort either in or outside of Iraq, through financial contributions or donations of equipment. In parallel and reinforcing this initiative, NATO also worked with the Iraqi government on a structured cooperation framework to develop the Alliance’s long-term relationship with Iraq. Hurricane Katrina After Hurricane Katrina struck the south of the United States on 29 August 2005, causing many fatalities and widespread damage and flooding, the US government requested food, medical and logistics supplies and assistance in moving these supplies to stricken areas. On 9 September 2005, the North Atlantic Council approved a military plan to assist the United States, which consisted of helping to coordinate the movement of urgently needed material and supporting humanitarian relief operations. During the operation (9 September-2 October), nine member countries provided 189 tons of material to the United States. Pakistan earthquake relief assistance Just before the onset of the harsh Himalayan winter, a devastating earthquake hit Pakistan on 8 October 2005, killing an estimated 53,000 people, injuring 75,000 and making at least four million homeless. On 11 October, in response to a request from Pakistan, NATO assisted in the urgent relief effort, airlifting close to 3,500 tons of supplies and deploying engineers, medical units and specialist equipment. This was one of NATO’s largest humanitarian relief initiatives, which came to an end on 1 February 2006. Over time, the Alliance has helped to coordinate assistance to other countries hit by natural disasters, including Turkey, Ukraine and Portugal. It does this through its Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre. Assisting the African Union in Darfur, Sudan The African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) aimed to end violence and improve the humanitarian situation in a region that has been suffering from conflict since 2003. From June 2005 to 31 December 2007, NATO provided air transport for some 37,000 AMIS personnel, as well as trained and mentored over 250 AMIS officials. While NATO’s support to this mission ended when AMIS was succeeded by the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the Alliance immediately expressed its readiness to consider any request for support to the new peacekeeping mission. Counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa From October to December 2008, NATO launched Operation Allied Provider, which involved counter-piracy activities off the coast of Somalia. Responding to a request from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, NATO naval forces provided escorts to UN World Food Programme (WFP) vessels transiting through the dangerous waters in the Gulf of Aden, where growing piracy has threatened to undermine international humanitarian efforts in Africa. Concurrently, in response to an urgent request from the African Union, these same NATO naval forces escorted a vessel chartered by the AU carrying equipment for the Burundi contingent deployed to AMISOM. From March to August 2009, NATO launched Operation Allied Protector, a counter-piracy operation, to improve the safety of commercial maritime routes and international navigation off the Horn of Africa. The force conducted surveillance tasks and provided protection to deter and suppress piracy and armed robbery, which are threatening sea lines of communication and economic interests. NATO and Libya Following the popular uprising against the Qadhafi regime in Benghazi, Libya, in February 2011, the United Nations (UN) Security Council adopted resolutions 1970 and 1973 in support of the Libyan people, “condemning the gross and systematic violation of human rights”. The resolutions introduced active measures including a no-fly-zone, an arms embargo and the authorisation for member countries, acting as appropriate through regional organisations, to take “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. Initially, NATO enforced the no-fly-zone and then, on 31 March, NATO took over sole command and control of all military operations for Libya. The NATO-led “Operation Unified Protector” had three distinct components: the enforcement of an arms embargo on the high seas of the Mediterranean to prevent the transfer of arms, related material and mercenaries to Libya; the enforcement of a no-fly-zone in order to prevent any aircraft from bombing civilian targets; and air and naval strikes against those military forces involved in attacks or threats to attack Libyan civilians and civilian-populated areas. The UN mandate was carried out to the letter and the operation was terminated on 31 October 2011 after having fulfilled its objectives. From 1949 to the early 1990s During the Cold War When NATO was established in 1949, one of its fundamental roles was to act as a powerful deterrent against military aggression. In this role, NATO’s success was reflected in the fact that, throughout the entire period of the Cold War, NATO forces were not involved in a single military engagement. For much of the latter half of the 20th century, NATO remained vigilant and prepared. After the Cold War With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s came great changes to the international security environment. The Alliance witnessed the emergence of new threats and the resurgence of old but familiar ones. With these changing conditions came new responsibilities. From being an exclusively defensive alliance for nearly half a century, NATO began to assume an increasingly proactive role within the international community. Before engaging in its first major crisis-response operation in the Balkans, NATO conducted several other military operations: Operation Anchor Guard , 10 August 1990 – 9 March 1991 After Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990, NATO Airborne Early Warning aircraft deployed to Konya, Turkey, to monitor the crisis and provide coverage of southeastern Turkey in case of an Iraqi attack during the first Gulf Crisis/War. Operation Ace Guard , 3 January 1991 – 8 March 1991 In response to a Turkish request for assistance to meet the threat posed by Iraq during the first Gulf Crisis/War, NATO deployed the ACE Mobile Force (Air) and air defence packages to Turkey. Operation Allied Goodwill I & II , 4-9 February & 27 February – 24 March 1992 Following the break-up of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and the collapse of its centrally-controlled economic system, NATO assisted an international relief effort by flying teams of humanitarian assistance experts and medical advisors to Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States nations using AWACs trainer cargo aircraft. Operation Agile Genie , 1-19 May 1992 During a period of growing Western tension with Libya after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions designed to induce Libya to surrender suspects in the bombing of a Pan Am airliner over the town of Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988, NATO provided increased AWACS coverage of the Central Mediterranean to monitor air approach routes from the North African littoral. NATO AWACS aircraft flew a total of 36 missions with a total of 2,336 flying hours.
  • Operations Policy Committee
    Operations Policy Committee The Operations Policy Committee (OPC) plays a lead role in the development and implementation of operations-related policy. It aims to provide coherent and timely advice to the North Atlantic Council, to which it reports directly. It also seeks to enhance collaboration between the political and military sides of NATO Headquarters. All member countries are represented on this committee. This Committee also meets regularly in so-called ISAF and KFOR format, i.e., with non-NATO member countries that contribute troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) in Kosovo.  The OPC is supported by the International Staff’s Operations Division. Creation of the OPC The OPC was created following the June 2010 committee reform, replacing the former Policy Coordination Group.
  • Operation Unified Protector
    NATO and Libya - Operation Unified Protector Information on Operation Unified Protector can be found on: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/71679.htm.htm
  • Organisations and agencies
    Organisations and agencies NATO Agencies are an essential part of NATO and constitute a vital mechanism for procuring and sustaining capabilities collectively. They are executive bodies of their respective NATO procurement, logistics or service organisations, and operate under North Atlantic Council-approved charters. The NATO Agencies are established to meet collective requirements of some or all Allies in the field of procurement, logistics and other forms of services, support or cooperation. Although NATO organisations and agencies are autonomous, they are required to follow the terms set out in their charters. NATO Agencies reform The NATO Agencies reform activity is part of an ongoing NATO reform process, which is also examining changes to the military command structure. The reform aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of capabilities and services, to achieve greater synergy between similar functions and to increase transparency and accountability. At the 2010 Lisbon Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to reform the 14 existing NATO Agencies, located in seven member countries. In particular, Allies agreed to streamline the agencies into three major programmatic themes: procurement, support and communications and information. In July 2012, a major milestone was reached, with the creation of four new NATO Organisations, assuming the functions and responsibilities of existing agencies. The reform has been implemented through several phases, to incrementally achieve increased effectiveness, efficiency and cost savings, while preserving capability and service delivery. NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA), with headquarters in Brussels, providing NATO-wide IT services, procurement and support in areas such as Command and Control Systems, Tactical and Strategic Communications and Cyber Defence Systems. NATO Support Agency (NSPA), with headquarters in Capellen, Luxembourg, delivering in-service support, maintenance and logistics support for weapons systems, as well as operational logistics and other services for nations and the Alliance as a whole. NATO Procurement Organisation (NPO) – The North Atlantic Council decided to merge the Procurement and Support Agencies early 2014, reducing the number of new Organisations initially envisaged from four to three. It has postponed the activation of the procurement entity within the NSPA to the time when programmes are actually assigned by the participating countries.   The NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) is to include a Programme Office for Collaborative Science and Technology and a Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation. The STO is headed by a Chief Scientist, based in Brussels, who serves as a NATO-wide senior scientific advisor. The NATO Standardization Agency (NSA) is being transferred into a NATO Standardization Office (NSO) by 1 July 2014.
  • OSCE, NATO's relations with -
    NATO’s relations with the OSCE NATO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are working together to build security and promote stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. The two organizations cooperate at both the political and the operational level in areas such as conflict prevention, crisis management and addressing new security threats. At the Lisbon Summit in November 2010, the Allies underlined the importance of the OSCE as a regional security organization and a forum for dialogue on issues relevant to Euro-Atlantic security, as demonstrated by the Corfu Process. (The Corfu Process was launched at an informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers in June 2009, in the wake of the August 2008 crisis in Georgia, which made clear the continued dangers posed to collective security by unresolved conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic area. It aims to restore confidence and take forward dialogue on wider European security.) Encompassing the political/military, economic/environmental, and human dimensions, the OSCE plays an important role in promoting security and cooperation. The Allies aim to further enhance NATO’s cooperation with the OSCE, both at the political and operational level, in particular in areas such as conflict prevention and resolution, post-conflict rehabilitation, and in addressing new security threats. At a political level, NATO and the OSCE consult each other on regional security issues. Each has also separately developed initiatives aimed at countries in the Mediterranean region. At the operational level, cooperation in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation has been particularly active in the Western Balkans. The two organizations complement each other’s efforts on the ground. NATO initiatives to support defence reform, including arms control, mine clearance and the destruction of stockpiles of arms and munitions, dovetail with OSCE efforts aimed at preventing conflict and restoring stability after conflict. As well as coordinating initiatives on the ground, the NATO and the OSCE regularly exchange views and information on key security-related thematic issues, such as border security, disarmament, arms control (in particular, controlling the spread of small arms and light weapons), energy security and terrorism. The two organizations also collaborate on environmental issues that are a threat to security, stability and peace through the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC)¹. Close cooperation between NATO and the OSCE is an important element in the development of an international “Comprehensive Approach” to crisis management, which requires the effective application of both military and civilian means. At Lisbon, the Allies decided to enhance NATO’s contribution to a comprehensive approach to crisis management as part of the international community’s effort and to improve NATO’s ability to deliver stabilization and reconstruction effects. The decision – taken by the OSCE at its November 2007 ministerial meeting in Madrid – to engage in Afghanistan, opened a new field for cooperation between the two organizations as part of a comprehensive approach among international actors. 1. The NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme is associated with the ENVSEC, which brings together the OSCE, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme. Framework for political dialogue Political relations between NATO and the OSCE are governed today by the "Platform for Co-operative Security", which was launched by the OSCE in 1999 at the Istanbul Summit. Via the Platform, the OSCE called upon the international organizations whose members adhere to its principles and commitments, to reinforce their cooperation and to draw upon the resources of the international community in order to restore democracy, prosperity and stability in Europe and beyond. Since the Platform was adopted, experts from both NATO and the OSCE have met regularly to discuss operational and political issues of common interest in the areas of conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction operations. Dialogue also takes place at a higher political level. The Secretary General of NATO is occasionally invited to speak before the OSCE Permanent Council. The OSCE Secretary General has addressed the EAPC Ambassadors for two consecutive years, 2007 and 2008. NATO regularly participates in the annual meetings of the OSCE Ministerial Council as an observer. The North Atlantic Council also invites the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to some of its meetings. In recent years, dialogue has expanded to include terrorism and other new security threats, which today constitute a priority area for each of the two Organisations. The OSCE’s "Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the 21st Century", adopted in December 2003, recalls the need – in a constantly changing security environment – to interact with other organisations and institutions taking advantage of the assets and strengths of each. Following the Prague Summit in 2002 – when Allies expressed their desire to exploit the complementarity of international efforts aimed at reinforcing stability in the Mediterranean region – NATO and the OSCE began developing closer contacts regarding their respective dialogues with countries in the region. Cooperation in the Balkans Practical cooperation between the OSCE and NATO is best exemplified by the complementary missions undertaken by both organizations in the Balkans. Within the framework of operations conducted in the Balkans region, representatives from both organisations in the field have met regularly to share information and discuss various aspects of their co-operation. Bosnia and Herzegovina In 1996, further to the Dayton Agreements and the adoption of Resolution 1031 of the United Nations Security Council in December 1995, NATO and the OSCE developed a joint action programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) and its successor the Stabilization Force (SFOR) have provided vital support for implementation of the civilian aspects of the Peace Agreements. NATO assisted the OSCE in its work in the area of arms control and confidence and security-building measures in the country. By providing security for OSCE personnel and humanitarian assistance, NATO has, inter alia, contributed to the proper conduct of elections under OSCE auspices. Kosovo Between January 1998 and March 1999, the OSCE mounted a Kosovo Verification Mission to monitor compliance on the ground with the Holbrooke-Milosevic cease-fire agreement. NATO conducted a parallel aerial surveillance mission. Following a deterioration in security conditions, the Verification Mission was forced to withdraw in March 1999. Since the adoption of Resolution 1244 of the United Nations Security Council in June 1999, a new OSCE Mission to Kosovo was established as part of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). It is tasked, among other things, with supervising the progress of democratization, the creation of institutions, and the protection of human rights. The OSCE Mission to Kosovo, the largest of the  OSCE’s missions, has been maintaining close relations with KFOR, which has a mandate from the United Nations to guarantee a safe environment for the work of the international community. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2 NATO has also had close cooperation with the OSCE in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 1. Although the safety and security of international monitors remain primarily the responsibility of the host country, a NATO task force was set up in September 2001 in order to provide additional security. (The European Union officially took over this operation, renamed Concordia, from March 2003 until the mission ended in December 2003.) Border security NATO and the OSCE also cooperated in the management and securing of borders in the Western Balkans. At a high-level conference held in Ohrid in May 2003, five Balkan countries endorsed a Common Platform developed by the European Union, NATO, the OSCE and the Stability Pact aimed at enhancing border security in the region. Each organization supported those players, involved in the areas within its jurisdiction. 2. Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.