Allies will commit to maintain the necessary capabilities and to developing cooperation and dialogue with partners. And at a time of austerity, it will be a question of striking the right balance between fulfilling NATO’s shared responsibilities and balancing national budgets.
The summit will principally focus on three main themes:
- the Alliance's commitment to Afghanistan through transition and beyond;
- ensuring the Alliance has the capabilities it needs to defend its population and territory and to deal with the challenges of the 21st century; and
- strengthening NATO's network of partners across the globe.
NATO is an essential source of stability. In order to maintain its capacity to safeguard the security and values of its members, it needs to continue developing the means to do so and building partnerships beyond the North Atlantic region.
For more information on Alliance policies and activities, please check the online “A to Z” pages of the NATO website.
I. Operational priorities
Afghanistan – through transition and beyond
NATO is committed to supporting Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the gradual transition of security responsibility from ISAF troops to Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will be fully implemented and the ISAF mission will come to a close. Until then, and as transition implementation progresses, the ISAF mission is evolving from a combat to a support role. In 2013, when the last tranche of transition is expected to be announced, the ANSF will be in the lead for combat operations across the country. ISAF will increasingly shift to a training and advising role, but continue to support combat operations alongside Afghan forces, as necessary.
At Chicago, leaders will map out how NATO intends to complete the transition process by end-2014. They will also agree on how NATO will provide training, advice and assistance to the ANSF, and will demonstrate their commitment to sustaining the ANSF beyond 2014, as part of the Afghan government’s and the broader international community’s efforts.
- NATO in Afghanistan
- NATO in Afghanistan: through transition and beyond
- ISAF’s mission in Afghanistan
Other operational priorities
NATO is also engaged in other operations and missions, all of which are explained below.
- NATO operations and missions
- NATO’s role in Kosovo
- Counter-piracy operations
- Operation Active Endeavour
- NATO assistance to the African Union
- Commitments to operations and missions
- Troop contributions
II. Developing capabilities under budgetary constraints
At a time of austerity NATO is also seeking to ensure better value for money for its security. With the financial crisis in Europe and beyond, severe deficit reduction measures in the United States and increased pressure on defence budgets, NATO’s added value is to help countries work together. NATO has the capacity to connect forces and manage multinational projects. This is one of its strengths. However, the challenge is having to prepare NATO today, for the security challenges of tomorrow.
In Chicago, Allies will support new multinational projects that will allow the Alliance to provide more security for its citizens in an age of financial austerity. The goal is an Alliance that is fit for the next decade and beyond. The way to get there is confirming a renewed culture of cooperation – “smart defence”.
Projects in the spirit of Smart Defence will comprise a package of multinational projects to address critical capability shortfalls. They will include programmes such as as missile defence, Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) and Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance as well as projects covering areas such as pooling maritime patrol aircraft and remote-controlled robots for clearing roadside bombs
- Smart defence
- Interoperability: connecting NATO forces
- NATO defence planning process
- Education and training
- Improving NATO’s capabilities
- Ballistic missile defence
- NATO air defence
- Defending against cyber attacks
- NATO and the fight against terrorism
- Alliance Ground Surveillance
- Improving NATO’s strategic air- and sea-lift capabilities
Reviewing NATO’s defence and deterrence posture
At Chicago, heads of state and government will also examine NATO’s mix of conventional, nuclear and missile defence forces, known as NATO’s Defence and Deterrence Posture Review. This was mandated at the Lisbon Summit. This review will allow NATO to check its overall posture in deterring and defending against the full range of threats to the Alliance, taking into account the changes in the evolving international security environment.
Seeking to optimise assets
Being able to put together complex joint operations at short notice is a priority for the Alliance. To do this at a time of crisis, NATO is seeking to reform its structures and processes to get a better return on investment. This means introducing change now in order to have flexible, deployable forces, and the right mix of capabilities at hand in ten years’ time.
- Paying for NATO
- Information on defence expenditures
- NATO reform
- Organisations and agencies
- International Staff
- International Military Staff
III. Greater flexibility with partners
Chicago will be an opportunity for Allies to deepen existing relations and broaden its networks of partnerships. The summit will therefore give a new impetus to partnerships, highlighting their integral role in NATO’s peace support and crisis-management operations and overall political agenda.
Heads of state and government will also focus on engaging other organisations in addressing global challenges.
- Partnerships: a cooperative approach to security
- Partnership tools
- NATO-Russia relations
- NATO-Ukraine relations
- NATO-Georgia relations
- Mediterranean Dialogue
- Istanbul Cooperation Initiative
- NATO’s relations with partners across the globe
- NATO enlargement
- Membership Action Plan (MAP)
- NATO’s relations with the UN
- NATO-EU: a strategic partnership