NATO air policing
Air policing is a collective peacetime mission that requires an Air Surveillance and Control System, an Air C2 structure and appropriate interceptor aircraft, usually fighters, to be available continuously. This enables the Alliance to detect, track and identify all violations and infringements of its airspace and to take the appropriate action, which may involve scrambling interceptor aircraft to assist in the process.
Although not all Allies possess the necessary means to provide air policing of their airspace, other nations provide assistance when needed to ensure that no nation is left at a disadvantage and equality of security is provided for all.
The Supreme Allied Commander Europe is responsible for conduct of the NATO air policing mission.
Theatre ballistic missile defence/ ballistic missile defence
In 2010, NATO acquired the first phase of an initial theatre ballistic missile defence (TBMD) capability to protect Alliance forces against ballistic missile threats.
At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, NATO’s leaders decided to develop a BMD capability to pursue its core task of collective defence. To this end, they decided that the scope of the current Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme’s command, control and communication capabilities would be expanded beyond the capability to protect deployed forces to also include NATO European territory, forces and populations.
In this context, the United States’ European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) and other possible national contributions were welcomed as valuable national contributions to the NATO BMD architecture.
In May 2012, NATO Heads of State and Government declared at the Chicago Summit that the Alliance had achieved Interim NATO BMD capability. This is a significant first step in implementing NATO’s BMD capability. It offers the maximum coverage within available means to defend NATO’s populations, territory and forces across southern Europe against a ballistic missile attack. The Alliance remains committed to installing full BMD coverage for all NATO territory by the end of this decade.