Nations recognised that the current facilities were inflexible and had reached saturation point. (The current HQ was constructed on a temporary basis in 1967 and has now been in service for 41 years). Put simply, the need for a new Headquarters is overwhelming. The revision of NATO's working methods, launched under NATO +, must be underpinned by modern, flexible, user-friendly facilities which provide a pleasant and effective working environment for all staff.
The new Headquarters will be designed around staff needs. A state-of-the-art building will ensure maximum flexibility so that working space can be configured in different ways to suit individual and collective needs. New restaurant, leisure and support facilities (shops, banks) will bring working and living conditions closer together and provide staff with better overall services on site.
In consequence, nations agreed that NATO needed and deserved a new building for the new millennium to reflect its success as an organisation and its new missions and activities.
What does this mean in practice?
The new NATO Headquarters will reflect the Alliance's core functions and activities of supporting formal and informal consultation and co-operation between NATO's member nations and between member nations and partners, other countries, as well as other international organisations.
How did it evolve?
The decision to build the new Headquarters was not taken lightly. It involved five years of careful preparation and detailed discussions at all key stages of the process. To underpin this effort, a series of sequential feasibility and technical studies were commissioned which culminated in the establishment of a set of preliminary overall requirements for the new Headquarters.
Which bodies play a central role?
A project of this complexity requires a robust management structure comprising a combination of internal NATO and external specialist resources.