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Understanding the PfP tool kit

Susan Pond explains the nuts and bolts that together make up NATO's Partnership for Peace programme.

Big bang: PfP Trust Funds have paid for the destruction of more than 2 million anti-personnel land mines (© NATO)

In the ten years since the creation of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, Allies and Partners have together developed a comprehensive tool kit to support the practical implementation of PfP aims and objectives and translate ideas into action. The PfP tool kit provides a framework for both bilateral and multilateral action, offering Partners effective and transparent programmes to support their engagement with NATO.

The cooperation programme established under the Partnership for Peace Framework Document and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Basic Documents is open to all members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that are able and willing to contribute to strengthening security within the Euro-Atlantic area. Since the Alliance expanded to 26 countries this March, it has been working together with 20 Partner nations. The number of countries participating in the Partnership for Peace may increase to 22 in the near future, since both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro have expressed an interest in joining.

Today's 20 PfP participating countries form a diverse group that includes Western European nations, former Soviet Republics in the Caucasus, Central Asia and elsewhere as well as countries aspiring to Alliance membership. All have very different aspirations and security requirements. As a result, the PfP tool kit covers a wide range of activities that can be tailor-made to meet the desires, ambitions and capabilities of each Partner.

In total, the Partnership for Peace offers Partners the opportunity to participate in more than 24 areas of cooperation, including supporting democratic control of the armed forces, the struggle against terrorism, civil-emergency planning and interoperability. Partners may choose from more than 1,400 specific individual activities, including expert team visits, workshops, courses and exercises.

Partner nations choose individual activities based on their objectives and abilities that they put forward to Allies in a Presentation Document. A two-year Individual Partnership Programme (IPP) is then formally drawn up. This document provides the foundation for the cooperation between individual Partners and NATO and reflects the goals and ambitions set out by Partners in their Presentation Document.

The Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) goes further than the IPP and is open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO. It provides an enhanced PfP tool to advise and assist Partners in the defence and security-related aspects of their domestic reform. In March, Georgia became the first country to put an IPAP Presentation Document to NATO.

The Membership Action Plan (MAP) is the primary tool to prepare Partners that wish to join the Alliance for the responsibilities and obligations of NATO membership. The MAP is a programme of advice, assistance and practical support that draws on the full range of Partnership activities and is tailored to the individual needs of aspiring Allies. The seven newest members of the Alliance - Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia - all made full use of this tool to prepare for NATO membership. Albania, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* continue to participate in this programme.

Partner contributions to NATO-led operations are significant and have grown over the years as Partners have improved their ability to operate together with Allies. Over the past five years, Partner countries have contributed more than 15 per cent of the forces deployed in the NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and the Balkans.

The PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) is the principal PfP tool to promote interoperability. The PARP lays out interoperability and capability requirements for participants to attain and includes an extensive review process to measure progress. It helps Partners develop affordable capabilities for their own security needs and to develop forces to contribute to NATO-led operations such as the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the Kosovo Force in Kosovo and the Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The PARP is also used by Partners to develop effective, affordable and sustainable armed forces and to promote wider defence-reform efforts including defence against terrorist attack.

Over the years, the PARP's requirements have become more complex, demanding and linked to the capability improvements that Allies have set themselves. As a result the PARP has come to resemble the Alliance's own defence-planning process, with Partnership Goals similar to NATO Force Goals and the PARP Assessment mirroring NATO's Annual Defence Review.

When considering an actual operation and the use of these Partner forces, NATO commanders need to know what forces are available and how capable they are. The Operational Capabilities Concept was developed to address these critical issues and aims to provide NATO commanders with reliable information about potential Partner contributions to allow for the rapid deployment of a tailored force. This complements the assessment made under the PARP and should help improve the military effectiveness of those forces assessed. For NATO commanders, more militarily effective Partner contributions improve the Alliance's capability to sustain long-term operations.

The Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism (PAP-T) provides a framework through which Partners are able to work together with NATO to combat the threat posed by terrorism. It includes the development of capabilities for defence against terrorist attack such as the protection of civilian populations against weapons of mass destruction. PAP-T also comprises terrorism-related training and exercises. And Allies and Partners are engaged in work to ensure physical security and safe destruction of surplus munitions and small arms and light weapons such as shoulder-fired rocket and grenade launchers.

The PfP tool kit is continuously evolving in response to Allied and Partner needs and aspirations

PfP Trust Funds provide practical support to Partners managing the consequences of defence reform. Projects are funded on a voluntary basis and cover areas such as the safe destruction of surplus stocks of anti-personnel land mines, small arms and light weapons, and missiles. To date, more than 2 million anti-personnel land mines have been destroyed and Allies have donated more than 13 million Euros for projects in Central Asia, Southeastern Europe and Ukraine. In this way, Albania, Moldova and Tajikistan have been able to meet their obligations with respect to the Ottawa Convention, the 1997 international treaty banning land mines.

Partners participate in more than 90 courses offered at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, and the SHAPE School in Oberammergau, Germany. Since 1999, ten PfP Training Centres have been designated in five Partner and five NATO member states. Together this network of NATO and national institutions offer courses and training material to support common understanding of policy and procedures and promote interoperability.

To support this broad programme of cooperation, Partners are represented by diplomatic and military personnel at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Military personnel from Partner nations are also located at NATO's two Strategic Commands, Allied Command Operations in Mons in Belgium and Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States. NATO staff in Kyiv and Moscow provide additional support to the Alliance's cooperation programmes with Ukraine and Russia. Allies are considering a range of options aimed at improving liaison and communications arrangements with all Partners in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In addition, Partners are able to send interns to work with the international staff at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

The PfP tool kit is, of course, continuously evolving in response to Allied and Partner needs and aspirations. A Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building is currently being prepared to support the development of effective and democratically accountable defence institutions. Moreover, further innovation is no doubt just around the corner to reflect the Alliance's and the Partnership for Peace's changing membership and help provide the greatest possible degree of security to Allies and Partners alike.

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