Missile defence

NATO leaders agreed in 2002 to develop missile defences to protect deployed troops, and decided, in 2010, to expand that coverage to NATO's European populations, territory and forces.

Air defence

NATO maintains 24/7 awareness of air movements in and around the Alliance's air space. The objective is to ensure freedom of action by protecting against air and missile attacks.

Cyber defence

NATO's cyber defence capability takes the lead in protecting NATO's computer networks against attack. It is based at the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) Technical Centre, housed at SHAPE, Belgium.

Special Operations Forces

Special Operations Forces from Allied countries are brought together at the NATO Special Operations Headquarters, SHAPE, Belgium. The headquarters coordinates NATO's Special Operations and optimises their employment.

NATO Response Force

NATO has a strong and flexible deployable force, the NATO Response Force, in a permanent state of readiness. In addition, SACEUR, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, can call on national headquarters to provide high-readiness leadership.

Maritime surveillance

Sea power is a vital strategic capability and is fundamental to NATO's ability to carry out its core tasks. NATO's naval presence reaches from the Indian Ocean to both shores of the North Atlantic.

Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance

JISR brings together sensor platforms, communications systems and analytical expertise to give commanders the best possible understanding of what is happening on the ground, at sea and in the air at any one time. It is a capability that addresses some of the information-sharing deficiencies observed during recent military operations.

Precision munitions

One of the key lessons from NATO's operation to protect civilians in Libya was the importance of precision-guided munitions as a means to deliver military results while minimising the risk to civilians. NATO is taking measures to improve the availability of these munitions and of personnel trained to use them.


NATO conducts a wide range of training and exercises to make sure that Allies and partners can operate together seamlessly in demanding crisis situations.