Summit Guide

Lisbon Summit - 19-20 November 2010

  • Last updated: 07 Dec. 2010 10:54

NATO’s 24th summit meeting

At the Lisbon Summit, NATO will be presenting its third Strategic Concept since the end of the Cold War, defining the Alliance’s strategic priorities for the next decade.

While reaffirming the commitment of its members to fundamental principles and reviewing policies and objectives, the process of reflection on the 2010 Strategic Concept has also triggered off major reform throughout the entire Organization.

The summit agenda is ambitious. The new Strategic Concept will focus on collective defence and deterrence, crisis management and cooperative security. Other issues to be examined will be missile defence, progress on transition in Afghanistan, relations with Russia and a comprehensive approach to security challenges that will call for greater cooperation with partners. A new “critical capabilities package” will be presented, together with a new acquisition process; the reform of the military command structure and of NATO Agencies will be taken forward, while change is pursued at the civilian headquarters in Brussels.

NATO is involved in a wide spectrum of other issues, which are covered in the “A to Z”.

The Alliance’s vision for Euro-Atlantic security and NATO reform

While setting the scene for the next decade, the Strategic Concept is stimulating change at a time of considerable resource constraint, with the aim of modernizing and reinforcing NATO’s capabilities.

The Strategic Concept

Even though the new Strategic Concept will only be made public on the day of the Lisbon Summit, it is important to understand the genesis of the 2010 document.

Internal reform

One of the tools for change is structural reform, touching on the military command structure, organizations and agencies, committees and staff at NATO Headquarters, Brussels.

Defence transformation and arms control

Capabilities can drive change and are a key component of discussions on operations and missions. In this context, a new capabilities package will be presented at Lisbon, together with NATO’s ambitions on missile defence, nuclear forces and arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

Additionally, the procedures needed to acquire and manage capabilities are being reformed to encourage multinationality, greater coordination and a functionally integrated approach to defence planning and procurement. Procedures, together with structures, are among NATO’s principal tools for change. 

Crisis management

Crisis management is, and will remain, one of NATO's fundamental security tasks.

Current operational priorities – Afghanistan in transition

Afghanistan and pressing issues related to the progress of the International Stabilization and Assistance Force (ISAF) will dominate discussions in Lisbon.

Other NATO operations and missions

NATO leads other operations and missions: KFOR, counter-piracy off the Horn of Africa, Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean, the NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I), assistance to the African Union, all of which are briefly explained in the introduction to military operations below:

Cooperative security

While it is seeking to reinforce existing partnerships, encourage Euro-Atlantic integration and drive for greater cooperation with non-NATO troop-contributing countries, the Alliance is also working on developing closer institutional ties with other international organizations.

Boosting relations with Russia

Russia is a pivotal partner and NATO’s relations with this country will be discussed within the framework of the 2010 Strategic Concept. The NATO-Russia Summit is also expected to discuss the Joint Threat Assessment and missile defence, amongst other issues.

Partnerships and Euro-Atlantic integration

NATO is reinforcing its partnerships and relations with others countries, envisaging a more inclusive, cooperative network with countries around the globe.

Facts and figures