NATO’s Comprehensive, Strategic-Level Policy for Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Defending against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Threats

  • 01 Sep. 2009
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  • Last updated 16-Sep-2009 15:42


1. NATO today faces a whole range of complex challenges and threats to its security, much different from the threat faced by Allies when the Alliance was formed. Present and future security challenges require NATO to be prepared to protect and defend against both State and non-State actor threats. Current threats include the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. In particular, the Comprehensive Political Guidance endorsed at the 2006 Riga Summit noted the spread of WMD and the possibility that terrorists will acquire WMD, as the principal threats to the Alliance over the next 10-15 years. Recognising this, the Alliance has been vigilant in developing policies to deal with the significant and growing threat of WMD proliferation¹, which establish the basis for our work today. Despite significant progress, however, major challenges remain. Non-adherence to international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation commitments, and programmes to develop WMD and their means of delivery, can undermine global norms and pose a threat to Alliance security. Nuclear weapons and radiological and chemical agents that remain in the world could be vulnerable to exploitation if not properly secured. Rapid advances in biological science and technology continue to increase the bio-terrorism threat and there are indications that terrorists intend to acquire chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials for malicious purposes. Recognising the difficulties associated with defending against these threats - especially those that derive from non-State actors - the Alliance must take a pragmatic and practical approach to address them.

2. The Alliance’s approach must take into account every stage of an adversary’s potential acquisition, intention and preparation to use, and employment of WMD. To date, the Alliance has responded to this challenge by addressing WMD proliferation, CBRN defence and consequence management, respectively, within relevant NATO bodies. Policies have focused primarily on developing military capabilities and measures to protect NATO deployed forces, territory and populations against the use of WMD rather than preventing proliferation. The current security situation, and that of the foreseeable future, requires building upon earlier policies to develop an updated policy that draws upon the collective competencies of all NATO bodies. As stated at the 2008 Summit in Bucharest, this comprehensive policy is key to enhancing the Alliance’s ability to face emerging security challenges.


3. The Alliance - its populations, territory and forces - will be secure from CBRN threats, including WMD; and its members will not be coerced by those posing such threats.

Mission Statement

4. With due respect to the primarily military mission of the Alliance, NATO will work actively to prevent the proliferation of WMD by State and non-State actors, to protect the Alliance from WMD threats should prevention fail, and be prepared for recovery efforts should the Alliance suffer a WMD attack or CBRN event, within its competencies and whenever it can bring added value, through a comprehensive political, military and civilian approach.

NATO’s Response

Preventing the Proliferation of WMD

5. The spread of WMD and their means of delivery and the possibility that terrorists will acquire them are the principal threats facing the Alliance over the next 10-15 years. Therefore, the Alliance seeks to prevent their proliferation through an active political agenda of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation; as well as by developing and harmonising defence capabilities; and, when necessary, employing these capabilities consistent with political decisions in support of non-proliferation objectives. Both political and defence elements are essential to a secure NATO. An active policy of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation has been an inseparable element of NATO’s contribution to security and stability since the Harmel Report of 1967. This policy will be continued. The effective implementation of an Alliance WMD proliferation prevention strategy will show potential proliferators the futility of pursing WMD as a viable threat against the Alliance by raising their expected costs while diminishing their expected gains.

6. NATO will evaluate how it can support traditional measures of proliferation prevention that can dissuade and impede proliferant States and terrorist networks, in line with the agreed framework from Bucharest. Allies emphasise the importance of the implementation of and compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), as well as relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions such as UNSCR 1540. In addition, NATO will explore ways to support or complement efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). As an example, the Alliance could consider establishing a “Trust Fund” or similar mechanism dedicated to the support of the implementation of UNSCR 1540.

7. Regular consultations, and information and intelligence sharing among Alliance members, partners, international organisations and national authorities, where appropriate, will help foster a common understanding of potential WMD proliferation threats by States and non-State actors, encourage its members, partners and other nations to fully comply with their arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation obligations and enhance the global response to WMD.

8. The safety and security of existing CBRN materials remain tentative in many corners of the world. On a case-by-case basis, when it would bring added value, the Alliance will explore means to complement existing multilateral, regional, and bilateral cooperative threat reduction programmes to reduce and secure global stocks of such materials, prevent their theft or illicit transfer by terrorists and criminal syndicates, and preclude terrorists from gaining the know-how to develop WMD. Allies already assist some partners with the safe destruction of stockpiles or surplus conventional weapons, munitions and landmines through Trust Funds. The Alliance will consider providing advice, training, and other multilateral assistance to partners seeking to secure, reduce or destroy stockpiles of these materials, within the limits of available resources. Whenever it can add value, the Alliance will also seek to exchange information among Allies on the various individual efforts to support the safe and secure dismantlement of WMD on the territory of the former Soviet Union.

9. NATO will continue to add value to non-proliferation efforts by fostering the development of Allied capabilities to impede or stop the trafficking of WMD, related materials and their means of delivery. For instance, these capabilities could be employed in maritime operations aimed at stemming the trafficking of these materials. Moreover, the Alliance could bring its military capabilities to bear, subject to political decisions and on a case-by-case basis, to aid in the detection, identification, monitoring, surveillance and tracking of WMD acquisition or development activities; information operations aimed at disabling, discouraging and denying proliferation of WMD; and intelligence fusion and information exchange among Allies, and partners where appropriate, to produce actionable intelligence for NATO non-proliferation activities. The Alliance can also develop and promote common operational standards, concepts, doctrine and tactics, and also encourage or facilitate relevant training and exercises in this field. Finally, NATO will enhance international outreach to foster related partner capabilities and enhance the global response to the proliferation of WMD.

10. The Alliance’s non-military competencies yield valuable strategies and resources that could contribute to Alliance efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD. For instance, the Alliance can gain situational awareness regarding potential proliferation transit routes through its expertise in ocean shipping. On request from a nation, NATO can offer access to civil expertise to assist the planning and decision-making process. Advice from civil experts may also be offered on other relevant issues such as on national border control, port security and the protection of sensitive materials. On a case-by-case basis and in accordance with agreed political guidance, NATO could also contribute to the information exchange with international organisations regarding potential illicit proliferation activities.

11. The Alliance will continue to monitor and analyse related global trends in research and development and continue to encourage scientific study and innovation. Allies will also consider intensifying their outreach to scientists, universities, think-tanks and similar national and international bodies as well as fostering public-private partnership.

Protecting Against WMD Attack or CBRN Event

12. The Alliance defence posture must have the capability to appropriately and effectively address the risks associated with the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery, which pose a potential threat to the Allies’ populations, territory and forces. A balanced mix of forces, response capabilities and strengthened defences is needed in order to deter and defend against the use of WMD. The Alliance must be prepared to utilise all options at its disposal to deter a potential aggressor from employing WMD. Deterrence is conveyed through maintaining a credible overall deterrence posture as well as declaratory statements that, inter alia, demonstrate NATO cohesion and resolve. The Alliance will reaffirm and communicate its resolve to hold accountable all those who support or enable the use of WMD against Allies. In order to discourage any State from transferring nuclear weapons or technology to non-State actors, Allies need to continue working to develop a proven ability to identify State responsibility through intelligence and forensic attribution.

13. A deteriorating political situation between a potential aggressor and NATO might result in the threat or use of WMD or NATO might be alerted by intelligence that a terrorist possesses a WMD or CBRN materials. Should measures to de-escalate a crisis prove ineffective, NATO will be prepared to employ military options to respond to the WMD threat. NATO will employ defences to defeat WMD use, to protect Alliance populations, territory and forces against WMD attack, and to explore ways to assist partners. NATO forces will be ready to disrupt WMD delivery, respond against the source of any WMD attack, mitigate the effects of a WMD attack and destroy or dismantle residual WMD capabilities of an aggressor to prevent follow-on attacks.

14. In that context, the fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war. NATO’s nuclear forces are maintained at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability. They no longer target any country. The circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated by Allies are extremely remote. They fulfil an essential role by ensuring uncertainty in the mind of any aggressor about the nature of the Allies’ response to military aggression. They demonstrate that aggression of any kind is not a rational option.

15. Interdiction and the ability to conduct CBRN render safe missions are critical to combat the spread of WMD, their means of delivery and related materials. NATO will continue efforts to develop the capabilities to conduct these missions, including concepts of operation, so they can be available to the Alliance if it is necessary to take action against a pending WMD threat.

16. Ballistic missile proliferation poses an increasing threat to Allies’ forces, territory and populations. Missile defence must be seen in the context of the broader range of responses for dealing with the threat from ballistic missile and WMD proliferation. Missile defence can complement these responses and reduce NATO’s vulnerabilities. Bearing in mind the principle of the indivisibility of Allied security as well as NATO solidarity, the Alliance is analysing possible options for a comprehensive missile defence architecture, to extend coverage to all European Allied territory and populations not otherwise covered by the United States missile defence system, to inform any future political decision. Theatre missile defence to protect deployed forces could play an important role in active defence against WMD.

17. Because of the potentially devastating consequences of WMD use, robust passive defence and mitigation measures must be in place to enable NATO forces to continue effective military operations in a CBRN environment and to permit NATO and appropriate civilian agencies to assist Allies and partners when WMD are used against them. Further development of the Alliance’s core CBRN defence capabilities remains a top priority, as well as ensuring an appropriate level of CBRN expertise and manning. CBRN defence capabilities are identified in NATO’s military guidance for capabilities needed to operate in a CBRN environment and contribute to the prevention of WMD proliferation; they are also reflective of the ongoing work in support of NATO’s Defence Against Terrorism Initiative. In light of the evolving security climate and a greater emphasis on responding to State and non-State employment of WMD, however, additional and/or enhanced capabilities will be given higher priority, including: CBRN stand-off detection and identification, collective protection against CBRN, explosive ordnance disposal/improvised explosive device disposal, and development of render safe capabilities. The Alliance will also continue to enhance capabilities to support consequence management and crisis management.

18. NATO and NATO Allies have significantly improved and are further improving the Alliance’s CBRN defence posture with the establishment of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre (WMDC), the Combined Joint CBRN Defence Task Force (CJ-CBRND-TF), the Joint CBRN Defence Centre of Excellence (JCBRN Defence COE), the Defence Against Terrorism COE, and other COEs and agencies that support NATO’s response to the WMD threat. NATO Allies have invested significant resources in warning and reporting, individual protection and CBRN hazard management capabilities. However, capability shortfalls remain and are due, to some extent, to the limits of existing technologies or national capability deficits among Alliance members, and should be appropriately addressed.

19. To enhance Alliance CBRN defence capabilities, Allies will endeavour - to the best of their abilities - to actively participate in the above-mentioned structures and the Intelligence Fusion Centre, and a CBRN Reachback and Fusion Centre. Allies will consider transforming current CBRN units into more appropriately-sized, more multifunctional, more mobile, more rapidly deployable units which are capable of mission tailoring. The Alliance will seek to enhance capabilities that are critical to a robust CBRN defence, such as bio-detection and disease surveillance, by investing more national resources - when possible - to accelerate NATO’s efforts within CBRN defence and by entering into partnerships for further research and development of innovative technologies and strategies. NATO will continue assisting Allies with the development of specialised capabilities through training, advice, experimentation and concept development, and by considering ways to resolve funding issues.

20. The Alliance will take measures to increase outreach to host nations and partners where appropriate to build capacity to defend against CBRN threats. The challenges posed by the evolving security environment mean that there is an increasing likelihood that NATO will be involved in operations beyond NATO territory where State or non-State actors could pose a CBRN threat. A host nation’s ability to react to CBRN threats may be limited and such an attack could impact NATO forces and limit their access to critical infrastructure required to complete the assigned mission. Opening the NATO Response Force to partner participation also dictates that partner forces must be prepared to operate in a CBRN environment alongside NATO forces. Alliance activities to bolster host nation and partners’ CBRN defences will mitigate pressure on NATO to carry the full burden of protection, permit NATO to maintain its freedom of action, and enhance the global response to WMD.

21. NATO will foster host nations’ and partners’ CBRN defence capabilities, including those of their civilian national authorities, through information exchange, planning, joint training and exercises. The Alliance could consider the creation of a financial reserve - based on voluntary multinational contributions - to foster host nation and partner CBRN defence, as appropriate. Allies could also invest greater resources in partnerships with industry and the scientific community to develop or improve technologies to protect against CBRN threats.

Recovering from WMD attack or CBRN event

22. When efforts to prevent or defend against a WMD attack do not succeed, NATO must be fully prepared to recover from the consequences of WMD use against our populations, territory and forces whether by hostile States or by terrorists, and similarly to assist our partners, if necessary. Likewise, should Alliance members or partners suffer from a CBRN event, NATO should, if requested, be able to assist whenever it can bring added value.

23. Allied Governments have primary sovereign responsibility to prepare for and mitigate the consequences of CBRN event and their first responders should have the full range of protective, medical, and remediation tools to identify, assess, and respond rapidly to an event on home territory. However, major civil emergencies can pose a threat to security and stability, and because CBRN consequence management is challenging and could be a massive, costly and protracted effort, NATO will be prepared to lend its capabilities to national authorities, if requested. Moreover, if Allies improve civil preparedness with regard to a CBRN event, this would devalue the utility of employing such methods, when coupled with other prevention and protection measures.

24. Planning for CBRN consequence management is a multi-dimensional effort, requiring coordination within the Alliance at all levels, as well as with civilian emergency planning authorities and other international organisations, as appropriate. NATO has considerable CBRN defence capabilities to offer to Allies’ and partners’ first responders and it also serves as a forum where planning arrangements for such eventualities can be coordinated among countries. Upon request and on a case-by-case basis, NATO will be prepared to assist with CBRN defence assessments; provide CBRN training, funding, technical and legal assistance, and information; work with partners to develop response plans, training protocols, equipment and interoperability standards and mutual aid agreements; conduct exercises, share intelligence and threat information (both within the Alliance and, when appropriate, with key international actors); lend its capabilities for international surveillance and early warning; engage in joint research and development; coordinate technical assistance to partners; deploy the CJ-CBRND-TF in the event of a crisis; offer support via the Joint CBRN Defence COE and the Disease Surveillance System, and cooperate in other ways to address CBRN threats. The Alliance will work to coordinate and harmonise the development of military and non-military CBRN defence capabilities to the greatest extent possible and develop recovery mechanisms for a CBRN event.

25. NATO will continually review and update its Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) Action Plan for the Improvement of Civil Preparedness Against Possible Attacks with CBRN Agents to reflect the most recent political guidance; evaluate changes in threats, risks and vulnerabilities; incorporate the development of new technologies, capabilities and strategies; and enhance outreach to partners, international organisations and civilian entities, in accordance with CEP Ministerial Guidance. NATO, when appropriate, will coordinate internally to execute a comprehensive approach to recover from the use of WMD or a CBRN event. In the event of a disease outbreak that could be deliberate, NATO will work closely with partners and relevant international organisations, as appropriate.

Strategic Enablers

26. Strategic enablers are crosscutting capabilities that enable the Alliance to effectively undertake the three pillars of NATO’s approach to prevent the proliferation of WMD, protect against WMD should prevention fail, and to be prepared to recover should the Alliance suffer a WMD attack or CBRN event. The following strategic enablers facilitate the Alliance’s efforts to combat WMD: intelligence and information sharing, CBRN Reachback, international outreach and partner activities, as well as public diplomacy and strategic communications.

Intelligence and Information Sharing, and CBRN Reachback

27. Intelligence directly supports strategy, planning, and decision-making, informs risk management and facilitates improvements in the Alliance’s operational capabilities. Timely and sound intelligence is critical to detecting, identifying and monitoring WMD and CBRN threats. Without actionable WMD intelligence, NATO would be unable to prevent, disrupt, defeat, or reverse the proliferation and/or use of WMD. Understanding proliferation trends, including the identification of proliferation networks and financing mechanisms, and a potential adversary’s WMD capabilities and intentions, is vital to developing an effective response. The role of intelligence is also key in identifying and assessing potential threats and vulnerabilities that can be exploited for deterrence effect.

28. Recognising proliferation as one of the major security threats, the Alliance will intensify its discussion of WMD issues. Allies will strengthen intelligence sharing on proliferation concerns and will regularly exchange information and assessments in accordance with established NATO procedures. The WMD Centre will prepare reports using shared intelligence that will serve as the basis for Council discussions of proliferation threats.

29. Comprehensive information gathering and consistent assessment is an essential aspect of WMD intelligence and CBRN Reachback. It encompasses operational or tactical detection and characterisation of a CBRN threat, characterisation of WMD facilities and forensic attribution. The Alliance will consider investing resources in order to improve the Alliance’s detection, characterisation and attribution capabilities, focusing on horizon-scanning, intelligence fusion, forward planning and CBRN Reachback to build capacity for early warning and attribution of a WMD attack or CBRN event in order to enhance its defence posture. An effective CBRN Reachback process provides an essential contribution to the whole spectrum of NATO’s response to WMD proliferation, protection and recovery.

International Outreach and Partner Activities

30. During the 2008 Bucharest Summit, the Alliance acknowledged that the international community needs to work more closely together and take a comprehensive approach to address successfully the security challenges of today and tomorrow. Outreach to partners, international and regional organisations will help develop a common understanding of the WMD threat and encourage participation in and compliance with international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation efforts to which they are party; enhance global efforts to protect and defend against CBRN threats; and improve crisis management and recovery if WMD are employed against the Alliance or its interests. It is important to maintain a dialogue with Russia on WMD proliferation issues, particularly through the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). NATO will also continue its cooperation with Ukraine on CBRN defence in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC). The Alliance will build upon its efforts to enhance dialogue and practical cooperation on these issues with the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) Partners, Mediterranean Dialogue Countries, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Countries and other partner nations, on a case-by-case basis.

31. Of particular importance is NATO’s outreach to and cooperation with the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), other regional organisations and multilateral initiatives that address WMD proliferation. NATO will strive to make WMD non-proliferation and CBRN defence a key issue for NATO-EU Capability Group discussions to reduce duplication of effort and ensure coherent, transparent and mutually-reinforcing development of capabilities. Outreach to the UN will enable Allies to take practical steps to support UN member states in their implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions relating to terrorism and the proliferation of WMD, such as UNSCR 1540. Continued cooperation with regional organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) can contribute to efforts to encourage member States to comply with relevant international agreements. Effective implementation of a comprehensive approach requires the cooperation and contribution of all major actors, including international organisations, when relevant. Information sharing with the World Health Organisation (WHO), for instance, could enable the Alliance to better monitor and identify anomalies in global health trends, leading to earlier detection of and improved response to biological threats. Within existing resources, NATO will continue its dialogue with these stakeholders through seminars, workshops, conferences, and technical cooperation with partners in order to exchange views, share their relevant experience, and disseminate best practices, when appropriate.

Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications

32. Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communications are strategic enablers that shape perceptions at global, regional, and national levels. Promulgation of a robust information campaign may help to deter a potential adversary from acquiring and employing WMD by underscoring the costs and risks associated with WMD acquisition and use. A strategic information campaign will also communicate NATO’s comprehensive approach to address the WMD threat and promote a higher level of public awareness of Alliance contributions in the fields of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament. It will assure Allies and partners of NATO’s capability to prevent, protect against, and recover from WMD attack or CBRN event. In addition, it will enable the provision of accurate, timely and credible information to the media, in the case of a CBRN event and facilitate consequence management and recovery efforts by keeping the affected population informed.

33. NATO bodies will make a concerted effort to coordinate their respective public diplomacy messages in this regard, to ensure that the Alliance showcases a full and consistent portrait of its capabilities. In the case of a CBRN event, NATO will rapidly establish a Media Operations Centre. The Media Operations Centre will support nations as required and will coordinate the release of factual information to accredited media outlets to inform the public quickly of NATO’s support and response. NATO will regularly exercise the establishment of such a Media Operations Centre.

Cooperation Among NATO Bodies

34. Within NATO, different committees and bodies work on political responses to WMD proliferation threats, on defence responses to proliferation and WMD attack or CBRN event, on consequence management, as well as on concepts, doctrine and training issues related to defence against terrorism, and on capability development.

35. The Alliance will ensure that all relevant NATO bodies continue to convene regularly to exchange information regarding their respective WMD-related activities, explore possibilities for increasing synergy and identify gaps in Alliance efforts and capabilities. The objective will be to facilitate cooperation among NATO bodies and ensure that NATO is prepared to prevent, protect against and respond to CBRN threats.

Conclusions and Recommendations

36. An updated policy is essential to bring clarity and direction to NATO’s extensive efforts to address the challenges of WMD proliferation threats. This document provides strategic level policy guidance to transform NATO’s capabilities in three main areas: preventing the proliferation of WMD by State and non-State actors, protecting the Alliance from WMD threats, and recovering should the Alliance suffer a WMD attack or CBRN event. General conclusions from this document are as follows.

    1. The strategic environment has changed since the issuance of the 1994 Alliance Policy Framework on Weapons of Mass Destruction. In particular, WMD threats to the Alliance have evolved to include those from non-State actors.
    2. In this challenging security environment, NATO must continue to ensure that the Alliance - its populations, territory and forces - is secure from CBRN threats, including WMD; and its members will not be coerced by those posing such threats.
    3. Addressing the threat of WMD requires an active political agenda, strong deterrence and defence capabilities, and appropriate civil emergency capabilities.
    4. The Alliance support for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to play a major role in the Alliance’s security objectives. Allies will continue to consider a value-added approach to NATO’s role in this area. NATO will continue to encourage its members, partners and other nations to fully implement their international obligations. NATO and Allies will continue to support international political efforts in the area of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
    5. NATO will offer Alliance support and capabilities to international non-proliferation and CBRN defence efforts, wherever it can add value, by further developing and harmonising Allied military capabilities relevant to preventing WMD proliferation and employing them when there is Allied agreement to do so.
    6. NATO’s nuclear deterrent makes the risks of aggression against NATO incalculable and unacceptable.
    7. NATO will continue to transform CBRN defence capabilities to reflect the requirement for rapid deployment of mobile, flexible, highly sophisticated forces tailored to the mission and capable of conducting joint and combined operations; the need for increased military and non-military cooperation to address threats; and the infusion of new technology to enhance capabilities.
    8. In order to respond to the threat the Alliance is facing over the next 10–15 years, NATO must ensure that an appropriate level of CBRN expertise and manning is maintained throughout the command structure.
    9. While recognising that Allied, partner and host-nation governments have primary sovereign responsibility to prepare for and mitigate the consequences of a WMD attack or CBRN event, NATO will be prepared to lend its CBRN consequence management capabilities to national authorities, if requested.
    10. In implementing this policy, NATO will improve collaboration, as appropriate, with partners, as well as relevant international and regional organisations, and national authorities in member States.
    11. The Alliance will employ ‘strategic enablers’ to bolster its response to WMD. NATO will strengthen its intelligence collection and CBRN Reachback capabilities; enhance international outreach to partners, international and regional organisations; and execute a robust strategic communications and public diplomacy strategy to deter adversaries and assure Allies and partners of NATO’s resolve.
    12. The Alliance will work to improve cooperation and coordination among NATO bodies involved in the response to WMD proliferation threats to minimise duplication of effort, leverage competencies and ensure a comprehensive approach.

37. To ensure that this Alliance policy is implemented and that the way forward is clear.

    1. Allies are encouraged to reflect this policy in relevant national documents.
    2. NATO and NATO Allies will accelerate their efforts to transform their capabilities to address WMD threats and should develop an indicative roadmap for further consideration, which identifies priorities for capability development. Consideration should be given to the financial implications of these priorities, before specific deliverables and timelines can be settled;
    3. Based on this policy, NATO’s Military Authorities shall review and revise, as appropriate, the relevant strategic-level guidance, analyses, defence and force planning documents, as well as develop required concepts for preventing, protecting against and recovering from WMD attacks or CBRN events.


1. Terms which are not standardised within NATO are defined in the Appendix.


This Appendix defines terms which are not standardised within NATO and therefore not to be found in AAP-6, AAP-21 and/or other standardisation documents. These definitions serve for the purpose of this document and are necessary for its explicitness and text reduction. In this paper:

  • Non-Proliferation refers to all efforts to prevent proliferation from occurring, or should it occur, to reverse it by any means other than the use of military force.
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Material is used as an umbrella term for chemical, biological and radiological agents in any physical state and form, which can cause hazards to our populations, territory and forces. It also refers to the chemical weapons precursors, and facilities, equipments or compounds that can be used for development or deployment of WMD, CBRN weapons or CBRN devices.
  • CBRN Threat refers to the threat of WMD, CBRN weapons, CBRN devices or release of CBRN materials.
  • CBRN Event refers to any realisation of a CBRN threat.
  • CBRN Reachback is defined as a process by which deployed forces may be provided with timely, coordinated, authoritative and detailed advice on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and other CBRN hazards and defensive countermeasures, drawing upon remote expert sources of information. Effective CBRN reach back should support the whole spectrum of NATO response to WMD proliferation, protection and recovering.
  • CBRN Render Safe is defined as the operations which aim to systematically locate, secure, characterise, eliminate or dispose of WMD, CBRN weapons, CBRN devices and CBRN materials and/or a potential adversary’s capability to research, develop, test, produce, stockpile, deploy, or employ such weapons, devices and materials.
  • Partners, for the purposes of this document, are those countries, including host nations, with which the Alliance has agreed to interact.

Terms which are not standardised within NATO are defined in the Appendix.