This issue of NATO Review, entitled Operations: old and new, is focused on NATO's growing operational commitments and activities in the wake of the Alliance's response to both Hurricane Katrina and the South Asian earthquake and on the eve of the expansion of NATO's Afghan operation. It is special because it is Felicity Breeze's last edition. Ms Breeze has just retired after 21 years as a production assistant on NATO Review. She joined the Alliance in 1985, the year that Ronald Reagan started his second term as US President and Mikhail Gorbachev became Soviet leader. In the intervening period, she has overseen the efficient running of NATO Review during what has been an exceptional time in NATO's history covering the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War; NATO's post–Cold War transformation, the development of NATO's partnerships and the Alliance's interventions in the former Yugoslavia; and NATO's ongoing, post-9/11 transformation, the invocation of Article 5 and the Alliance's involvement beyond the Euro-Atlantic area. Her commitment, team spirit and attention to detail have helped make NATO Review the publication it is today. She will be missed.

In the first of four articles devoted to the issue's central theme, James Pardew, director of operations in NATO's Operations Division, and I examine how NATO's focus has shifted towards operations. Mihai Carp of NATO's Operations Division assesses the challenges of and prospects for NATO's Afghan operation. Gabriele Cascone and Joaquin Molina of NATO's Political Affairs and Security Policy and Operations Divisions respectively analyse the coming year's prospects for the Western Balkans. And Maurits Jochems, also of NATO's Operations Division, examines NATO's role in disaster relief.

In the debate, Louis Sell of the University of Maine and Bruno Coppieters of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel discuss the consequences of an independent Kosovo for wider international stability. In the interview, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, Bosnia and Herzegovina's last High Representative, explains how he intends to take the Bosnian peace process forward. Elsewhere, Alexia Mikhos of NATO's Operations Division examines the scale of the narcotics threat to Afghanistan. Kenneth Weisbrode, an associate councillor of the Atlantic Council of the United States, pays tribute to George F. Kennan, Paul H. Nitze and Andrew J. Goodpaster, three leading Cold-War strategists who all died recently. Lawrence S. Kaplan of Georgetown University analyses the significance of the Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO on the 50th anniversary of its publication. And Christoph Bertram of the Bologna Center of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies argues that NATO should focus on stabilisation and give up the pretence of being a war-fighting alliance.