Official texts


Eng. / Fr.

A Comprehensive Approach


Meeting today’s security challenges requires a wide spectrum of civil and military instruments. This calls for regular coordination, consultation and interaction among all actors involved. NATO has developed a set of pragmatic proposals aimed at promoting such a Comprehensive Approach to crisis management by the International Community.

At the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, Allied leaders endorsed an Action Plan for the development and implementation of NATO’s contribution to a Comprehensive Approach.

Since then, NATO has been seeking to improve its own crisis-management instruments and to strengthen its ability to work with partner countries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and local authorities.

Experience in Afghanistan and the Balkans has demonstrated the importance of contributing to the International Community’s Comprehensive Approach for the success of operations, which are increasingly of an integrated civilian-military character. NATO is therefore trying to build closer partnerships with other international organizations that have experience and skills in areas such as institution building, development, governance, judiciary and police.

Increasingly, NATO’s partner countries and other troop-contributing nations help share the burden of NATO-led operations. In recognition of the valuable resources and skills that these non-NATO countries contribute, NATO is involving them more in the planning and conduct of operations.

The need to promote a Comprehensive Approach applies not only to operations but more broadly to many of NATO’s efforts to deal with 21st century security challenges, such as fighting terrorism, improving energy security, preventing proliferation of weapons and dangerous materials, protecting against cyber attacks and confronting the threat of piracy.

Five key areas of work

The development and implementation of NATO’s contribution to a Comprehensive Approach will be a long-term effort, which will be kept under review. As work progresses, the Alliance intends to improve its ability to work and coordinate more closely with its partners and other international actors in crisis management.

NATO is developing pragmatic proposals which seek to make improvements in five key areas of work:

Planning and conduct of operations

NATO takes full account of all military and non-military aspects of a NATO engagement, and is working to improve practical cooperation at all levels with all relevant organizations and actors in the planning and conduct of operations. NATO’s ongoing work in the area of Operations Planning promotes a sense of common purpose and resolve, the clear definition of strategies and objectives before launching an operation, as well as enhanced planning to support nations’ contributions to operations. Effects on the local population and on reconstruction and development are being factored into military planning.

Lessons learned, training, education and exercises

Proposals have been developed to make greater use of NATO training, education and exercise opportunities by offering joint training of civilian and military personnel. This promotes the sharing of lessons learned and also helps build trust and confidence between NATO, its partners and other international and local actors, which has encouraged better coordination.

Enhancing cooperation with external actors

Achieving lasting mutual understanding, trust, confidence and respect among the relevant organizations and actors will make their respective efforts more effective. Therefore, NATO is actively pursuing extensive civil-military interaction with other relevant organizations and actors on a regular basis, as appropriate, while respecting the autonomy of decision-making of each organization.

Public messaging

To be effective, a Comprehensive Approach must be complemented by sustained and coherent public messages. NATO’s information campaigns should be substantiated by systematic and updated information, documenting progress in relevant areas. It is important to ensure that the information strategies of the main actors should complement and not contradict each other, which could be facilitated by direct contacts between those responsible for public information.

Stabilization and reconstruction

NATO is seeking to improve its military support to stabilization and reconstruction in all phases of a conflict. This will involve exploiting the full range of existing and planned Alliance capabilities relevant to this broad activity. It will also require better coordination of NATO’s military efforts in this field with those of its partners and other international and non-governmental organizations, which are the primary providers of essential civilian means to stabilization and reconstruction.