Contribution to NATO's New Strategic Concept
At the NATO Summit in Madrid (29-30 June 2022), Heads of State and Government will adopt NATO’s next Strategic Concept, which sets the overall direction of the Alliance and is NATO’s highest strategic guidance, second only in importance to the North Atlantic Treaty.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) actively contributed its views throughout the consultation phase of development of the new Concept, sharing the perspectives of Allied legislators on the priorities for NATO’s adaptation.
On 22 February 2022, the Standing Committee, the NATO PA’s governing body, adopted its set of recommendations, authored by President Gerald E. Connolly (United States), and submitted them to the NATO Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council. President Connolly will represent the Assembly at the Madrid Summit.
This page lays out the Assembly’s key priorities and recommendations. Read the full contribution here.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ASSEMBLY’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE STRATEGIC CONCEPT
The Assembly’s overall position is crystal clear. NATO’s Strategic Concept must, at a minimum, do two things:
Priority #1: Reaffirm the Alliance’s shared values and principles
NATO must place its shared values and principles at the heart of NATO’s Strategic Concept. President Putin’s renewed, full-scale aggression against Ukraine is a blatant attack on the most basic principles underlying the international order since the end of World War II – principles which Moscow has freely signed on to. President Putin seeks to crush Ukraine’s democracy, intimidate other countries where the embers of democratic ambition burn and, by implication, undermine democracy everywhere. The Alliance must respond by uniting around and strengthening its commitment to its shared democratic values and the rules-based order.
THE IMPACT OF RUSSIA’S WAR AGAINST UKRAINE
President Vladimir Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine has triggered the gravest security crisis in Europe since World War II. Even though the Assembly’s contribution to the Strategic Concept was adopted on the eve of the invasion, it amplifies the importance of many of the recommendations, most importantly the relevance and timeliness of the two key priorities.
Democracies must unite against the existential challenge posed by autocracies and other internal proponents of illiberalism. The NATO Treaty is crystal clear: NATO is an alliance of democracies. This foundational commitment – to democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty – can no longer remain purely aspirational or rhetorical. The 2022 Strategic Concept must put in place formal architecture in NATO itself. It must direct the establishment, within NATO, of a Democratic Resilience Centre.
ESTABLISHING A NATO DEMOCRATIC RESILIENCE CENTRE
The NATO PA’s contribution urges the Alliance to set up a Democratic Resilience Centre within NATO Headquarters. It would serve as a resource for members, partners and aspirants, upon request – on a voluntary basis. Its main aim would be to act as a clearinghouse of best practices and cross-fertilisation on democratic benchmarks.
The new Strategic Concept must also reaffirm and direct concrete steps to bolster NATO’s other core values and principles:
NATO must also enshrine its commitment to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, as the 2010 Strategic Concept makes no reference at all to the equal contribution of women to peace and security.
Priority #2: Adapt NATO to today’s strategic reality
The new Strategic Concept must adapt NATO to today’s complex geopolitical reality. The 2010 Strategic Concept referred to Russia as a strategic partner and did not make any mention of China.
Russia’s invasion, coupled with President Putin’s threatening rhetoric and unacceptable nuclear escalation, once again, make crystal clear that its aggressive actions remain the principal threat to Euro-Atlantic security. NATO must continue to adjust its deterrence and defence posture and Allied nations must continue to increase defence spending accordingly.
Allies have come a lot closer in their assessment of the challenge posed by China to Euro-Atlantic security and to the rules-based order. China has for the first time joined Russia in stating its opposition to NATO’s enlargement. NATO must enshrine the key pillars of a common China policy into the new Strategic Concept: engage wherever it can, compete to preserve the Alliance’s edge and independence, and deter when Allied security interests are challenged.
Terrorism in all its manifestations remains a clear and present threat. NATO must continue to support Allies in combatting terrorism.
As the NATO PA did a long time ago, the new Strategic Concept must recognise the complex impact of climate change on Allied security and armed forces.
To respond to these threats and challenges, the Concept should:
- reaffirm that collective defense and deterrence, as enshrined in Article 5, remains NATO’s core mission and adapt these concepts to Russia’s present threat and today’s globalized threats;
- reaffirm the importance of nuclear deterrence, as the ultimate guarantee of Allies’ security, while continuing to support arms control, disarmament and non proliferation taking into account the prevailing security environment;
- elevate the importance of resilient institutions, societies, infrastructures as the first line of deterrence and defence against hybrid challenges;
- step up and reform NATO’s cooperative partnerships, to better match NATO’s interests and values and to elicit their help in actively promoting them, and to better resource them – the European Union, in particular, remains a unique and essential partner for NATO;
- show that NATO is willing and able to support crisis management again in the future, while better defining the parameters of such engagements; and
- ensure Allies live up to the commitments made in 2014 to spend 2% GDP on defense and 20% of that on new capabilities, ensuring NATO keeps its technological and innovative edge.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ASSEMBLY’S INTERNAL CONSULTATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT WITH NATO