NATO PA calls for Strategic Update to Tackle New Threat Environment

14 October 2019

London, 14 October 2019 – Parliamentarians from NATO passed Monday a series of recommendations to Allied governments on security issues ranging from nuclear deterrence to cyber security, and from Afghanistan to potential threats in Africa, as the NATO Parliamentary Assembly wrapped up four days of debate.

At the NATO PA’s plenary session, lawmakers recommended that Allies update NATO’s Strategic Concept “to reflect the new security environment, in particular with regard to cyber and hybrid threats, the aggressive behaviour of Russia, the growing prominence of China, the threats to the Alliance’s southern flank due to the persistence of Islamist terrorist groups and the fragility of some state structures in that region.”

Russia figured high on the agenda in London at the Assembly’s 65th Annual Session, notably over its violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, as well as for its continuing destabilising role in Ukraine.

“Russia seems more intent upon testing, probing and challenging than in dialogue and cooperation; more interested in an arms race than in arms control,” NATO PA President Madeleine Moon said, adding that NATO must “decide how to respond to Russia’s efforts to develop several new nuclear delivery systems with destabilising characteristics.”

In a resolution on the future of arms control, lawmakers said that, in the wake of Russia’s undermining of international nuclear arms-control agreements, NATO governments should “continue to support the Alliance’s maintenance of a safe, secure, strong, capable and survivable nuclear deterrent as a central pillar of its defence and deterrence policy.”

Allied capitals were also urged to build up cyber-defences, including through the adoption of a cyber space doctrine by the end of this year and to “counter persistent cyber campaigns with the right mix of security, defence and deterrence.”

On Afghanistan, the Assembly recommended NATO nations continue assistance to the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces “by enhancing the effectiveness of ongoing security assistance programmes to build a capable, self-sustaining, and professional military force.”

A resolution adopted on security challenges from Africa urged Allied governments to “improve situational awareness by enhancing early-warning capabilities to monitor instability and security in Africa” including through enhanced intelligence sharing among Allies and partner countries.”

Engaging in debate for more than an hour, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg – one of dozens of top officials, British government ministers, experts, and delegates taking part – noted that “the balance of power in the world is shifting, and our values are under pressure.”

“Russia is not the partner we once hoped for,” said Stoltenberg, who will chair a summit of NATO leaders in the British capital in early December. “Instability in the Middle East and North Africa continues, despite the enormous strides we have made against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.”

“Increasingly, the lines between peace and war are being blurred. Our adversaries are using hybrid tactics to undermine our institutions, our values, and our democracies,” he added, and insisted: “We must continue to demonstrate that working together is always better than going alone.

Photos of this session are public and can be found on the NATO PA Flickr account.