GP Short Notes

GP Short Notes # 643, 3 July 2022

NATO 2022 Strategic Concept: Four takeaways
Emmanuel Selva Royan

On 29 June, the members of the NATO convened in Madrid to endorse a new Strategic Concept to prepare the alliance for the future. The Strategic Concept reiterated that their primary objective is to assure "collective defense, against all threats from all directions".  

It outlines the three major responsibilities of the Alliance: deterrence and defense; crisis management and prevention; and cooperative security. The Strategic Concept highlights how crucial it is to invest in technological advancement and include issues like climate change, human security, and the Women, Peace, and Security agenda into their core tasks. The concept outlines a distinct hierarchy of dangers, with Russia as the first. The People's Republic of China, which appears in a NATO strategic concept as a "threat," is the concept's third most significant danger after terrorism and regional instability. 

Key Takeaways

First, Russia as a significant threat to regional security. The new concept states that Russia poses the biggest threat to the Allies and to the peace and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region. In light of this, improving joint deterrence and collective defense is the main task at hand. A suitable combination of nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities, along with space and cyber capabilities, forms the foundation of NATO's deterrence and defense posture.

Second, NATO's desire to enlarge. The document states that they will broaden the outreach to nations in the larger neighborhood and worldwide and have an open mind to engage with any nation or organization. The document also mentions that the alliance would deepen ties with allies who support their values and the maintenance of international law. It further acknowledges that the developments in the Indo-Pacific "directly affect Euro-Atlantic security" and the need to strengthen collaboration with "new and existing partners," in this region; suggesting that additional countries may be invited to join NATO.

Third, hostility towards China. NATO finds Russia and China's growing relationship threatening the alliance's ideas and values. It claims that China wishes to take control of global logistics and its economy to challenge the current international order. Furthermore, it accused China of using various political, economic, and military instruments to expand its influence worldwide and project power with opaque intentions and plans. However, in order to protect the security interests of the Alliance, NATO remains open to constructive dialogue with China, and to develop reciprocal transparency.

Fourth, focus on human security and the Women, Peace, and Security agenda. NATO's focus on Women, Peace and Security is not new. However, the acknowledgment of human security is more recent and represents a move toward a focus on the effects of conflict on people. NATO still maintains its attention on implementing UNSCR resolution 1325 on the role of women in peace and security by placing these concerns across the core tasks. The work on implementation is still in progress, and part of that effort entails taking the lessons learned from years of operations in Afghanistan and applying them to NATO headquarters. Significant human security responsibilities are part of several roles that NATO forces will be preparing for. When opposed to more conventional Protection of Civilians (POC) tasks, issues that are extremely relevant to human security, such as culture property protection (CPP) will be prioritized.