THE ASSEMBLY'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE NEW STRATEGIC CONCEPT OF THE ALLIANCE [077 SC 10 E]
i. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly supported calls for NATO to prepare a new Strategic Concept well before the April 2009 NATO Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl when NATO leaders formally decided to produce one. The previous Strategic Concept was adopted in 1999 and the security environment has altered profoundly since that time. NATO – as a political and military alliance – has remained a vital institution precisely because it has adapted to changing circumstances. That process of continual adaptation cannot take place in the context of a static Strategic Concept. As the strategic environment and NATO evolve and adapt, the Strategic Concept must be revised periodically and renewed.
ii. The new Strategic Concept will be the first one to be adopted after the terror acts of 11 September 2001 which transformed our understanding of the new security challenges posed by international terrorism. It will also be the first Strategic Concept to incorporate the perspectives of the new Allies – many having been formerly under Soviet rule - which have acceded to the Alliance over the last decade. It must therefore, combine more perspectives on how to address both traditional and new threats to mutual security.
iii. The Allies also represent different points of view on a broad range of issues that affect the future of the Transatlantic relationship. There are, for instance, competing “visions” of the relationship between NATO and the European Union. There are also concerns among NATO members about inequitable divisions of labour and levels of commitment to NATO operations. Such problems further complicate the task of maintaining public support for NATO and its operations.
iv. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is well placed to make recommendations about a new – or at least, revised - Strategic Concept. Its members are drawn from the national legislatures of all of the member states of the Alliance. It is a product – and a symbol - of the democratic nature of the Alliance and represents a direct link to the citizens of the member states. As such it is a two-way channel of communication that affords NATO officials the opportunity to speak directly to the representatives of the citizens of the Alliance as well as a venue for parliamentarians to communicate their constituents’ concerns to NATO’s leadership. As such, the contribution of the Assembly represents many of the concerns of the people this Alliance was created to defend.
v. This document is the product of extensive consultation within the Assembly involving all five of its Committees. Although Assembly members represent very diverse political perspectives, consensus emerged on certain key themes in debates on the new Strategic Concept, including:
• the enduring importance of collective defence Article 5;
vi. This document begins by presenting the main recommendations which emerged from the Assembly’s deliberations. This is followed by Appendix 1 which provides some background on the issues and discussions that underpin the recommendations.
Finally, the text of the North Atlantic Treaty itself is reproduced as Appendix 2.
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