An introduction to NATO's new Strategic Concept

Throughout the course of 2010, NATO will be engaged in an extensive consultation process that will result in the elaboration of a new Strategic Concept by the end of the year. This overall objective of this project, therefore, is to promote active discussion about, and involvement in, the development of NATO’s new Strategic Concept amongst specific target groups from throughout Serbia.

Key Topics:


Contemporary security challenges, threats and risks are very different and far more diversified compared to those of only a decade ago. Since the end of the Cold War, in particular, conventional military threats have been replaced by new and emerging security challenges – including, amongst others, competition for natural and energy resources, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed or weak states, genocide, mass migration, organized crime, cyber-attacks and terrorism – as the primary concern for collective security architecture. Over the course of time, and owing to the rapid development of new technologies and means of communication, most of these threats have become exceedingly sophisticated in both their manner and their means. It is imperative, therefore, that collective security arrangements continually adjust and adapt to these changing circumstances.

Accordingly, security-related concerns cannot be viewed in isolation, nor as abstract threats, but rather from a holistic perspective which incorporates political, economic, social, environmental and other pertinent issues, aside from solely military considerations. The boundaries of what constitutes ‘a security threat’ are no longer clear cut. NATO’s Strategic Concept – as defined and adopted in 1999 – has for some time been seen as an outmoded and insufficient mechanism for contending with new security threats.

The topics outlined above demonstrate the vast array of inter-linking issues that complicate considerations about how to best strengthen and advance existing levels and forms of co-operation in the security arena. Even though each respective nation’s concept of security may differ from those threats perceived at the broader global level, it is imperative that Serbia actively participates in the global debate about NATO’s new Strategic Concept in order to have its own say on matters affecting its domestic security and defence policy. NATO’s future shape, structure and orientation will unavoidably be of relevance to Serbia’s future.

Extracts from NATO’s 1999 Strategic Concept

As approved by NATO Heads of State and Government at their Summit meeting in Washington in April 1999:
To achieve its essential purpose, as an Alliance of nations committed to the Washington Treaty and the United Nations Charter, the Alliance performs the following fundamental security tasks:

  • Security – To provide one of the indispensable foundations for a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment, based on the growth of democratic institutions and commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, in which no country would be able to intimidate or coerce any other through the threat or use of force.
  • Consultation – To serve, as provided for in Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, as an essential transatlantic forum for Allied consultations on any issues that affect their vital interests, including possible developments posing risks for members’ security, and for appropriate co-ordination of their efforts in fields of common concern.
  • Deterrence and Defence – To deter and defend against any threat of aggression against any NATO member state as provided for in Articles 5 and 6 of the Washington Treaty.

And in order to enhance the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area:

  • Crisis Management – To stand ready, case-by-case and by consensus, in conformity with Article 7 of the Washington Treaty, to contribute to effective conflict prevention and to engage actively in crisis management, including crisis response operations.
  • Partnership – To promote wide-ranging partnership, cooperation, and dialogue with other countries in the Euro-Atlantic area, with the aim of increasing transparency, mutual confidence and the capacity for joint action with the Alliance.

For the full text of NATO’s current Strategic Concept, please visit –

If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact TransConflict Serbia at the following e-mail address –

The ‘Facilitating Serbia’s Contribution to NATO’s New Strategic Concept’ project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

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