NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

NATO and Partners Build Capacity Infrastructure

July 13, 2022

NATO and Partners Build Capacity Infrastructure

NATO Partnerships 360 Symposium is a collaborative venture that brings together civilian and military representatives from Allies and NATO Partner Nations to inform and build NATO’s partnerships programmes.

For three decades, NATO has used its Defence Institution and Capacity Building infrastructure to foster peace and security by making partners more capable, more secure and better prepared to respond to crisis at home and abroad. By focusing on defence reform, defence capabilities development, strengthening resilience, and promoting integrity and good governance in the defence and security sector, Defence Institution and Capacity Building has made a concrete contribution to enhancing international and Allied security and to sustain conflict prevention and management.

As global security and technological environment, and NATO’s own strategies, continue to evolve, addressing the role and the future of NATO’s Defence Institution and Capacity Building is a clear necessity. At the Partnership 360 Symposium, NATO, NATO Partner Nations and representatives of other international bodies examined the possible adaptation of Defence Institution and Capacity Building in the context of a transformed strategic environment.

This year’s symposium featured five in-depth breakout sessions, each addressing a fundamental aspect of NATO’s partnership endeavours: Capacity Building, Innovation, Interoperability, Human Security, and the Rules-Based International Order. It also addressed implications of the new Strategic Concept, Resilience and Partnership in a plenary format. The event, co-organized by Allied Command Transformation and the International Staff Political Affairs and Security Policy Division, engaged the partnership network and community in Geneva, Switzerland from 11 to 13 July 2022.

The ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine exemplifies the negative impact that the resurgence of geopolitical competition has had on the rules-based international order. In the new Strategic Concept, NATO Allies have stated their commitment to uphold and shape this order, including by working closely with other countries and organizations. As authoritarian powers become more assertive and try to shift the global balance of power in their favour while undermine international norms and values, the rules-based international order is only likely to come under growing strain in the coming years.- A test for which NATO and its Partner Nations must be ready.

The plenary session on the new Strategic Concept provided an in-depth discussion on its implications for NATO’s partnerships. Challenges to the rules-based international order hold the potential to affect the functioning of key institutions, iincluding nternational humanitarian law and the maritime domain. Furthermore, not only are international rules at risk of being undermined but risks extend to the development of new rules and standards inside key international fora. This is particularly clear when it comes to space and cyberspace.

The breakout session on Innovation informed attendees about NATO’s current innovation activities and explore how NATO will develop them in the coming years. In an environment characterized by complexity, instability and unpredictability, Allied Command Transformation sees innovation as crucial to ensuring that the Alliance adequately adapts its Military Instrument of Power to keep both a competitive advantage and operational relevance. Within Allied Command Transformation, Innovation is the implementation of new and/or different ideas, methods or solutions that achieve value for the Alliance. The Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic, DIANA, will leverage existing innovation structures, assets and capabilities within NATO and Allies, in order to accelerate interoperable, dual-use emerging and disruptive technological solutions to answer critical Alliance defence and security challenges. The breakout session described how technological start-ups will be fostered by DIANA.

NATO and Partners also addressed Interoperability in a dedicated breakout session. Interoperability in NATO is described as “the ability to act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve Allied objectives.” Interoperability is essential to NATO’s effectiveness in peace, crisis and in conflict. Military cooperation with partners in NATO-led operations benefits both the Alliance in terms of increased military resources, and the partners in terms of enhancing interoperability with NATO. Interoperability among nations enables forces, units and/or systems to operate together, communicate with each other, utilize common procedures, infrastructure and bases, all based on shared common doctrine. Interoperability also reduces duplication of effort, enables pooling of resources and produces synergies among Allies and Partners. With the end of the missions in Afghanistan, the opportunity for NATO and Partner Nations to work together at the headquarters level and in operational theatres is diminished. In addition, Russian aggression against Ukraine has fundamentally changed the Euro-Atlantic Security landscape; the Alliance must adapt quickly, and ad hoc interoperability workarounds such as liaison teams or adapted communications systems tend to cost additional money and time, reducing the effectiveness of capabilities. Interoperable capabilities have to sit at the very beginning of the capability development process and capacity building of NATO’s partners.

The Rules-Based International Order breakout session will generate new and concrete ideas – as well as refine some already existing ones – articulating an efficient way forward for NATO and its partners to shield the rules-based international order from conscious efforts to destabilise it. Similarly, the breakout session on the Human Security – Leading by Example will address how NATO and Partners can address policies on Human Security, Women Peace and Security and Climate change maximizing synergies in a mutually beneficial relationship.

The plenary session on Resilience and Partnerships addressed how NATO can take forward its ambition for a more strategic, integrated and coordinated approach to strengthening national and collective resilience. It focused on how to project forward resilience, requirements to have resilient military forces, the impact of climate and energy security on our resilience, and the role of societies and citizens in building national resilience. Through the Strengthened Resilience Commitment agreed at the 2021 Brussels’ Summit, Allied Heads of State and Government called for more engagement with societies and populations, the private and non-governmental sectors, as well as for closer cooperation with partners and international organisations engaged in resilience and civil preparedness efforts, especially with the European Union.