Madrid, Spain – NATO, as an Alliance of thirty-one like-minded nations, understands the importance of building and maintaining partnerships. NATO’s Partnerships 360 Symposium held in Madrid, Spain from November 14th – 16th, 2023, brought together representatives from 56 nations, including military and civilian and public and private organizations, for partnership development through dialogue. The Partnership’s 360 Symposium supported the recognition that the challenges of today are too great for any one nation or organization to face alone. By standing together, we are stronger and safer.
The world we live in is continually changing. Conflict rages in Ukraine and the Middle East, and political change looms with approximately 40 national elections expected to be held in 2024. The year will start with an election in Taiwan in January and culminate in November with a federal election in the United States. This represents an estimated 41% of the world’s population and, subsequently, 42% of global gross domestic product may be affected in some way by political change. While the exact outcomes are unknown, change in political power dynamics will result in an uncertain future in 2024.
As 2024 heralds the potential for significant political change, the security challenges of today will not be those of the future. NATO, and its partners, are being challenged to ‘understand better’ and ‘adapt faster’ in order to prepare for the future. To do this requires dialogue, which allows for the development of relationships, the sharing of information and the enhancement of understanding. Security challenges, and responses to them, can be specific to a nation or an institution. By sharing views and anticipating future developments, partners can proactively act together in the security environment of the future – this follows the core idea of out-partnering.
“The challenges are simultaneous across borders, across regions, across the different levels of power,” said General Chris Badia, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. “We need to prepare for competition, crisis and conflict at the same time.”
“Out-partnering” (the sharing of information and the enhancement of efficiencies) allows for faster adaption of technologies and approaches to the security environment. Partnerships can bring together resources that allow for the development of resilience, especially in crisis prevention which is a key subject in NATO’s Strategic Concept.
The security challenges discussed at the Partnerships 360 Symposium demonstrate long term trends including new technologies and innovation, climate change and energy transition by design. NATO and its partners identified the need to better understand what these trends mean in order to define their collective response. Further, partners also discussed how, collectively, they can work together to address those issues related to crisis prevention and management, and disinformation.
The complex, fast changing, less stable, less linear and less predictable strategic environment requires a more resilient Alliance, in addition to strong and resilient partners. Both are vital to enhance the security within the Euro Atlantic area, and beyond, and to be prepared to respond to more complex challenges from adversaries who wish to disrupt the rules-based international order.