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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
nato.int

Established: 1949.

Membership: 28 Alliance Members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States.

Background: The Brussels Treaty of 1948, revised in 1984, represented the first step in the post-war reconstruction of Western European security and brought into being the Western Union and the Brussels Treaty Organization. It was also the first step in the process leading to the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949 and the creation of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Brussels Treaty is the founding document of the present day Western European Union (WEU).

Negotiations culminated in the signature of the Treaty of Washington in April 1949, bringing into being a common security system based on a partnership among 12 countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1952, Greece and Turkey acceded to the Treaty. The Federal Republic of Germany joined the Alliance in 1955 and, in 1982, Spain also became a member of NATO. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO in 1999. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania became NATO members in 2004. Croatia and Albania became members in April 2009.

Objectives and Structure: The North Atlantic Alliance was founded on the basis of a Treaty between Member States entered into freely by each of them after public debate and due parliamentary process. The Treaty upholds their individual rights as well as their international obligations in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. It commits each member country to sharing the risks and responsibilities as well as the benefits of collective security and requires each of them to undertake not to enter into any other international commitment that might conflict with the Treaty.

NATO's structure comprises separate civil and military structures and various organizations and agencies. Within the civil structure, the main bodies are the NATO Headquarters (HQ), the Permanent Representatives and National Delegations, The Secretary General, and the International Staff (IS). The main bodies of the military structure are the Military Committee, the Chairman of the Military Committee, Strategic NATO Commanders, International Military Staff, Allied Command Europe (ACE), and Allied Command Atlantic (ACLANT).

Regional bodies related informally to NATO include the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

NATO Nuclear Policy: In its new Strategic Concept adopted in Lisbon November 2010, NATO committed to "a world without nuclear weapons," pledging to contribute to international efforts to fight proliferation, but affirmed its intention to maintain nuclear forces "as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world." The NATO document recognized the change in the security environment after the Cold War and that circumstances in which nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated are "extremely remote." NATO members emphasized that security would be sought "at the lowest possible level of forces," and announced a reduction in reliance upon nuclear weapons in NATO strategy including continued reductions of the number of nuclear weapons stationed in Europe.

The collective security provided by NATO's nuclear posture is shared among all members of the Alliance, of which deterrence remains a core element. The "supreme guarantee" of security is assured by Alliance strategic nuclear forces, particularly U.S. forces, while U.K. and French strategic nuclear forces contribute to NATO's overall deterrence and security. Collective defense planning on nuclear roles is decided collectively with the "broadest possible participation" from NATO members.

NATO enables member countries to achieve essential national security objectives without infringing upon national sovereignty through organs like the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG). The NPG exercises ultimate authority on nuclear policy within NATO, and its discussions cover a broad range of nuclear policy issues including common concerns regarding nuclear arms control and nuclear proliferation. It permits member states irrespective of nuclear weapon status to participate in the review and modification of NATO's nuclear posture as security challenges shift in the international environment All NATO members, with the exception of France, are part of the NGP. The participation of non-nuclear countries in the Alliance nuclear posture demonstrates Alliance solidarity, the common commitment of its member countries to maintaining their security, and the widespread sharing among them of burdens and risks. Decisions are made by consensus so the position of the community as a whole is reflected in the Alliance's nuclear posture.

Assuring the security of the Euro-Atlantic area remains at the heart of NATO's purpose, but the role of U.S. nuclear forces based in Europe has been reduced as the Alliance's ability to diffuse a crisis diplomatically has significantly improved. NATO has committed to eliminate "all nuclear artillery and ground-launched short-range nuclear missiles" and significantly reduce the role and readiness of sub-strategic nuclear weapons in defense planning. This position is reflected by member states such as Denmark, Norway, and Spain which forbid the deployment of nuclear weapons on their territory in peacetime. Though the nuclear forces based in Europe provide an essential link between Europe and North America, NATO will only maintain a "minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability" while reducing the strategic role of these weapons in defense plans.

Alliance Policy on WMD Proliferation: In September 2009, NATO made public the "Comprehensive, Strategic-Level Policy for Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Defending against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Threats", a document that identifies the potential for terrorists to acquire WMDs as the primary threat of WMD proliferation and pledges active efforts to prevent proliferation while assuring protection and recovery of all Alliance members from WMD threats, WMD attacks or CBRN events. The document also noted that greater intelligence and information sharing on WMD issues within the Alliance is important to continued security assurances, as well as improved communication and cooperation with other regional and international organs addressing WMD proliferation.

There are three senior NATO groups dealing with the Alliance's political and defense efforts against WMD proliferation, namely the Senior Politico-Military Group on Proliferation (SGP) and the Senior Defense Group on Proliferation (DGP), which deal respectively with the political and defense dimensions of NATO's response; and the Joint Committee on Proliferation (JCP), which coordinates and brings together the work of both aspects. The SGP considers a range of factors in the political, security, and economic fields that may cause or influence proliferation and discusses political and economic means to prevent or respond to proliferation. The DGP addresses the military capabilities needed to discourage WMD proliferation, to deter threats and use of such weapons, and to protect NATO populations, territory, and forces.

The Alliance's WMD Initiative: The Alliance provides an essential consultative forum for its members on all aspects of their defense and security, including arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation. Consultation takes place in the full range of NATO bodies, but most particularly in the various proliferation groups within NATO as well as the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the NATO-Russia Council, and the NATO-Ukraine Commission. In addition, NATO bodies regularly meet with experts on disarmament, notably prior to significant international meetings such as the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the UN First Committee, and the Conference on Disarmament. NATO also provides a forum for consultations on the implications for Alliance security and global strategic stability of theatre missile defense options and WMD.

Verification and Compliance:

Verification: The body for verification is the NATO Council, which considers matters concerning the implementation of the Washington Treaty. The Council is organized to be able to meet promptly at any time. The Council is mandated to set up subsidiary bodies it may deem necessary, in particular a defense committee which recommends measures for implementation. NATO members, as stipulated in the Treaty of Washington of 1949, agreed to consult together whenever the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any of the Parties is threatened. The Parties agreed that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, they would assist the Party or Parties attacked by taking such action as NATO deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Compliance: Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result would immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures would be terminated when the Security Council took the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security. This Treaty does not affect in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the Parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.

NATO established a Council, on which each member is represented, to consider matters concerning the implementation of NATO obligations. The Council is organized to be able to meet promptly at any time. The Council sets up subsidiary bodies as needed; in particular, it may establish immediately a defense committee to recommend measures for implementation.

Provision for Withdrawal: Any Party may cease to be a Party one year after its notice of denunciation has been given to the government of the United States, which will inform the governments of the other Parties of the deposit of each notice of denunciation.

Developments:

For developments on important bodies related to NATO, see the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. For historical developments in the EAPC, see Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

2014: On 25 February, the first of four US Navy BMD-equipped destroyer ships made its way to Rota, Spain. The USS Donald Cook is equipped with advanced missile defense systems and represents a changing in gear for NATO coming out of the combat in Afghanistan. The system, while welcomed by much of Europe as a sign of U.S. commitment to the region, remains controversial in Russia’s eyes. Russia has claimed to have moved some of its ballistic missile launchers closer to Europe in response to the NATO ships. 

On 31 March, NATO decided to suspend all practical military and civilian cooperation with Russia. They stated that political dialogue will remain on the table at the ambassadorial or higher levels in order to discuss the Ukraine issue.

On 1 April, NATO offered support to the Ukrainian forces.

On 7 April, NATO declared that it would limit access to alliance headquarters in Brussels to all Russian diplomats. This decision comes as a consequence of NATO suspending cooperation with Moscow on Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine. Russian diplomats will not be under standard visitor rules, meaning they will be announced, registered and escorted during their visits.

On 19 May, the NATO Science for Peace and Security information day was held in Rabat, Morocco. Cyber defense and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons were the focal points of the gathering, with 35 experts from Morocco present to learn about, collaborate on, and review past and future issues in this field.

From 26-30 May, in Wroclaw, Poland, NATO held an advanced training course on “Identification and Neutralization of Chemical Improvised Explosive Devices.” Highlighting the increased use of chemical, biological, and radiological improvised explosive devices (IEDs), experts discussed the threat of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) and explained appropriate prevention and response techniques for these weapons.

On 16 June, NATO held a roundtable conference at the University of Montenegro in Podgorica, discussing the role of science in coordination of efforts to strengthen unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection, cyber defense, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) resilience.

On 23 June, at the 10th Annual NATO Conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation, the Deputy Secretary General of NATO spoke to the assembly on efforts to discuss greater transparency on short-range nuclear weapons with Russia. He emphasized that this desired transparency between NATO and Russia would bolster global security by building trust on the sides of both parties, but, stated: “Regretfully, that trust is now at a new low.”

On 25 June, the ISAF Foreign Ministers finalized operational plans for a new NATO-led mission to assist, advise, and train Afghani security forces after the ISAF combat mission is completed at the end of 2014.

Also on 25 June, NATO foreign ministers met with Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine, endorsing additional measures to bolster Ukraine’s self-defense capability. These measures included the creation of new trust funds to support the strengthening of critical areas of defense such as command and control, logistics, and cyber defense.

2013: On 18 April the biennial Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) was held in Brussels. Delegates approved the NATO staff requirements for BMD.

On 23 April NATO issued a statement condemning the Democratic Republic of Korea's (DPRK) ballistic missile, nuclear weapons program, and inflammatory rhetoric.

On 6 and 7 May the ninth Annual NATO Conference on WMD Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-proliferation took place in Split, Croatia. The Conference has established itself as one of NATO’s largest outreach programs, drawing in over a hundred non-proliferation officials from over 50 countries and organizations. Besides NATO countries, participants come from the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Mediterranean Dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, Asia, and the Pacific.

On 12 June NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow spoke at the 2013 RUSI Missile Defense Conference on NATO's Missile Defense. Ambassador Vershbow noted, "Missile threats to our Alliance territory and populations are real and growing. Our defense against these threats must be real, too, and able to adapt to the threat in the future." NATO offers protection to the Allies in Southern Europe, including NATO command and control assets, a US forward-based radar located in Turkey, and the availability of a US ship equipped with interceptors capable of intercepting short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. NATO is aware of the threats posed by missile proliferation and looks to adapt its missile defense plans if needed. Ambassador Vershbow also stated, "We in NATO have always regarded missile defense cooperation as a possible game-changer for our relationship with Russia."

On 20 June, NATO Communications and Information Agency signed a €136 million deal with Thales Raytheon Systems to upgrade missile defense command and control capability. The upgrade will improve the current missile and defense command and control system to link sensors and interceptors to defend against short and medium range ballistic missile threats. The upgrade will also improve capacity for NATO Air Command to plan and execute missile defence. The upgrade is due to be completed by 2015.

On 24 June, Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General addressed the 30th International Workshop on Global Security in Paris, France. Regarding missile defense, Ambassador Vershbow commented, “There is a clear and agreed understanding among Allies that missile defense can complement the deterrent role of nuclear weapons, but not replace those weapons.”

On 24 July, training was held for CBRN first responders at the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Centre of Excellence in Vyškov, Czech Republic. The programme was sponsored by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme and brought together 18 experts from across the field of CBRN response. 

On 28 August, the North Atlantic Council convened to discuss the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Following the meeting a statement was released condemning the attacks and confirming support for the UN investigations.

On 14 September, NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen issued a statement welcoming the agreement of the United States and Russia in regard to Syrian chemical weapons. Rasmussen stressed that full compliance by Syria was key for the success of the deal.

On 18 September, Ukrainian Minister for Ecology and Natural Resources Oleg Proskuriakov signed an agreement with the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) for implementing a project to clear up to six sites which contain radioactive waste.

On 28 October, NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the missile defense facility at Deveselu airbase in Romania. When active in 2015, the site will be part of NATO’s ballistic missile defense system. Ambassador Vershbow commented, “This facility will not threaten anyone, but bring better protection for the people, the forces and the territory of the Allied countries in Europe.”

2012: On 23 January, NATO contracted ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS) to deliver a Ballistic Missile Defense Interim Capability element at NATO’s Air Command in Ramstein, Germany. The contract is valued at three million euros.

On 26 January, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen released the Secretary General’s Annual Report 2011, the first ever Annual Report. The report gives a brief overview of NATO’s principal achievements and challenges in 2011.

On 20-22 March, NATO conducted the 2012 International Partners’ Outreach Event of the NATO Committee on Proliferation in Defence. The event consisted of an Industries Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence Exhibition, entitled “Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Threats in the Maritime Environment - Development of Technologies and Modelling of Risks” and of a NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Advanced Research Workshop on the same topic.

On 4 April, the operational headquarters for NATO's future territorial ballistic missile defence capability passed a significant technical test on 4-5 April as it conducted a series of simulated engagements using assets from across the Alliance.

On 20 May, NATO Heads of State declared at the Chicago Summit the Interim NATO BMD capability, offering the maximum coverage within available means to defend NATO's populations, territory and forces across Southern Europe against a ballistic missile attack. NATO remains committed to installing full BMD coverage for all NATO territory by the end of the decade. NATO also announced its smart defense doctrine as austerity measures cut into the defense budgets of many of the Allies, smart defense will allow NATO to develop in the 21st century and prioritize its efforts.

On 20 May NATO stated its Deterrence and Defense Posture Review committing the Allies’ determination to maintaining a mix of nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities. NATO affirmed its commitment to reducing the number of nuclear weapons stationed in Europe and reliance on nuclear weapons in reciprocal steps with Russia and seeks a safer world in accord with the NPT.  NATO agreed to establish a committee as a consultative and advisory forum, with its mandate to be agreed by the NAC at the next summit for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Control and Disarmament Committee.

On 14 and 15 June the annual NATO conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation was hosted by the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the eighth time. 130 non-proliferation officials were in attendance from 60 different countries and organizations.

2011: On 24-25 January, NATO and Ukraine discussed providing protection against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats in preparation for the UEFA European Football Championship that will take place in June 2012. Poland and Ukraine, the hosting nations of the football event, asked NATO for its assistance in providing security during the championship. The Head of NATO's WMD Centre, Ambassador Jacek Bylica, said that NATO will facilitate the process by providing CBRN and counter-terrorism assistance, while some aspects of the security will need to be provided by host countries.

On 10-13 May, in Kiev, Ukraine, two workshops funded by NATO were held to address the threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents. Experts from NATO and Ukraine attended the workshop, as well as professionals in the field of scientific and technological research. Delegates addressed environmental and industrial hazards and how to best manage those threats. Industry representatives were given an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities in support of CBRN defense procedure. The interaction between military and civilian expertise at the workshop contributed toward greater understanding of each other's perspective on the topic of CBRN as well as creating a "greater sense of synergy between NATO's organizational and strategic infrastructures."

On 24 May, the Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, was in Afghanistan to discuss the security transition from NATO's troops to Afghan's security forces, which will begin in July of this year. During his visit Rasmussen was asked if NATO was concerned about Pakistan's nuclear weapons. He stated that, although it is a concerning matter, he feels confident that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is safe.

On 16-17 June, NATO held its 7th annual conference on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Arms Control, Disarmament and Nonproliferation. The conference was hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affaires in Bergen. The participants came from NATO Allies and partner nations and had a chance to participate in open and in-depth debates. The topics presented and debated were: terrorism and WMD, regional proliferation threats and challenges, the future of multilateral non-proliferation regimes and initiatives, and NATO's contribution to international efforts in the area of WMD arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
On 4 July in Sochi, the 29 nations of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) met to reaffirm their commitment to collaborating on security areas of common interest as well as on missile defense. The meeting was chaired by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov also participated. The topics of the meeting included missile defense, cooperation in fighting against terrorism, military-to-military interaction, Afghanistan, the Winter Olympic Games, and UN Security Resolutions 1970 and 1973 in Libya. The Secretary-General stressed that NATO "is not a competitor, but a partner that Russia can trust."

However, the two remain at odds on missile defense. Russia has been opposing the deployment of NATO missile defense system near its border but is in favor of deploying a joint system with full-scale interoperability. NATO, on the other hand, insists on two independent systems that will exchange information. NATO's Secretary General, Fogh Rasmussen, states that the agreement on this topic should be reached within a year.


2010: On 14 January, NATO held its third Strategic Concept seminar in Oslo, Norway. Participants addressed topics including missile defense, the Mediterranean Dialogue, disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation, and ballistic missile proliferation. Opportunities for further cooperation with Russia in missile defense were presented by the NATO-Russia Council. Several speakers argued that NATO should review its force posture, noting the potential withdrawal of sub-strategic nuclear weapons from Germany. There was also a sense that nuclear disarmament requires concurrent progress in conventional disarmament. Participants also called for a reassessment of NATO's role in deterring and responding to nuclear proliferation

On 23 February, the fourth seminar on NATO's new Strategic Concept took place in Washington, DC. The meeting addressed NATO's ability to adapt to new challenges. Several speakers noted that the U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe represent one of the most significant manifestations of reassurance and shared responsibility within NATO, and that their withdrawal could entail serious consequences. Others argued those nuclear weapons are a security liability and that the alliance as a whole should work towards their consolidation and removal. In her statement, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the threats of nuclear terrorism and ballistic missile proliferation. Secretary Clinton also invited Russia to join NATO in developing a joint missile defense system.

On 23 and 24 March, NATO hosted the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Workshop in Brussels, Belgium. The event sought to strengthen cooperation and facilitate the exchange of best practices for detection, identification, monitoring, and attack recovery. Participants included experts from NATO Member States, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the World Health Organization, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

On 23 April, the Informal Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers was held in Tallinn, Estonia. One of the main topics of the meeting was the future of NATO's nuclear posture and how the issue will be dealt with in the new Strategic Concept. Ministers agreed that NATO must maintain the security of its members with the lowest number of nuclear weapons possible. The importance of maintaining the balance between deterrence and support for disarmament and nonproliferation was highlighted. Issues relating to missile defense were debated including cost, command and control, and potential Russian cooperation. The Ministers noted that missile defense cannot replace deterrence, but it can complement it. It was announced that a decision on taking on alliance missile defense as a NATO mission will be made at the Lisbon Summit in November.

On 19 July, NATO conducted a theater missile defense exercise to ensure its ability to connect real-time missile defense capabilities with sensors and launchers.

On 4 August, the Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) was established within the NATO International Staff to address non-traditional risks and challenges including terrorism, proliferation, cyber defense, and energy security. The ESCD will improve Alliance monitoring capabilities, allowing NATO to more effectively anticipate international security developments by integrating existing areas of expertise into one division with greater focus and visibility.

On 17 September, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen made an address to the Apsen Institute of Rome in which he recognized the importance of Russia in the future of European success. The Secretary General asserted that there is an "opportunity to move forward" in a cooperative relationship, and underlined the need for united European security in the face of serious external threats. The speech emphasized the necessity of greater NATO-Russian cooperation, particularly on missile defense, conventional arms control, and nuclear weapons reductions and transparency.

On 22 September, the NATO-Russia Council met informally in New York to discuss future NATO-Russia relations. Greater cooperation was discussed on a range of topics including Afghanistan, missile defense, and conventional arms control. NATO's developing Strategic Concept was also discussed. The NATO Secretary General described the meeting as "very encouraging", and anticipated a full NATO-Russia Council Summit in Lisbon later in the year.

On 29 September, 30 senior European officials from Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Slovakia, and the United Kingdom released a joint statement calling for disarmament to be a the center of NATO security assurances and encouraging a reduction and consolidation of U.S. nuclear forces in Europe. Made in advance NATO's discussions of its new Strategic Concept at the Lisbon Summit in November, the statement recommended that NATO promote arms control and disarmament while engaging more with Russia on a range of defense issues.

On 14 October, the first joint NATO Foreign and Defense Ministerial meeting was conducted in preparation for the meeting of Allied Heads of State and Government at the NATO Summit in Lisbon in November. The ministers gave final recommendations and advice on a wide range of issues, but discussion focused largely on NATO reform, the new Strategic Concept, missile defense, and relations with Russia.

On 20 November, the Lisbon Summit concluded with the adoption a new Strategic Concept for the next ten years. The Alliance reaffirmed bonds between members to defend one another and identified three core tasks for future security: collective defense, crisis management, and cooperative security. The Strategic Concept emphasized the Alliance's commitment to keeping NATO open to all European democracies while engaging in reform that would increase its efficacy on the international stage.

The third NATO-Russia Council summit also took place in Lisbon, producing a joint statement that pledged to "work towards achieving a true strategic and modernized partnership". The participants agreed to greater cooperation on emerging security challenges, missile defense, and Afghanistan. The joint statement also endorsed the first ever Joint Review of 21st Century Common Security Challenges and agreed upon joint ballistic missile threat assessments. NATO Secretary General recognized these achievements as historic, noting that "while we face many security challenges, we pose no threat to each other."

2009: On 1 April, Albania and Croatia became NATO's newest members. Both countries participated in their first Summit as full members of the Alliance in Strasbourg-Kehl from 3-4 April. On 7 April, a ceremony was held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels to mark their accession to the Alliance.

On 3-4 April, in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany, NATO hosted a Summit of Heads of State and Government. The 28 NATO heads of state unanimously selected Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO's next Secretary General. He will officially assume his duties on 1 August, when the term of the current Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, expires.

At the same summit, the Heads of State and Government issued a "Declaration on Alliance Security." The declaration stated that "deterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element of our overall strategy. NATO will continue to play its part in reinforcing arms control and promoting nuclear and conventional disarmament in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as non-proliferation efforts."

On 5 and 8 April, respectively, the NATO Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council condemned the DPRK's ballistic missile test of 5 April. The Secretary General called "on North Korea to cease such provocative actions," and the NAC urged the DPRK "to abandon all ballistic missile programmes, to fully implement all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and to eliminate its nuclear weapons and related programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."On 25 May, in response to the North Korean nuclear test that same day, the North Atlantic Council issued a statement in which it "strongly condemns the announced North Korean (DPRK) nuclear and ballistic missile tests." The statement called Pyongyang's actions "irresponsible" and labeled them "a serious challenge to peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region."

On 11-12 June, the Allied Defense Ministers met at the NATO headquarters in Brussels. The chief items on their agenda were NATO's role in Afghanistan and Kosovo and counter-piracy operations. The Nuclear Planning Group also held discussions related to the Alliance's overall nuclear policy.

On 1 August, Anders Fogh Rasmussen assumed his duties as NATO's Secretary General.

On 31 August, NATO published a new strategic policy to combat weapons of mass destruction proliferation and defend against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats. The document highlights "strategic enablers" (intelligence and information sharing, international outreach, public diplomacy and strategic communication) that will allow the Alliance to prevent the proliferation of WMD, protect against a WMD attack, and recover should an attack take place.

On 22-23 October, NATO held an informal meeting of defense ministers in Bratislava, Slovakia. The main topic of this meeting was Afghanistan. During the meeting, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and other representatives present stated that Russia and NATO must cooperate in the Central Asia region in order to prevent nuclear proliferation from occurring.

On 13 November NATO held its second seminar on its new Strategic Concept titled "NATO's Engagement in an Era of Globalization."

2008: On 17 February 2008, NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer issued a statement in response to Kosovo's declaration of independence. The Secretary General stated that NATO will continue to provide security to the people of Kosovo in an impartial manner according to its mandate under UNSCR 1244.

On 6 March, NATO's 26 foreign ministers met at Headquarters in Brussels to discuss and set the agenda for the Bucharest NATO Summit scheduled for 2 to 4 April. Issues slated to be discussed during the Brussels Summit included NATO missions in Kosovo, NATO enlargement, and the applicant status of Albania, Croatia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer made it clear that he expected the application process to be concluded by the Bucharest Summit. Members also discussed the importance of strengthening ties with the Balkan states and Eastern Europe.

On 1-3 April, NATO met for its largest-ever summit in Bucharest, Romania. The meeting released the "Bucharest Summit Declaration Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Bucharest on 3 April 2008", which contained over 50 points. Among these, NATO invited Albania and Croatia to begin accession talks; welcomed Georgia and Ukraine's membership aspirations and committed to engagement to help both countries with their MAP applications; welcomed Bosnia and Montenegro's decisions to begin an Individual Partnership Action Plan and reiterated approval for the enlargement process. NATO also announced that KFOR in Kosovo will continue to help maintain stability in the Balkans while clarifying that NATO's UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan remains the top priority. Furthermore, NATO emphasized its role in implementing UN resolutions related to both the fight against terrorism (UNSCR 1373 from 28 September 2001) and nonproliferation (UNSCR 1540 from 28 April 2004), and encouraged Russia to cooperate more fully in both arenas. It reaffirmed missile defense as a response to ballistic missile proliferation and announced its intention to ensure that all NATO allied territory and population will eventually receive coverage. At the same time, NATO endeavored to reassure Russia that the missile defense system was not a threat and reiterated the possibility of NATO-US-Russia cooperation on the system in the future. NATO also released "ISAF's Strategic Vision Declaration by the Heads of State and Government of the Nations contributing to the UN-mandated NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan" to review its activities and goals in Afghanistan.

On 9-10 October, NATO Defense Ministers met in Budapest to discuss how to further develop NATO's Response Forces and review recent improvement and transformation efforts.

On 13-14 October, more than 150 officials from over 50 countries met in Berlin for the fourth NATO seminar on the challenges of WMD proliferation under the auspices of the Senior Politico-Military Group.

NATO Foreign Ministers held discussions on the Alliance's engagement in Afghanistan during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 3 December 2008.

2007: On 8-9 February, NATO defense ministers met in Seville, Spain, to discuss the organization's future policies and actions. Topics included: the future of Kosovo (the desire for a quick conclusion was stressed), NATO's military role in Afghanistan (which was supported), missile defense, and finally, the threat of terrorism in the Mediterranean.

On 5 March, Czech Prime Minister Topolánek visited NATO headquarters. While the possibility of a US missile defense system based in the Czech Republic was discussed, it was ultimately agreed that the issue is a bilateral matter between the Czech Republic and the United States. Therefore, NATO did not take an official position on the matter.

As part of NATO's Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Work Program, a team of NATO experts visited Kuwait on 6 and 7 May to assist in the review of the country's national radiation protection program.

On 14 June, NATO's 26 countries agreed to assess by February 2008 the political and military implications for the Alliance of the US missile defense system. Following up on decisions from NATO's 2006 Riga Summit, the assessment was planned to include an update on missile threat developments, taking into account the discussions about a U.S. "third site" in Europe. NATO decided to pursue a three-track approach to missile defense: (i.) continue the ongoing NATO project to develop by 2010 a theatre missile defense for protecting troops deployed on missions from missile threats, (ii.) assess the full implications of the U.S. system for the Alliance, and (iii.) continue existing cooperation with Russia on theatre missile defense as well as consultations on related issues.

On 21-22 September, around 60 experts and officials from Russia and NATO Member States gathered in Florence, Italy for a seminar on "Proliferation Threats and Challenges," organized under the NATO-Russia Council.


On 8-12 October, a multinational team of 12 experts held an advanced training course for the Ukrainian Border Guard Academy in Varna, Bulgaria, on combating the risk of terrorists acquiring WMD through improved border security.

On 17 October, the North Atlantic Council and the NATO-Russia Council discussed missile defense issues. National delegations included high-ranking officials and experts from capitals. The NATO-Russia Council session included updates on bilateral consultations, most notably the ongoing dialogue between the U.S. and Russia, as well as current projects undertaken in the framework of the NATO-Russia cooperation, such as the Theatre Missile Defense initiative.

On 24 October, a second NATO Partnership for Peace Trust Fund project in Georgia was launched to support the destruction of stockpiles of close to 9 000 missiles. With a budget of $688,065 U.S. dollars, the project was expected to be carried out in 2008 and focus on the dismantling of 1,080 surface-to-air S-8 missiles, as well as 5,724 Alazan and 976 Kristall anti-hail rockets. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were the lead countries for the project and Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania and two partner countries, Finland and Switzerland, were to contribute. The NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency was to serve as the project's Executing Agent and the project was to be implemented in close cooperation with the OSCE.

On 25-26 October, a NATO-sponsored workshop on building cooperative and regional approaches to preparedness and defense against bio-terrorism took place in Bucharest, Romania.

On 11-12 December, nuclear experts from Russia and NATO countries exchanged views on the prevention of nuclear weapons incidents and accidents during a seminar at NATO Headquarters. The event was organized under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council and participants included over 50 senior officials and experts dealing with nuclear weapons safety and security issues from foreign and defense ministries, national delegations at NATO Headquarters, NATO Military Authorities and NATO international staff.


2006: On 9-10 February, at a meeting in Taormina, Italy, NATO defense ministers discussed steps necessary to ensure that NATO's 25,000-strong Response Force would be fully up and running by the end of 2006. The informal meeting of defense ministers from the 26 NATO countries focused on NATO's political and military transformation. The Response Force — due to become fully operational in October 2006 — was one of the key elements of the transformation. Ministers also discussed the future of NATO's operations and missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Mediterranean, as well as the Alliance's assistance to the African Union in Darfur.

On 27-28 April, at a meeting held in Sofia, Bulgaria, foreign ministers from NATO countries and Russia agreed to a document laying out priorities for NATO-Russia cooperation, including political dialogue, the fight against terrorism, and interoperability. Participants adopted recommendations for priorities in the further development of NATO-Russia relations.

NATO's role in Afghanistan was a primary issue for the 2006 Riga Summit. While NATO leaders reaffirmed their military commitments, they also called for more extensive international involvement. The declaration of the Riga Summit can be found here.

On 28 November, NATO contracted a team of companies, led by Science Applications International Corporation, to begin constructing a ballistic missile defense system. NATO expects the system will be operable by 2010. The contract, worth 75 million euros, was signed on the first day of the Riga Summit as witnessed by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment Marshall Billingslea. The goal of the system is to protect deployed troops from short to medium range ballistic missile by intercepting them at the boost phase.

2005: On 22 February, all 26 NATO members agreed to contribute to NATO's assistance to Iraq. All NATO allies contributed to NATO's training of Iraqi security forces, either in Iraq, outside of Iraq, through financial contributions, or donations of equipment. The leaders also discussed the ongoing expansion of NATO's presence in Afghanistan, as well as enhanced cooperation and coordination with the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom. Heads of state and government endorsed the importance of giving the Alliance a stronger political role, where political subjects of importance to transatlantic security would be discussed at NATO.

Also on 22 February, at a special NATO-Ukraine Summit, the Alliance leaders expressed support for Ukraine's ambition of Euro-Atlantic integration. As another sign of deepening NATO-Ukraine cooperation, a NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) Trust Fund project was established. Its aim was to help Ukraine destroy stockpiles of surplus munitions, small arms and light weapons, and Man-Portable Air Defense Systems. The project is the largest single demilitarization effort in the world. The Trust Fund project responded to Ukraine's request for assistance in eliminating 133,000 tons of munitions and 1.5 million small arms and light weapons. Since much of this material is stored in the open, it poses a major security threat to local civilian population and infrastructure. Safe destruction of these stocks would eliminate potential proliferation risk. The Trust Fund project will be executed in four phases, over 12 years.

On 21 April, at an informal meeting of the foreign ministers, NATO invited Ukraine to begin an "Intensified Dialogue" on Ukraine's aspirations to membership and relevant reforms, without prejudice to any eventual Alliance decision.

At the same meeting, the foreign ministers broadened the Alliance's political dialogue by tackling a wider range of strategic issues. The meeting was the first concrete step towards implementing a decision by heads of state and government in February 2005 to strengthen strategic political dialogue in the Alliance. A wide range of issues were discussed, including the peace process in the Middle East and the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan.

On 24-25 May, the first ever Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Security Forum was held in Are, Sweden. The event brought together a number of ministers from NATO and partner countries, as well as senior decision-makers and representatives of think tanks and civil society. The forum gave delegates an opportunity to discuss more openly and in greater depth than is usual in ministerial meetings the key issues in Euro-Atlantic security.

On 9-10 June, at a meeting at NATO headquarters, NATO ministers of defense discussed new ideas for further transforming the Alliance's capability to take on 21st century military operations where and when necessary.

On 8 December, at a meeting held at NATO headquarters, NATO Foreign Ministers discussed a broad range of strategic political issues in the transatlantic dialogue.

2004: On 5 January, the new Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands, began an initial four-year term in office. He is the 11th NATO Secretary General, following Lord Robertson, who held the post from 1999 to 2003. Upon arriving at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Mr. de Hoop noted that NATO had taken on new responsibilities and was "going through a continuous process of transformation to be able to meet new challenges." He stated that his main priorities would be to continue this transformation, ensure the smooth entry of the seven countries joining NATO in March, and to improve dialogue between Europe and North America. He singled out Afghanistan as the main challenge on the Alliance's current agenda. He reiterated this on several occasions throughout the first half of 2004, calling for more support for the NATO-led peacekeeping mission there in late February.

On 15 January, Afghani militia forces turned over weapons, including tanks, artillery and other hardware, to the government in a weapons collection program supported by NATO through its International Security Assistance Force. It was the second such transfer since December.

On 28-30 January, 100 experts gathered in Norway to discuss minimum standards for protection of civilian populations against WMD based on guidelines requested by NATO. The anti-terrorism conference, held as part of the Civil Emergency Action Plan for the Improvement of Civil Preparedness for Possible Attacks Against the Civilian Population with Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Agents agreed to at the 2002 Prague Summit, worked to develop non-binding guidelines and minimum standards for protection of civilian populations against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risks. The participants, who came from both NATO and partner countries, were experts in civil emergency planning.

On 8-12 March, NATO and Russia conducted a computer-simulated Command Post Exercise, testing their joint responses to missile attacks against deployed troops for the first time. Following the terrorist attacks in Madrid on 11 March, the Secretary General issued a statement expressing "shock and anger," emphasizing solidarity with Spain and NATO's "determination to vigorously pursue our efforts to combat terrorism." Later that month, NATO announced it would expand the area covered by Operation Active Endeavour, intended to provide surveillance and monitoring of major shipping to prevent terrorism, to the whole Mediterranean.

On 29 March, in its most expansive enlargement to date, NATO officially welcomed Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia as new members. The accession marked the fifth since the Alliance's founding and brought its total membership to 26 countries. The accession was followed by a flag-raising ceremony on April 2. Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer had invited the seven countries to become members on 2 March, after each of the 19 NATO member countries notified the United States of their acceptance of protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty regarding their accession.

After the accession ceremony, the Foreign Ministers and Representatives of NATO met at NATO headquarters, where they adopted and issued a Declaration on Terrorism, in addition to addressing other issues. Dialogue surrounding the fight against terrorism was continued on 5 April at the third NATO-Russia conference on terrorism in Norfolk, Virginia. On 16 April, NATO member countries decided to purchase a common ground surveillance system, composed of special aircraft, unmanned flying drones and ground equipment, by spring of 2005.

On 5-6 May, NATO's Chiefs of Defense met at NATO headquarters, addressing a number of issues, including current missions in the Balkans and Afghanistan. On 6 and 7 May, Armaments Directors from NATO member countries met at the biannual Conference of National Armaments Directors to launch several projects designed to protect against terrorist attacks. Those in attendance recognized combating terrorism as the highest priority and endorsed a Program of Work for Defense Against Terrorism. The Program specifies eight major projects, one of which is improving the "detection, protection and defeat of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons."

On 28-29 June, at a summit in Istanbul, NATO leaders approved a major expansion of the Alliance's role in Afghanistan through Provincial Reconstruction Teams and support for elections, offered assistance to the new Iraqi government with the training of its security forces, and announced an upcoming end to the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They also agreed to a collection of measures against terrorism, including the threat of attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. These included efforts towards upgrading intelligence sharing at an existing Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit in Brussels and the development of new high-tech defenses. These actions stemmed from the April declaration on terrorism and the Program of Work for Defense Against Terrorism.

In a communiqué released at the Summit, NATO leaders recognized the threats posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, committing to several preventative steps. They also addressed the Alliance's commitment to arms control and disarmament, specifically reiterating NATO's support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Hague Code of Conduct against the Proliferation of Ballistic Missiles. The communiqué also expressed support for UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and the G-8's adoption in June of an Action Plan for Nonproliferation. It also noted NATO's "strong support" for the Proliferation Security Initiative, its support of Libya's decision to dismantle its WMD program, and its commitment to progress regarding the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. According to their communiqué, "the Alliance's policy of support for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation will continue to play a major role in the achievement of the Alliance's security objectives, including preventing the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery."

2003: On 7-8 February, NATO dealt with a number of issues relating to arms control and the risk of terrorists' use of WMD in 2003. At an annual St. Petersburg Conference, diplomats, academics, and parliamentary and military representatives addressed the role of NATO and Russia in anti-terrorism operations and examined the NATO-Russia relationship more generally.

On 19 February, following a meeting of the Defense Planning Committee on 16 February, the Alliance's highest defense committee authorized the deployment of missile and chemical and biological defenses, as well as of NATO aircraft, to Turkey. The following month, NATO also assisted Turkey in preparing for humanitarian crisis situations, including chemical and biological attacks. The remaining NATO forces, part of Operation Display Deterrence, left the area on 3 May. Also in March, NATO forces began escorting civilian shipping from member countries through the Straits of Gibraltar in response to concerns over terrorism.

On 2 April, NATO representatives and officials from Azerbaijan signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding cooperation in the clearance of unexploded ordnance under the Partnership for Peace Trust Fund. This project was formed in 2000 to support the destruction of anti-personnel land mines and surplus arms and small weapons.

On 3 April, NATO Foreign Ministers met in Brussels at a special session of the North Atlantic Council regarding the situation in Iraq and transatlantic relations. They concurred that the UN and other international organizations would play a role following the conflict and reaffirming a commitment to act in accordance with the Washington Treaty in the case of an attack on Turkey.

Also in April, NATO-led peacekeepers worked on securing arms and munitions in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, confiscating thousands of rounds of ammunitions and explosives, rifles, pistols, and mines. Later, in August, it was announced the NATO-led peacekeeping force there would support the UN's Weapons Amnesty Program, establishing and running special weapons collection points in September.

On 29 April, NATO naval forces conducted the first boarding operation in the Mediterranean as part of Operation Active Endeavour, intended to help prevent possible terrorist activities there.

On 8-9 May, NATO representatives met at the Conference of National Armaments Directors to review progress on projects to enhance NATO's operational capacity in anticipation of meetings of NATO's Foreign and Defense Ministers in June. The Alliance's Military Committee also held a meeting at the levels of the Chiefs of Defense Staff at NATO HQ in May.

NATO made several significant decisions in June. The North Atlantic Council approved providing the support requested by Poland regarding its anticipated role in stabilizing Iraq. Although NATO did not have a permanent presence in Iraq, it provided Poland with aid in areas such as communication and logistics. At a 12-13 June meeting in Brussels, NATO Defense Ministers approved a reform of the Alliance's command structure and plans for a NATO Response Force designed to respond quickly to conflict areas and modern threats. NATO operation commanders further discussed these changes at a 17-18 June meeting in Mons, Belgium. Also in June, Secretary General Lord Robertson identified countering weapons of mass destruction as one of five "priority areas" in cooperation with NATO's seven Mediterranean Dialogue countries during a conference in London.

On 31 July, NATO initiated a project to destroy 11.6 thousand tons of small arms and light weapons (SALW) ammunition in Albania as part of the Partnership for Peace Trust Fund. On 11 August, NATO assumed leadership in and near Kabul, Afghanistan in the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force.

NATO continued to address concerns over terrorist attacks and weapons proliferation in the fall. From 7-10 October, roughly 1,700 civil emergency personnel from NATO countries participated in Dacia 2003, an exercise to deal with the aftermath of terrorist attacks involving radioactive material, in Romania. And in November, the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee met to discuss improving preparedness for terrorist attacks involving chemical, biological, or radiological weapons use against civilians. Anti-terrorism efforts were also among issues addressed at a meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Military Committee during a 12-13 November conference among NATO's Chiefs of Defense staff.

On 1 December, NATO's new Multinational Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Battalion, established by the North Atlantic Council to respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction, achieved initial operational capacity. It is headquartered in the Czech Republic. Also on 1-2 December, NATO Defense Ministers met and agreed to expand NATO's mission in Afghanistan and reduce it in Bosnia. At the Council's December meetings at the level of Foreign and Defense Ministers, leaders committed to "continue and expand" dialogue about nonproliferation and to "further explore the possibilities for practical cooperation."

Among the roundtable discussions and seminars NATO held in 2003 were several that addressed the threat of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons proliferation. On 15-17 January, a workshop in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany examined the risk of radiological contamination to civilians, and specifically assessed a scenario involving the dispersion of radio-nuclear material. Simultaneously, a 15-18 January workshop in Warsaw addressed the threat of bio-terrorism. Other discussions included a 26 February roundtable in Kyev addressing the role of threats posed by WMD within the current security agenda and, specifically, the relevance of this to NATO-Ukraine interaction, and a March Moscow workshop on the "Detection of Explosives for Anti-Terrorism Purposes." In addition, at a September seminar hosted by Sweden and organized within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), experts examined challenges surrounding the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons and concluded that the EAPC should include a "more focused" work program, including greater exchange of information and cooperation. Proliferation issues were again addressed at a NATO workshop held in Pultusk, Poland in December in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council — the first time this has occurred.

NATO also witnessed administrative developments in 2003. In January, General James L. Jones, US Marine Corps, was made Supreme Allied Commander, Europe in a ceremony at the Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), and later in the year, Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, Jr., US Navy, became Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation. On 22 September, the North Atlantic Council appointed Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as Secretary General of NATO and Chairman of the North Atlantic Council. He was scheduled to assume his functions as Secretary General on 1 January 2004.

On 26 March, representatives of NATO countries signed Protocols of Accession that, as amendments to the North Atlantic Treaty, would allow Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to join NATO following ratification.

2002: On 16 January, two E-3A Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems aircraft (AWACS) were deployed by NATO in support of US homeland security. On 28 January, a senior US official held talks at NATO HQ on international terrorism to exchange information and assess the problems that remain to be addressed. A NATO-Russia conference on the role of the military in combating terrorism took place in Rome, Italy, at the NATO Defense College on 4 February. On 7 March an international conference on "The world after September 11: lessons learned," was held in Monaco. On 25-27 September, NATO and Russia held their first-ever joint crisis response exercise in Noginsk, 70 kilometers outside of Moscow. The exercise simulated an international response to a terrorist attack on a chemical plant.

NATO held a variety of projects and seminars on WMD and radiation issues during 2002. The "Science for Peace" study of the radioactive contamination at the former Soviet nuclear test site in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, was presented to a Technical Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held in Vienna on 14-18 January. On 13 February, NATO held a workshop on warning and detection procedures for the protection of populations against dangers such as radiation, in Bucharest, Romania. On 16 March, INTEX 2002, of the NATO Group of Experts on Warning and Detection Systems (GOEWDS), took place in Bulgaria. Its aim was to practice communications and procedures for the international exchange of information on detection and monitoring of radiation releases threatening populations. From 22-24 April, there was a NATO-Russia workshop on decommissioning nuclear-powered vessels. On 23 September, a seminar was held at NATO HQ to discuss means of protecting populations and industries from WMD.

At a November Prague Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government formally invited Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to begin accession talks with the Alliance. In a declaration released at the Summit, leaders noted the historic enlargement would "strengthen security for all in the Euro-Atlantic area, and help achieve our common goal of a Europe whole and free, united in peace and by common values."

2001: Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September, NATO collaborated extensively in addressing terrorism. On 12 September, NATO reaffirmed that the terrorist attacks against the United States were regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which stipulates that an armed attack against one or several members shall be considered as an attack against all. From 19-21 September, high-level policymakers met in Berlin for the 14th NATO Review conference on the future of the Alliance. Established in 1989, these conferences are an opportunity to discuss the evolution of NATO in light of recent international developments and changes in the security environment. On 9 October, for the first time in NATO's history, Alliance assets were deployed in support of Article 5 operations. On 6 December, NATO's 19 Foreign Ministers met to examine issues on the Alliance's current agenda, including NATO's response to terrorism since the attacks of 11 September, steps toward enhancing NATO-Russia relations, the situation in the Balkans, as well as enlargement, missile defense, and NATO-EU relations.

NATO organized a variety of projects and seminars on WMD and radiation issues. On 15 January, high-level groups considered possible health risks related to depleted uranium. On 23 January, the new Ad Hoc Committee on Depleted Uranium (AHCDU) held its second meeting on 23 January at NATO HQ, with a further increase in the number of participants. On 20 March, about 80 scientists and professionals involved in arms control, foreign policy, or security studies, gathered in Budapest at a NATO-sponsored "Advanced Study Institute" for an in-depth analysis of scientific and technical issues related to the implementation of the Protocol of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). On 16 April, a conference was held at the University of St. Petersburg, Russia, to discuss environmental change and its impact on international security, including topics such as land mines and the contamination by nuclear and chemical waste.

NATO also dealt with the issue of missile defenses. The first in a series of meetings on the issue of missile defenses took place at NATO HQ on 8 May. A delegation of representatives from the US administration, led by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman and Deputy National Security Adviser, Steve Hadley explained President Bush's latest thinking on missile defenses to NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and the North Atlantic Council, NATO's top decision-making body. In addition, the issue of missile defenses was addressed on 7 June at the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels; on 13 June at a special meeting at NATO HQ; on 25 October at a high-level briefing; and on 5-6 November at the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD).

2000: On 2 February, NATO's Verification Coordinating Committee hosted its 10th seminar on conventional arms control agreements, the first seminar was organized since the Agreement adapting the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty was signed in November 1999. On 18 March, an international warning and detection exercise involving 16 NATO Allies and five Partner countries, INTEX 2000, was held to assess and develop procedures for the exchange of information on radioactive, chemical, and other hazards.

On 22 May, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Centre was established at NATO HQ. This development in NATO's efforts to multiply consultations on disarmament and nonproliferation issues is part of the Initiative on Weapons of Mass Destruction approved at the Washington Summit in April 1999. The Centre aims at improving co-ordination of WMD-related activities, as well as strengthening consultations on nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament issues. In addition, it supports defense efforts to improve the preparedness of the Alliance to respond to the risks of WMD and their means of delivery.

On 8 June, defense ministers from NATO and Partner countries met. Discussions in the Nuclear Planning Group included a proposal to set up a high-level group with Russia on the safety of nuclear weapons, and a briefing on recent talks between the United States and Russian presidents on nuclear nonproliferation and missile defense issues. On 26 June, a NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) met twice on 26 June and 20 September at NATO HQ, where the issue of cooperation in theatre missile defense was raised. On 5 December, NATO defense ministers met at NATO HQ. The Defense Planning Committee adopted a five-year force plan, reviewed the Allies' national defense plans for the period 2001-2005, and approved new ministerial guidance for NATO and national defense planning up to 2008. The Nuclear Planning Group reviewed the status of NATO's nuclear forces and discussed related issues. Ministers approved a final report on the nuclear aspects of efforts to improve confidence-and-security-building measures, verification, nonproliferation, arms control, and disarmament. They were also briefed by US Secretary of State for Defense William Cohen on US-Russian efforts to establish a Joint Data Exchange Center in Moscow to share information from early warning systems regarding missile launches.

In addition to WMD, NATO met to discuss the issue of small arms and light weapons (SALW). In March, two in a series of workshops took place. The first was held on 16-17 March on the subject of export control and SALW transfers; the second on the marking and tracing of SALW, took place on 20-21 March.

1999: From 23-25 April, NATO held the Washington Summit. At this summit, the Alliance revised and updated its Strategic Concept, which provides political and military guidance for NATO's future development. In particular, it confirmed that as an alliance of nations committed to the Washington Treaty and the UN Charter, it would perform the following fundamental security tasks: consultation, deterrence and defense. And in order to enhance the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area, it agreed to further measures on crisis management, partnership, and action against the proliferation of WMD.

The WMD Initiative launched at the Washington Summit expanded understanding of proliferation issues and focused attention on WMD risks. The WMD initiative integrated political and military aspects of Alliance work, including through improved intelligence and information-sharing, enhanced public information and the creation of the WMD Centre at NATO HQ. The WMD initiative complements existing international regimes and arms control efforts underway to respond to the proliferation of WMD and their delivery means.

On 11 November, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held its bi-annual plenary session in Amsterdam. It made a number of recommendations to NATO's highest decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, and to member governments on relations with Russia, Chechnya, the reconstruction of Kosovo, economic recovery in Southeast Europe, biological weapons, and other current issues.

1998: On 25 February, the Secretary General of NATO welcomed the agreement between the UN Secretary-General and Iraq on a diplomatic resolution to the Iraq crisis. He underlined the importance of providing immediate unconditional and unrestricted access to UNSCOM weapons inspectors in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

On 20 May, the North Atlantic Council condemned India's decision to conduct nuclear tests. On 30 May, the NATO Secretary General condemned further nuclear tests by Pakistan and called on India and Pakistan to halt nuclear and missile testing, adhere to the NPT and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and begin a dialogue to reduce tensions.

On 17 December, The North Atlantic Council met at the defense minister level, with the participation of the three invitee countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. There were ministerial meetings of the Defense Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group. Ministers approved the 1998 Ministerial Guidance providing political guidance to NATO's Military Authorities for the period up to 2006 and beyond.

1997: On 21 January, negotiations on a revision of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty began in Vienna. On 20 February, NATO allies proposed major changes to the CFE Treaty, which limits conventional forces in Europe. NATO accepted the principle of limits on the arsenals of individual countries as opposed to regions. The Alliance also accepted Russia's wish on having territorial rather than national limits on troop deployments, which effectively prevented NATO from massing troops in one particular area near Russia's borders.

On 26 September, NATO and Russian Foreign Ministers met for the first time as the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council. A Work Plan was approved, providing for consultations on confidence-building measures in arms control, joint peacekeeping in Bosnia, and the stationing of Russian military representatives at NATO.

On 2-3 December, the first meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council was held at the Defense Minister level. Military chiefs of staff from 44 countries also met in the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Defense Ministers of 15 NATO member countries met within the Nuclear Planning Group and Defense Planning Committee. The 16 members of the Alliance met shortly afterwards in the North Atlantic Council.

Point of Contact:

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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