The current Strategic Concept (2022)
reaffirms that NATO’s key purpose is to ensure the collective defence of its members, based on a 360-degree approach, and outlines three essential core tasks – deterrence and defense, crisis prevention and management, and cooperative security.
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The 2022 Strategic Concept clearly lays out NATO’s purpose and principles, its core tasks and values, as well as the Alliance’s strategic objectives within a radically deteriorated security environment. It reaffirms that NATO’s key purpose and greatest responsibility is to ensure the collective defence of Allies, against all threats, from all directions. To do this, the Alliance fulfils three core tasks: deterrence and defence; crisis prevention and management; and cooperative security. The Strategic Concept underscores, in particular, the need to further strengthen deterrence and defence as the backbone of the Alliance’s collective defense commitment. It also stresses that resilience is critical to NATO’s core tasks, as are cross-cutting issues like technological innovation, climate change, human security and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The 2022 Strategic Concept gives a realistic assessment of NATO’s deteriorated strategic environment.
“Strategic competition, pervasive instability and recurrent shocks define our broader security environment. The threats we face are global and interconnected.”
The Russian Federation, which shattered peace in Europe by waging a war of aggression against Ukraine, is recognised as the most significant threat to Allied security. Other identified threats and challenges include: terrorism; conflict and instability in the Middle East and Africa; pervasive instability and its impact on civilians, cultural property and the environment; China’s stated ambitions and coercive policies; cyberspace; emerging and disruptive technologies; the erosion of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation architectures; and the security implications of climate change.
The Strategic Concept reiterates the Alliance’s defensive nature and its commitment to unity, cohesion and solidarity, to an enduring transatlantic bond, to shared democratic values and to a shared vision of “a world where sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights and international law are respected and where each country can choose its own path”. It states that Allies will retain a global perspective on peace and security and work closely with partners, other countries and international organizations.
Finally, the Strategic Concept affirms NATO’s indispensability to Euro-Atlantic security, as guarantor of peace, freedom and prosperity. Therefore, Allies will continue to stand together in defining security, values and their democratic way of life.