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NATO’s Transformation and Strategy Changes Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 21st, 2021

Introduction

Over the years, the globe has continued to experience augmented levels of terrorism and upsurge of revolutions, especially in North America and the Middle East. With such developments, the need for transformation and strategy changes are critical in ensuring cooperation and prevention of extremism risks. In reality, the increase in worldwide terrorism and revolts has forced the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to embrace novel expertise in conducting its activities. Additionally, the organization is binding its military capabilities with innovative policies along with tactics to structure its training programs and philosophical approach to military interventions.

Moreover, NATO’s current military operations employ capability-oriented approaches as opposed to previously applied force-oriented regarding military planning. Further, time-based capabilities, shared awareness and coordination of all military services have formed the core of NATO’s strategies in dealing with irregular terrorizations1. The other approach being utilized by the organization entails an emphasis on smart weapons, space-based systems as well as the C4I. Principally, the abilities are invaluable in coordinating the competencies of the force towards offering international security assistance in many countries across the globe, including Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Generally, NATO’s novel transformations towards network-centric warfare have been significant in preventing international terrorism. Besides, changes in military tactics increase the organization’s capabilities in enhancing peace. In fact, the transformations in the Alliance’s strategies offer tactical prospects in terms of enhanced interoperability. In addition, the strategic transformations increase the organization’s capabilities significant in the elimination of extremism threats. In this regard, the paper assesses the strategic transformations of NATO in relation to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the Greater Middle East.

International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and the Greater Middle East

Undeniably, radicalism and the spread of weapons of mass obliteration are issues of great concern. Just like other nations, Afghanistan and several nations within the Middle East continue to experience unprecedented levels of extremism. In this regard, NATO offers international security assistance to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and other states in the Middle East to eradicate the upsurge of radicalism. Additionally, NATO provides military backup to the progression competencies in Afghanistan as well as the aptitudes of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Further, through the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), ISAF creates a safe and steady atmosphere in Afghanistan by steering safety and stability actions across the nation. ISAF also has the role of inspiring the reconstruction and development efforts in Afghanistan through donating practical support to the nation. Besides, consolidation of institutions based on the rule of law as well as good governance also forms the core of ISAF’s mandate. In this regard, NATO’s transformations in military tactics have enhanced the achievement of the objectives2.

The NATO Strategic Concept (SC)

The development of the novel SC has been fundamental in offering prospective unanimity relating to security concerns among members of the Alliance. In fact, through the strategic concept, the Alliance has been able to ensure true tactical corporations along with augmented levels of esprit de corps within the NATO3. Additionally, the strategic concept offers the Alliance augmented financial strength in carrying out operations within Afghanistan and the Greater Middle East.

Most importantly, intense changes in the security setting across the globe have continued to occur over the last decade. For example, extremism, operations in Afghanistan, and Iraq, in addition to the propagation of nuclear technology, have numerous implications regarding global security. The changes have challenged the ISAF’s mission of continuance freedom, security, and peace in Afghanistan and the Middle East. As such, the development of a novel strategy that dissuades and offers security against the menace of antagonism, particularly in Afghanistan and other nations in the Middle East is imminent.

In reality, lopsided security challenges, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, extremism, intercontinental systematized crimes as well as crumbly and failed states, are the major dimensions of the current international security landscape. Specifically, countries such as Iran are developing nuclear weapons, which pose a greater threat to international peace and security. As such, the advancement of an expansive continuum of security measures having the capability of preventing intricate and unpredictable security concerns are critical for NATO.

Prominent Operational Focus in Afghanistan and the Middle East

NATO’s command oversees a hundred thousand troops, which are deployed in various parts of the globe to ensure security. Besides, the Alliance undertook training missions in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as peace assignments in Kosovo. Essentially, NATO’s operations revolve around peace enforcement, marine interdiction and security assistance, training support, capacity building as well as humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

Actually, NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan has led to the reconstruction and military transformation. For instance, the 2010 Lisbon summit resolutions were anchored on an enduring partnership between NATO and Afghanistan. Additionally, in the 2012 Chicago Summit, ISAF’s contemporary combat action was shifted to a novel training, directing, and support operations. In essence, the Alliance operations have shifted to training ANSF and eliminating remaining Al-Qaeda sympathizers. Through such actions, the efforts aimed at making Afghanistan govern its safety effusively are evident. The Alliance continues to undertake several initiatives in Afghanistan through ISAF.

NATO highly considers both its failures and achievements of its operations important. In this regard, the Alliance recognizes that failure, along with under-achievement, may lead to the ignominy and withdrawal of ISAF operations in Afghanistan. On the other hand, the success of the Alliance has the prospects of improving security. In Afghanistan, ISAF is guided by the need to maintain stability and uplift confidence and endurance concerning the impending and preceding experiences. As such, NATO has undertaken a number of transformations aimed at facilitating the restructuring of ANSF. For instance, the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) ensures the transfer of standards critical for the maintenance of resourceful and liable armed as well as law enforcement forces. The other transformation in NATO’s role entails the delivery of ontological security to ANSF through support and humanitarian assistance. In this regard, NATO acts as a facilitator of the ontological security4.

Moreover, the 2010 Afghanistan conference held in London achieved significant gains regarding the transformation of NATO’s modus operandi. Essentially, the Alliance has undertaken military and civilian transitions as well as reconciliation strategies. First, military transition entails surrendering the control of Afghanistan’s provinces to the supervision of the Afghan army and police. Second, regarding civilian transition, the Alliance has augmented the number of noncombatant connoisseurs on the ground. The noncombatants are obliged to inspire governance as well as economic development. Third, the Alliance is to ensure reconciliation and reintegration, which entails offering money to radicals who have forsaken violence and given up connections with Al Qaeda to venture in other professions. Principally, the application of such strategies is invaluable in enabling NATO to pass on the management of the government to the Afghans.

NATO’s Partnerships

In order to deal effectively with the current complexities and dynamics experienced in the security landscape characterized by active terrorism, cybersecurity challenges, as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction within and without the Euro-Atlantic region, transformation and strategy change in the operations of the Alliance, are imminent. Actually, the Alliance has embraced a global approach in fighting terrorism instead of focusing only on the geographic Euro-Atlantic region.

Besides, the current security landscape in the world has significantly changed. As such, security does include not only military concerns but also nonmilitary issues. In this regard, a collaboration of the Alliance with other international security bodies is fundamental in ensuring international peace and stability. For instance, the use of the European Union (EU) security mechanisms in Afghanistan has proved to be successful in handling the predicament.

In fact, NATO’s engagement with the EU through policing missions in Afghanistan has enhanced the maintenance of peace and stability. The development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by NATO’s member states is one of the major undertakings that have led to the introduction of structural and procedural changes within the Alliance. The transformations have been critical in enhancing the capabilities of the Alliance. In addition, the Alliance has utilized political, economic, and financial assets of member states to enhance peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as the Middle East5.

In reality, given the complexity of contemporary terrorism, partnership with other worldwide organizations is a significant approach used by NATO to deal with various aggressions and extremism in Afghanistan and the entire Middle East. In other words, NATO has embraced multilayered military-to-military cooperation initiatives, including Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) as well as the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). Specifically, PfP plays a critical role in improving international security using noncombatants. On the same note, the MD and ICI have played significant roles in Afghan security operations, including interoperability, security governance as well as defense reforms. Besides, tackling the spread of artilleries and munitions is part of collaborative actions within the continuum in which the partner states operate.

Through NATO’s partnerships with other international bodies, the operations of the Alliance towards maintaining peace, ensuring stability, and institutional reforms have recorded high levels of efficiency6. In principle, military partnerships have expanded and enhanced the operations, confidence as well as collaborations in tackling issues of security. In addition, military partnerships have played a significant role in countering contemporary threats of terrorism. In fact, through partnerships with other nations, NATO’s capabilities to deter extremism and security threats have improved significantly. The reason is that the Alliance armed forces’ capabilities have been enhanced as non-NATO members continue to contribute troops to the organization.

Competences of NATO Affiliate Countries

In order to accomplish its objectives in Afghanistan, NATO has restructured and changed strategy to ensure that the aptitudes of ISAF are expeditionary, bendable as well as deployable. In other words, the rejuvenation of ISAF has been critical in ensuring that the force handles its operations effectively. For example, the perfection of NATO’s tactical airlift capabilities and up-to-date telecommunication systems are paramount. Besides, with the increasing threats of terrorism, NATO Response Force (NRF), the Alliance’s force responsible for military transformation, has been restructured to provide a rapid response when called upon.

Further, the global economic crisis adversely affected the operations of NATO. For instance, the Alliance continues to face serious budget deficits due to underfunding. As a result, the successes of NATO’s operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East have been undermined. As such, the Alliance has undertaken measures to eradicate replications of roles within the organization and fashion its collaborations with other organizations. NATO has abandoned the principles of “costs lie where they fall” and embraced burden-sharing between the member states to finance operations effectively.

Conclusion

In summary, augmented levels of terrorism and upsurge of revolutions, especially in Europe and the Middle East, have been a major global concern over the years. As such, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been obliged to embrace novel expertise in conducting its activities in Afghanistan and the Middle East. In principle, the organization has been involved in inspiring the reconstruction and development efforts in Afghanistan through the donation of practical support as well as the consolidation of institutions based on the rule of law and good governance. Besides, partnerships with other global bodies have formed the core of NATO’s activities. Further, the Alliance has embraced expeditionary, bendable as well as deployable aptitudes in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Bibliography

Aybet, Gülnur, and Rebecca R. Moore. NATO in Search of a Vision. Washingtone, DC: Geargetown University Press, 2010. Web.

De Nevers, Renée. “NATO’s International Security Role in the Terrorist Era.” International Security 31, no. 4 (2007): 34-66. Web.

Martin, Garret. “The 1967 Withdrawal from NATO – A Cornerstone of de Gaulle’s Grand Strategy? Journal of Transatlantic Studies 9, no. 3 (2011): 232-243. Web.

NATO. “” 2012. Web.

NATO. “” 2008. Web.

Footnotes

1 Renée De Nevers, “NATO’s International Security Role in the Terrorist Era,” International Security 31, no. 4, (2007): 36. Web.

2 De Nevers, “NATO’s International Security Role,” 42.

3 NATO, “Active Engagement, Modern Defense,” 2012. Web.

4 NATO, “The North Atlantic Treaty,” 2008. Web.

5 Garret Martin, “The 1967 Withdrawal from NATO – A Cornerstone of de Gaulle’s Grand Strategy?” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 9, no. 3 (2011): 235. Web.

6 Gülnur Aybet and Rebecca R. Moore. NATO in Search of a Vision (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010), 135. Web.

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