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NATO’s roadmap and priorities for the 2016 Warsaw Summit agenda

  • 26 May. 2016
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  • Last updated: 10 Oct. 2017 13:26

Research Report 04/2016

Dear Reader,

This Research Report addresses the upcoming NATO Summit that will be held in Warsaw in July 2016. Its thesis is that one of the Alliance’s great strengths is its ability to adapt to changes in the international political and security environment, which is of crucial importance today in the face of new threats arising on both the eastern and southern flanks of Europe. The paper emphasizes some specific military recommendations to make the Alliance stronger in the face of these threats, but caution that any changes to force structure, political relationships, or institutions must meet three primary goals. The decisions at the Summit must keep NATO united, keep NATO strong, and keep NATO prepared and adaptable.

From these underlying responsibilities flow four priorities that the authors recommend:
1) safeguarding Alliance cohesion and unity,
2) strengthening NATO’s collective defense capabilities,
3) fostering complementary NATO-EU cooperation, and
4) considering the restoration of NATO-Russia dialogue to enhance transparency and promote European security.

Finally, they make clear that at the Warsaw Summit the Alliance must give substance to the implementation of decisions made at the 2014 Wales Summit, deliver additional adaptation measures to further strengthen its capabilities, and manage expectations while avoiding either overly ambitious or too specific measures that may not be sustainable, or which might limit the flexibility of the Alliance.

This ambitious paper was written by a committee from NDC Senior Course 127 as their final study project. It won the first NDC Eisenhower Award for best paper in its class in February 2016. We hope you enjoy reading it.
Best wishes,


Jeffrey A. Larsen, PhD, Division Head Research

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