NATO 2030 report calls for significant changes in order for the alliance to stay relevant

6 December 2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on 3 December 2020 thanked a group of experts for a new report, NATO 2030: United for a New Era, outlining their suggestions for his NATO 2030 initiative on how to bolster NATO’s political cohesion and ability to face new security challenges. During remarks at an online public launch of the report Stoltenberg also called on allies to continue to invest in their armed forces, use the alliance as the political forum and adopt a more global approach to tackle global challenges.

NATO leaders agreed at their December 2019 summit in London that the Secretary General should head up a "reflection process" aimed at strengthening the alliance’s political dimension. Stoltenberg named a panel of 10 experts on 31 March 2020—five men and five women—to be co-chaired by Thomas de Maizière, a member of the Bundestag and former German defence minister and A. Wess Mitchell, a former assistant secretary of state for European affairs in Trump's administration. Their report, which was discussed by NATO Foreign Ministers during their ministerial conference on 1-2 December 2020 (see NATO Watch Briefing, No. 80, forthcoming), is expected to help frame further consultations over the coming months. Ultimately, these are expected to lead to the Secretary General tabling a number of strategic level recommendations for consideration by the next NATO Summit in 2021—including elaboration of a new Strategic Concept, as recommended in the report.

Among the report’s other 138 recommendations are that NATO should continue the dual-track approach of deterrence and dialogue with a “persistently aggressive” Russia; devote “much more time, political resources, and action” to the security challenges posed by China; coordinate information-sharing and collaboration on emerging and disruptive technologies; more explicitly integrate the fight against terrorism into its core tasks; take a coordinated approach with the EU in addressing challenges to the South; reaffirm its support for arms control while maintaining an “effective nuclear deterrence”; build on efforts to include climate change and other non-military threats such as pandemics in NATO planning on resilience and crisis management; reassert its core identity as an alliance rooted in the principles of democracy; strengthen transatlantic consultation mechanisms, including between the EU and NATO; outline a global blueprint for better utilising its partnerships to advance NATO strategic interests; strengthen measures to reach and implement decisions in a timely fashion; take measures to strengthen NATO’s political dimension.

NATO Watch will provide a detailed evaluation of the report in due course.