The Shadow NATO Summit III

Commitments, capabilities and connectivity: 

Implementing NATO’s new Strategic Concept
A Two-Day Civil Society Shadow Conference ahead of NATO’s Chicago Summit
May 14-15, 2012 at The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University Washington, DC
The detailed program is attached below as a pdf file. Presentations from the Shadow Summit can be found here
After 10 years of challenging military operations in Afghanistan, the alliance is beginning to withdraw its forces, although a second major mission in Libya has exacerbated long-standing internal divisions over its central strategic mission.  The 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon agreed a new Strategic Concept, but left many questions unanswered or tasked further progress at the May 2012 Chicago Summit.  Secretary General Rasmussen has already identified some of the key factors that will shape that agenda, which he listed under three broad headings: commitments, capabilities and connectivity.  These will form the framework for the third Shadow Summit.*
This Shadow Summit provides an opportunity not only to take stock of how NATO is responding to an increasingly globalized world with emerging new challenges, managing internal divisions (in an organization of 28 member states) and coping with external threats, but also to explore narratives and public perceptions of the alliance within its most important member state.  Support for NATO in the United States appears to be on the wane across the political spectrum. 
A key theme in this civil society-led Shadow Summit will be the exploration of NATO reform, and how it might serve as an integral part of advancing responsible U.S. global engagement.  As part of this theme, participants will consider whether the United States can exercise effective U.S. leadership and power within NATO in a manner that is widely perceived as legitimate.  Another related theme will be how the alliance can help facilitate progress in a range of international political, security and humanitarian challenges that would directly enhance U.S. national security.
This two-day Shadow Summit will benefit from the presence of Washington policy-makers and diplomats, and NATO officials on their way to Chicago.  The aim of the conference will be to: stimulate involvement of U.S. civil society in the debates over NATO’s future; bring together officials, civil society and policy experts on comprehensive security to identify, discuss and share ideas concerning the future of NATO, including the implementation of the new Strategic Concept, Afghanistan, Libya, the deterrence and defense posture review, nuclear posture and deployment, NATO’s partnership programs in North Africa and the Middle East, relations with Russia and ‘connecting with U.S. citizens’; and to discuss a draft ‘Citizens Charter for NATO Reform’ (based on an earlier ‘Citizens Declaration on Alliance Security’ and ‘Citizens Strategic Concept’) as a way to engage the public on the issue of NATO transformation.
Conference Co-Sponsors:
BASIC ( is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental research and advocacy organization.  Founded in 1987, it facilitates the exchange of information and analysis of transatlantic security and arms control issues focused on promoting the steps necessary to achieving the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.  With offices, staff, advisors, governing board and patrons on both sides of the Atlantic, BASIC plays a unique role as a transatlantic bridge for policymakers and opinion shapers.  
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ( informs the public about threats to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences. Through an award-winning magazine, an online presence, and the Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin reaches policy leaders and audiences around the world with information and analysis about efforts to address these dangers. 
The Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University ( has educated generations of international leaders and advanced the understanding of important global issues since 1821. The School trains its students in the theory and practice of international affairs, offering them in-depth analysis of international economic, political, scientific and cultural issues. A widely respected faculty prepares students for global careers in the public, private and non-profit sectors. 
NATO Watch ( is an independent, not-for-profit ‘virtual’ network of informed citizens (‘NATO Watch Associates’), which examines the role of NATO in public life and advocates for more openness, transparency and accountability within the Alliance.  It is the only independent NGO with a remit to monitor and analyze NATO on a daily basis.  A web-based information portal provides comprehensive, accurate, reliable and up-to-date information about NATO.  Research reports and briefing papers explore NATO reform.
Strategy International ( is a non-profit, public and international policy organization based in Thessaloniki, Greece. SI members are leading experts, academics and professionals; the organization also includes a Young Global Leaders Network. SI seeks to conduct primary and high level international quality, independent research and to provide innovative, practical and credible recommendations that strengthen international cooperation in strategic and global affairs. 
We are grateful to the following organizations for their financial support: 
The Marmot Trust, NATO Public Diplomacy Division, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Ian Davis, NATO Watch,; +44 7887 782389
*Details of the first two Shadow Summits in April 2009 and November 2010 are available online: