Latvia has its security policy roots in the membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the member states of which share common values and the awareness that security co-operation is the most effective way of promoting security in their own countries and in the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. Jointly with other Allies, Latvia takes part in NATO-led international operations.
NATO's new Strategic Concept
At their Summit meeting in Lisbon in November 2010, NATO heads of state and government adopted a new NATO Strategic Concept.
The earlier Strategic Concept was approved in 1999. Given the changes over the last decade both in the organisation itself and in the international security environment, the new concept provides answers to what the current core tasks of the Alliance are, by which capabilities and means NATO is going to carry them out, and how the Alliance currently positions itself within the international security architecture.
The 2010 Strategic Concept reconfirms NATO’s core tasks and principles: collective defence, and safeguarding the Allies’ territories and populations; readiness to deal with the current and emerging challenges and threats to security; appreciating its partnerships, and developing the military capabilities of the Alliance in close connection with political security tasks. Main accents in the Strategic Concept have been placed on collective defence as NATO’S core task, further modernization of NATO, a comprehensive approach to crises and operations, and the setting up of a missile defence system.
In the context of emerging threats, the Strategic Concept focuses on the enhancement of cyber-security policy.
The Allies in Lisbon took a decision to expand the existing anti-missile defence system, currently intended for the defence of armed forces in conflict regions, so that it would also defend member state territories and populations.
In Lisbon, the member states decided that a continued assessment of the Alliance’s policy on conventional and nuclear weapons was required in order to defend the Allied nations and to deter any security challenge. At the same time, NATO has reiterated more than once that NATO will remain a nuclear alliance as long as nuclear weapons exist.
The new concept devotes major attention also to co-operation with partners: both those across the existing formats, and with so-called global partners. The Summit decided to optimise its partnership instruments, which will by no means change the Alliance’s approach to the open door policy (enlargement) and to the need for engaging actively with other international actors in dealing with crises and conflicts (a comprehensive approach).
The Alliance needs co-operation with partners outside the transatlantic area in order to safeguard the Alliance populations against threats coming from remote areas of the world. The Concept confirms NATO’s readiness to work together with all countries which encounter similar security challenges. A particular attention is given to co-operation with the European Union.
The Strategic Concept reflects NATO’s role and involvement in managing and preventing crises, notably, given the new security challenges: terrorism, energy security, cyber security, maritime security.
In view of NATO’s experience with peace-keeping missions, the Alliance intends to increase crisis management capabilities, enhance intelligence sharing, pay greater attention to civilian-military planning, and promote the training of local forces. Implementing a comprehensive approach will take place in close co-operation with international actors. NATO has an essential role in this process, whereas UN, EU and other international and non-governmental organisations have greater experience and capacity in the fields of institution-building, development assistance projects, strengthening the judicial system and police.