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'Renewing NATO's partnerships: Towards a coherent and efficient framework' - NATO Defence College Forum Paper No 1, June 2006
This is the first of a new series of NDC papers that address fundamental issues concerning
the Alliance. The topic addressed will be discussed at the Riga Summit of Foreign Ministers
in November 2006 and as such is focussed on the NATO Headquarters staff (in particular
the Secretary General's staff) and national staffs developing positions for the Summit.
Partnerships are an integral element of NATO's security policy and existed since 1991.
Originally, the intention was to meet NATO objectives through dialogue and cooperation but
as the partnerships have grown and become more varied so their aims have become more
ambitious. Although the original partnerships were largely successful there now exists some
doubt as to whether the model will be equally successful with new partnerships. The paper
identifies a number of problems and raises questions over the role of partnerships in
attaining NATO goals. This is effectively an admission that, although the idea of
partnerships in 1990 was a sound one, NATO did not have a clear vision of their role or
ultimate scope. This paper is an attempt to analyse the nature of existing partnerships and
then to offer new models where the emphasis on the functional, geographical and
organisational strands differs. These new models are the Tailored Approach (geographically
rationalised), the Functional Approach and the Mixed Approach. The paper tests each of
these approaches against internal and external criteria and although the internal criteria are
reasonably argued, the external criteria are far from being positive and robust as they pose
basic questions that are left unanswered. For this reason it is difficult for the reader to
assess whether the Approaches suggested represent valid Partnership models for the
In its conclusions the paper recognises the need for a long term NATO vision for its
partnerships. What it fails to acknowledge is that this need is unlikely to be achieved until
NATO identifies its role in the current geo-strategic environment that is dominated by
security threats other than the direct military threats that are the basis of its Treaty-based
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All NDC papers can be viewed through the NATO Defence College website:
http://www.ndc.nato.int (under 'knowledge portal' + publications).
Copies of papers may be obtained direct from the NATO Defence College, Academic
Research Branch, Via Giorgio Pelosi, 1-00143 ROME, Italy.
Tel: 00 39 06 50525 241/732; fax: 00 39 06 50525 797; or by e-mail to