NATO Remains Committed to Nuclear Deterrence

NATO’s new strategic concept renews the 28 member states’ commitment to maintaining a “nuclear alliance,” as long as nuclear weapons remain in the arsenal of potential adversaries. “Deterrence, based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element of our overall strategy,” states the concept document. It adds, however, that “NATO seeks its security at the lowest possible levels of forces.” The concept stipulates that NATO will continue to pursue arms control and “promote disarmament,” while “ensuring the broadest possible participation” in nuclear planning and “peacetime basing” of nuclear forces. The concept document, which alliance members adopted Nov. 19 in Lisbon, Portugal, explicitly states that NATO regards no country as an adversary, but calls on Russia to discuss relocating tactical nuclear weapons “away from the territory of NATO members.” It also highlights the threat posed by proliferation in “volatile regions.” (NATO strategic concept full text) (See also NATO release)