Today NATO released the series of declarations from its Wales Summit, which in addition to reiterating and reaffirming a lot of NATO commitments, contains a number of new developments within the alliance. For those of you who are fluent in bureaucratese and enjoy reading 11-page NATO documents the link is at the bottom of the post If not, the key declarations are below:
5) Action Response Plans that direct immediate NATO action are updated to include information from new developments in the North Africa, West Asia, and Eastern Europe.
8) A combined land, maritime, air, and special forces group called the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) has been created. They are trained to be fully operational within days of deployment and have been specifically mentioned for use in the European periphery (say if Al Qaeda attacked in Libya or if Russia annexed Transdniestria).
13) Military command and intelligence centres have been trained to identify and combat hybrid warfare techniques. (This is key because Russia has been repeatedly accused of employing non-conventional military units in hybrid warfare)
17) NATO strongly condemns Russian annexation of Crimea, and expresses concern for human rights in the region.
22) NATO wants to cooperate with Russia, but says that it cannot continue this until Russia stops its aggressive behavior.
23) NATO stresses that they are a transparent and predictable organization, clearly not a threat to Russia. This is a counter to Russian claims that NATO is aggressive, which again as a defensive voluntary organization is ludicrous.
28) Request for Ukrainian troops to show care and restraint in their counter-terrorism operation in Donbass to mitigate civilian casualties and infrastructural damage.
29) NATO congratulates President Poroshenko for beginning reform of the Ukrainian military, and promises to provide assistance and expertise in security sector reform.
30) NATO is committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. (In many previous documents NATO has only expressed general need for respect of sovereignty and commitment to members, the specification of these states is important as it defines NATO prerogatives)
32) NATO is looking for opportunities to provides non-military assistance to West Asian states upon request. They are very open to additional aid in developing West Asian security.
33) They really hate ISIS, and are willing to provide large amounts of funding or expert assistance to combat the group. They also approve of US airstrikes against ISIS and support any other allied intervention at Iraqi request.
34) NATO states have created a framework to share information about foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, as to minimize the potential threat of returning terrorists.
38) NATO is willing to provide Libya with advice on reestablishing security, but does not indicate any willingness to intervene militarily or provide aid.
47) Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO anti-piracy operation in Somali, has been extended to 2016, where it will again require renewal.
57) The first Aegis Ashore system is completed in Deveselu, Romania. This new technology is a pillar of ballistic missile defense (a subject near and dear to my heart).
65) The Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaisance (JISR) service has been expanded to include more agencies. This will help the alliance communicate and share information more efficiently and quickly.
67) The NATO Framework Nations Initiative has been created, urging NATO members to create their own interoperable taskforces. Already many NATO members have formed multi-national taskforces that will train together to increase alliance interoperability and capacity.
69) Training exercises have been updated to occur more frequently, involve more troops, include more NATO members and non-NATO partners, and be more rigorous.
71) Updated the administration and strategy of the NATO maritime command, to be better adapted to the current security situation.
72) NATO policy on cyber attacks have been updated to include more complete knowledge of what a cyber attack constitutes. NATO has warned that a cyber attack on a NATO member may result in a declaration of war under Article 5. (This a direct move against Russia, which has repeatedly launched cyber attacks against Latvia, Estonia, and Germany. With the knowledge that war may be declared, perhaps Russia will think twice.)
88) 24 of NATO’s closest partners (see list) have been invited to participate more closely with NATO. They will be invited to some NATO exercises, receive special aid from the alliance, and have been encourage to take all possible steps to train along side NATO and utilize NATO systems to grow interoperability.
89) Special and additional aid has been given to Georgia, Moldova, and Jordan to encourage security development. This clearly shows an increased NATO interest in these states as allies and lynchpins of regional stability.
92) NATO reaffirms its open-door membership policy, allowing all states entry if they meet certain standards of democracy and security development. (*cough**cough* hint*hint* you should join us Sweden, Finland, and Austria * cough* cough*)
93) New packages of military aid and special access to consultation on implementing necessary reforms to improve security have been given to Georgia, which will become a full member of NATO as soon reforms to the security sector are complete (according to NATO hopefully around 2015).
96) NATO has promised to give all requested assistance to Macedonia, and basically treat it as a member of the alliance. Macedonia will become a fully member of NATO as soon as the name issue with Greece is resolved (according to NATO hopefully when Greece stops being an asshole for no reason… so never).
108) NATO will provide the military aid and technical assistance requested by the African Union, and has promised to continue cooperation with the AU in the future.
Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bosnia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Qozoqistan, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Macedonia, Ukraine, and UAE.