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The TAG NATO Shadow Strategic Concept 2022: Preserving Peace, Protecting People

Julian Lindley-French, The Alphen Group

A report by the Alphen Group (TAG) for the Secretary General on the 2022 NATO Strategic Concept


For 73 years, NATO has preserved peace and strengthened the foundations of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law across the transatlantic community. Based on an unbreakable link between Europe and North America, the Alliance has grown from 12 members to 30, expanding the zone of freedom and liberty in which war has become unthinkable. The security of NATO members has been enhanced by the contributions of partners in Europe and across the globe who share the Alliance’s enduring commitment to peace and collective security. Today, the Alliance faces perhaps the most complex set of challenges in its history and must continue to deter, defend, and engage all threats to the Euro-Atlantic area. Urgency is the defining feature of this Strategic Concept, given both the nature and extent of the challenges to the values of the Alliance and the increased threats to NATO citizens compared with 2010 when the last Strategic Concept was agreed.

Strategic Concept 2022 is proof of the determination of the allies to preserve the peace and protect people and reaffirms collective deterrence and defense as NATO’s core task, and it reaffirms the Alliance’s commitment to crisis management and cooperative security within the context of the strategic environment of the 2020s and beyond.

Strategic Concept 2022 is a politico-strategic vision, not a military-strategic concept, but any such vision must be based on effective military power. Therefore, its primary focus is on identifying the principles, parameters, and guidance necessary for the development of the right policies, strategic-operational planning, force structure, and capabilities. This includes improved transatlantic burden-sharing and the creation by 2030 of a more balanced Alliance in which the European allies produce a sufficiency of capabilities and enablers for them to take more responsibility alongside the United States for collective defense and as credible first responders in the event of crises and emergencies.

Strategic Concept 2022 builds on the NATO 2030 Agenda by making the Alliance both more effective and more efficient through greater political cohesion; the improved readiness, capability, and capacity of allied armed forces; enhanced resilience; more equitable burden-sharing; a reinforced NATO-EU relationship, and strengthened, function-driven partnerships. Better NATO preparedness to meet the threats posed by emerging and disruptive technologies both to the functioning of our open democratic societies and in the battlespace is also central to Strategic Concept 2022.

The NATO Shadow Strategic Concept is a report written by The Alphen Group, a network of leading security policy experts chaired by Julian Lindley-French.