> 13, 2013 > The New NATO Policy Guidelines on Counterterrorism

The New NATO Policy Guidelines on Counterterrorism


27 2013

At the basis of the policy guidelines rests the clear mandate from the Lisbon Summit. The guidelines reiterate the Strategic Concept statement that terrorism constitutes a direct threat to the security of the citizens of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity more broadly and that it will remain a threat in the Allies’ territory as well as in areas of strategic importance to NATO. In terms of NATO’s role in counterterrorism, the guidelines implicitly acknowledge the absence of a specific policy since NATO’s post-9/11 engagement in the global fight against terrorism, while claiming NATO’s significant contribution. The guidelines place an accent on the danger that “conducive environments” present in terms of the spread of terrorism and terrorist safe havens, extremist ideologies, intolerance, and fundamentalism. They also focus on terrorists’ use of conventional and unconventional means, as well as on the risk of terrorist access to CBRN materials and weapons. In doing so, the guidelines manage to ably define their realm of application in terms of terrorist means and center of gravity without entering into a controversial attempt to provide a shared definition of terrorism.