NATO Summit 2014

3 September, 2014

On Thursday 4th and Friday 5th September, the UK will be hosting the NATO Summit in Wales. NATO Summits take place on a biennial basis, with the last one held in Chicago in 2012. It is the first NATO Summit in the United Kingdom since it was hosted in London in 1990.

This summit is occurring at a critical point in NATO’s history, against a backdrop of crisis and Russian aggression in Ukraine and as NATO draws down from its mission in Afghanistan. President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and President Hollande will attend along with leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries.

Wilton Park has played a role in the Summit preparations in a number of ways. In December 2013 and March 2014 respectively, in partnership with and support from NATO Defense College, NATO Public Diplomacy Division, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, we hosted Assisting host country militaries: assessing lessons from NATO, EU and member state experience and NATO’s post-2014 strategic narrative; meetings that contributed to policy processes and thinking on key issues for the NATO Summit agenda.

Our meeting on NATO’s post-2014 strategic narrative in March 2014, taking place during the early days of the crisis in Ukraine, provided the opportunity for a broad based discussion of the Summit agenda, including most importantly the implications of the events in Ukraine for NATO’s collective defence mission. An effective strategic narrative must reflect real strategy that in turn properly balances ends, ways and means. As a result of this meeting a number of recommendations were made for officials to take away and consider for inclusion in the Wales Summit declaration and related policy documents; these can be found in our conference report. The report stressed, among other points, that the Summit “must re-energize the relationship between security and the citizen, of which NATO is a vital part.”

Earlier, in December 2013, participants discussed how to best capture lessons from NATO, EU and member state military training and assistance missions. It was highlighted that context and understanding are essential, and prior to undertaking military capacity building a nation or organisation must: think about the problem to include an extensive audit; design its method of assistance appropriate to the context and based on the principle of host nation sustainability; and nurture and sustain the mission, replete with measures of effectiveness. The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to consider key lessons for countries and organisations working together on missions, and provided a basis for how NATO members could best work together in the future.

In the lead up to the NATO Summit, Wilton Park Programme Director Robert Grant participated in expert level briefings and discussion with UK security and defence officials hosted at No 10 Downing Street. On 2 September, Wilton Park Chief Executive Richard Burge and Dr Grant attended a reception that Prime Minister Cameron hosted for Members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Further information

NATO Summit Wales 2014

Conference: NATO’s post-2014 Strategic narrative report

Conference: Assisting host country militaries: assessing lessons from NATO, EU and member state experience

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