At the Washington Summit, Alliance leaders recognised the successful first five years of Partnership for Peace (PfP). PfP is a process that brings NATO Allies and Partners together in a vast program of joint defence and security-related activities, ranging from the purely military to defence-related cooperation in areas such as crisis management, civil emergency planning, air traffic management or armaments cooperation. PfP is open and transparent and its activities are open to all Partners and Allies.
NATO launched Partnership for Peace in January 1994, with the goal of increasing stability and security throughout Europe. PfP’s basic aims, laid out in 1994, continue to be valid. They include the following:
- increasing transparency in national defence planning and military budgeting;
- ensuring democratic control of national armed forces; and
- developing, over the longer term, Partner country forces that are better able to operate with those of NATO members.
PfP is now a permanent feature of the European security architecture. The biennial program, in which Allies and Partners participate, now contains more than 2,000 activities, ranging from large military exercises down to small workshops grouping a handful of people, PfP touches virtually all areas of NATO’s activity.
Nations choose from the PfP program activities that support their national policies and meet their specific requirements and in accordance with their financial means, in a process of “self-differentiation”, one of the key principles of the program.
The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) acts as a political “roof” for PfP and offers Allies and Partners a forum in which to exchange views on common security issues.
The role of the Partners has been considerably increased in the daily work of PfP, particularly with the establishment at several NATO headquarters of Partnership Staff Elements, whereby NATO and Partner officers are integrated in international staff functions on a permanent basis.
In 1997, the NATO Allies decided to enhance PfP by giving it a more operational role, providing for greater involvement of the Partners in decision-making and planning, and strengthening its dimension of political consultation.
This decision was made partly on the basis of experience gained through the multi-national cooperation that has taken place through the IFOR (Implementation Force) and subsequently SFOR (Stabilisation Force) peacekeeping missions in Bosnia.
At the Washington Summit, an “Enhanced and More Operational PfP” was endorsed by Heads of State and Government. This move was built on experience gained so far and provides direction for the operational Partnership of the 21st century.
The enhanced and more operational PfP is built on the following three elements:
- A Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations;
- An expanded and adapted Planning and Review Process (PARP); and
- Enhanced practical military and defence-related cooperation covering the full spectrum of cooperation in PfP.
Central to this third element is the “Operational Capabilities Concept for NATO-led PfP Operations” initiative, which places increased emphasis on improving the military effectiveness of multinational forces. It aims to increase military cooperation still further to help Partners develop forces that are better able to operate with those of NATO members in future crisis response operations.
PfP continues to support the transformation of the Alliance. Various elements of PfP are related to the Alliance’s new roles and missions and support the revised Strategic Concept.
PfP continues to evolve, and the Alliance views it as a dynamic process that will progressively draw NATO and Partners closer to each other