13 September 2017

New article: How to Step up NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism

Deputy Head of Centre for Military Studies, Kristian Søby Kristensen and Research Assistant, Laura Hollænder Schousboe recently published an article in the magazine War on the Rocks entitled “How to Step Up NATO’s Fight Against Terrorism”.

Schousboe and Søby Kristensen find that NATO has struggled to identify its role in fighting international terrorism ever since the allies invoked Article 5 in reaction to the 9/11 attacks. However, during the recent NATO mini-summit in May, the allies agreed on an action plan that seeks to enhance NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism. Though these steps have been taken, Søby Kristensen and Schousboe stress that: “the measures are not substantial enough for NATO to make a decisive difference in the international fight against terrorism, because they are mostly cosmetic”.

The authors argue that the essential factor to an effective counterterrorism strategy for NATO is to make better use of the alliance’s many existing assets to strengthen and enable its partners in the Global South: “As the West has come to realize in two decades of warfare in the Greater Middle East, to enjoy lasting success, a military engagement must have strong local partners… Any effort to combat international terrorism without the support and active involvement of strong regional partners in the Global South will be futile”. Thus, they argue that NATO should step up its fight against terrorism by stepping up its partnership policy.

Søby Kristensen and Schousboe emphasize that reform of the partnership policy should be a priority for NATO’s 2018 Summit and recommend that as a first step, the alliance should establish the position of Assistant Secretary General for Partnerships.

Read the whole article here, and the authors report on NATO’s partnership policies (in Danish) here.