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NATO 2030: Towards A New Strategic Concept and Beyond

NATO 2030: Towards a New Strategic Concept and Beyond. Jason Blessing, Katherine Kjellström Elgin, and Nele Marianne Ewers-Peters, Editors. Rakel Tiderman, Associate Editor.

NATO 2030: Towards a New Strategic Concept and Beyond. Jason Blessing, Katherine Kjellström Elgin, and Nele Marianne Ewers-Peters, Editors. Rakel Tiderman, Associate Editor.

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Print publication coming soon from Brookings Institution Press (January 2022)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the world’s largest, most powerful military alliance. The Alliance has navigated and survived the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the post-9/11 era. Since the release of the 2010 Strategic Concept, NATO’s strategic environment has again undergone significant change. The need to adapt is clear. An opportunity to assess the Alliance’s achievements and future goals has now emerged with the Secretary General’s drive to create a new Strategic Concept for the next decade – an initiative dubbed “NATO 2030.” A necessary step for formulating a new strategic outlook will thus be understanding the future that faces NATO. To remain relevant and adjust to new circumstances, the Alliance must identify its main challenges and opportunities in the next ten years and beyond. 

Sponsored by the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and the Foreign Policy Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), with the generous support of the Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) / German Academic Exchange Service, this book contributes to critical conversations on NATO’s future vitality by examining the Alliance’s most salient issues and by offering recommendations to ensure its effectiveness moving forward. Written by a diverse, multigenerational group of policymakers and academics from across Europe and the United States, this book provides new insights about NATO’s changing threat landscape, its shifting internal dynamics, and the evolution of warfare. The volume’s authors tackle a wide range of issues, including the challenges of Russia and China, democratic backsliding, burden sharing, the extension of warfare to space and cyberspace, partnerships, and public opinion. With rigorous assessments of NATO’s challenges and opportunities, each chapter provides concrete recommendations for the Alliance to chart a path for the future. As such, this book is an indispensable resource for NATO’s strategic planners and security and defense experts more broadly.

Table of Contents

Introduction. New Decade, New Challenges, New Opportunities: The Way Ahead to NATO 2030
Jason Blessing, Katherine Kjellström Elgin, Nele Marianne Ewers-Peters, and Rakel Tiderman

Part I: A Changing External Environment
Chapter 1. NATO-Russian Relations in an Era of Russian Aggression
Mark David Simakovsky and Michael John Williams

Chapter 2. NATO and China: Navigating the Challenges
Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova

Chapter 3. NATO's Place in the European Security Architecture: Cooperation with the Eurpean Union and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
Nele Marianne Ewers-Peters

Chapter 4. NATO and the Middle East
Mehmet Yegin

Chapter 5. Making NATO's Partnerships More Strategic: Sweden and Finland as Partner Models for Development
Katherine Kjellström Elgin and Anna Wieslander

Part II: Shifting Internal Dynamics
Chapter 6. The Future US Role in NATO
Hans Binnedijk and Jim Townsend

Chapter 7. There is No "Europe": Diasgreements Within NATO Are Not Solely Transatlantic and Pertain to the Fundamentals of European Security
Barbara Kunz

Chapter 8. Democratic Backsliding and Contested Values Within the Alliance
Trine Flockhart

Chapter 9. NATO, Public Opinion, and the Next Generation: Remaining Relevant, Remaining Strong
Rachel Rizzo

Part III: Evolution in Warfare
Chapter 10. NATO Burden Sharing in a New Geopolitical Era
Steven Keil

Chapter 11. NATO in Space
Kaitlyn Johnson

Chapter 12. Fail-Deadly, Fail-Safe, and Safe-to-Fail: The Strategic Necessity of Resilience in the Cyber Domain
Jason Blessing

Chapter 13. War by Other Means: Securing NATO Against Disinformation in the Coming Decade
Corina Rebegea and Carsten Schmiedl

Chapter 14. NATO 2030: Hybrid Future, Hybrid Readiness?
Karlijn Jans

About the Editors

Jason BlessingDr. Jason Blessing is a Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a returning DAAD Postdoctoral Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His research focuses on cybersecurity, military cyber forces, military technological transformation and force structure, and US cyber defense policy including civilian-military dynamics in cyberspace. He also studies NATO, and broader strategic challenges to transatlantic relations. Previously, Dr. Blessing was a 2020-2021 DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Foreign Policy Institute, and he is an alumnus of the International Policy Scholars Consortium and Network (IPSCON) hosted by the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs. He has worked as a consulting fellow with the Cyber, Space, and Future Conflict Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and was selected as a USIP–Minerva Peace and Security Scholar (2019-2020) with the U.S. Institute of Peace. Outside academia, Dr. Blessing worked in the financial sector as a fraud operations analyst and financial services representative. Dr. Blessing is the author of “The Global Spread of Cyber Forces, 2000-2018” (NATO CCDCOE Publications, 2021) and “The Diffusion of Cyber Forces: Military Innovation and the Dynamic Implementation of Cyber Force Structures” (Syracuse University, 2020). Dr. Blessing has a Ph.D. in Political Science (International Relations and Public Policy) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University, an MA in Political Science from Virginia Tech, and a BA in Government from the College of William & Mary.

Dr. Katherine Kjellström Elgin is a fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). She brings rigorous research to policy discussions and has held positions in both academic and policy organizations. Prior to joining CSBA, she served as a DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she wrote and published on grand strategy, great power relations, U.S. defense strategy, European security, and alliance management. Dr. Elgin has also worked at the Brookings Institution and with the Long Term Strategy Group in Washington, D.C. In 2019, she served as a visiting fellow at the Institute for Security & Development Policy in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Elgin earned her Ph.D. in Public Affairs (Security Studies) from Princeton University’s School of Public & International Affairs. At Princeton, she served as the director of the Center for International Security Studies’ Strategic Education Initiative, leading the university’s program for educating and mentoring students with an interest in national and international security. Dr. Elgin speaks French, Russian, and Swedish. In addition to her Ph.D., she holds an A.B. in Politics and an M.A. in Public Affairs from Princeton University.

Dr. Nele Marianne Ewers-PetersDr. Nele Marianne Ewers-Peters is a Lecturer and Postdoctoral Researcher at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany and Non-Residential Fellow at the Global Europe Centre at the University of Kent. Previously, she served as DAAD Postdoctoral Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she conducted research on the European security architecture, NATO, and Germany's foreign and security policy. She is author of Understanding EU-NATO Cooperation: How Member States Matter (Routledge 2022) and published in The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, European Foreign Affairs Review, and German Politics. Dr. Ewers-Peters also taught at University College London (UCL) and the University of Kent, United Kingdom, and was visiting researcher at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. She is furthermore co-editor of the Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER) and co-convenor or the European Security Working Group of the British International Studies Association (BISA). Dr. Ewers-Peters received her Ph.D. in International Relations from the School of Politics and International Relations at University of Kent at Canterbury, and pursued studies in European Politics and International Relations at the universities in Bath, Bremen, and Helsinki. Her research and teaching interests broadly cover European foreign and security policy, EU-NATO cooperation, Germany and British foreign and security policy, and interorganisational relations. 


Rakel Tiderman HeadshotRakel Tiderman is a Research Assistant at the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, where she is also finalizing her studies in law. Her research interests lie in the areas of international law, human rights, and questions relating to immigration and refugee law. Tiderman has previously worked as an Assistant Adviser at the Finnish Immigration Service in Helsinki, Finland. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she served as a Visiting Scholar at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). In 2018, she worked as an assistant at the International Law Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, and gained experience from questions relating to arms control and disarmament during her internship at the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN in Geneva. Tiderman holds an M.A. (program in international law and human rights) and a B.A. (international law, political science, and economics) in Social Science from Åbo Akademi University, and has furthermore studied at the University of Zürich. She speaks Swedish, Finnish, and German.