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Enhancing Strategic Awareness of Energy Security - A Holistic Approach

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System Analysis and Studies

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Education and Training, Energy security, Geopolitics, Maritime Capacity, Strategic Awareness, Strategic planning


At the Summit in Istanbul in June 2004, NATO Allies agreed to place a special focus on the strategically important regions of the Southern Caucasus and Central Asia. At the Summit in Riga in November 2006, NATO Allies mentioned the necessity of defining a role for NATO regarding the energy security of the Allies and the risk of disrupting the flow of vital resources (even if the latter was already encompassed in the Strategic Concept of the Alliance). The Declaration of Bucharest (2008 NATO Summit) lists the general fields in which NATO could play an important role: exchange of information, promoting international and regional cooperation, supporting the protection of the critical infrastructure, managing the consequences of a possible disaster (paragraph 48). The Strasbourg/Kehl Declaration furthers cooperation with Central Asia and the 3rd EAPC Forum took place in Kazakhstan, in June 2009. The New NATO Strategic Concept, among other important issues, places emphasis on the compromise of energy security by disruption of supplies and other such environmental and resource constraints. The 2014 Summit in Wales also pledged a stronger cooperation with Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. The security of the energy that we need to live by and to develop on Planet Earth has become crucial to us for some time now. Our dependencies on the sources of energy, be they natural or man-made, has brought humankind on a brink of a revolution. Either we diversify rapidly and integrate the use of our sources in a manner consistent with our national interests and multilateral Euro-Atlantic interests, or we will become even more dependent on some of the sources and be effected by their political stability/instability.


The objective of this activity is to raise strategic awareness within NATO on the security implications of major energy developments and to analyze what role NATO can play in addressing dependencies and vulnerabilities amongst member states. This is going to be achieved by assessing the status of energy security related to maritime and land capacity for production, exploitation and transportation (for example when securing critical chokepoints and critical territory transition points), the role of energy as a component of hybrid warfare and the geopolitical aspects of energy (for example, but not limited to, regional security complexes such as the Baltic region, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Gulf regions, the Maghreb region, etc.).


The proposed study draws on the experiences of its participating members. This implies that a first step must be to conduct a mapping exercise to understand what is being done in different parts of the Alliance (i.e. member states, ENSEC COE, HQ) with regards to strategic planning/awareness-raising activities related to energy security. Much work has already been done in the field, whereby the added value of the proposed study will be to synthesise this vast material to make it suitable for educational purposes and awareness-raising activities.

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