Since the NATO Summit Declaration in Warsaw, the threat of terrorism has expanded and intensified its area of operations to target soft civilian and military assets within Allied territory, and now is clearly a direct threat to our nations and the international community. Furthermore, the NATO Strategic Concept adopted in 2010 clearly defines terrorism, in paragraph 10 of “The Security Environment”, as “a direct threat to the security of the citizens of NATO countries, and to international stability and prosperity more broadly. Extremist groups continue to spread to, and in, areas of strategic importance to the Alliance, and modern technology increases the threat and potential impact of terrorist attacks, in particular if terrorists were to acquire nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological capabilities”. The terrorist attacks in Turkey, France, Belgium, Germany, Canada and United States have shown the vulnerability of NATO members to terrorist activity and the need to strengthen security cooperation with countries of both the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI).
Israel is a key NATO partner within the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue and a tailor-made Individual Partnership has been established to enhance practical cooperation, with a specific focus on counter-terrorism. Since the release of the Strategic Concept in 2010 and with the “Berlin partnership package” working with more partners, on more issues, and in more ways, has been increasingly instrumental.
Indeed, cooperation with Partner countries in the Mediterranean and the broader Middle East is a key priority for NATO. As stated in the Warsaw Summit Declaration “we will continue to develop our partnership with countries of the Middle East and North Africa region through deeper political dialogue and enhanced practical cooperation.”
Israel's experience in counter-terrorism, the quality of its armed forces and its technological innovation capabilities are prime assets for any relevant security or defense organization, providing a unique opportunity for NATO Partner countries to exchange best practices. Hosting this NATO SPS Advanced Training Course in Israel, has allowed the participation of senior officials and policy makers from the MD and ICI countries.
This ATC has been organized by the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA) in close scientific and academic coordination with the Inter-Disciplinary Centre of Israel (IDC) and in partnership with Israel Defence Forces.
The scope of this ATC was to improve awareness and engagement by educational programs and tailored trainings, as it is becoming more important to contribute to the prevention of terrorism and increase resilience against the threat of terrorism.
Through a unique combination of experts from NATO, EU, OSCE, UN, Israel, NATO and other partners, both in the MENA regions and NATO members, this training served as a unique platform for policy makers sharing unique insights on operational challenges in implementation of counter-terrorism activities.
This training contributed to a process of capacity-building on CT to meet emerging security challenges. In the ATC framework, simulations have taken place with experts in order to prepare and respond to emerging terrorism related threats coming from several areas.
The strong commitment from all partners, trainers and participants made this training historical and it is with full joy that I thank the NATO Science for Peace and Security program for providing its full support to this project.
Co-Director, NATO Advanced Training Course