At NATO’s Madrid summit, Sweden and Finland invited to join the Atlantic Alliance - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 29 June 2022

At NATO’s Madrid summit, Sweden and Finland invited to join the Atlantic Alliance


By Ajai Shukla

29th June 2022


The ongoing NATO Summit in Madrid, scheduled to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, is a historic moment for the Transatlantic Alliance. A day after Turkey dropped its objections, NATO leaders formally invited Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.


The legislatures of all 30 current member-countries must vote to amend the NATO founding treaty to accept the new members. This has in the past taken up to a year, but is expected to be much quicker for the two Scandinavian countries.


Attended by the leaders of all 30 NATO countries and key NATO partners from Europe and Asia, the Madrid summit will unprecedentedly also include NATO’s Asia-Pacific partners.


Responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Summit will advance collective efforts to strengthen the rules-based international order. 


Amongst the key summit outcomes will be the endorsement of a new Strategic Concept, the first update since 2010 for this key document which describes how NATO will address threats and challenges in its security environment.


In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the new Strategic Concept will guide efforts to safeguard security, and counter the systemic challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the deepening strategic partnership between Russia and PRC.


NATO’s new Strategic Concept describes its core tasks as deterrence and defence, crisis prevention and management, and cooperative security. It will guide NATO’s responses to transnational threats, such as cyber-attacks and the security implications of climate change.


Responding to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, NATO’s defensive plans have been activated, placing 40,000 troops under NATO command. Allies have also doubled NATO’s battlegroups on the eastern flank, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.


NATO leaders at the summit will endorse a strengthened defensive force posture, with a 360-degree view across land, air, sea, cyber, and space, and an emphasis on more combat-credible forward capabilities on the eastern flank. 

Responding to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the US has deployed over more 20,000 troops to Europe, bringing to 100,000 the number of American troops there. In addition, President Joe Biden has announced the following additional actions to strengthen NATO’s defensive posture.


  • Establishment of a permanent V Corps Forward Command Post in Poland to improve US – NATO interoperability across the eastern flank.


  • Commitment to maintain an additional Brigade Combat Team in Europe, which the United States will position in Romania.


  • Step up rotational deployments in the Baltic region, building interoperability and intensifying training with these Allies. “We will maintain a persistent, heel-to-toe presence in the region and will intensify training with our Baltic Allies,” stated Washington.


  • An agreement to work with Spain to increase the number of US destroyers stationed in Rota from four to six.


  • Placing two squadrons of F-35 aircraft in the UK and additional air defence in Italy and Germany.


  • Processing NATO membership for Finland and Sweden, which they applied for on May 18 under NATO’s Open Door policy. This provides a path to membership for any European state that can contribute meaningfully towards furthering the principles of the Washington Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area. 


“The US strongly supports the applications by Sweden and Finland and has prepared all necessary materials for the U.S. Congress to carry out their advice and consent responsibilities, once accession talks have concluded and Allies sign the accession protocols, which is expected to occur in the coming days,” said the White House.


For the first time, NATO’s Asia-Pacific partners – the leaders of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Republic of Korea – will participate in a Summit. 


Allies will also consult with Georgia to express support for its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Allies will also approve expanded programs to support the defensive needs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova.


Ahead of the summit, the NATO allies submitted updated plans for meeting their commitment under the Wales Pledge to increase national defence expenditures. 2022 is projected to be the eighth consecutive year of increased defence spending by non-US allies.


Many allies now spend well above NATO’s benchmark of 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Nine Allies will meet or exceed this commitment this year, 19 Allies have clear plans to meet it by 2024, and five more Allies have made commitments to meet it thereafter.


By end-2022, NATO Allies will have spent an additional $350 billion on defence in real terms since 2014. At the Summit, leaders will decide on significant increases over coming years to NATO’s commonly-funded military and civilian budgets.


To strengthen cyber resilience and defence, allied leaders will build on last year’s adoption of a new cyber defence policy for NATO. Building on lessons learned from the Ukraine conflict, Allies will decide on using NATO as a coordination platform. The US has offered its “robust national capabilities” as part of this support network.

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