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NATO's Wales Summit: Expected Outcomes and Key Challenges

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Congressional rept.

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On September 4-5, the leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization s NATO 28 member states will meet in Wales for the alliance s 2014 summit. This will be their first meeting since Russia began providing large-scale military support to separatist forces fighting in Ukraine, and their last before the planned completion by the end of 2014 of NATO s mission in Afghanistan, the longest and most ambitious operation in NATO history. As such, some analysts portray the summit as an opportunity to consider a possible strategic shift for NATO, away from the broad, out of area focus embodied by the Afghanistan mission, toward a more narrow focus on territorial defense and deterrence, largely in response to a resurgent Russia. Although the allies are considered unlikely to make such decisive declarations, summit deliberations are expected to center on responding to Russian aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere in the region. NATO leaders have outlined three formal agenda items for the Wales summit 1 enhancing allied readiness and strengthening collective defense capabilities in response to Russian aggression 2 marking the planned withdrawal at the end of 2014 of the NATO s International Security Assistance Force ISAF in Afghanistan, and launching a non-combat security sector training mission in the country and 3 boosting NATO support for partner countries outside the alliance, including through a new Defense Building Capacity Initiative. The cornerstone of NATO s collective defense initiative is expected to be a Readiness Action Plan focused on Central and Eastern Europe that could include enhanced military infrastructure and pre-positioning of equipment, designation of bases for increased troop rotations, and more military exercises in the region. Although some allies have called for permanent NATO troop deployments in Central and Eastern Europe, others are reluctant due to concerns about the possible ramifications of further militarization in the region.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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