Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

The Broader Context of NATO's Nuclear Policy and Posture

Michael Ruhle

January 2013

NATO Defense College


At NATO's 2010 Lisbon Summit, Allied Heads of State and Government mandated a comprehensive Deterrence and Defence Posture Review (DDPR). The aim was to undertake a "rigorous analysis" of the broader security environment and of the adequacy of NATO's military posture for defense against the full range of security challenges. Issue of the DDPR as a press release at the May 2012 Chicago Summit demonstrated that the review process has indeed covered a lot of ground in the meantime, yet the document provided neither a detailed examination of the international security landscape nor an elaborate analysis of the interaction of nuclear, conventional and missile defense elements. This was hardly surprising. After all, the main purpose of the exercise was to rein in a potentially controversial debate among Allies about NATO's future nuclear posture. To put it differently, the DDPR was meant to reaffirm certain basics that were in danger of getting lost.