ABCD 2010

It Matters What Others Think: Calibrating NATO’s Deterrence Posture in the Age of Complexity

ABCD 2010 was dedicated to exploring the conceptual and practical challenges of ensuring credible deterrence -- combining nuclear, conventional and non-military aspects -- in a contemporary security environment, with a special emphasis on NATO’s strategy.

Deterrence is a challenging concept for practitioners as well as theorists. It calls for a sophisticated understanding of how particular political-military arrangements and ways of communicating them affect the perceptions and strategic calculations of potential adversaries – states as well as non-state actors -- and of the individual allies and partners. The current complex security environment calls for a fundamental change in how we think, how we plan and how we build up our deterrence posture.

The policy and military implications for NATO, which re-affirmed the pivotal role of deterrence in its new Strategic Concept, needed to be re-examined in the context of various global and regional security challenges. Otherwise, the practical application of the concept of deterrence may well fall short of the strategic expectations in the age of complexity, with negative consequences for the cohesion and effectiveness of the Alliance. This is where we concentrated our minds and collective wisdom during ABCD 2010.