NATO operations [fr]
At the beginning of the 1990s, the end of the Cold War led to deep changes in the international security environment. The Alliance was then asked to take on new responsibilities within the international community.
Firstly, for defensive purposes:
In 1990 and 1991, during the first Gulf War, the Alliance deployed NATO aircrafts equipped with Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and air defense systems in Konya (Turkey), as part of Operations Anchor Guard and then Ace Guard. Their objective was to follow the evolution of the crisis and cover the South East part of Turkey in case of an Iraqi attack. In 1992, the Alliance intensified the air surveillance by AWACS in central Mediterranean, in the context of growing tensions with Libya (Operation Agile Genie).
Operation Active Endeavour is the first counter terrorism operation led by NATO. Launched following the 9/11 terror attacks and the activation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty by the United States, it ensured the detection and deterrence of terrorist activities in the Mediterranean from 2003 to 2016.
Since Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine in 2014, NATO has taken additional peace-time reassurance measures for its member states. Among these measures, air policing missions allow NATO to detect, follow and identify any violation of its air space, and to take the necessary measures. Allies aircrafts patrol in the air space of Nations which don’t have their own fighters. Air policing is one of the three forces which permanently contribute to the collective defense efforts of the Alliance. The two other components are NATO’s permanent naval forces and the Integrated Air Defense System of the Organization.
For humanitarian purposes:
In 1992, NATO contributed to humanitarian actions in Russia and in other member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, within the framework of Operations Alliead Goodwill 1 and 2.
The Alliance intervened to improve the humanitarian situation in Darfour from 2005 to 2007 in support of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) : NATO undertook the air transport of personnel from the UN mission, and trained and supported more than 250 people in charge of this mission.
In October 2005, following an earthquake in Pakistan and at the country’s request, NATO airlifted 3500 tons of supplies and deployed engineers, medical units and specialized equipment. This humanitarian aid initiative, one the most important ones organized by NATO, ended in February 2006.
Over the years, the Alliance has contributed to the coordination of aid provided to countries hit by natural disasters (Turkey, Ukraine, Portugal, United States), through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center.
- Acheminement d’aide humanitaire au Pakistan
Then, for crisis management purposes:
In 1993, in support of the UN authorizing the imposition of a no-fly zone above Bosnia and Herzegovina, NATO launched Operation Deny flight. It provided close air support to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) and carried out air strikes in order to protect security areas designated by the UN. Two years later, NATO took over from UNPROFOR the responsibility for military operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina: it deployed for a year its first crisis management operation, IFOR, composed of 60 000 soldiers. IFOR was then followed by the Stabilization Force (SFOR), whose mission ended on 2 December 2004 and which was replaced by Operation Althea, deployed by the European Union.
Between February and March 1999, the Alliance cariied out an air operation in Serbia-Montenegro to end the conflict in Kosovo, and then deployed a mission on the ground, the KFOR, to put an end to widespread violence and the humanitarian disaster. Following the declaration of independence of Kosovo in February 2008, NATO decided to maintain its presence in the country, on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Since then, the KFOR has contributed to maintaining a safe and secured environment as well as freedom of movement to the benefit of all. It contributes to the construction of a multiethnic and professional security force for Kosovo, equipped with light weapons and responsible for carrying security tasks which are outside of the police’s mandate.
NATO also conducted three successive missions between 2001 and 2003 in order to support the stabilization of the Former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia, at Skopje’s request. During these operations, the Alliance intensified cooperation with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
In a global security environment marked by the increasing interpenetration of threats, the Alliance gradually projects itself beyond the Euro-Atlantic space
- In Afghanistan, NATO took the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1386. This mission, which constitutes the larget operational engagement in the history of the Alliance (up to 51 Allies and partners have contributed), ended on 31 December 2014.
- A new non-combat NATO mission, Resolute Support (RSM), was deployed from 2015. Spread between a main pole (Kaboul/Bagram), and four satellites (Mazar-i-Charif, in the North Afghanistan, Herat in the West, Kandahar in the South, and Jalalabad in the East), Resolute Support personnel provide assistance, advice and training to the Afghan security institutions. They support the planning, programming and budgeting, ensure transparency, control and respect of accountability obligations, promote respect of the rule of law and good governance, and contribute to the implementation of processes related, amongst others, to force generation, recruitment, training, management and skills-devlopment of personnels.
- NATO’s mission in Afghanistan is the alliance’s largest operational engagement to this day, with over 16 000 troops deployed on the ground. Beyond RSM, Allies and their partners are committed to supporting the long-term development of Afghan armed forces through the Afghan National Army Trust Fund. NATO remains determined to maintain a lasting partnership with Afghanistan, characterized by the reinforcement of political consultations and practical cooperation, within the framework of the NATO-Afghanistan Enduring Partnership adopted in 2010.
- Troupes françaises au sein de la FIAS
- Between 2004 and 2011, at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government, NATO conducted the NATO Training Mission – Iraq (NTM-I) which aimed to establish a stable security sector under democratic control. In order to reinforce this initiative, NATO defined with the Iraqi Interim Government a framework for a structured cooperation, in order to develop long-term relations. NTM-I left Iraq on 31 December 2011, after the expiration of its mandate, while no agreement was found on the legal status of NATO’s troops present in the country.
- From 1st April 2011, NATO intervened in Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973, to protect Libyan civilians. This Operation, entitled « Unified Protector », followed the coordinated actions of France and several allies on 19 March 19th 2011. In accordance with Resolutions 1970 and 1973, the operation comprised several objectives: enforcing an air and naval embargo on arms going to the Libyan regime; enforcing a no-fly zone to prevent any air strikes targeting the civilian population; and conducting air strikes in order to prevent new abuses against the Libyan population. The operation ended on 31 October 2011, after fulfilling its mandate.
- During the 2016 Warsaw Summit, NATO Heads of state and government decided to directly support the International Coalition against Daech. They provided the Coalition with NATO’s surveillance aircrafts AWACS. NATO became a member of the Coalition in May 2017.
- During the 2018 Brussels Summit, Allies decided to launch the NATO Mission-Iraq (NM-I). Close to 500 personnel are involved in NM-I to advise and train the Iraqi security and defense institutions, in line with the capacity building activities conducted in Iraq since 1st January 2017. NM-I supports the Iraqi security sector reform through training and advice of instructors in order to ensure that national forces are effective and sustainable. It trains Iraqi forces in the areas of countering improvised explosive devices (C-IED), civil-military planning, military medicine and maintenance of Iraqi equipment dating back to the Soviet era. NM-I also supports the development of facilities for specialized military training. This effort comes at the request of the Iraqi authorities, and in support of the International Coalition whose priority is the stabilization and reconstruction of post-Daech Iraq. NM-I is a modest-in-size mission whose military staff is based in Bagdad and who benefits from the Coalition’s logistic support.
NATO also conducts naval operations
- In reaction to the increase in acts of piracy along the Somali coast, and at the request of the UN Secretary General, NATO’s naval forces escorted ships of the World Food Program (WFP) transiting in the Gulf of Aden, firstly within the framework of the Operation Allied Provider (October to December 2008) then within Allied Protector (March to August 2009). Operation Ocean Shield extended the activities of the previous operations and contributed to the international efforts against piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa from 2009 to 2016. Beyond its activities at sea, the operation provided countries of the region which requested it with support in the development of their capacities for countering acts of piracy.
- L’opération Sea Guardian
- Since 2016, NATO has deployed the maritime security operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean. Sea Guardian contributes to the collection of information on the maritime situation, to countering terrorism, as well as to the development of maritime security capabilities. The operation could also carry out other tasks maritime security if Allies decide so: imposition of the respect of freedom of navigation, maritime interdiction operations, protection of critical infrastructures.
- On top of these operations, the Alliance has contributed since 2016 to the management of the refugee and migrant crisis, in support of Greece and Turkey, through the deployment of its second Standing NATO Maritime Group in the Aegean Sea. NATO works closely with Frontex, the European Union’s Border and Cost Guard Agency, at the tactical and operational levels. For that purpose, liaison arrangements were set up between the Alliance’s maritime commandment and Frontex.
Third contributor to the military and civil budgets of NATO, France is also a reliable and supportive ally on the operational level.
France contributes fully to NATO’s deterrence and defense posture. French authorities have decided to deploy French troops in Estonia in 2019 as part of the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). They will succeed to the 300 French soldiers who were already deployed within this framework in Estonia in 2017 and in Lithuania in 2018 (lien hypertexte). Furthermore, France deployed four Mirage 2000-5 of the fighter group 1/2 Cigognes from April 31st to August 31st 2018, within NATO’s enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission based at the Ämari Airport in Estonia. France is committed to its contribution to the air policing missions, the French Air Force having carried out seven missions like this one above the Baltic states since 2004.
As NATO heads of States and governments announced in July 2018 the launching of NATO Mission – Iraq (NM-I), the French authorities reaffirmed their determination to support the reinforcement of the capabilities of the Iraqi defense institutions along with their Allies, and decided to deploy four personnel in the mission. Furthermore, France contributes to the global efforts of the Alliance in the fight against terrorism, through its national Opération Barkhane in the Sahel (close to 400 personnel deployed), and Chammal in the Levant (up to 1200 personnel).
France has also played a central role in several NATO operations, like the KFOR, within which over 50 000 French soldiers have been engaged since 1999 ; the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, within which it has engaged up to 4000 personnel ; and operation Unified Protector, for which it carried out a quarter of the air patrols and one third of the offensive air strikes.