These are turbulent times. The world is becoming more competitive, unstable and unpredictable. Russia continues its pattern of aggressive military and hybrid actions. China is more assertive abroad and oppressive at home. Together, they are at the forefront of an authoritarian challenge to the democratic international order. At the same time, cyberattacks are becoming more frequent, sophisticated and disruptive; terrorist threats persist; nuclear weapons are proliferating; and the changing climate precipitates instability and fuels crises.
These challenges affect our security on both sides of the Atlantic. They are each different, but there is only one way for North America and Europe to tackle them, and that is together, in NATO.
With U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration, as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, firmly committed to the trans-Atlantic bond and to working more with Europe, we have a unique opportunity and profound responsibility to make our strong alliance even stronger.
At the NATO summit in June, leaders endorsed our bold NATO 2030 agenda for the next decade and beyond to strengthen the alliance in a contested world.
We decided to use NATO even more as the essential forum for security consultations and decisions among our 30 nations. We are strengthening our deterrence and defense posture across all domains — land, sea, air, space and cyberspace. We are continuing to fight terrorism and work with the international community to contribute to stability on our borders, including by drawing important lessons from past missions.
At the same time, we are stepping up our efforts in other areas, notably on resilience, technology and the security impact of climate change. We are developing alliancewide objectives to boost the resilience of our societies, infrastructure and supply chains. By reducing vulnerabilities and dependencies, we will better resist outside interference, bounce back faster from attacks and ensure our militaries can effectively operate at all times.
Working, together in NATO, we are sharpening our technological edge to remain competitive. This includes investing in the latest technologies, from artificial intelligence to biotech and quantum computers. We have launched a Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic, or DIANA, and have set up a new NATO Innovation Fund. Both DIANA and the Innovation Fund will allow us to better harness civilian innovation for our security and facilitate trans-Atlantic cooperation and exchanges on critical technologies.
Finally, we are addressing the impact of climate change on our security. It is a threat and a crisis multiplier, and we have to adapt our awareness and readiness accordingly. Allies are also investing in sustainable solutions, including biofuels for jet aircraft and solar panels to power equipment. In addition, and for the first time ever, NATO is developing a methodology across the alliance to map military emissions so we can cut them.
In all these areas, NATO will engage even more closely with partners that share our values and interests, including countries, organizations, private companies and academic institutions. Preserving peace, the global rules and our democratic way of life is a collective effort.
In June 2022, NATO leaders will meet again, this time in Madrid, Spain. They will endorse NATO’s next Strategic Concept — a key document that will chart the way ahead for the alliance. The last Strategic Concept, which dates back to 2010, refers to Russia as a strategic partner; it does not mention China, and only briefly alludes to technology and climate. The new document will reflect our changed security environment and restate our fundamental values while reaffirming the centrality of the trans-Atlantic bond to our security and defense.
As we look to the year ahead, we must continue to deliver on our commitment to trans-Atlantic unity and turn our NATO 2030 decisions into action. This way, we will continue to ensure security and freedom of all our people in a more uncertain world.
Jens Stoltenberg is the secretary general of NATO.