With the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms expiring last December 5 and its successor held up almost three months in large part because of U.S. missile shield provocations in recent weeks, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is forging ahead with the formulation and implementation of a new Strategic Concept.
On February 5 Russia unveiled its new military doctrine, which identified further NATO expansion eastward to its frontier and American and NATO interceptor missile deployments on and near its borders as the "main external threats of war." 
On February 23 NATO held its fourth seminar on the new - 21st century - Strategic Concept decided upon at the sixtieth anniversary summit in April of 2009 in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany. After previous meetings in Luxembourg, Slovenia and Norway, the final - and far most important - meeting was held in Washington, DC. Entitled Strategic Concept Seminar on Transformation and Capabilities, it was conducted at the National Defense University in the nation's capital.
The Strategic Concept endorses expansion of the bloc deeper into the Balkans and the former Soviet Union, broadening global partnerships outside the Euro-Atlantic zone and consolidating an interceptor missile system to cover all of Europe as a joint U.S. and NATO project.
Russian concerns and NATO designs are at complete loggerheads, which accounts for among other problems a new START agreement remaining in limbo. And for Russia's new military doctrine.
The results of the four seminars, masked as deliberative proceedings and even public information forums when in fact all important matters were decided years in advance, will be presented to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on May 1 and formally adopted at the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal this November.
The meetings that matter, those in the American capital where the White House and the Pentagon are situated, were presided over by former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell Jeroen van der Veer and their Group of Experts, alternatively Wise Men. The speakers at the Washington seminar included the U.S. foreign policy triumvirate of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser James Jones, the last NATO's Supreme Allied Commander from 2003-2006. Other talks were given by the same principals on the preceding evening.
The U.S. permanent representative to NATO, Ivo Daalder, and Alliance chief Rasmussen also gave presentations.
Gates demanded the world's only true military bloc and certainly the sole one currently involved in a war "uphold the long legacy that has made NATO the most successful military alliance in history." 
All the American speakers laid particular emphasis on NATO's Article 5, in effect a mutual assistance provision for armed conflicts.
Robert Gates: "Few would have imagined that the first invocation of Article 5 in the alliance's history would follow an attack on the United States homeland by a non-state entity based in a nation far beyond NATO's traditional borders...."
"[T]he Strategic Concept must be clear that Article 5 means what it says: an attack on one is an attack on all. The concept also must go further to strengthen Article 5's credibility with a firm commitment to enhance deterrence through appropriate contingency planning, military exercises, and force development."
Hillary Clinton: "I want to reaffirm as strongly as I can the United States' commitment to honor Article 5 of the NATO treaty. No Ally or adversary should ever question our determination on this point. It is the bedrock of the Alliance and an obligation that time will not erode." 
Ivo Daalder: "Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which says that an attack against one is an attack against all, remains the bedrock of the alliance. And in order to have that Article 5 operate effectively in the world that we live in today, we need the deployability of forces, we need the ability for forces to move from different places across territory, we need to be prepared through exercising and planning to show and ensure that NATO is prepared to confront the threats that we face...." 
James Jones went even further in stating "NATO must be more lean, agile, and flexible to effectively address the security challenges before it. NATO must move beyond its doctrine of static defense of the 20th Century to become a more proactive Alliance for the modern era."
"NATO must be prepared to address, deny, and deter the full spectrum of threats, whether emanating from within Europe, at NATO's boundaries, or far beyond NATO's borders." 
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