In connection with the Iraq conflict, on January 15, 2003, the USA officially asked NATO for military support in the precautionary planning of defense measures to protect Turkey in the event of a possible war in Iraq. After the relevant resolutions were blocked in the NATO Council due to the veto of France, Belgium and Germany, consultations under Article 4 of the NATO Treaty (threat to a member state) began for the first time in NATO history, after Turkey on February 10, 2003 had made a corresponding application. On February 16, 2003, initially in the Defense Planning Committee, in which France is not permanently represented, and finally by the NATO Council on February 19, 2003, it was decided, for the preventive defense of Turkey with the plans for the deployment of AWACS aircraft, patriot as well as nuclear, biological and chemical weapon protection units. An AWACS advance command started on February 24, 2003 for Turkey. The further measures to protect Turkey were gradually introduced with the beginning of the Iraq war on March 20, 2003. NATO’s engagement was officially ended on April 16, 2003 after Turkey declared that it no longer felt threatened by Iraq. The Iraq war itself was not a NATO operation, but a separate US-UK-led military operation. After the main fighting had ended, on May 22, 2003 the United Nations transferred political and military responsibility for the stabilization of Iraq to the occupying powers. The NATO partners who took on important tasks (such as Poland), relied on the infrastructure of the alliance. In November 2004, after controversial internal discussions about an engagement in Iraq, the NATO Council finally agreed to send a training mission (around 300 soldiers) for Iraqi security forces. In September 2005, NATO opened an academy for training Iraqi officers in Baghdad.NATO decided on its first peacekeeping operation in Africa in May 2005. Together with the European Union, NATO is supporting the troops of the African Union (AU) in the Darfur region in Sudan in planning, transporting, communicating and accommodating the AU. Soldiers. Operation Allied Protector began in October 2008 to protect World Food Program ships from pirates from Somalia.
Even if the NATO summit on 3-4. 4. 2009 in Baden-Baden, Kehl and Strasbourg was primarily dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Alliance, the member states there also initiated the process of adapting the strategic concept from 1999 to the new security developments of the 21st century. The new strategy with the title “Active Engagement – Modern Defense” was adopted at the NATO summit in Lisbon on 19/20. 11. 2010. After that, collective defense, crisis management and the expansion of cooperative security are (as before) the core tasks of the alliance. The new strategy takes into account threats that emanate from international terrorism or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as possible threats to energy security or possible attacks on electronic information and communication systems. Since a possible attack with ballistic missiles is considered to be one of the main dangers, the Alliance spoke out in favor of establishing missile defense and made an offer to Russia to cooperate on this. The latter also reflected NATO’s endeavors to increasingly seek cooperation with (potential) partners within the framework of the concept of networked security. In addition, the alliance reaffirmed the principle of nuclear deterrence, but at the same time committed itself to the goal of creating a world free of nuclear weapons. In the context of crisis management, the new strategy provides for the so-called interface competence of the alliance, i.e. the ability and possibility to cooperate with civil actors, to be expanded. In addition, the command structure of NATO is to be tightened.
In March 2011, NATO took command of the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Libya. The most important topics of the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012 included the end of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and the withdrawal of international combat troops planned by the end of 2014. In connection with the civil war in Syria, the NATO Council decided on December 4, 2012, on the basis of Article 4 of the NATO Treaty (threat to a member state), to station Patriot anti-aircraft missiles in the Turkish border area with Syria. The Council thus complied with a request from Turkey. Against the background of the crisis in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea, the alliance decided at the NATO summit in Wales on May 4th / 5th. 9. 2014 an action plan, in order to be able to meet the new strategic challenges with a regular presence of armed forces in the eastern part of the alliance: an increase in the speed of reaction of the NATO Response Force (NRF) by setting up an NRF unit in maximum readiness (Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, VJTF). At the request of Germany, Greece and Turkey, the NATO defense ministers decided on February 11, 2016 to provide assistance in dealing with the refugee crisis in Europe (including the provision of naval units in the Aegean to prevent illegal immigration, surveillance of the Syrian-Turkish border). On May 19, 2016, the Foreign Ministers of the NATO countries signed the Protocol of Accession for Montenegro in Brussels, which became 29th member in 2017 after the ratification process in the parliaments of the NATO countries. Against the background of the unresolved Ukraine conflict and increasing tensions with Russia, the member states came together at the NATO summit in Warsaw on August 8th and 9th. 2016 i.a. the decision to station a rotating multinational unit in battalion strength (“Battlegroup”) in each of the Baltic states and in Poland from 2017, thus ensuring a higher advance presence (“Enhanced Forward Presence”). The association in Lithuania is managed by Germany as a so-called framework nation. In order to fight Islamist terrorism more efficiently, the alliance decided in May 2017 to also participate as an organization in the alliance against the terrorist militia Islamic State.