NATO leaders unveiled a new Strategic Concept during the Madrid Summit in June 2022, the first update to this important document since 2010. Despite the dramatic changes in the strategic environment over the past twelve years, NATO’s three core tasks remain essentially the same. One important update is a new focus on “crisis prevention and management,” rather than simply “crisis management.” This paper argues that in an era of proliferating and increasingly complex threats, crisis prevention is more important than ever. However, the concept of “crisis” is woefully underdeveloped in NATO documents. To address this shortfall, the paper presents the concept of “near crisis,” situations that sit on a lower rung of the escalation ladder but that haven’t yet tipped into full-blown crisis or armed conflict. This concept offers practitioners at the strategic and operational levels early warning and enhanced opportunities to initiate policy steps that could manage potential dangers before full crises emerge.
Full paper available here: https://westpointpress.com/white-paper