international analysis and commentary

NATO toward 2030: a resilient Alliance and its main priorities

by Ottavia Credi, Alessandro Marrone, Roberto Menotti



Prepared on the occasion of




With the support of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo

Digital international seminar





The new US administration represents a political opportunity to better address the Alliance’s needs, also through the elaboration of a new Strategic Concept. NATO needs to adapt to an international security environment marked by “aggressive multipolarity”, which may lean over time towards a bipolar confrontation between the US and China. The latter is indeed a peer competitor to deal with, while deterrence and dialogue should be maintained towards Russia in light of its importance to Eurasia but also its relative weakness. Transatlantic burden sharing has to adapt accordingly, and NATO-EU partnership should make a breakthrough also through an appropriate level of European strategic autonomy.

As a result, NATO priorities with a view to 2030 can be grouped into three baskets: the cornerstone of collective defence and deterrence with greater political consultation; a new focus on Allies’ resilience; a renewed outlook towards both Europe’s unstable neighbourhood as well as the Asia-Pacific that is increasingly becoming the focus of US strategic commitments. NATO remains the most powerful alliance in the world and a fundamental pillar of stability and prosperity for the Euro-American community. One of its major strengths has always been its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. In light of the various global transformations currently underway, the Alliance needs to prove, once again, its resilience.


Find here the full paper: Aspen-IAI The future of NATO



This paper stems from the first digital event “The future of NATO” held on October 8, 2020, jointly organized by Aspen Institute Italia and Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), in partnership with Real Istituto Elcano and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The paper reports some of the most insightful observations presented by the event’s participants and deepens the analysis with further reflections on some of the main challenges the Alliance will likely face over the next decade. It has been jointly prepared by Aspen Institute Italia and IAI for second webinar held on November 25, 2020, once again in partnership with Real Istituto Elcano and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the support of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo.



Ottavia Credi is Junior Researcher in the Security and Defence Programmes at IAI; Alessandro Marrone is Head of Defence Programme at IAI; Roberto Menotti is Editor-in-Chief of Aspenia online and Deputy Editor of Aspenia, Senior Advisor – International Activities for Aspen Institute Italia.