In the first of two policy briefs with the NATO Defense College as part of her 2021 NATO Partners Across the Globe Fellowship, Dr Gorana Grgic addresses the strategic quandary that the Indo-Pacific region poses to NATO and a number of NATO allies.
Despite growing support in the United States and allied states for a cessation of the so-called era of out-of-area (OOA) missions by NATO, Dr Grgic argues the prospect of OOA operations in the Indo-Pacific are becoming likelier than at any point in the post-Cold War era.
The impact of security and economic developments in the region on the rest of the world and China's growing power and assertiveness has more NATO member states looking to respond, which Dr Grgic notes raises multiple questions around the conceptualisation and execution of potential OOA operations in the region.
Responding to these issues, she sketches out the strategic vision of member states that have outlined Indo-Pacific strategies, then discusses the concept of an OOA driven by new strategic imperatives, before proposing a framework of assessment for the prospect of coordination and cooperation among NATO Allies in the Indo-Pacific.
While the OOA discourse has been "deemed out of vogue", Dr Grgic says the strategic shifts on part of the Alliance members towards greater involvement in the Indo-Pacific have an unambiguous bearing on the Atlantic Alliance and raise important questions of the implications of such moves which need to be addressed.