Reaching a balance between defense and security in the maritime dimension is a test for NATO’s newest strategy—with potential long-term implications.
For nearly two decades, the maritime dimension’s relevance within the NATO alliance has increased. From 1993–96 Operation Sharp Guard enforced an embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to the former Yugoslavia, and the alliance’s commitment to safe and secure seas continued in the following years. NATO initiated its only Article 5 action, Operation Active Endeavour, in support of the United States immediately after 9/11, and the ongoing effort still displays NATO’s solidarity and resolve in the fight against terrorism. Over the past three years, developments relating to piracy and operational deployments to the waters off Somalia further increased the visibility of the maritime dimension.