Australia and NATO share a deep relationship based on addressing shared security challenges that affect both the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions.
While we have engaged in formal political dialogue with NATO since 2005, our practical cooperation dates to 1953 when we were the first Partner nation to participate in Exercise Coronet, a physical demonstration of NATO air power at a time of Soviet expansion in Europe.
More recently Australia has made significant contributions to NATO-led operations. This includes the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (2003-2014), NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan (2015-2021), NATO Mission Iraq (2018-present), and are an operational partner for NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian (2022-present). Australia is also an active participant in NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme working on issues such as emerging and disruptive technologies and energy security.
In 2014, in recognition of our contribution to NATO mission and operations, Australia was granted NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner status as a ‘valuable, capable and reliable partner’, alongside Finland, Georgia, Jordan, Sweden, and Ukraine. This provided additional opportunities for regular political consultations, access to interoperability programs and exercises, and information sharing.
Australia’s relationship with NATO continues to evolve in response to today’s complex security environment. The relationship is guided by the 2023-2026 Australia-NATO Individually Tailored Partnership Program (ITPP). The ITPP builds on over two decades of Australian contributions to NATO-led operations, missions and exercises and is built on mutual respect for the rules-based international order. Our ITPP focuses on maintaining military interoperability developed through joint operations in Afghanistan, capability development and scientific research, and on enhanced dialogue and consultation on issues such as women, peace and security, resilience, arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, emerging and disruptive technologies, space and cyber defence.
In June 2022 and July 2023 Australian Prime Minister, the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP, attended NATO Leaders’ Summits in Madrid and Vilnius alongside NATO’s other Indo-Pacific Partners - Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. Australia also participated in the April 2022 and April 2023 NATO Foreign Ministers’ meetings in Brussels.