NATO follows an open door policy for aspiring nations, based on their efforts for reform and adjustments to NATO Standards. For this reason, the exact date to receive an invitation will be the result of the ongoing process of transition to meet the main membership goals. This qualification for future membership includes not only military but also economic, security and legal aspects. The final decision for an invitation is on consensus of all member countries.
Based on the National Defence and Security Concept, the government developed the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) conducted in 2004 followed by the development of the National Security Strategy in 2008 and the National Defence Strategy in 2010, in 2011 the Government developed the Long Term Defence Development Plan covering the period that extends to 2020 and the follow-on, more operational, Mid Term Defence Development Plan covering the period until 2017. The implementation of these plans is meant to adapt the Armed Forces to the future requirements, depending on the assessment of the European and Global security realities. Upon this assessment the missions of the Armed Forces have been defined such as homeland defence, peace support and humanitarian operations and protection of broader interest of the country.
In 2012, the HN MoD White Paper on Defence was published, which provied an exact picture of the current state of affairs in the defence system of the country and, more specifically of its armed forces, and some news about the future plans. The LTDDP has been revised to reflect the changes in the economic and budgetary situation in the country and has been extended to cover up the period until 2023. As of Jun 2016, the HN MoD initiated another SDR process, that is expected to be completed in 2018, which will probably guide the process of updating the existing MTDDP that expires in 2017.
The role of the NATO Advisory Team (NAT) is to provide support and assistance to this process. Directed by the Chief NATO Liaison Office, the NAT assist their counterparts in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the General Staff (GS) to develop and implement the necessary concepts by providing advice and comments. In order to coordinate the different aspects of the required transformation, the MOD installed a system comprising three levels: the working groups, the Programme Group, chaired by the State Secretary, and the Steering Group. Besides these meetings, the contact between NAT, GS and MOD is regularly on the basis of personal friendship and confidence. One of the reasons for this is the collocation of the NAT within the building of the MoD.
This cooperation between MoD, GS and the NAT enables the sharing of best practice. The host nation can create the best solution for the country out of the variety of military solutions of all member countries. Additionally the host nation can benefit from all the knowledge and experience, gained by all NATO member countries when they were faced with the transition of their armed forced to meet the challenges of the changed security environment. And especially the new member countries can contribute their knowledge of their own qualification for NATO membership.
Organization and Structure of the NAT
The Chief of NLO Skopje is also responsible as the head of the NAT, i.e. its principal (Senior) Advisor, from Slovenia. NAT also includes military specialists from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy, who are posted as Human Resources/Force Structure & Training Advisor, DSSR Plans & Policy Advisor, C3I/Standardization Advisor and Interoperability Advisor respectively. Additionally, the Office employs the support of HN specialists: Government Advisor, Country Advisor, Special Assistant and two Interpreters/Translators.
DSSR Plans & Policy Advisor:
The role has two elements. First as Coordination Officer and deputy Chief NLO/NAT and secondly as the primary staff officer for management planning and reporting within NAT. Plans & Policy Advisor is embedded in the HN MoD whilst also maintaining a presence at Skopje NLO.
Human Resources/Force Structure & Training Advisor:
Provides input, to the Senior Advisor Skopje/NAT for the military aspects of NATO's relationship with the HN. Work closely with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Human Resources Sector and MoD Training and Doctrine Staff in order to advise on NATO policies, doctrine and procedures, providing training and staff expertise on human resources matters as required. Monitors the MOD Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution System Process.
Provides input, and recommendations to facilitate the standardization process of developing concepts, doctrines, procedures and designs to achieve and maintain the most effective level of standardization and interoperability in the fields of operations, administration and material. Works to the Chief NLO for the military aspects of NATO's relationship with the Host Nation. Works together with the Ministry of Defence (MOD), Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Armed forces of the HN's GS in order to advise on specific training requirements, procedures, providing assistance on the Operational capability concept (OCC) programme.
Provides input to the Chief NLO/ NAT Senior Advisor for the military aspects of NATO's relationship with the Host Nation. Works closely with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) C4 Sector and the Army of the HN's G6 branch in order to advise on NATO policies, doctrine and procedures; providing training and staff expertise in the area of Communications & Information Technologies , ISTAR and EW, standardization and the integration of functional area business processes with their related automated processes and Communications and Information requirements in order to enhance inter-MOD/GS as well as NATO interoperability.