A Permanent Forum for Consultations
The fundamental role of NATO is to safeguard the security of its member states but it also provides a forum in which countries can consult together on security issues of common concern and take joint action in addressing them.
In essence, one of NATO's key strengths is to provide a permanent Transatlantic forum for extensive security consultations. All North Atlantic Council (NAC) decisions are based on consensus, which is built through consultation. The Council can also conduct consultations with partner countries.
NATO outreach is a politically guided Strategic Goal of the Alliance, following a political-strategic rational with the purpose of contributing to stability and security in the Euro Atlantic Area and beyond by dialogue, cooperation and partnership. Consultations with both member states and partner countries aim on strengthening the Alliance's position and influence within its global environment in a comprehensive way and to promote mutual understanding, trust and confidence.
Regular consultations help develop and promulgate common views of the nature of the threats we face, and the appropriate responses to them. They also create strong Allied and partner unity in confronting current and evolving threats, sending an important political signal that is a key element of NATO's response to terrorism.