The history of Azerbaijan-NATO relationship dates back to March 1992, when Azerbaijan together with some Central and Eastern European countries, joined a newly established consultative forum – the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), which was transformed into the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council later in 1997. On May 4, 1994, the Republic of Azerbaijan joined the NATO-led "Partnership for Peace" (PFP) program. Within the framework of cooperation with NATO Ministry of Defence utilizes Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), Planning and Review Process, Operational Capability Concept (OCC), Partnership Staff Post (PSP), Defence Education Enhancement Program (DEEP), Science for Peace and Security (SPS) program and other essential partnership mechanisms of NATO.
Through the use of these mechanisms the Ministry of Defence is conducting reforms in the areas, such as development of strategic documents, implementation of NATO standards in the military education and training system, preparation of peacekeeping forces, management of personnel, maritime security, logistics, lessons learned, cyber security, energy security, Host Nations Support (HNS) and airspace surveillance.
Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) and activities within Planning and Review Process (PARP)
The Planning and Review Process (PARP) aims to uphold the development of forces and capabilities by partners that are able to cooperate alongside NATO allies in crisis response operations and other activities to promote security and stability. It provides a structured approach for enhancing interoperability and capabilities of partner forces that could be made available to the Alliance for multinational training, exercises and operations. PARP is a biennial process open to all NATO partners. A total of 27 from 41 Partnership objectives adopted by the Republic of Azerbaijan within PARP, refer to the Ministry of Defence. To date, a part of the adopted Partnership Objectives have been fulfilled, and the work towards the implementation of the remaining long-term Partnership objectives are being carried out.
The Ministry of Defence has successfully accomplished the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th stages of Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP), covering the period 2005-2007, 2008-2010, 2011-2013 and 2015-2016 years. The 5th stage of IPAP, covering the period from 2017 to 2019 is underway.
NATO Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) program
The Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) program is one of the essential mechanisms incorporating NATO’s experience in multinational modern army building, serving to the development of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. This is very important program that serves to develop respective units of the army in accordance with the requirements of modern warfare and standards set by developed countries, as well achieving necessary operational capabilities of NATO. Experience and knowledge gained through the use of this program ensure our units to participate successfully in the international operations and exercises and provide conditions to better representation and enhancing its authority.
• In April 2004, Azerbaijan joined NATO Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC) program and declared one infantry company and in August 2010, a battalion was declared into the OCC Pool of Forces;
• In 2015, a reconnaissance company, in 2016 two Mi-17 Transport Helicopters and Maritime Interdiction Operations Boarding Party were declared into the OCC Pool of Forces.
• 29 May-03 June 2017, Level 2 NATO Evaluation exercise of the OCC battalion was successfully conducted and the battalion revalidated “Combat Ready” certificate of NATO;
• 16-20 May 2017, Level 1 NATO Evaluation exercise of the OCC reconnaissance company was successfully conducted;
• 23-27 October 2017, Level 1 Self-Evaluation exercise of the Maritime Interdiction Boarding Party was successfully conducted;
• In April 2018, OCC Database Training Course was conducted for the servicemen of NATO and partner countries in Azerbaijan.
• In May 2018, Level 2 Self-Evaluation exercise of the OCC reconnaissance was conducted;
• In September 2018, Level 2 Self-Evaluation exercise of two MI-17 Transport Helicopters, and Level 1 NATO Evaluation exercise of Maritime Interdiction Boarding Party are planned to be conducted.
Partnership Staff Post
Since 2002, 30 officers of the Azerbaijan Army have served at the following various NATO Headquarters within the framework of PSP:
• NATO Standardization Agency/Office (Brussels, Belgium)
• International Military Staff (Brussels, Belgium)
• Military Partnership Directorate (Mons, Belgium)
• Allied Command Transformation (Norfolk, USA)
• Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (Brunssum, Netherlands)
• Allied Joint Force Command Naples (Naples, Italy)
• Land Component Command (Madrid, Spain)
• Allied Maritime Command (Northwood, UK)
• Allied Land Command (Izmir, Turkey)
• Allied Air Command (Ramstein, Germany)
Up to 15 officers of the Azerbaijan Army served at the U.S Central Command HQ (Tampa, USA) and International Multinational Coalition Command HQ (Baghdad, Iraq) in order to coordinate the activities of our contingent that participated in various peacekeeping operations.
Currently, 4 officers of the Azerbaijan Army are serving at NATO HQ (Brussels, Belgium) and NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Furthermore, 7 officers are serving at various NATO headquarters, holding Partnership staff posts. With this contribution, Azerbaijan has become one of the biggest contributors among the NATO partner countries.
Cooperation with NATO on military education and training
Cooperation with NATO in the framework of Defence Education and Enhancement Program (DEEP) was launched in 2008, with the aim to improve the military education system of the Azerbaijan Army.
In the framework of Action plan the cooperation is being carried out in the following areas:
• “Defence Strategy and Planning” training module and teaching methodologies, which was included in the curriculum of the War College of the Armed Forces;
• Harmonization of the military education programs to Bologna teaching standards;
• Enhance the level of competence of pedagogical staff in compliance with NATO standards;
• Leadership and training of sergeants;
• Improvement of foreign language teaching methodologies;
• Implementation of a Master’s Degree program in the War College of the Armed Forces.
Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Program
The Science for Peace and Security (SPS) program is an important tool in promoting dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO member states and partner nations through the scientific development and implementation of innovation. In order to conduct activities within the framework of this program, appropriate coordination with relevant bodies of Alliance are carried out.