Senior diplomats, policy experts, academics and NATO officials met in Latvia’s capital Riga for the alliance’s annual Nuclear Policy Symposium to discuss NATO’s nuclear deterrence and to identify priorities for adapting its nuclear policy.

The agenda included Russia’s nuclear strategy, emerging technologies, and the future of arms control in how to take forward the commitments to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ahead of the 2020 Review Conference.

The alliance’s nuclear policy is based on NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept and the 2012 Deterrence and Defence Posture Review.

The fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear forces is deterrence, which is based on an appropriate mix of nuclear and conventional capabilities, remains a core element of NATO’s overall strategy.

The 2010 Strategic Concept commits NATO to the goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons but reconfirms that as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance.

Jessica Cox, NATO’s Director of Nuclear Policy, who chaired the event in Riga said, “We face a complex world where evolving capabilities across domains combine with increasing nuclear threats to challenge nuclear deterrence.   A month ago, we saw the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty due to Russia’s development and deployment of the SSC-8 missile system, which is nuclear-capable, mobile, hard to detect, and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Russia has also increased its nuclear exercises and rhetoric.  We must adapt to this new security environment.”

Cox added that these developments not only pose a challenge to the Alliance’s security but also to future arms control and disarmament efforts.