June 20, 2019

New NATO Headquarters

By the Honorable Rose Gottemoeller, Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

For 50 years, NATO has called Brussels home. During that time, NATO helped bring the Cold War to a peaceful end, we put a stop to wars in the Balkans and worked to ensure Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists.

Our Brussels headquarters is also where, after the terrorist attacks against the United States on 9/11, the Alliance took the historic decision to enact Article 5 of our founding Washington Treaty, which states that an attack on one is an attack on us all.

Proud as we are of our history, NATO is a forward looking Alliance and the time had come to move from what was supposed to be a ‘temporary’ building to our new, state-of-the-art headquarters. I knew it was time to move when I narrowly avoided electrocution during last year’s winter storms when rainwater poured down the walls and onto my printer!

The new NATO Headquarters, like the Alliance itself, is fit for the challenges of the 21st century. When seen from above, the long wings of the building resemble the interlaced fingers of two hands. This image represents the friendship and solidarity of our Allies and the strength of the transatlantic bond.

Rose Gottemoeller, Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

The building itself meets the highest levels of environmental sustainability. It uses geothermal energy from deep beneath the earth to heat and cool the building. It is designed to maximise natural light, while its great sloping roofs collect rain water for plumbing and to water the plants.

Throughout our history, all Allieshave beenbased within the same building. The same is true now. This is rare among large international organisations. With so many democratic nations, each with their own histories and culture, it is inevitable that we do not always agree. But by being co-located, able to meet daily, to bump into each other in the corridor, at lunch or while getting a coffee, NATO has anesprit de corps unmatched in the international community. This significantly contributes to the unity and cohesion of the NATO Alliance.

The new headquarters is also designed to widths and the most modern of challenges, not least cyber-attacks. NATO is constantly bombarded with cyber-attacks but it has the systems and the people in place to maintain effective operations and command and control whatever happens.

Today, the countries of the NATO Alliance face many challenges, including from Russian aggression, terrorism and hybrid warfare. NATO is adapting to face these challenges, becoming faster and more nimble, strengthening our military forces and our political will. The new Headquarters reflects these changes.

The new NATO headquarters is not only a spectacular building, it is also a place where we can get things done and ensure the safety of the almost one billion citizens who depend on us for their security.

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