Iceland and NATO

Iceland and NATO

Iceland has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since its foundation in 1949. Membership of the Alliance and the 1951 bilateral Defence Agreement with the United States of America remain the two main pillars of Iceland's security policy. With the changing security environment and the transformation of NATO, the contribution of Iceland to the Alliance has undergone major change. While having no standing armed forces, Iceland contributes to NATO operations with financial contributions and civilian personnel.

In its work within the Alliance, Iceland inter alia puts emphasis on NATO’s role in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, including nuclear issues; the common values of the Alliance, i.e. respect for democracy, rule of law and human rights; collective defence and the importance of solidarity, the transatlantic link and the indivisibility of security. Iceland also stresses the important role of NATO in implementing Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; the High North and supports the notion that the Alliance should continue to be open to all European Countries that share the values of the Alliance as well as fulfil its conditions for membership.

Iceland operates an air defence and surveillance system (IADS) which is part of the NATO integrated Air Defence System, composed of four radar sites and centrally controlled Air Command and Control System. IADS supports NATO allied air forces´ air surveillance missions in Iceland in order to ensure that air sovereignty is maintained.

NATO conducts air-surveillance missions in Iceland as decided by the Alliance’s North Atlantic Council in July of 2007. Missions are carried out by NATO member states at an average of three times a year, for 2 to 3 weeks at a time.