Turner and Connolly Introduce Resolution in Support of Establishing a NATO Center for Democratic Resilience

Recently, I, a former NATO PA President, and Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the current President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, introduced H.Res. 831, a resolution in support of the establishment of a Center for Democratic Resilience within NATO to help member, partner, and aspirant states strengthen their democratic institutions and to preserve democracy around the globe.

Connolly first proposed the creation of a Center for Democratic Resilience within NATO in 2019—a recommendation then endorsed by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly as a whole. In 2020, the independent Group of Experts on NATO 2030 supported the concept in their recommendations to the NATO Secretary-General. In April 2021, the Assembly established a Working Group to advance the proposed concept for the Center. Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the proposal in October 2021, while in Lisbon, Portugal for her acceptance of the NATO PA’s inaugural Women in Peace & Security Award. The bipartisan U.S. delegation to the NATO PA has also encouraged Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to build support among Allies for the Center.

"Since its creation, NATO has been fundamental in working to establish and defend democracies worldwide to preserve the freedoms and rights of all. Therefore, it is only fitting that we create an entity designed to promote, preserve, and defend established democracies and states which aspire for freedom," I said. "The establishment of a Center for Democratic Resilience within NATO will further allow the organization's mission of promoting liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law to flourish. My thanks to Rep Connolly and his commitment to this center; I am eager to continue working with him to establish this long-overdue entity of NATO."

“Our commitment to shared democratic values is what distinguishes NATO from other military alliances,” said Rep. Connolly. “Without it, NATO is just another military block that does not like Russia. But this commitment cannot remain purely aspirational or rhetorical. It must be operationalized. This is why we believe that we need formal architecture in NATO itself. There are divisions and units within NATO dedicated to collective defense, terrorism, hybrid warfare, cyber, climate change, and all other security challenges. But after 72 years, there’s not even a broom closet in NATO headquarters dedicated to democratic institution building. This Center is long overdue. I want to thank my friend, Mike Turner, for his collaboration on this resolution, and I look forward to working with him further to pass it in the House.”

The objectives of the Center for Democratic Resilience could be:

  • Facilitating democracy and governance assistance to member, partner, and aspirant states, when requested.
    • The Center could partner with democracy promotion organizations to assist governments to develop laws, policies, and institutions to prevent and combat corruption, improve election integrity, and other governance challenges that undermine democracy and make member states vulnerable to external malign influence.
  • Monitoring and identifying challenges to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law among member, partner, and aspirant states.
    • The Center could provide constructive attention to threats to democratic principles, such as erosion in judicial independence or the undermining of civilian oversight of the military, and, when requested, make remedial recommendations.

Text of the resolution Connolly and I introduced is available here.


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