According to the Regional Complex Security Theory (RSCT) external involvement in regional security can take either the form of penetration or overlay. We theorise governmentality as the third form of external involvement aimed to responsibilise regions in order to govern them indirectly and at a distance. We illustrate our argument in a study of NATO’s role in the Western Balkans since the dissolution of Yugoslavia. In particular, we posit that the predominant role of NATO in the region has evolved over time from penetration in the 1990s, through overlay in the early 2000s, to today’s governmentality.

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