NATO members have agreed to extend Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's term as head of the organisation by a year to the end of July 2014.
The extension means Mr Rasmussen, 59, will be in office until a few months before the planned end of NATO combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
NATO chiefs are traditionally appointed for a four-year term.
Mr Rasmussen is a former Danish prime minister. The contest to succeed him in 2014 will coincide with a scramble for top jobs at the European Commission.