NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO /ˈneɪtoʊ/; French: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.[3][4] NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO's Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29. The most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members.[5] An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[6] Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024.[7][8]

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord
NATO OTAN landscape logo
Logo
Flag of NATO
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection)
Member states of NATO
AbbreviationNATO, OTAN
MottoAnimus in consulendo liber
Formation4 April 1949
TypeMilitary alliance
HeadquartersBrussels, Belgium
Membership
Official language
Jens Stoltenberg
Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, Royal Air Force
General Curtis Scaparrotti, United States Army
Général André Lanata, French Air Force
Expenses (2018)US$1.0 trillion[2]
WebsiteNATO.int

History

On 4 March 1947 the Treaty of Dunkirk was signed by France and the United Kingdom as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance in the event of a possible attack by Germany or the Soviet Union in the aftermath of World War II. In 1948, this alliance was expanded to include the Benelux countries, in the form of the Western Union, also referred to as the Brussels Treaty Organization (BTO), established by the Treaty of Brussels.[9] Talks for a new military alliance which could also include North America resulted in the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949 by the member states of the Western Union plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[10]

Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-098967, Aufnahme der Bundesrepublik in die NATO
West Germany joined NATO in 1955, which led to the formation of the rival Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.

The North Atlantic Treaty was largely dormant until the Korean War initiated the establishment of NATO to implement it, by means of an integrated military structure: This included the formation of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in 1951, which adopted the Western Union's military structures and plans.[11] In 1952 the post of Secretary General of NATO was established as the organization's chief civilian. That year also saw the first major NATO maritime exercises, Exercise Mainbrace and the accession of Greece and Turkey to the organization.[12][13] Following the London and Paris Conferences, West Germany was permitted to rearm militarily, as they joined NATO in May 1955, which was in turn a major factor in the creation of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact, delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defense against a prospective Soviet invasion – doubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO's military structure in 1966.[14][15] In 1982 the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance.

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1989–1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO's purpose, nature, tasks, and focus on the continent of Europe. This shift started with the 1990 signing in Paris of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union, which mandated specific military reductions across the continent that continued after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991.[16] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO's military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[17] NATO also began a gradual expansion to include newly autonomous Central and Eastern European nations, and extended its activities into political and humanitarian situations that had not formerly been NATO concerns.[18]

Berlin Wall at NATO Headquarters
The fall of the Berlin Wall, a section of which is now displayed outside NATO Headquarters, marked a turning point in NATO's role in Europe.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999 during the breakup of Yugoslavia.[19] Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, most of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004. Article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty, requiring member states to come to the aid of any member state subject to an armed attack, was invoked for the first and only time after the September 11 attacks,[20] after which troops were deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led ISAF. The organization has operated a range of additional roles since then, including sending trainers to Iraq, assisting in counter-piracy operations[21] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times following incidents in the Iraq War, Syrian Civil War, and annexation of Crimea.[22]

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. As part of post-Cold War restructuring, NATO's military structure was cut back and reorganized, with new forces such as the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps established. The changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union on the military balance in Europe were recognized in the Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty, which was signed in 1999. The policies of French President Nicolas Sarkozy resulted in a major reform of France's military position, culminating with the return to full membership on 4 April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[15][23][24]

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1998, the NATO–Russia Permanent Joint Council was established. Between 1999 and 2017 NATO incorporated the following Central and Eastern European countries, including several former communist states: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia and Montenegro.[18]

The Russian intervention in Crimea in 2014 led to strong condemnation by NATO nations and the creation of a new "spearhead" force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[25] At the subsequent 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO's member states formally committed for the first time to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defence by 2024, which had previously been only an informal guideline.[26]

Military operations

Early operations

No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.[27]

Bosnia and Herzegovina intervention

F-16 deliberate force
NATO planes engaged in aerial bombardments during Operation Deliberate Force after the Srebrenica massacre.

The Bosnian War began in 1992, as a result of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The deteriorating situation led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 816 on 9 October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12 April 1993 with Operation Deny Flight. From June 1993 until October 1996, Operation Sharp Guard added maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.[28]

On 10 and 11 April 1994, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Goražde safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Goražde by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction.[29] In retaliation, Serbs took 150 U.N. personnel hostage on 14 April.[30][31] On 16 April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Goražde by Serb forces.[32]

In August 1995, a two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[33] Further NATO air strikes helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[33] As part of this agreement, NATO deployed a UN-mandated peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, named IFOR. Almost 60,000 NATO troops were joined by forces from non-NATO nations in this peacekeeping mission. This transitioned into the smaller SFOR, which started with 32,000 troops initially and ran from December 1996 until December 2004, when operations were then passed onto European Union Force Althea.[34] Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[35]

Kosovo intervention

German KFOR troops patrol southern Kosovo, summer 1999
German KFOR soldiers patrol southern Kosovo in 1999.

In an effort to stop Slobodan Milošević's Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23 September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23 March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[36] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24 March 1999.[37] Operation Allied Force targeted the military capabilities of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the crisis, NATO also deployed one of its international reaction forces, the ACE Mobile Force (Land), to Albania as the Albania Force (AFOR), to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees from Kosovo.[38]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Milošević finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3 June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11 June, Milošević further accepted UN resolution 1244, under the mandate of which NATO then helped establish the KFOR peacekeeping force. Nearly one million refugees had fled Kosovo, and part of KFOR's mandate was to protect the humanitarian missions, in addition to deterring violence.[38][39] In August–September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[40] As of 1 December 2013, 4,882 KFOR soldiers, representing 31 countries, continue to operate in the area.[41]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the UN Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the action against Serbia in 1999, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed UN approval.[42] The US/UK side claimed that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia, and could do the same in future conflicts where NATO intervention was required, thus nullifying the entire potency and purpose of the organization. Recognizing the post-Cold War military environment, NATO adopted the Alliance Strategic Concept during its Washington summit in April 1999 that emphasized conflict prevention and crisis management.[43]

War in Afghanistan

National Park Service 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC
The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke its collective defence article for the first time.

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in the organization's history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[44] The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour, a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea which is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction, as well as enhancing the security of shipping in general which began on 4 October 2001.[45]

The alliance showed unity: On 16 April 2003, NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which includes troops from 42 countries. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all nineteen NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO's history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[46]

Rodriguez at Italian command change in Herat
ISAF General David M. Rodriguez at an Italian change of command in Herat

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and surrounding areas from the Taliban, al Qaeda and factional warlords, so as to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan,[47] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[48]

On 31 July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[49] Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, in 2011 France allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Kandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance's efforts.[50] During its 2012 Chicago Summit, NATO endorsed a plan to end the Afghanistan war and to remove the NATO-led ISAF Forces by the end of December 2014.[51] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support Mission

Iraq training mission

In August 2004, during the Iraq War, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the US led MNF-I.[52] The NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) was established at the request of the Iraqi Interim Government under the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546. The aim of NTM-I was to assist in the development of Iraqi security forces training structures and institutions so that Iraq can build an effective and sustainable capability that addresses the needs of the nation. NTM-I was not a combat mission but is a distinct mission, under the political control of NATO's North Atlantic Council. Its operational emphasis was on training and mentoring. The activities of the mission were coordinated with Iraqi authorities and the US-led Deputy Commanding General Advising and Training, who was also dual-hatted as the Commander of NTM-I. The mission officially concluded on 17 December 2011.[53]

Turkey invoked the first Article 4 meetings in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War. Turkey also invoked this article twice in 2012 during the Syrian Civil War, after the downing of an unarmed Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet, and after a mortar was fired at Turkey from Syria,[54] and again in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[55]

Gulf of Aden anti-piracy

Gulf of Aden - disabled pirate boat
USS Farragut destroying a Somali pirate skiff in March 2010

Beginning on 17 August 2009, NATO deployed warships in an operation to protect maritime traffic in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates, and help strengthen the navies and coast guards of regional states. The operation was approved by the North Atlantic Council and involves warships primarily from the United States though vessels from many other nations are also included. Operation Ocean Shield focuses on protecting the ships of Operation Allied Provider which are distributing aid as part of the World Food Programme mission in Somalia. Russia, China and South Korea have sent warships to participate in the activities as well.[56][57] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[58]

Libya intervention

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17 March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. A coalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards, beginning with Opération Harmattan by the French Air Force on 19 March.

On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group 1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 1,[59] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[60] They would "monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries".[59]

Palmaria bengasi 1903 0612 b1
Libyan Army Palmaria howitzers destroyed by the French Air Force near Benghazi in March 2011

On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone from the initial coalition, while command of targeting ground units remained with the coalition's forces.[61][62] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27 March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[63] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[64] resulting in a confrontation between US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and countries such as Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Germany to contribute more, the latter believing the organization has overstepped its mandate in the conflict.[65][66][67] In his final policy speech in Brussels on 10 June, Gates further criticized allied countries in suggesting their actions could cause the demise of NATO.[68] The German foreign ministry pointed to "a considerable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations" and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[69]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1 August.[70] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[71][72] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country's operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[73] By the end of the mission in October 2011, after the death of Colonel Gaddafi, NATO planes had flown about 9,500 strike sorties against pro-Gaddafi targets.[74][75] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[76] Following a coup d'état attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[77]

Participating countries

Map of NATO affiliations in Europe Map of NATO partnerships globally
Major NATO affiliations in Europe NATO partnerships

Members

NATO and US EU Summits in Lisbon (2)
NATO organizes regular summits for leaders of their members states and partnerships.

NATO has twenty-nine members, mainly in Europe and North America. Some of these countries also have territory on multiple continents, which can be covered only as far south as the Tropic of Cancer in the Atlantic Ocean, which defines NATO's "area of responsibility" under Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty. During the original treaty negotiations, the United States insisted that colonies such as the Belgian Congo be excluded from the treaty.[78][79] French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[80] Twelve of these twenty-nine are original members who joined in 1949, while the other seventeen joined in one of seven enlargement rounds.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed "Gaullo-Mitterrandism". Nicolas Sarkozy negotiated the return of France to the integrated military command and the Defence Planning Committee in 2009, the latter being disbanded the following year. France remains the only NATO member outside the Nuclear Planning Group and unlike the United States and the United Kingdom, will not commit its nuclear-armed submarines to the alliance.[15][23] Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[81] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[82]

Enlargement

History of NATO enlargement
NATO has added 13 new members since the German reunification and the end of the Cold War.

New membership in the alliance has been largely from Central and Eastern Europe, including former members of the Warsaw Pact. Accession to the alliance is governed with individual Membership Action Plans, and requires approval by each current member. NATO currently has two candidate countries that are in the process of joining the alliance: Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia. North Macedonia signed an accession protocol to become a NATO member state in February 2019, which is undergoing ratification by the member states.[83] Its accession had been blocked by Greece for many years due to the Macedonia naming dispute, which was resolved in 2018 by the Prespa agreement.[84] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[85] Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised "future membership" during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[86] though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not "currently on a path" to membership.[87]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with informal understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and US negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[88] NATO's expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[89] though they have also been criticised in the West.[90] A June 2016 Levada poll found that 68% of Russians think that deploying NATO troops in the Baltic states and Poland—former Eastern bloc countries bordering Russia—is a threat to Russia.[91] In contrast 65% of Poles surveyed in 2017 Pew Research Center report identified Russia as a "major threat", with an average of 31% saying so across all NATO countries[92], and 67% of Poles surveyed in 2018 favour US forces being based in Poland.[93] Of non-CIS Eastern European countries surveyed by Gallup in 2016, all but Serbia and Montenegro were more likely than not to view NATO as a protective alliance rather than a threat.[94]

Ukraine's relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically controversial, and improvement of these relations was one of the goals of the "Euromaidan" protests that saw the ousting of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. In March 2014, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reiterated the government's stance that Ukraine is not seeking NATO membership.[95] Ukraine's president subsequently signed a bill dropping his nation's nonaligned status in order to pursue NATO membership, but signaled that it would hold a referendum before seeking to join.[96] Ukraine is one of eight countries in Eastern Europe with an Individual Partnership Action Plan. IPAPs began in 2002, and are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.[97]

A 2006 study in the journal Security Studies argued that NATO enlargement contributed to democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe.[98]

Partnerships

Cooperative Archer 2007
Partnership for Peace conducts multinational military exercises like Cooperative Archer, which took place in Tblisi in July 2007 with 500 servicemen from four NATO members, eight PfP members, and Jordan, a Mediterranean Dialogue participant.[99]

The Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation.[100] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[101] The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all fifty participants.[102] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[100] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[103]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16 December 2002. With this agreement, the EU was given the possibility to use NATO assets in case it wanted to act independently in an international crisis, on the condition that NATO itself did not want to act – the so-called "right of first refusal".[104] For example, Article 42(7) of the 1982 Treaty of Lisbon specifies that "If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power". The treaty applies globally to specified territories whereas NATO is restricted under its Article 6 to operations north of the Tropic of Cancer. It provides a "double framework" for the EU countries that are also linked with the PfP programme.

Additionally, NATO cooperates and discusses its activities with numerous other non-NATO members. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. The four participants are also linked through the Gulf Cooperation Council.[105]

Political dialogue with Japan began in 1990, and since then, the Alliance has gradually increased its contact with countries that do not form part of any of these cooperation initiatives.[106] In 1998, NATO established a set of general guidelines that do not allow for a formal institutionalisation of relations, but reflect the Allies' desire to increase cooperation. Following extensive debate, the term "Contact Countries" was agreed by the Allies in 2000. By 2012, the Alliance had broadened this group, which meets to discuss issues such as counter-piracy and technology exchange, under the names "partners across the globe" or "global partners".[107][108] Australia and New Zealand, both contact countries, are also members of the AUSCANNZUKUS strategic alliance, and similar regional or bilateral agreements between contact countries and NATO members also aid cooperation. Colombia is the NATO’s latest partner and Colombia has access to the full range of cooperative activities NATO offers to partners; Colombia became the first and only Latin American country to cooperate with NATO.[109]

Structure

NATO Ministers of Defense and of Foreign Affairs meet at NATO headquarters in Brussels 2010
The North Atlantic Council convening in 2010 with a defence/foreign minister configuration

All agencies and organizations of NATO are integrated into either the civilian administrative or military executive roles. For the most part they perform roles and functions that directly or indirectly support the security role of the alliance as a whole.

The civilian structure includes:

  • The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the body which has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO, consisting of member states' permanent representatives or representatives at higher level (ministers of foreign affairs or defence, or heads of state or government). The NAC convenes at least once a week and takes major decisions regarding NATO's policies. The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.
  • NATO Headquarters, located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[110] The staff at the Headquarters is composed of national delegations of member countries and includes civilian and military liaison offices and officers or diplomatic missions and diplomats of partner countries, as well as the International Staff and International Military Staff filled from serving members of the armed forces of member states.[111] Non-governmental citizens' groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.
Locations of NATO's two strategic commands—Allied Command Transformation (ACT; yellow marks) and Allied Command Operations (ACO; red marks)—the latter of which has Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) as its headquarters. The subordinate centres of ACT and subordinate commands and joint force commands of ACO are also shown, minus the new Joint Force Command - Norfolk.

The military structure includes:

  • The Military Committee (MC) is the body of NATO that is composed of member states' Chiefs of Defence (CHOD) and advises the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on military policy and strategy. The national CHODs are regularly represented in the MC by their permanent Military Representatives (MilRep), who often are two- or three-star flag officers. Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation's armed forces. The MC is led by its chairman, who directs NATO's military operations. Like the Council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of Defence, the most senior military officer in each nation's armed forces. Until 2008 the Military Committee excluded France, due to that country's 1966 decision to remove itself from the NATO Military Command Structure, which it rejoined in 1995. Until France rejoined NATO, it was not represented on the Defence Planning Committee, and this led to conflicts between it and NATO members.[112] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[113] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff
  • Allied Command Operations (ACO) is the NATO command of responsible for NATO operations worldwide.
  • Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces.
  • The Rapid Deployable Corps include Eurocorps, I. German/Dutch Corps, Multinational Corps Northeast, and NATO Rapid Deployable Italian Corps among others, as well as naval High Readiness Forces (HRFs), which all report to Allied Command Operations.[114]

The organizations and agencies of NATO include:

  • Headquarters for the NATO Support Agency will be in Capellen Luxembourg (site of the current NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency – NAMSA).
  • The NATO Communications and Information Agency Headquarters will be in Brussels, as will the very small staff which will design the new NATO Procurement Agency.
  • A new NATO Science and Technology (S&T) Organization will be created before July 2012, consisting of Chief Scientist, a Programme Office for Collaborative S&T, and the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC).
  • The current NATO Standardization Agency will continue and be subject to review by Spring 2014.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) is a body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO, which meets at two session per year. NATO PA interacts directly with the parliamentary structures of the national governments of the member states which appoint Permanent Members, or ambassadors to NATO. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as thirteen associate members. It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies on the NATO Council.

See also

Similar organizations:

References

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Bibliography

Further reading

  • Asmus, Ronald (2010). A Little War That Shook the World: Georgia, Russia, and the Future of the West. NYU. ISBN 978-0-230-61773-5.
  • John Borawski, Thomas-Durell Young, "NATO After 2000: The Future of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance"
  • Dr. Thomas-Durell Young, "Reforming NATO's Military Structures: The Long-Term Study and Its Implications for Land Forces", Strategic Studies Institute, 1 May 1998. Often taken for granted, the Alliance's integrated command structure provides the basis for NATO's collective defense, and increasingly, as seen in Bosnia, its ability to undertake peace support operations. However, the very value by which nations hold the structure has resulted in a difficult and time-consuming reorganization process, which has produced only limited reforms.
  • Dr. Thomas-Durell Young, "Multinational Land Formations and NATO: Reforming Practices and Structures", Strategic Studies Institute, 1 December 1997. Reduced national force structures, new NATO roles and missions emanating from the military implementation of Alliance Strategy and the rapid reaction requirements associated with the embryonic Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF) concept are but three of a multitude of inter-related issues.
  • The current official reference for the NATO Military Command Structure appears to be MC 324/1 (The NATO Military Command Structure, May 2004) and a successor MC 324/2. The previous issue was MC 324, issued on 6 January 1999.
  • NATO Office of Information and Press, NATO Handbook : Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, NATO, Brussels, 1998–99, Second Reprint, ISBN 92-845-0134-2
  • Hastings Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay (1954). "NATO: The First Five Years". Paris: NATO. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  • Pedlow, Dr Gregory W. "Evolution of NATO's Command Structure 1951-2009" (PDF). aco.nato.int. Brussels(?): NATO ACO. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  • Atlantic Council of the United States (August 2003). "Transforming the NATO Military Command Structure: A New Framework for Managing the Alliance's Future" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 October 2012.

External links

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History
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.50 BMG

The .50 Browning Machine Gun (.50 BMG, 12.7×99mm NATO and designated as the 50 Browning by the C.I.P.) is a cartridge developed for the Browning .50 caliber machine gun in the late 1910s, entering official service in 1921. Under STANAG 4383, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. The cartridge itself has been made in many variants: multiple generations of regular ball, tracer, armor-piercing (AP), incendiary, and saboted sub-caliber rounds. The rounds intended for machine guns are made into a continuous belt using metallic links.

The .50 BMG cartridge is also used in long-range target and anti-materiel rifles, as well as other .50-caliber machine guns.

A wide variety of ammunition is available, and the availability of match grade ammunition has increased the usefulness of .50 caliber rifles by allowing more accurate fire than lower quality rounds.

2011 military intervention in Libya

On 19 March 2011, a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya, ostensibly to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. The United Nations intent and voting was to have "an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute crimes against humanity ... imposing a ban on all flights in the country's airspace – a no-fly zone – and tightened sanctions on the Gaddafi regime and its supporters." The resolution was taken in response to events during the Libyan Civil War, and military operations began, with American and British naval forces firing over 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles, the French Air Force, British Royal Air Force, and Royal Canadian Air Force undertaking sorties across Libya and a naval blockade by Coalition forces. French jets launched air strikes against Libyan Army tanks and vehicles. Despite the use of foreign airstrikes, the intervention did not consist of foreign ground troops. The Libyan government response to the campaign was totally ineffectual, with Gaddafi's forces not managing to shoot down a single NATO plane despite the country possessing 30 heavy SAM batteries, 17 medium SAM batteries, 55 light SAM batteries (a total of 400–450 launchers, including 130–150 2K12 Kub launchers and some 9K33 Osa launchers), and 440–600 short-ranged air-defense guns. The official names for the interventions by the coalition members are Opération Harmattan by France; Operation Ellamy by the United Kingdom; Operation Mobile for the Canadian participation and Operation Odyssey Dawn for the United States. Italy initially opposed the intervention but then offered to take part in the operations on the condition that NATO took the leadership of the mission instead of individual countries (particularly France). As this condition was later met, Italy shared its bases and intelligence with the allies.From the beginning of the intervention, the initial coalition of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway, Qatar, Spain, UK and US expanded to nineteen states, with newer states mostly enforcing the no-fly zone and naval blockade or providing military logistical assistance. The effort was initially largely led by France and the United Kingdom, with command shared with the United States. NATO took control of the arms embargo on 23 March, named Operation Unified Protector. An attempt to unify the military command of the air campaign (whilst keeping political and strategic control with a small group), first failed over objections by the French, German, and Turkish governments. On 24 March, NATO agreed to take control of the no-fly zone, while command of targeting ground units remains with coalition forces. The handover occurred on 31 March 2011 at 06:00 UTC (08:00 local time). NATO flew 26,500 sorties since it took charge of the Libya mission on 31 March 2011.

Fighting in Libya ended in late October following the death of Muammar Gaddafi, and NATO stated it would end operations over Libya on 31 October 2011. Libya's new government requested that its mission be extended to the end of the year, but on 27 October, the Security Council voted to end NATO's mandate for military action on 31 October.

5.56×45mm NATO

The 5.56×45mm NATO (official NATO nomenclature 5.56 NATO) is a rimless bottlenecked intermediate cartridge family developed in the late 1970s in Belgium by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 cartridges. On 28 October 1980 under STANAG 4172 it was standardized as the second standard service rifle cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. The 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge family was derived from, but is not identical to, the .223 Remington cartridge designed by Remington Arms in the early 1960s.

7.62×51mm NATO

The 7.62×51mm NATO (official NATO nomenclature 7.62 NATO) is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge developed in the 1950s as a standard for small arms among NATO countries. It should not be confused with the similarly named Russian 7.62×54mmR cartridge, a slightly longer rimmed cartridge.

It was introduced in U.S. service in the M14 rifle and M60 machine gun in the late 1950s. The M14 was superseded in U.S. service as the infantry adopted the 5.56×45mm NATO M16. However, the M14 and many other firearms that use the 7.62×51 round remain in service, especially in the case of various sniper rifles, medium machine guns such as the M240, and various rifles in use by special operations forces. The cartridge is used both by infantry and on mounted and crew-served weapons mounted to vehicles, aircraft and ships.

Although not identical, the 7.62×51mm NATO and the commercial .308 Winchester cartridges are similar enough that they can be loaded into rifles chambered for the other round, but the Winchester .308 cartridges are typically loaded to higher pressures than 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges. Even though the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) does not consider it unsafe to fire the commercial round in weapons chambered for the NATO round, there is significant discussion about compatible chamber and muzzle pressures between the two cartridges based on powder loads and wall thicknesses on the military vs. commercial rounds. While the debate goes both ways, the ATF recommends checking the stamping on the barrel; if unsure, one can consult the maker of the firearm.

9×19mm Parabellum

The 9×19mm Parabellum is a firearms cartridge that was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) (German Weapons and Munitions Factory) for their Luger semi-automatic pistol. For this reason, it is designated as the 9mm Luger by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI), and the 9 mm Luger by the Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (CIP). The name Parabellum is derived from the Latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum ("If you seek peace, prepare for war"), which was the motto of DWM.Under STANAG 4090, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.According to the 2014 edition of Cartridges of the World, the 9×19mm Parabellum is "the world's most popular and widely used military handgun and submachine gun cartridge." In addition to being used by over 60% of police in the U.S., Newsweek credits 9×19mm Parabellum pistol sales with making semiautomatic pistols more popular than revolvers. The popularity of this cartridge can be attributed to the widely held conviction that it is effective in police and self-defense use. Its low cost and wide availability contribute to the caliber's continuing popularity.

International Security Assistance Force

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, established by the United Nations Security Council in December 2001 by Resolution 1386, as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement. Its main purpose was to train the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and assist Afghanistan in rebuilding key government institutions, but was also engaged in the 2001–present war with the Taliban insurgency.

ISAF was initially charged with securing Kabul and the surrounding areas from the Taliban, al Qaeda and factional warlords, to allow for the establishment of the Afghan Transitional Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. In October 2003, the UN Security Council authorized the expansion of the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan, and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country. From 2006 to 2011, ISAF had become increasingly involved in more intensive combat operations in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

Troop contributors included the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and other NATO member states as well as a number of other countries. The intensity of the combat faced by contributing nations varied greatly, with the United States sustaining the most casualties overall. In early 2010, there were at least 700 military bases inside Afghanistan. About 400 of these were used by American‑led NATO forces and 300 by ANSF.ISAF ceased combat operations and was disbanded in December 2014, with some troops remaining behind in an advisory role as part of ISAF's successor organization, the Resolute Support Mission.

Killed in action

Killed in action (KIA) is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own combatants at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to hostile attack. KIAs do not come from incidents such as accidental vehicle crashes and other "non-hostile" events or terrorism. KIA can be applied both to front-line combat troops and to naval, air and support troops. Someone who is killed in action during a particular event is denoted with a

† (dagger) beside their name to signify their death in that event or events.

Further, KIA denotes one to have been killed in action on the battlefield whereas died of wounds (DOW) relates to someone who survived to reach a medical treatment facility. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) also uses DWRIA, rather than DOW, for "died of wounds received in action". However, historically, militaries and historians have used the former acronym.

PKIA means "presumed killed in action" This term is used when personnel are lost in battle, initially listed MIA, but after not being found, are later presumed to have not survived.

Kosovo War

The Kosovo War was an armed conflict in Kosovo that started in late February 1998 and lasted until 11 June 1999. It was fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (by this time consisting of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro), which controlled Kosovo before the war, and the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) from 24 March 1999, and ground support from the Albanian army.The KLA was formed in 1991 and initiated its first campaign in 1995 when it launched attacks targeting Serbian law enforcement in Kosovo. In June 1996 the group claimed responsibility for acts of sabotage targeting Kosovo police stations. In 1997, the organisation acquired a large amount of arms through weapons smuggling from Albania, following a rebellion in which weapons were looted from the country's police and army posts. In early 1998, KLA attacks targeting Yugoslav authorities in Kosovo resulted in an increased presence of Serb paramilitaries and regular forces who subsequently began pursuing a campaign of retribution targeting KLA sympathisers and political opponents; this campaign killed 1,500 to 2,000 civilians and KLA combatants.After attempts at a diplomatic solution failed, NATO intervened, justifying the campaign in Kosovo as a "humanitarian war". This precipitated a mass expulsion of Kosovar Albanians as the Yugoslav forces continued to fight during the aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia (March–June 1999). By 2000, investigations had recovered the remains of almost three thousand victims of all ethnicities, and in 2001 a United Nations administered Supreme Court, based in Kosovo, found that there had been "a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments", but that Yugoslav troops had tried to remove rather than eradicate the Albanian population.The war ended with the Kumanovo Treaty, with Yugoslav and Serb forces agreeing to withdraw from Kosovo to make way for an international presence. The Kosovo Liberation Army disbanded soon after this, with some of its members going on to fight for the UÇPMB in the Preševo Valley and others joining the National Liberation Army (NLA) and Albanian National Army (ANA) during the armed ethnic conflict in Macedonia, while others went on to form the Kosovo Police. After the war, a list was compiled which documented that over 13,500 people were killed or went missing during the two year conflict. The Yugoslav and Serb forces caused the displacement of between 1.2 million to 1.45 million Kosovo Albanians. After the war, around 200,000 Serbs, Romani and other non-Albanians fled Kosovo and many of the remaining civilians were victims of abuse. Serbia became home to the highest number of refugees and IDPs in Europe.The NATO bombing campaign has remained controversial, as it did not gain the approval of the UN Security Council and because it caused at least 488 Yugoslav civilian deaths, including substantial numbers of Kosovar refugees.

Member states of NATO

NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an international alliance that consists of 29 member states from North America and Europe. It was established at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it shall be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.Of the 29 member countries, two are located in North America (Canada and the United States), 26 are in Europe, and one is in Eurasia (Turkey). All members have militaries, except for Iceland which does not have a typical army (but does, however, have a coast guard and a small unit of civilian specialists for NATO operations). Three of NATO's members are nuclear weapons states: France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO has 12 original founding member nation states, and from 18 February 1952 to 6 May 1955, it added three more member nations, and a fourth on 30 May 1982. After the end of the Cold War, NATO added 13 more member nations (10 former Warsaw Pact members and three former Yugoslav republics) from 12 March 1999 to 5 June 2017.

Montenegro

Montenegro ( (listen); Montenegrin: Црна Гора / Crna Gora [tsr̩̂ːnaː ɡɔ̌ra]) is a country in Southeast Europe on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest; Serbia and Kosovo to the east, Albania to the south and Croatia to the southwest. Montenegro has an area of 13,812 square kilometres and a population of 620,079 (2011 census). Its capital Podgorica is one of the twenty-three municipalities in the country. Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital.

During the Early Medieval period, three principalities were located on the territory of modern-day Montenegro: Duklja, roughly corresponding to the southern half; Travunia, the west; and Rascia proper, the north. In 1042, archon Stefan Vojislav led a revolt that resulted in the independence of Duklja from the Byzantine Empire and the establishment of the Vojislavljević dynasty. The independent Principality of Zeta emerged in the 14th and 15th centuries, ruled by the House of Balšić between 1356 and 1421, and by the House of Crnojević between 1431 and 1498, when the name Montenegro started being used for the country. After falling under Ottoman rule, Montenegro regained de facto independence in 1697 under the rule of the House of Petrović-Njegoš, first under the theocratic rule of prince-bishops, before being transformed into a secular principality in 1852. Montenegro's de jure independence was recognised by the Great Powers at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, following the Montenegrin–Ottoman War. In 1905, the country became a kingdom. After World War I, it became part of Yugoslavia. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro together established a federation known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was renamed State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. On the basis of an independence referendum held in May 2006, Montenegro declared independence and the federation peacefully dissolved on 3 June of that year.

Since 1990, the sovereign state of Montenegro has been governed by the Democratic Party of Socialists and its minor coalition partners. Classified by the World Bank as an upper middle-income country, Montenegro is a member of the UN, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Council of Europe, and the Central European Free Trade Agreement. It is a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean.

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia

The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia was the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) military operation against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) during the Kosovo War. The air strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999. The official NATO operation code name was Operation Allied Force; the United States called it "Operation Noble Anvil", while in Yugoslavia, the operation was incorrectly called "Merciful Angel" (Serbian: Милосрдни анђео / Milosrdni anđeo), as a result of a misunderstanding or mistranslation. The bombings continued until an agreement was reached that led to the withdrawal of Yugoslav armed forces from Kosovo, and the establishment of United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), a UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

The bloodshed, ethnic cleansing of thousands of Albanians driving them into neighbouring countries, and the potential of it to destabilize the region provoked intervention by international organizations and agencies, such as the United Nations, NATO, and INGOs.

NATO countries attempted to gain authorisation from the United Nations Security Council for military action, but were opposed by China and Russia that indicated they would veto such a proposal. NATO launched a campaign without UN authorisation, which it described as a humanitarian intervention. The FRY described the NATO campaign as an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign country that was in violation of international law because it did not have UN Security Council support.

The bombing killed between 489 and 528 civilians, and destroyed bridges, industrial plants, public buildings, private businesses, as well as barracks and military installations. In the days after the Yugoslav Army withdrew, over 164,000 Serbs (around 75%) and 24,000 Roma (around 85%) left Kosovo and many of the remaining civilians were victims of abuse. After Kosovo and other Yugoslav Wars, Serbia became home to the highest number of refugees and IDPs (including Kosovo Serbs) in Europe.The NATO bombing marked the second major combat operation in its history, following the 1995 NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was the first time that NATO had used military force without the approval of the UN Security Council.

NATO phonetic alphabet

The NATO phonetic alphabet, officially denoted as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, and also commonly known as the ICAO phonetic alphabet, and in a variation also known officially as the ITU phonetic alphabet and figure code, is the most widely used radiotelephone spelling alphabet. Although often called "phonetic alphabets", spelling alphabets are unrelated to phonetic transcription systems such as the International Phonetic Alphabet. Instead, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) alphabet assigned codewords acrophonically to the letters of the English alphabet, so that critical combinations of letters and numbers are most likely to be pronounced and understood by those who exchange voice messages by radio or telephone, regardless of language differences or the quality of the communication channel.The 26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.Strict adherence to the prescribed spelling words is required in order to avoid the problems of confusion that the spelling alphabet is designed to overcome. As noted in a 1955 NATO memo:

It is known that [the ICAO spelling alphabet] has been prepared only after the most exhaustive tests on a scientific basis by several nations. One of the firmest conclusions reached was that it was not practical to make an isolated change to clear confusion between one pair of letters. To change one word involves reconsideration of the whole alphabet to ensure that the change proposed to clear one confusion does not itself introduce others.

The same memo notes a potential confusion between ZERO and SIERRA is overcome when following the procedures in ACP 125, which specify the use of the procedure word FIGURES in many instances in which digits need to be read.

NATO reporting name

NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment from Russia, China, and historically, the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact). They provide unambiguous and easily understood English words in a uniform manner in place of the original designations, which either may have been unknown to the Western world at the time or easily confused codes. For example, the Russian bomber jet Tupolev Tu-160 is simply called "Blackjack".

NATO maintains lists of the names. The assignment of the names for the Russian and Chinese aircraft was once managed by the five-nation Air Standardization Coordinating Committee (ASCC), but that is no longer the case.

Ranks and insignia of NATO

Ranks and insignia of NATO are combined military insignia used by the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The rank scale is used for specifying posts within NATO.

Ranks and insignia of NATO armies officers

Commissioned officers' rank comparison chart of all land forces of NATO member states.

For the comparison chart of the enlisted, non-commissioned officers (NCO), see:

Ranks and insignia of NATO armies enlisted

Secretary General of NATO

The Secretary General of NATO is an international diplomat who serves as the chief civil servant of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Secretary General is responsible for coordinating the workings of the alliance, leading NATO's international staff, chairing the meetings of the North Atlantic Council and most major committees of the alliance, with the notable exception of the NATO Military Committee, and acting as NATO's spokesperson. However, the Secretary General does not have any military command role, and political, military and strategic decisions ultimately rest with the member states. Together with the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee and the Supreme Allied Commander the Secretary General is one of the foremost officials of NATO. The current Secretary General is Jens Stoltenberg, the former Prime Minister of Norway, who took office on 1 October 2014.The mission of Jens Stoltenberg as secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was extended for another two years. Stoltenberg has been responsible for the past five years ago and is set to lead NATO by 2022.

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) is the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Command Operations (ACO). Since 1967 it has been located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons, but it had previously been located, from 1953, at Rocquencourt, next to Versailles, France. From 1951 to 2003, SHAPE was the headquarters of Allied Command Europe (ACE). Since 2003 it has been the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, controlling all NATO operations worldwide.

SHAPE retained its traditional name with reference to Europe for legal reasons although the geographical scope of its activities was extended in 2003. At that time, NATO's command in Lisbon, historically part of Allied Command Atlantic, was reassigned to ACO. The commander of Allied Command Operations has also retained the title "Supreme Allied Commander Europe" (SACEUR), and continues to be a U.S. four-star general officer or flag officer who also serves as Commander, U.S. European Command.

War in Afghanistan (2001–present)

The War in Afghanistan (or the U.S. War in Afghanistan), code named Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan (2001–14) and Operation Freedom's Sentinel (2015–present), followed the United States invasion of Afghanistan of 7 October 2001. The U.S. was initially supported by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia and later by a coalition of over 40 countries, including all NATO members. The war's public aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda and to deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban from power. Since the initial objectives were completed at the end of 2001, the war mostly involves U.S. and allied Afghan government troops battling Taliban insurgents. The War in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history.Following the September 11 attacks in 2001 on the U.S., which President George W. Bush blamed on Osama bin Laden who was living or hiding in Afghanistan and had already been wanted since 1998, President Bush demanded that the Taliban, who were de facto ruling the country, hand over bin Laden. The Taliban declined to extradite him unless they were provided clear evidence of his involvement in the attacks, which the U.S. dismissed as a delaying tactic and then on 7 October 2001 launched Operation Enduring Freedom with the United Kingdom. The two were later joined by other forces, including the Northern Alliance – the Afghan opposition which had been fighting the Taliban in the ongoing civil war since 1996. By December 2001, the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies were mostly defeated in the country, and at the Bonn Conference new Afghan interim authorities (mostly from the Northern Alliance) elected Hamid Karzai to head the Afghan Interim Administration. The United Nations Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to assist the new authority with securing Kabul, which after a 2002 loya jirga (grand assembly) became the Afghan Transitional Administration. A nationwide rebuilding effort was also made following the end of the totalitarian Taliban regime. In the popular elections of 2004, Karzai was elected president of the country, now named the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. NATO became involved in ISAF in August 2003, and later that year assumed leadership of it. At this stage, ISAF included troops from 43 countries with NATO members providing the majority of the force. One portion of U.S. forces in Afghanistan operated under NATO command; the rest remained under direct U.S. command.

Following defeat in the initial invasion, the Taliban was reorganized by its leader Mullah Omar, and launched an insurgency against the Afghan government and ISAF in 2003. Though outgunned and outnumbered, insurgents from the Taliban (and its ally Haqqani Network) - and to a lesser extent Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin and other groups - waged asymmetric warfare with guerrilla raids and ambushes in the countryside, suicide attacks against urban targets, and turncoat killings against coalition forces. The Taliban exploited weaknesses in the Afghan government to reassert influence across rural areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan. From 2006 the Taliban made significant gains and showed an increased willingness to commit atrocities against civilians – ISAF responded by increasing troops for counter-insurgency operations to "clear and hold" villages. Violence sharply escalated from 2007 to 2009. Troop numbers began to surge in 2009 and continued to increase through 2011 when roughly 140,000 foreign troops operated under ISAF and U.S. command in Afghanistan. Of these 100,000 were from the U.S. On 1 May 2011, United States Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan. NATO leaders in 2012 commended an exit strategy for withdrawing their forces, and later the United States announced that its major combat operations would end in December 2014, leaving a residual force in the country. In October 2014, British forces handed over the last bases in Helmand to the Afghan military, officially ending their combat operations in the war. On 28 December 2014, NATO formally ended ISAF combat operations in Afghanistan and officially transferred full security responsibility to the Afghan government. The NATO-led Operation Resolute Support was formed the same day as a successor to ISAF. As of May 2017, over 13,000 foreign troops remain in Afghanistan without any formal plans to withdraw, and continue their fight against the Taliban, which remains by far the largest single group fighting against the Afghan government and foreign troops.Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the war. Over 4,000 ISAF soldiers and civilian contractors, over 62,000 Afghan national security forces were killed, as well as over 31,000 civilians and even more Taliban.

Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact, formally known as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, was a collective defence treaty signed in Warsaw, Poland between the Soviet Union and seven Eastern Bloc satellite states of Central and Eastern Europe in May 1955, during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO in 1955 per the London and Paris Conferences of 1954, but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.The Warsaw Pact was established as a balance of power or counterweight to NATO; there was no direct military confrontation between them. Instead, the conflict was fought on an ideological basis and in proxy wars. Both NATO and the Warsaw Pact led to the expansion of military forces and their integration into the respective blocs. Its largest military engagement was the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 (with the participation of all Pact nations except Albania, Romania, and East Germany), which, in part, resulted in Albania withdrawing from the pact less than a month later. The Pact began to unravel in its entirety with the spread of the Revolutions of 1989 through the Eastern Bloc, beginning with the Solidarity movement in Poland and its electoral success in June 1989.

East Germany withdrew from the Pact following the reunification of Germany in 1990. On 25 February 1991, at a meeting in the Hungarian People's Republic, the Pact was declared at an end by the defence and foreign ministers of the six remaining member states . The USSR itself was dissolved in December 1991, although most of the former Soviet republics formed the Collective Security Treaty Organization shortly thereafter. Throughout the following 20 years, the seven Warsaw Pact countries outside the USSR each joined NATO (East Germany through its reunification with West Germany; and the Czech Republic and Slovakia as separate countries), as did the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) that had been part of the Soviet Union.

  
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