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NATO – Wikipedia

Coordinates: 505234N 42519E / 50.87611N 4.42194E / 50.87611; 4.42194

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO ; French: Organisation du Trait de l’Atlantique Nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between several North American and European states based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4April 1949.[4][5]

NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. Three NATO members (the United States, France and the United Kingdom) are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and are officially nuclear-weapon states. NATO Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

NATO is an alliance that consists of 29 independent member countries across North America and Europe. An additional 21countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[6] Members’ defense spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP.[7]

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization’s member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US Supreme Commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact, that formed in 1955. 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 invasiondoubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization became involved in the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article5 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,[8] 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[9] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times: by Turkey in 2003 over the Iraq War; twice in 2012 by Turkey over 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;[10] in 2014 by Poland, following the Russian intervention in Crimea;[11] and again by Turkey in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[12]

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has brought 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, and Macedonia as aspiring members.

The Treaty of Brussels was a mutual defence treaty against the Soviet threat at the start of the Cold War. It was signed on 17March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom. It was the precursor to NATO. The Soviet threat became immediate with the Berlin Blockade in 1948, leading to the creation of the Western European Union’s Defence Organization in September 1948. However, the parties were too weak militarily to counter the military power of the USSR. In addition the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’tat by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin reiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing in the United States, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).

In 1948, European leaders met with U.S. defense, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association. Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by U.S. President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C. on 4April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[16] The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”. Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[18]

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from ArticleIV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some overseas departments of France.[19]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting US practices. The roughly 1300Standardization Agreements (STANAG) codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.6251mm NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries.[20]Fabrique Nationale de Herstal’s FAL, which used the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, was adopted by 75 countries, including many outside of NATO. Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.[22]

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together, and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans.Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was formed to direct forces in Europe, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[24] In September 1950, the NATO Military Committee called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon. The Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia. Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[27]

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[28] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish naval forces.[29]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[24] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[30][31]

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe.[32] The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

On 17 December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first. This gave SACEUR the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of the US Strategic Air Command.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[33] A major reason for Germany’s entry into the alliance was that without German manpower, it would have been impossible to field enough conventional forces to resist a Soviet invasion. One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on 14May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Three major exercises were held concurrently in the northern autumn of 1957. Operation Counter Punch, Operation Strikeback, and Operation Deep Water were the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.[35]

NATO’s unity was breached early in its history with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle’s presidency of France.[36] De Gaulle protested against the USA’s strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between it and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK.

Considering the response to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began constructing an independent defence force for his country. He wanted to give France, in the event of an East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a larger NATOWarsaw Pact war.[38] In February 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command, and later banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the air force bases that it had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command. In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was later quoted as asking de Gaulle whether his order included “the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?” This withdrawal forced the relocation of SHAPE from Rocquencourt, near Paris, to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16October 1967.[42] France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Warsaw Pact attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout the Cold War. A series of secret accords between US and French officials, the LemnitzerAilleret Agreements, detailed how French forces would dovetail back into NATO’s command structure should East-West hostilities break out.[43]

France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 StrasbourgKehl summit.[44]

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1July 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue dtente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.

On 12December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCM cruise missiles and PershingII theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy. Similarly, in 198384, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war. This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer. On 30May 1982, NATO gained a new member when the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; Spain’s membership was confirmed by referendum in 1986. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[49]

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their 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.[50] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[51] 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.

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[52]Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[53]Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[53] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,” and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[55] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[56]

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 4April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[43][57]

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. On 8July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. At that time the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[58] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[59]

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished. In 1997, NATO reached agreement on a significant downsizing of its command structure from 65 headquarters to just 20.[60] The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague summit on 21November, the first summit in a former Comecon country. On 19June 2003, a further restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, United States, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.[61] In March 2004, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing jet fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Eight multinational jet fighters are based in Lithuania, the number of which was increased from four in 2014.[62] Also at the 2004 Istanbul summit, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[63]

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[64] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[65]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[66] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[67][68] Following the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[69][70]

At the 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defense.[71] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[72][73][74] On 15 June 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[75]Montenegro became the 29th and newest member of NATO on 5 June 2017, amid strong objections from Russia.[76][77]

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.[78]

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 9October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12April 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 28February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Gorade safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Gorade by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction. This resulted in the taking of 150U.N. personnel hostage on 14April.[81][82] On 16April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Gorade by Serb forces. A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[84]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[84] 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. Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[86]

In an effort to stop Slobodan Miloevi’s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[87] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24March 1999.[88] 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.[89]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Miloevi finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11June, Miloevi 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.[89][90] In AugustSeptember 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[91] As of 1 December 2013[update], 4,882KFOR soldiers, representing 31countries, continue to operate in the area.[92]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the U.N. 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.[93] 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.[94]

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article5 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 4October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[95] 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 4October 2001.[96]

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 11August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[97]

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,[98] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[99]

On 31July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[100] 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.[101] 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.[102] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support 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.[103] 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 17December 2011.[104]

Beginning on 17August 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.[105][106] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[107]

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. Acoalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards. On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group1,[108] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[109] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries”.[108]

On 24March, 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.[110][111] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[112] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[113] 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.[114][115][116] 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.[117] The German foreign ministry pointed to “aconsiderable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[118]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1August.[119] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[120][121] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[122] 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.[123][124] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[125] Following a coup d’tat attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[126]

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.[128]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[129] Twelve of these twenty-nine are original members who joined in 1949, while the other seventeen joined in one of eight enlargement rounds. Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[130] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[131]

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed]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.[43][57]

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 the Republic of Macedonia. In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, NATO’s most recent members, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[132] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[133]Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[134] though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[135]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[53] NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[136] though they have also been criticised in the West.[137]Ukraine’s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “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.[138] 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.[139] 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.[140]

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.[142] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[143] 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.[144] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[142] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[145]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16December 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 actthe so-called “right of first refusal”.[146] 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.[147]

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.[148] 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”.[149][150]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 NATOs 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.[151]

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard LopoldIII/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[152] A new 750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[153] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017.[154] The 250,000 square metres (2,700,000sqft) complex was designed by Jo Palma and home to a staff of 3800.[155] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[42]

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.[157] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

While the cost of the new headquarters structure was not mentioned on the NATO website’s “NATOs new headquarters” page dated May 23, 2017,[158]Daniel Halper, citing the NATO website’s February 2017 “New NATO HQ” page,[159] reported in the May 25, 2017 issue of The Washington Free Beacon that the cost was $1.23 billion.[160]

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 29 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 29 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[161] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministers, defence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[162]

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO 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.

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other time during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts 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. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[165] 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.

The Assembly is the political integration body of NATO that generates political policy agenda setting for the NATO Council via reports of its five committees:

These reports provide impetus and direction as agreed upon by the national governments of the member states through their own national political processes and influencers to the NATO administrative and executive organizational entities.

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[166] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[61]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[167] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic, since 2015.

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.[168] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[169] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europe and its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[170]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[171] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including 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.[172]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[173]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on 1 December 2015.[174] Headquarters Multinational Division South East (HQ MND-SE) is a North Atlantic Council (NAC) activated NATO military body under operational command (OPCOM) of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) which may be employed and deployed in peacetime, crisis and operations by NATO on the authority of the appropriate NATO Military Authorities by means of an exercise or operational tasking issued in accordance with the Command and Control Technical Arrangement (C2 TA) and standard NATO procedures.

During August 2016, it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland. This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the U.S.) to Estonia.

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NATO – Wikipedia

‘Turkey no longer acting as US deputy in NATO’: Analyst – Press TV

This file photo taken on September 02, 2016 shows Turkish soldiers driving back to Turkey from the Syrian-Turkish border town of Jarabulus. (Photo by AFP)

Turkeys plan for a joint operation with Iran against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants is a big deal for the United States because Washington does not like members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to act independently, says an analyst.

Americas tentacles are wide and Turkey, a NATO member who is now engaged in security operations with Iran that will almost certainly be against the mutual Kurdish threat, this is a big deal to the United States because the United States does not have partners. It has dependents and it has deputies, Adam Garrie, editor of theDuran.com, told Press TVs On The News Line program.

Turkey is no longer acting like a deputy in NATO. It is acting like a free and sovereign nation and President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan will soon find out that America does not like countries in NATO exercising their own prerogative even when it is clear it is in their own self-interest as this rapprochement, as these good relations between Ankara and Tehran certainly are, he added.

Turkeys President Erdogan said on Monday that a joint Turkish-Iranian operation against Kurdish militants was “always on the agenda.”

However, Irans Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has dismissed reports about plans for a joint operation with Turkey against the PKK militants outside the Iranian borders.

Turkey has been fighting against the outlawed PKK militants for decades.

Iran is also fighting PJAK, a PKK offshoot, in its northwestern border region with Turkey. Iranian forces killed five PJAK terrorists in an ambush there last June.

PJAK randomly carries out hit-and-run attacks on Iranian targets, after which they retreat to their lairs in Iraq and Turkey.

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‘Turkey no longer acting as US deputy in NATO’: Analyst – Press TV

NATO representative in Kyiv: We support Ukraine every day – Deutsche Welle

DW: On Thursday Ukraine will be celebrating the 26th anniversary of its independence. For the first time, troops from NATO countries will be participating in a military parade in Kyiv. The second new developmentis that defense ministers from several NATO countries will be attending, including James Mattis from the US. Why now?

Barbora Maronkova: To be honest, I can’t answer why NATO countries are taking part this year in particular. But we are very pleased, because we also celebrated another event this year, which was the 20th anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine distinctive partnership [the Charter was signed in July 1997 ed.]. And we have been working very hard to help Ukraine modernize its armed forces, meet NATO standards and achieve interoperability. In that sense, the participation of military colleagues from both NATO allies and partner countries is a symbolic example of a strong partnership between NATO and Ukraine.

Barbora Maronkova serves as director of the NATO Information and Documentation Center in Kyiv, Ukraine

The US is a key country forNATO. During the previous administration of Barack Obama, the impression was given that Washington didn’t want to provoke Russia by visiting Ukraine. Obama never visitedKyiv, his defense secretary never participated in the Independence Day parade. This year there are several NATO ministers attending the parade, which might be interpreted by Russia as a provocation. Does this mean that NATO no longer cares about Russia’s reaction?

For us, what is important is that NATO partner countries are independent and sovereign nations. If they want to have a military parade with colleagues from other countries, or if they participate in NATO’s military training and exercises, it is their sovereign decision. Ukraine has been participating in NATO’s military exercises for the last few years, and many NATO countries have participated in exercises in Ukraine. For example, every year we have a naval exercise called “Sea Breeze.”

Do you think that this large NATO presence on Independence Day in Kyiv has something to do with Donald Trump’s new administration trying to take a different course?

I wouldn’t want to speculate on what the US administration is doing. Of course, US Defense Secretary Mattis’ visit to Kyiv is important, as was the visit bythe Secretary of State in July. We are happy that various NATO allies are bilaterally supporting Ukraine, just as NATO is providing strong support.

Read more: Tillerson’s sharp words for Moscow during Ukraine visit

Read more: Ukraine’s Poroshenko meets Donald Trump

NATO has intensified its support for Ukraine since the Russian annexation of Crimea 2014. What are the results so far?

We have to look at the overall package of reforms that Ukraine has been undertaking since 2014. Any expert would agree that the pace and intensity of reforms in the past three years were unprecedented. NATO is focusing on defense, security, modernization and standardization. It’s a wide range including logistics, defense procurement, command structures and training. We see progress in some areas more than in others. But we also have the knowledge that such reforms are very difficult and painful under normal circumstances, let alone in a country like Ukraine. Itis facing an aggressive neighbor and part of its territory has been illegally annexed. There are separatists in the east of Ukraine, it is facing hybrid warfare and cyberattacks. NATO offers assistance on a daily basis.

What are beacon projects from NATO’s point of view?

One of the issues that has achieved good results, according to our advisors, has been improving command structures and communication. There has been some good cooperation in the area of cyber defense. We also launched some very impressive projects in the area of medical rehabilitation and are now working together with our Ukrainian partners on psychological rehabilitation, which is a big issue.

NATO does not want to get involved in a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. How difficult is it against this background for NATO to help Ukraine?

I don’t feel or see any difficulties. We have a team of nearly 50 people working here as advisors in variousformats. There are many other advisors who are directly embedded in various ministries and institutions on a bilateral basis. We talk regularly with Ukrainian citizens, journalists and parliamentarians. I see a positive reaction to our support here.

Read more: NATO skeptical over Russia’s Zapad military exercise

Support for NATO within the Ukrainian population has grown in recent years. Polls put it at 43 to 55 percent, some even higher. What is your experience?

The increased support is obviously a result of the security situation in Ukraine. It is, however, very useful to our work. It allows us to go out more and engage with people, and openly discuss what NATO is and what it is not. There are many Cold War stereotypes that are still prevalent in Ukraine.

Barbora Maronkova is the director of the NATO Information and Documentation Centerin Kyiv, Ukraine.

The interview was conducted by Roman Goncharenko.

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NATO representative in Kyiv: We support Ukraine every day – Deutsche Welle

Foreign Minister avuolu attends NATO meeting in Warsaw – Daily Sabah

Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlt avuolu is visiting Poland today in order to participate in the next meeting of regular political military consultations among the foreign ministers of Turkey, Romania and Poland to be held in Warsaw.

The first round of the trilateral meetings was held in Warsaw on June 9, 2016 and was followed by a second meeting in Ankara on Aug. 25, 2016. The three ministers are expected to exchange views on enhancing NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism, as well as on the security situation on NATO’s eastern and southern flanks in the light of the decisions taken by NATO Heads of State and Government at the 2014 Wales, 2016 Warsaw and 2017 Brussels Summit meetings. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who is envisaged to be in Warsaw at the time of the trilateral consultations, is also expected to participate in a session of the meeting.

On the occasion of his visit to Poland, Minister avuolu is also expected to get together with Turkish citizens in Poland.During the last year’s meeting in Warsaw, President Erdoan had underlined the need for NATO to be more active as global security threats change and stated his expectation of the trans-Atlantic community to put more effort in supporting Turkey against the threats in the region.

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Foreign Minister avuolu attends NATO meeting in Warsaw – Daily Sabah

King of Norway visits NATO in Norfolk – 13newsnow.com

His Majesty King Harald V of Norway visits the NATO Allied Command headquarters in Norfolk, to meet with Norwegian personnel. Video courtesy NATO

Staff , WVEC 3:30 PM. EDT August 24, 2017

King Harald V of Norway (left) is welcomed at NATO Allied Command Transformation headquarters in Norfolk.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — The King of Norway was in Norfolk on Thursday, visiting NATO Allied Command Transformation headquarters.

During his visit, King Harald V met with Norwegian officials, and was briefed on current NATO issues.

That includes the upcoming multi-national NATO exercise Trident Juncture, taking place next year.

2017 WVEC-TV

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King of Norway visits NATO in Norfolk – 13newsnow.com

Ukraine marks Independence Day with parade attended by NATO units – TASS

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

KIEV, August 24. /TASS/. Downtown Kiev played host to a military parade on occasion of the 26th anniversary of Ukraines independence on Thursday and was attended for the first time by soldiers from NATO member-states.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak met the parades participants in an American military Hummer instead of a traditional open-top Soviet Gaz Chaika.

Some 4,500 servicemen marched down Kievs main thoroughfare, Khreshchatyk, which included more than 230 representatives of NATO and over 1,000 participants from the special operation in Donbass. The countrys top brass and delegations from nine countries – the US, the UK, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Montenegro, Estonia, Turkey and Moldova also attended the parade at Ukraines invitation.

This year military hardware was not displayed at the parade. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry instead held an exhibition of the army equipment on Khreshchatyk titled “The Power of Unbowed.” Among 67 exhibits were armored self-propelled guns, tanks, armored combat vehicles and trucks. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said some pieces of this equipment would be sent to the Donbass operation zone shortly after the exhibition.

Addressing the crowd, Poroshenko reiterated that Kiev was on track towards integrating into the EU and NATO. “Theres only one road ahead of Ukraine now – a wide Euro-Atlantic highway, which leads to EU membership and NATO membership,” the president said, recalling that Ukraine already enjoys visa-free travel to EU countries. Poroshenko said that Ukraine is continuing to reform its armed forces in line with NATO standards and traditionally pinned the blame for the Donbass conflict on Russia.

The defense chief said that 28 units of the countrys armed forces already comply with NATO standards.

Some 7,000 law enforcement officers provided Kiev with security on Thursday.

In other media

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Ukraine marks Independence Day with parade attended by NATO units – TASS

NATO Commander Visits Osher – Valley News

Hanover Retired Adm. James Stavridis said on Thursday that he approves of President Donald Trumps recent commitment to keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

But the former NATO supreme allied commander in Europe during five years of the Obama administration said he is also disappointed in Trumps rhetoric, particularly remarks made this week at a rally Phoenix.

What is deeply disturbing to me is that the same president, in the space of 72 hours, can give such dissimilar speeches, Stavridis told more than 750 people gathered at Dartmouth Colleges Spaulding Auditorium.

Stavridis, who is now the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and was speaking as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute series, said Trumps statements regarding Afghanistan were on script, on message, sensible and, I think, the right policy outcome.

On Monday, Trump endorsed the Pentagons plan to boost troop levels to help the Afghan government combat Taliban and al-Qaidas influence in the country. Although exact troop numbers havent been announced, congressional officials told the Washington Post they expect about 4,000 more to bolster the current force of 8,500 service members in the country.

Stavridis explained that the decision was the least damaging of three potential ways to address ongoing hostiles.

The president could elect to withdraw completely, potentially throwing the nation further into chaos, or drastically increase troop levels to a point where the Taliban could be defeated, Stavridis explained. Small troop increases keep us in the game, keep the pressure on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table, he said.

However, Stavridis said Trumps announcement on Afghanistan was the exact opposite of a speech made the next day in Phoenix, where the president railed against the dishonest media and its coverage of his response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville this month.

After the rally, Trump blamed many sides for the unrest, which resulted in the death of a woman who allegedly was rundown by a white supremacists who attended the event and rammed his car into counterprotesters.

It was hard to equate that speech with values that we should be sharing as Americans, Stavridis told the audience, describing Trumps Phoenix remarks as anti-immigrant and fueled by a deep, bitter hatred of the media.

Stavridis, who was vetted as a potential running mate to presidential contender Hillary Clinton, said he began following Trumps remarks with horror during 2016.

Trumps statements on the campaign trail advocating for South Korea and Japan to obtain nuclear weapons, disparagement of NATO and talk of a trade war with China were all worrying, he said.

Thus far, hes done none of those things, Stavridis said, adding the trio of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are likely responsible for keeping the president in check.

Known to some as the generals, all three are longtime military officers who can be trusted, Stavridis said.

I think as long as they continue to be there, I think we can be confident, he said. These are three tough, serious people who can put up with a lot.

Stavridis spent the majority of his time at Dartmouth advocating soft power approaches to combating the countrys security issues.

For centuries, he said, nations have tried to secure themselves by building walls. But that strategy is becoming less likely to work in the age of Internet connectivity and global risks.

For instance, Stavridis was working in the Pentagon during the 9/11 attacks. He showed a photo of his office window just a few hundred feet from the crash site.

Here I was behind every imaginable wall, Stavridis said. Was I safe behind all those walls? No.

Violent extremism, pandemics, cyber attacks and global power politics are not issues the country can build a wall around, he said.

The number one thing we could do right, we could listen, Stavridis said. We could listen better.

The countrys leaders should do more to promote goodwill efforts in developing countries, he said. Everything from sending out hospital ships to teaching Afghan soldiers how to read helps build trust and a more favorable view of the U.S., according to Stavridis.

That creates real safety in our time because it changes the perception, the view of our nation, he said, while also advocating for a stronger U.S. military presence and stronger alliances.

Were very good at launching missiles. We need to get better at launching ideas, Stavridis said.

The admiral also took time to address current events, including two recent collisions between Navy vessels and merchant ships in the Pacific, saying the incidents scream systemic problem.

The Navy on Thursday called off the search for sailors missing after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker earlier in the week as it was traveling to a port call in Singapore, according to The Associated Press.

Ten sailors initially were identified as missing after the accident, and five others were injured. At least one sailor was later confirmed killed, the AP reported.

The incident followed an accident in June when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan. Seven sailors were killed in that accident, and the commander of the 7th Fleet was removed from his post this week.

Stavridis, who once captained the Navy destroyer USS Barry, said piloting boats at night can be visually disorienting. While thats usually counteracted by advanced radar and warning systems, officers can lean too heavily on their visuals and not rely on their electronics, he said.

But with so many incidents occurring in such a short period of time, Stavridis said, this is not simple disorientation on an individual bridge or two.

Instead, he said, there are several institutional factors that could have contributed to the accidents. Captains might have taken the wrong leadership approaches, or equipment and training might have failed, Stavridis said. Its also possible the crews were overworked or the Navy itself is overstretched.

I think well find the McCain and the Fitzgerald will be a combination of those factors, he said. The Navy has some real soul searching to do.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

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NATO Commander Visits Osher – Valley News

NATO – News: NATO-funded Serbian researchers develop biofuel … – NATO HQ (press release)

Eight Serbian scientists are leading a research project to develop the commercial production of biofuel from algae. The pioneering project is supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme and is carried out by Belgrades Institute for Multidisciplinary Research in cooperation with Manchester University in the United Kingdom and Baylor University in the United States.

I expect that our results will encourage the development of green technologies in the energy sector, said the projects leader Ivan Spasojevic. Successful completion of this project will, I believe, make it possible for fuel prices to drop by 1/5 in the next five years, he explained.

The research into producing biofuels from algae will last three years. The project gives us exactly what we need, equipment and supplies and scholarships for the most gifted young researchers who remain in the country thanks to that, Spasojevic said.

Serbia has benefitted from several NATO SPS activities since 2007, including projects on defence against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents, counter-terrorism, and raising the profile of women in peace and security. We have great experience with our Serbian partners who are engaged on several important projects, said the Chief of the NATO Office in Belgrade, Brigadier Cesare Marinelli. NATO SPS projects have helped produce seismic charts for the Western Balkan countries, improve the protection of the Sava river water resources, and Serbian and German scientists, for example, are working on developing a decontamination and demining robot called T-Whex, Marinelli added, inviting the countrys academics to apply for research in areas such as cyber defence and energy security.

In addition to the SPS Programme, NATO countries have invested over 15 million Euros in several trust funds which are helping Serbia safely destroy obsolete weapons, landmines and ammunition, and retrain military personnel for civilian jobs.

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NATO – News: NATO-funded Serbian researchers develop biofuel … – NATO HQ (press release)

NATO – Wikipedia

Coordinates: 505234N 42519E / 50.87611N 4.42194E / 50.87611; 4.42194

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO ; French: Organisation du Trait de l’Atlantique Nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between several North American and European states based on the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4April 1949.[4][5]

NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. Three NATO members (the United States, France and the United Kingdom) are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and are officially nuclear-weapon states. NATO Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

NATO is an alliance that consists of 29 independent member countries across North America and Europe. An additional 21countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.[6] Members’ defense spending is supposed to amount to at least 2% of GDP.[7]

NATO was little more than a political association until the Korean War galvanized the organization’s member states, and an integrated military structure was built up under the direction of two US Supreme Commanders. The course of the Cold War led to a rivalry with nations of the Warsaw Pact, that formed in 1955. 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 invasiondoubts that led to the development of the independent French nuclear deterrent and the withdrawal of France from NATO’s military structure in 1966 for 30 years. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany in 1989, the organization became involved in the breakup of Yugoslavia, and conducted its first military interventions in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995 and later Yugoslavia in 1999. Politically, the organization sought better relations with former Warsaw Pact countries, several of which joined the alliance in 1999 and 2004.

Article5 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,[8] 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[9] and in 2011 enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya in accordance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. The less potent Article 4, which merely invokes consultation among NATO members, has been invoked five times: by Turkey in 2003 over the Iraq War; twice in 2012 by Turkey over 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;[10] in 2014 by Poland, following the Russian intervention in Crimea;[11] and again by Turkey in 2015 after threats by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to its territorial integrity.[12]

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has brought 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, and Macedonia as aspiring members.

The Treaty of Brussels was a mutual defence treaty against the Soviet threat at the start of the Cold War. It was signed on 17March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom. It was the precursor to NATO. The Soviet threat became immediate with the Berlin Blockade in 1948, leading to the creation of the Western European Union’s Defence Organization in September 1948. However, the parties were too weak militarily to counter the military power of the USSR. In addition the 1948 Czechoslovak coup d’tat by the Communists had overthrown a democratic government and British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin reiterated that the best way to prevent another Czechoslovakia was to evolve a joint Western military strategy. He got a receptive hearing in the United States, especially considering American anxiety over Italy (and the Italian Communist Party).

In 1948, European leaders met with U.S. defense, military and diplomatic officials at the Pentagon, under U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s orders, exploring a framework for a new and unprecedented association. Talks for a new military alliance resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed by U.S. President Harry Truman in Washington, D.C. on 4April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states plus the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.[16] The first NATO Secretary General, Lord Ismay, stated in 1949 that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”. Popular support for the Treaty was not unanimous, and some Icelanders participated in a pro-neutrality, anti-membership riot in March 1949. The creation of NATO can be seen as the primary institutional consequence of a school of thought called Atlanticism which stressed the importance of trans-Atlantic cooperation.[18]

The members agreed that an armed attack against any one of them in Europe or North America would be considered an attack against them all. Consequently, they agreed that, if an armed attack occurred, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence, would assist the member being attacked, taking such action as it deemed necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. The treaty does not require members to respond with military action against an aggressor. Although obliged to respond, they maintain the freedom to choose the method by which they do so. This differs from ArticleIV of the Treaty of Brussels, which clearly states that the response will be military in nature. It is nonetheless assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. The treaty was later clarified to include both the member’s territory and their “vessels, forces or aircraft” above the Tropic of Cancer, including some overseas departments of France.[19]

The creation of NATO brought about some standardization of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting US practices. The roughly 1300Standardization Agreements (STANAG) codified many of the common practices that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.6251mm NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries.[20]Fabrique Nationale de Herstal’s FAL, which used the 7.62mm NATO cartridge, was adopted by 75 countries, including many outside of NATO. Also, aircraft marshalling signals were standardized, so that any NATO aircraft could land at any NATO base. Other standards such as the NATO phonetic alphabet have made their way beyond NATO into civilian use.[22]

The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat of all Communist countries working together, and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans.Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) was formed to direct forces in Europe, and began work under Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1951.[24] In September 1950, the NATO Military Committee called for an ambitious buildup of conventional forces to meet the Soviets, subsequently reaffirming this position at the February 1952 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon. The Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to ninety-six divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly thirty-five divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. At this time, NATO could call on about fifteen ready divisions in Central Europe, and another ten in Italy and Scandinavia. Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organization’s chief civilian was created, and Lord Ismay was eventually appointed to the post.[27]

In September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Exercise Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway.[28] Other major exercises that followed included Exercise Grand Slam and Exercise Longstep, naval and amphibious exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Italic Weld, a combined air-naval-ground exercise in northern Italy, Grand Repulse, involving the British Army on the Rhine (BAOR), the Netherlands Corps and Allied Air Forces Central Europe (AAFCE), Monte Carlo, a simulated atomic air-ground exercise involving the Central Army Group, and Weldfast, a combined amphibious landing exercise in the Mediterranean Sea involving American, British, Greek, Italian and Turkish naval forces.[29]

Greece and Turkey also joined the alliance in 1952, forcing a series of controversial negotiations, in which the United States and Britain were the primary disputants, over how to bring the two countries into the military command structure.[24] While this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements initially made by the Western European Union to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion, including Operation Gladio, were transferred to NATO control. Ultimately unofficial bonds began to grow between NATO’s armed forces, such as the NATO Tiger Association and competitions such as the Canadian Army Trophy for tank gunnery.[30][31]

In 1954, the Soviet Union suggested that it should join NATO to preserve peace in Europe.[32] The NATO countries, fearing that the Soviet Union’s motive was to weaken the alliance, ultimately rejected this proposal.

On 17 December 1954, the North Atlantic Council approved MC 48, a key document in the evolution of NATO nuclear thought. MC 48 emphasized that NATO would have to use atomic weapons from the outset of a war with the Soviet Union whether or not the Soviets chose to use them first. This gave SACEUR the same prerogatives for automatic use of nuclear weapons as existed for the commander-in-chief of the US Strategic Air Command.

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway at the time.[33] A major reason for Germany’s entry into the alliance was that without German manpower, it would have been impossible to field enough conventional forces to resist a Soviet invasion. One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, which was signed on 14May 1955 by the Soviet Union, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and East Germany, as a formal response to this event, thereby delineating the two opposing sides of the Cold War.

Three major exercises were held concurrently in the northern autumn of 1957. Operation Counter Punch, Operation Strikeback, and Operation Deep Water were the most ambitious military undertaking for the alliance to date, involving more than 250,000 men, 300 ships, and 1,500 aircraft operating from Norway to Turkey.[35]

NATO’s unity was breached early in its history with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle’s presidency of France.[36] De Gaulle protested against the USA’s strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between it and the United Kingdom. In a memorandum sent to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on 17 September 1958, he argued for the creation of a tripartite directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the US and the UK.

Considering the response to be unsatisfactory, de Gaulle began constructing an independent defence force for his country. He wanted to give France, in the event of an East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a larger NATOWarsaw Pact war.[38] In February 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean Fleet from NATO command, and later banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil. This caused the United States to transfer two hundred military aircraft out of France and return control of the air force bases that it had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defence by removing France’s Atlantic and Channel fleets from NATO command. In 1966, all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command, and all non-French NATO troops were asked to leave France. US Secretary of State Dean Rusk was later quoted as asking de Gaulle whether his order included “the bodies of American soldiers in France’s cemeteries?” This withdrawal forced the relocation of SHAPE from Rocquencourt, near Paris, to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16October 1967.[42] France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Warsaw Pact attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout the Cold War. A series of secret accords between US and French officials, the LemnitzerAilleret Agreements, detailed how French forces would dovetail back into NATO’s command structure should East-West hostilities break out.[43]

France announced their return to full participation at the 2009 StrasbourgKehl summit.[44]

During most of the Cold War, NATO’s watch against the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact did not actually lead to direct military action. On 1July 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged. In May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue dtente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact’s offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.

On 12December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US GLCM cruise missiles and PershingII theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position regarding nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy. Similarly, in 198384, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles tasked to hit military targets such as tank formations in the event of war. This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe, and support for the deployment wavered as many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained.

The membership of the organization at this time remained largely static. In 1974, as a consequence of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure but, with Turkish cooperation, were readmitted in 1980. The Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina did not result in NATO involvement because article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty specifies that collective self-defence is only applicable to attacks on member state territories north of the Tropic of Cancer. On 30May 1982, NATO gained a new member when the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance; Spain’s membership was confirmed by referendum in 1986. At the peak of the Cold War, 16 member nations maintained an approximate strength of 5,252,800 active military, including as many as 435,000 forward deployed US forces, under a command structure that reached a peak of 78 headquarters, organized into four echelons.[49]

The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO and caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature, tasks, and their 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.[50] At that time, European countries accounted for 34 percent of NATO’s military spending; by 2012, this had fallen to 21 percent.[51] 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.

The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with German reunification on 3October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons would not be stationed in the east, and there are diverging views on whether negotiators gave commitments regarding further NATO expansion east.[52]Jack Matlock, American ambassador to the Soviet Union during its final years, said that the West gave a “clear commitment” not to expand, and declassified documents indicate that Soviet negotiators were given the impression that NATO membership was off the table for countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, or Poland.[53]Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the West German foreign minister at that time, said in a conversation with Eduard Shevardnadze that “[f]or us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east.”[53] In 1996, Gorbachev wrote in his Memoirs, that “during the negotiations on the unification of Germany they gave assurances that NATO would not extend its zone of operation to the east,” and repeated this view in an interview in 2008.[55] According to Robert Zoellick, a State Department official involved in the Two Plus Four negotiating process, this appears to be a misperception, and no formal commitment regarding enlargement was made.[56]

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 4April 2009, which also included France rejoining the NATO Military Command Structure, while maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent.[43][57]

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. On 8July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which each did in 1999. Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Central and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague summit, and joined NATO on 29March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul summit. At that time the decision was criticised in the US by many military, political and academic leaders as a “a policy error of historic proportions.”[58] According to George F. Kennan, an American diplomat and an advocate of the containment policy, this decision “may be expected to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.”[59]

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished. In 1997, NATO reached agreement on a significant downsizing of its command structure from 65 headquarters to just 20.[60] The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague summit on 21November, the first summit in a former Comecon country. On 19June 2003, a further restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, United States, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.[61] In March 2004, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing jet fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Eight multinational jet fighters are based in Lithuania, the number of which was increased from four in 2014.[62] Also at the 2004 Istanbul summit, NATO launched the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative with four Persian Gulf nations.[63]

The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, and highlighted the issue of energy security. It was the first NATO summit to be held in a country that had been part of the Soviet Union. At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and both countries joined NATO in April 2009. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they could eventually become members.[64] The issue of Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO prompted harsh criticism from Russia, as did NATO plans for a missile defence system. Studies for this system began in 2002, with negotiations centered on anti-ballistic missiles being stationed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Though NATO leaders gave assurances that the system was not targeting Russia, both presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev criticized it as a threat.[65]

In 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed using the ship-based Aegis Combat System, though this plan still includes stations being built in Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Romania, and Poland.[66] NATO will also maintain the “status quo” in its nuclear deterrent in Europe by upgrading the targeting capabilities of the “tactical” B61 nuclear bombs stationed there and deploying them on the stealthier Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.[67][68] Following the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, NATO committed to forming a new “spearhead” force of 5,000 troops at bases in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.[69][70]

At the 2014 Wales summit, the leaders of NATO’s member states reaffirmed their pledge to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic products on defense.[71] In 2015, five of its 28 members met that goal.[72][73][74] On 15 June 2016, NATO officially recognized cyberwarfare as an operational domain of war, just like land, sea and aerial warfare. This means that any cyber attack on NATO members can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.[75]Montenegro became the 29th and newest member of NATO on 5 June 2017, amid strong objections from Russia.[76][77]

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.[78]

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 9October 1992, ordering a no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina, which NATO began enforcing on 12April 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 28February 1994, NATO took its first wartime action by shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating the no-fly zone.

On 10 and 11 April 1994, during the Bosnian War, the United Nations Protection Force called in air strikes to protect the Gorade safe area, resulting in the bombing of a Bosnian Serb military command outpost near Gorade by two US F-16 jets acting under NATO direction. This resulted in the taking of 150U.N. personnel hostage on 14April.[81][82] On 16April a British Sea Harrier was shot down over Gorade by Serb forces. A two-week NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August 1995 against the Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre.[84]

NATO air strikes that year helped bring the Yugoslav wars to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement in November 1995.[84] 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. Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.[86]

In an effort to stop Slobodan Miloevi’s Serbian-led crackdown on KLA separatists and Albanian civilians in Kosovo, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1199 on 23September 1998 to demand a ceasefire. Negotiations under US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke broke down on 23March 1999, and he handed the matter to NATO,[87] which started a 78-day bombing campaign on 24March 1999.[88] 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.[89]

Though the campaign was criticized for high civilian casualties, including bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, Miloevi finally accepted the terms of an international peace plan on 3June 1999, ending the Kosovo War. On 11June, Miloevi 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.[89][90] In AugustSeptember 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.[91] As of 1 December 2013[update], 4,882KFOR soldiers, representing 31countries, continue to operate in the area.[92]

The US, the UK, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the U.N. 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.[93] 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.[94]

The September 11 attacks in the United States caused NATO to invoke Article5 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 4October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty.[95] 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 4October 2001.[96]

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 11August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area.[97]

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,[98] and ISAF subsequently expanded the mission in four main stages over the whole of the country.[99]

On 31July 2006, the ISAF additionally took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a US-led anti-terrorism coalition.[100] 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.[101] 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.[102] ISAF was disestablished in December 2014 and replaced by the follow-on training Resolute Support 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.[103] 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 17December 2011.[104]

Beginning on 17August 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.[105][106] The operation seeks to dissuade and interrupt pirate attacks, protect vessels, and abetting to increase the general level of security in the region.[107]

During the Libyan Civil War, violence between protestors and the Libyan government under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi escalated, and on 17March 2011 led to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which called for a ceasefire, and authorized military action to protect civilians. Acoalition that included several NATO members began enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya shortly afterwards. On 20 March 2011, NATO states agreed on enforcing an arms embargo against Libya with Operation Unified Protector using ships from NATO Standing Maritime Group1 and Standing Mine Countermeasures Group1,[108] and additional ships and submarines from NATO members.[109] They would “monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries”.[108]

On 24March, 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.[110][111] NATO began officially enforcing the UN resolution on 27March 2011 with assistance from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.[112] By June, reports of divisions within the alliance surfaced as only eight of the 28 member nations were participating in combat operations,[113] 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.[114][115][116] 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.[117] The German foreign ministry pointed to “aconsiderable [German] contribution to NATO and NATO-led operations” and to the fact that this engagement was highly valued by President Obama.[118]

While the mission was extended into September, Norway that day announced it would begin scaling down contributions and complete withdrawal by 1August.[119] Earlier that week it was reported Danish air fighters were running out of bombs.[120][121] The following week, the head of the Royal Navy said the country’s operations in the conflict were not sustainable.[122] 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.[123][124] A report from the organization Human Rights Watch in May 2012 identified at least 72 civilians killed in the campaign.[125] Following a coup d’tat attempt in October 2013, Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan requested technical advice and trainers from NATO to assist with ongoing security issues.[126]

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.[128]French Algeria was however covered until their independence on 3 July 1962.[129] Twelve of these twenty-nine are original members who joined in 1949, while the other seventeen joined in one of eight enlargement rounds. Few members spend more than two percent of their gross domestic product on defence,[130] with the United States accounting for three quarters of NATO defense spending.[131]

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, France pursued a military strategy of independence from NATO under a policy dubbed “Gaullo-Mitterrandism”.[citation needed]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.[43][57]

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 the Republic of Macedonia. In NATO official statements, the Republic of Macedonia is always referred to as the “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, with a footnote stating that “Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name”. Though Macedonia completed its requirements for membership at the same time as Croatia and Albania, NATO’s most recent members, its accession was blocked by Greece pending a resolution of the Macedonia naming dispute.[132] In order to support each other in the process, new and potential members in the region formed the Adriatic Charter in 2003.[133]Georgia was also named as an aspiring member, and was promised “future membership” during the 2008 summit in Bucharest,[134] though in 2014, US President Barack Obama said the country was not “currently on a path” to membership.[135]

Russia continues to oppose further expansion, seeing it as inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and European and American negotiators that allowed for a peaceful German reunification.[53] NATO’s expansion efforts are often seen by Moscow leaders as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia,[136] though they have also been criticised in the West.[137]Ukraine’s relationship with NATO and Europe has been politically divisive, and contributed to “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.[138] 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.[139] 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.[140]

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.[142] Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[143] 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.[144] The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.[142] Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan.[145]

The European Union (EU) signed a comprehensive package of arrangements with NATO under the Berlin Plus agreement on 16December 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 actthe so-called “right of first refusal”.[146] 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.[147]

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.[148] 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”.[149][150]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 NATOs 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.[151]

The main headquarters of NATO is located on Boulevard LopoldIII/Leopold III-laan, B-1110 Brussels, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels municipality.[152] A new 750 million headquarters building began construction in 2010, was completed in summer 2016,[153] and was dedicated on 25 May 2017.[154] The 250,000 square metres (2,700,000sqft) complex was designed by Jo Palma and home to a staff of 3800.[155] Problems in the original building stemmed from its hurried construction in 1967, when NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Porte Dauphine in Paris, France following the French withdrawal.[42]

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.[157] Non-governmental citizens’ groups have also grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

While the cost of the new headquarters structure was not mentioned on the NATO website’s “NATOs new headquarters” page dated May 23, 2017,[158]Daniel Halper, citing the NATO website’s February 2017 “New NATO HQ” page,[159] reported in the May 25, 2017 issue of The Washington Free Beacon that the cost was $1.23 billion.[160]

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 29 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 29 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[161] The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank). Several countries have diplomatic missions to NATO through embassies in Belgium.

Together, the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher level meetings involving foreign ministers, defence ministers or heads of state or government (HOSG) and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States are together referred to as the Quint, which is an informal discussion group within NATO. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.[162]

The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO 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.

The body that sets broad strategic goals for NATO is the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO-PA) which meets at the Annual Session, and one other time during the year, and is the organ that directly interacts 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. Karl A. Lamers, German Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Bundestag and a member of the Christian Democratic Union, became president of the assembly in 2010.[165] 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.

The Assembly is the political integration body of NATO that generates political policy agenda setting for the NATO Council via reports of its five committees:

These reports provide impetus and direction as agreed upon by the national governments of the member states through their own national political processes and influencers to the NATO administrative and executive organizational entities.

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and split into two Strategic Commands commanded by a senior US officer and (currently) a senior French officer[166] assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.[61]

Each country’s delegation includes a Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces, supported by the International Military Staff. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.[167] The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Petr Pavel of the Czech Republic, since 2015.

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.[168] Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.[169] The operational work of the Committee is supported by the International Military Staff.

The structure of NATO evolved throughout the Cold War and its aftermath. An integrated military structure for NATO was first established in 1950 as it became clear that NATO would need to enhance its defences for the longer term against a potential Soviet attack. In April 1951, Allied Command Europe and its headquarters (SHAPE) were established; later, four subordinate headquarters were added in Northern and Central Europe, the Southern Region, and the Mediterranean.[170]

From the 1950s to 2003, the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT). The current arrangement is to separate responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations (ACO), responsible for NATO operations worldwide.[171] Starting in late 2003 NATO has restructured how it commands and deploys its troops by creating several NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, including 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.[172]

In early 2015, in the wake of the War in Donbass, meetings of NATO ministers decided that Multinational Corps Northeast would be augmented so as to develop greater capabilities, to, if thought necessary, prepare to defend the Baltic States, and that a new Multinational Division Southeast would be established in Romania. Six NATO Force Integration Units would also be established to coordinate preparations for defence of new Eastern members of NATO.[173]

Multinational Division Southeast was activated on 1 December 2015.[174] Headquarters Multinational Division South East (HQ MND-SE) is a North Atlantic Council (NAC) activated NATO military body under operational command (OPCOM) of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) which may be employed and deployed in peacetime, crisis and operations by NATO on the authority of the appropriate NATO Military Authorities by means of an exercise or operational tasking issued in accordance with the Command and Control Technical Arrangement (C2 TA) and standard NATO procedures.

During August 2016, it was announced that 650 soldiers of the British Army would be deployed on an enduring basis in Eastern Europe, mainly in Estonia with some also being deployed to Poland. This British deployment forms part of a four-battle group (four-battalion) deployment by various allies, NATO Enhanced Forward Presence, one each spread from Poland (the Poland-deployed battle group mostly led by the U.S.) to Estonia.

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NATO – Wikipedia

NATO – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), or North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, the Western Alliance, is a military alliance. It was established in 1949, by the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, D.C., USA, on April 4, 1949. Its headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium. Its other official name is the same name in French, Organisation du Trait de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN).

NATO has two official languages, English and French, defined in Article 14 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

Its members in 1949 were: The United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Three years later, on 18 February 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined.

When West Germany joined the organization on 9 May 1955 it was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time.[2] Indeed, the result was the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union and its satellite states as response to NATO.

After the Cold War in 1999 three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland joined the NATO. On 29 March 2004 seven more Northern European and Eastern European countries joined NATO: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.

Croatia and Albania received NATO membership invitation on 3 April 2008. Republic of Macedonia received only conditional invitation because it was vetoed by Greece due to Republic of Macedonia’s name dispute with Greece.

Montenegro joined in 2017.

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NATO – Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

NATO funding: How it works and who pays what

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should,” Trump told heads of NATO states assembled Thursday in Brussels. “Many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years.”

It’s not the first time Trump has suggested other NATO members have a debt to pay.

But NATO does not keep a running tab of what its members spend on defense. Treaty members target spending 2% of economic output on defense — but that is merely a guideline.

NATO members spend money on their own defense. The funds they send to NATO directly account for less than 1% of overall defense spending by members of the alliance.

Here’s how it works:

National budgets

NATO is based on the principle of collective defense: an attack against one or more members is considered an attack against all. So far that has only been invoked once — in response to the September 11 attacks.

To make the idea work, it is important for all members to make sure their armed forces are in good shape. So NATO sets an official target on how much they should spend. That currently stands at 2% of GDP.

The 2% target is described as a “guideline.” There is no penalty for not meeting it.

It is up to each country to decide how much to spend and how to use the money.

Related: Trump criticized NATO spending. Here’s what’s really going on

Related: Germany’s defense minister to Trump: No, we don’t owe NATO money

The North Atlantic alliance has its own military budget worth 1.29 billion ($1.4 billion), which is used to fund some operations and the NATO strategic command center, as well as training and research. But it is miniscule compared to overall spending on defense by NATO countries, which NATO estimates will total more than $921 billion in 2017.

The alliance also has a civilian budget of 234.4 million ($252 million), used mainly to fund the NATO headquarters in Belgium, and its administration.

Spending is rising

Only five of NATO’s 28 members — the U.S., Greece, Poland, Estonia and the U.K. — meet the 2% target.

The rest lag behind. Germany is set to spend 1.2% of GDP on defense this year, France 1.79%. Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg all spend less than 1%.

NATO has long been pushing for higher spending. At a summit in 2014, all members who were falling short promised to move toward the official target within a decade.

That pledge appears to be holding: The alliance as a whole increased defense spending for the first time in two decades in 2015.

And last year, 22 of 28 NATO members increased their defense budgets. If the U.S. is removed from the equation, the group increased its spending by 3.8% in 2016. Including the U.S., overall spending rose by 2.9%.

Fear of Russian aggression is driving some of the recent splurge. Latvia, which shares a border with Russia, increased its defense budget by 42% in 2016. Its neighbor Lithuania boosted its outlays by 34%.

The 2% problem

So why don’t more countries spend 2% of GDP? Many experts point out that the target is problematic.

NATO has warned against a rush to spend for the sake of spending, emphasizing that budget decisions must be based on strategic planning. For example, it wants countries to spend 20% of their defense budgets on equipment.

Related: Lockheed Martin CEO promises Trump she’ll cut F-35 costs

There’s also pressure for more coordination of spending among European countries.

Some member countries simply don’t have armies big enough to be able to absorb a huge increase in funding quickly — that’s why the 2014 summit pledge gave laggards until 2024 to do more.

NATO member Iceland, for example, doesn’t have its own army and spends just 0.1% of its GDP on defense, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

And the 2% target doesn’t just cover spending on defense to meet NATO commitments. The money can be used to fund other activities such as European peace missions in the Central African Republic and Mali, as well as national missions that are not part of NATO operations, for example the fight against ISIS.

CNNMoney (London) First published May 25, 2017: 11:55 AM ET

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NATO funding: How it works and who pays what

Milestones: 19451952 – Office of the Historian

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.

Signing of the NATO Treaty

NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere. After the destruction of the Second World War, the nations of Europe struggled to rebuild their economies and ensure their security. The former required a massive influx of aid to help the war-torn landscapes re-establish industries and produce food, and the latter required assurances against a resurgent Germany or incursions from the Soviet Union. The United States viewed an economically strong, rearmed, and integrated Europe as vital to the prevention of communist expansion across the continent. As a result, Secretary of State George Marshall proposed a program of large-scale economic aid to Europe. The resulting European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan, not only facilitated European economic integration but promoted the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the United States and Europe. Soviet refusal either to participate in the Marshall Plan or to allow its satellite states in Eastern Europe to accept the economic assistance helped to reinforce the growing division between east and west in Europe.

In 19471948, a series of events caused the nations of Western Europe to become concerned about their physical and political security and the United States to become more closely involved with European affairs. The ongoing civil war in Greece, along with tensions in Turkey, led President Harry S. Truman to assert that the United States would provide economic and military aid to both countries, as well as to any other nation struggling against an attempt at subjugation. A Soviet-sponsored coup in Czechoslovakia resulted in a communist government coming to power on the borders of Germany. Attention also focused on elections in Italy as the communist party had made significant gains among Italian voters. Furthermore, events in Germany also caused concern. The occupation and governance of Germany after the war had long been disputed, and in mid-1948, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin chose to test Western resolve by implementing a blockade against West Berlin, which was then under joint U.S., British, and French control but surrounded by Soviet-controlled East Germany. This Berlin Crisis brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of conflict, although a massive airlift to resupply the city for the duration of the blockade helped to prevent an outright confrontation. These events caused U.S. officials to grow increasingly wary of the possibility that the countries of Western Europe might deal with their security concerns by negotiating with the Soviets. To counter this possible turn of events, the Truman Administration considered the possibility of forming a European-American alliance that would commit the United States to bolstering the security of Western Europe.

Signing of the Brussels Treaty

The Western European countries were willing to consider a collective security solution. In response to increasing tensions and security concerns, representatives of several countries of Western Europe gathered together to create a military alliance. Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Brussels Treaty in March, 1948. Their treaty provided collective defense; if any one of these nations was attacked, the others were bound to help defend it. At the same time, the Truman Administration instituted a peacetime draft, increased military spending, and called upon the historically isolationist Republican Congress to consider a military alliance with Europe. In May of 1948, Republican Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg proposed a resolution suggesting that the President seek a security treaty with Western Europe that would adhere to the United Nations charter but exist outside of the Security Council where the Soviet Union held veto power. The Vandenburg Resolution passed, and negotiations began for the North Atlantic Treaty.

In spite of general agreement on the concept behind the treaty, it took several months to work out the exact terms. The U.S. Congress had embraced the pursuit of the international alliance, but it remained concerned about the wording of the treaty. The nations of Western Europe wanted assurances that the United States would intervene automatically in the event of an attack, but under the U.S. Constitution the power to declare war rested with Congress. Negotiations worked toward finding language that would reassure the European states but not obligate the United States to act in a way that violated its own laws. Additionally, European contributions to collective security would require large-scale military assistance from the United States to help rebuild Western Europes defense capabilities. While the European nations argued for individual grants and aid, the United States wanted to make aid conditional on regional coordination. A third issue was the question of scope. The Brussels Treaty signatories preferred that membership in the alliance be restricted to the members of that treaty plus the United States. The U.S. negotiators felt there was more to be gained from enlarging the new treaty to include the countries of the North Atlantic, including Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Portugal. Together, these countries held territory that formed a bridge between the opposite shores of the Atlantic Ocean, which would facilitate military action if it became necessary.

President Truman inspecting a tank produced under the Mutual Defense Assistance Program

The result of these extensive negotiations was the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. In this agreement, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom agreed to consider attack against one an attack against all, along with consultations about threats and defense matters. This collective defense arrangement only formally applied to attacks against the signatories that occurred in Europe or North America; it did not include conflicts in colonial territories. After the treaty was signed, a number of the signatories made requests to the United States for military aid. Later in 1949, President Truman proposed a military assistance program, and the Mutual Defense Assistance Program passed the U.S. Congress in October, appropriating some $1.4 billion dollars for the purpose of building Western European defenses.

Soon after the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the outbreak of the Korean War led the members to move quickly to integrate and coordinate their defense forces through a centralized headquarters. The North Korean attack on South Korea was widely viewed at the time to be an example of communist aggression directed by Moscow, so the United States bolstered its troop commitments to Europe to provide assurances against Soviet aggression on the European continent. In 1952, the members agreed to admit Greece and Turkey to NATO and added the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955. West German entry led the Soviet Union to retaliate with its own regional alliance, which took the form of the Warsaw Treaty Organization and included the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe as members.

The collective defense arrangements in NATO served to place the whole of Western Europe under the American nuclear umbrella. In the 1950s, one of the first military doctrines of NATO emerged in the form of massive retaliation, or the idea that if any member was attacked, the United States would respond with a large-scale nuclear attack. The threat of this form of response was meant to serve as a deterrent against Soviet aggression on the continent. Although formed in response to the exigencies of the developing Cold War, NATO has lasted beyond the end of that conflict, with membership even expanding to include some former Soviet states. It remains the largest peacetime military alliance in the world.

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Milestones: 19451952 – Office of the Historian

About the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance of countries from Europe and North America promising collective defence. Currently numbering 26 nations, NATO was formed initially to counter the communist East and has searched for a new identity in the post-Cold War world.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, with ideologically opposed Soviet armies occupying much of Eastern Europe and fears still high over German aggression, the nations of Western Europe searched for a new form of military alliance to protect themselves.

In March 1948 the Brussels Pact was signed between France, Britain, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, creating a defence alliance called the Western European Union, but there was a feeling that any effective alliance would have to include the US and Canada.

In the US there was widespread concern about both the spread of Communism in Europe strong Communist parties had formed in France and Italy – and potential aggression from Soviet armies, leading the US to seek talks about an Atlantic alliance with the west of Europe. The perceived need for a new defensive unit to rival the Eastern bloc was exacerbated by the Berlin Blockade of 1949, leading to an agreement that same year with many nations from Europe. Some nations opposed membership and still do, e.g. Sweden, Ireland.

NATO was created by the North Atlantic Treaty, also called the Washington Treaty, which was signed on April 5th 1949.

There were twelve signatories, including the United States, Canada and Britain (full list below). The head of NATO’s military operations is the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, a position always held by an American so their troops dont come under foreign command, answering to the North Atlantic Council of ambassadors from member nations, which is led by the Secretary General of NATO, who is always European.

The centrepiece of the NATO treaty is Article 5, promising collective security:

“an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all; and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

The NATO treaty also allowed for the alliances expansion among European nations, and one of the earliest debates among NATO members was the German question: should West Germany (the East was under rival Soviet control) be re-armed and allowed to join NATO. There was opposition, invoking the recent German aggression which caused World War Two, but in May 1955 Germany was allowed to join, a move which caused upset in Russia and led to the formation of the rival Warsaw Pact alliance of Eastern communist nations.

NATO had, in many ways, been formed to secure West Europe against the threat of Soviet Russia, and the Cold War of 1945 to 1991 saw an often tense military standoff between NATO on one side and the Warsaw Pact nations on the other.

However, there was never a direct military engagement, thanks in part to the threat of nuclear war; as part of NATO agreements nuclear weapons were stationed in Europe. There were tensions within NATO itself, and in 1966 France withdrew from the military command established in 1949. Nevertheless, there was never a Russian incursion into the western democracies, in large part due to the NATO alliance. Europe was very familiar with an aggressor taking one country after another thanks for the late 1930s and did not let it happen again.

The end of the Cold War in 1991 led to three major developments: the expansion of NATO to include new nations from the former Eastern bloc (full list below), the re-imagining of NATO as a co-operative security alliance able to deal with European conflicts not involving member nations and the first use of NATO forces in combat.

This first occurred during the Wars of the Former Yugoslavia, when NATO used air-strikes first against Bosnian-Serb positions in 1995, and again in 1999 against Serbia, plus the creation of a 60,000 peace keeping force in the region.

NATO also created the Partnership for Peace initiative in 1994, aimed at engaging and building trust with ex-Warsaw Pact nations in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and later the nations from the Former Yugoslavia. Other 30 countries have so far joined, and ten have become full members of NATO.

The conflict in the former Yugoslavia had not involved a NATO member state, and the famous clause 5 was first and unanimously – invoked in 2001 after terrorist attacks on the United States, leading to NATO forces running peace-keeping operations in Afghanistan. NATO has also created the Allied Rapid Reaction Force (ARRF) for faster responses. However, NATO has come under pressure in recent years from people arguing it should be scaled down, or left to Europe, despite the increase in Russian aggression in the same period. NATO might still be searching for a role, but it played a huge role in maintaining the status quo in the Cold War, and has potential in a world where Cold War aftershocks keep happening.

1949 Founder Members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France (withdrew from military structure 1966), Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States 1952: Greece (withdrew from military command 1974 80), Turkey 1955: West Germany (With East Germany as reunified Germany from 1990) 1982: Spain 1999: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland 2004: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia

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About the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

NATO CCD COE Considering ‘Petya’ Malware a Potential Act of War

On Saturday, Kevin Scheid, a Department of Defense veteran, was placed in charge of NATOs cyber operations. The appointment wouldnt be big news if it werent for the fact that hes joining the organization at a hair-raising point in history. The vicious malware triggered the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCD COE) to announce on Friday that the attack is believed to be the work of a state actor and is a potential act of war.

The 90s cyberpunk thriller Hackers is used too often to illustrate the fearful future of cyber

There was a lot of ruckus back in May when Donald Trump met with the leaders of NATO and failed to confirm that the US is committed to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Thats the clause of the agreement that pledges the members of NATO to mutual defense. Legally speaking, if Article 5 is triggered by an attack on one member, the other members are required to join in retaliation. NATOs Secretary General confirmed this week that a cyber operation with consequences comparable to an armed attack can trigger Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and responses might be with military means. But Fridays press release emphasizes that we dont know enough about the origin of NotPetya or the intentions behind its release at this time.

NATO CCD COE is part of the NATO Allied Command Transformations Centers of Excellence and is classified as an International Military Organisation. It functions in an advisory capacity and helps member nations cooperate in the realm of cyber security. CCD COE researchers have concluded that the malware can most likely be attributed to a state actor, and if a nation is determined to be responsible, this could be an internationally wrongful act, which might give the targeted states several options to respond with countermeasures. What sort of countermeasures? Well, pretty much anything. Independently, the UKs defense secretary announced this week that his country was prepared to respond to cyber attacks from any domain – air, land, sea or cyber.

If our unhinged president in the US wants to start a war for the hell of it, he pretty much has the power to do that. But NATO functions on strict rules. Tom Minrik, a researcher at NATO CCD COE writes:

If the operation could be linked to an ongoing international armed conflict, then law of armed conflict would apply, at least to the extent that injury or physical damage was caused by it, and with respect to possible direct participation in hostilities by civilian hackers, but so far there are reports of neither.

Minrik is outlining what would justify full on IRL military conflict. That doesnt, necessarily, mean that NATO couldnt respond in the cyber-realm if it determined that a government was responsible for NotPetya. He continues:

As important government systems have been targeted, then in case the operation is attributed to a state this could count as a violation of sovereignty. Consequently, this could be an internationally wrongful act, which might give the targeted states several options to respond with countermeasures.

NATO doesnt know whos responsible for NotPetya, and no experts have attributed the attack to one actor with certainty.

Its one of the most fascinating pieces of malware to ever wreak havoc on a large scale. At first, people thought it was ransomware, then it was more likely to be a wiper with some ransomware code. Its become clear that it uses the EternalBlue and EternalRomance exploits that were pilfered from the NSA and released by the hacking group the Shadow Brokers in April. But intriguingly, it appears that whoever created NotPetya had access to those exploits two weeks before they were given to the public.

Another puzzling factor is the motive for releasing this malware that doesnt seem to benefit anyone. No one is getting paid. Its just a really destructive worm that locks up systems. It was first released in Ukraine, and that countrys security services are blaming Russia. But Russians were victims of the attack as well. Its such a pointless and nasty worm that the crime group behind the original Petya actually jumped in and volunteered to help victims. Lauri Lindstrm, a researcher at NATO says, it seems likely that the more sophisticated and expensive NotPetya campaign is a declaration of power – a demonstration of the acquired disruptive capability and readiness to use it.

According to Bloomberg, attacks on NATOs electronic infrastructure increased by 60 percent last year. If its true that a state actor is responsible for NotPetya, its possible that NATO taking notice and talking up Article 5 could make the perpetrator think twice. Then again, if the responsible party gets away without a trace, theyll know that theyre untouchable.

Correction: This post has been updated to clarify that NATOs CCD COE is accredited by the Alliance and serves to give advice, conduct research, and facilitate cooperation among the nations on issues of cyber security.

[CCDCOE via Security Affairs, Bloomberg]

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NATO CCD COE Considering ‘Petya’ Malware a Potential Act of War

NATO – France 24

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NATO representative in Kyiv: We support Ukraine every day – Deutsche Welle

DW: On Thursday Ukraine will be celebrating the 26th anniversary of its independence. For the first time, troops from NATO countries will be participating in a military parade in Kyiv. The second new developmentis that defense ministers from several NATO countries will be attending, including James Mattis from the US. Why now?

Barbora Maronkova: To be honest, I can’t answer why NATO countries are taking part this year in particular. But we are very pleased, because we also celebrated another event this year, which was the 20th anniversary of the NATO-Ukraine distinctive partnership [the Charter was signed in July 1997 ed.]. And we have been working very hard to help Ukraine modernize its armed forces, meet NATO standards and achieve interoperability. In that sense, the participation of military colleagues from both NATO allies and partner countries is a symbolic example of a strong partnership between NATO and Ukraine.

Barbora Maronkova serves as director of the NATO Information and Documentation Center in Kyiv, Ukraine

The US is a key country forNATO. During the previous administration of Barack Obama, the impression was given that Washington didn’t want to provoke Russia by visiting Ukraine. Obama never visitedKyiv, his defense secretary never participated in the Independence Day parade. This year there are several NATO ministers attending the parade, which might be interpreted by Russia as a provocation. Does this mean that NATO no longer cares about Russia’s reaction?

For us, what is important is that NATO partner countries are independent and sovereign nations. If they want to have a military parade with colleagues from other countries, or if they participate in NATO’s military training and exercises, it is their sovereign decision. Ukraine has been participating in NATO’s military exercises for the last few years, and many NATO countries have participated in exercises in Ukraine. For example, every year we have a naval exercise called “Sea Breeze.”

Do you think that this large NATO presence on Independence Day in Kyiv has something to do with Donald Trump’s new administration trying to take a different course?

I wouldn’t want to speculate on what the US administration is doing. Of course, US Defense Secretary Mattis’ visit to Kyiv is important, as was the visit bythe Secretary of State in July. We are happy that various NATO allies are bilaterally supporting Ukraine, just as NATO is providing strong support.

Read more: Tillerson’s sharp words for Moscow during Ukraine visit

Read more: Ukraine’s Poroshenko meets Donald Trump

NATO has intensified its support for Ukraine since the Russian annexation of Crimea 2014. What are the results so far?

We have to look at the overall package of reforms that Ukraine has been undertaking since 2014. Any expert would agree that the pace and intensity of reforms in the past three years were unprecedented. NATO is focusing on defense, security, modernization and standardization. It’s a wide range including logistics, defense procurement, command structures and training. We see progress in some areas more than in others. But we also have the knowledge that such reforms are very difficult and painful under normal circumstances, let alone in a country like Ukraine. Itis facing an aggressive neighbor and part of its territory has been illegally annexed. There are separatists in the east of Ukraine, it is facing hybrid warfare and cyberattacks. NATO offers assistance on a daily basis.

What are beacon projects from NATO’s point of view?

One of the issues that has achieved good results, according to our advisors, has been improving command structures and communication. There has been some good cooperation in the area of cyber defense. We also launched some very impressive projects in the area of medical rehabilitation and are now working together with our Ukrainian partners on psychological rehabilitation, which is a big issue.

NATO does not want to get involved in a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. How difficult is it against this background for NATO to help Ukraine?

I don’t feel or see any difficulties. We have a team of nearly 50 people working here as advisors in variousformats. There are many other advisors who are directly embedded in various ministries and institutions on a bilateral basis. We talk regularly with Ukrainian citizens, journalists and parliamentarians. I see a positive reaction to our support here.

Read more: NATO skeptical over Russia’s Zapad military exercise

Support for NATO within the Ukrainian population has grown in recent years. Polls put it at 43 to 55 percent, some even higher. What is your experience?

The increased support is obviously a result of the security situation in Ukraine. It is, however, very useful to our work. It allows us to go out more and engage with people, and openly discuss what NATO is and what it is not. There are many Cold War stereotypes that are still prevalent in Ukraine.

Barbora Maronkova is the director of the NATO Information and Documentation Centerin Kyiv, Ukraine.

The interview was conducted by Roman Goncharenko.

Go here to see the original:

NATO representative in Kyiv: We support Ukraine every day – Deutsche Welle

NATO and EU must intervene in Turkish-German crisis – Daily Sabah

Some politicians in Germany are exerting all kinds of efforts to aggravate the ongoing crisis between Turkey and Germany. Almost every day, a senior minister or politician issues libelous remarks against President Recep Tayyip Erdoan. Likewise, German media outlets publish news reports and articles against Turkey that offend Turkish citizens.

Germany, which almost gave red carpet treatment to former General and current Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who staged a coup in Egypt and executed dissidents and did not have any problems with other dictators who shed blood in their countries, is for some reason acting unusually in the context of Turkey, violating all kinds of diplomatic norms. Their much-praised crisis management has now become a foreign term in Germany.

Interestingly, current representatives of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the party of the most successful politicians in terms of crisis management in the past, are the leading figures provoking the crisis. It must be explained to the SPD that they have already lost the election, and it is not possible to win with such an attitude.

An article recently penned by two federal ministers from the SPD and published in a German weekly says there is a need to mobilize NATO to take action for the resolution of the crisis. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Justice Minister Heiko Maas used strong language in the article that should only be employed against an enemy. The two ministers claim that Erdoan aims to form a parallel community in Germany. But if they tried to understand Erdoan instead of disrespecting him on every occasion, they could see that Erdoan is also concerned about parallel formations in Germany.

There are some parallel formations in Germany. The outlawed PKK has taken root in Germany with some profound bonds. I wonder to what extent German intelligence and police observe PKK offshoots in Germany. They terrorize and racketeer mostly Kurds living in Germany, while provoking juveniles to terrorism.

Likewise, the Glenist Terror Group (FET) has such deep roots in Germany and Belgium that one has to be blind to overlook it.

If only Gabriel and Maas would also show the sensitivity they show to other issues to FET and the PKK. PKK or FET-owned TV stations have been brainwashing Turkish people for years.

Formerly, while leftists in Germany were accusing the state of condoning racists; they said the state was blind in the right eye.

And now, I guess we must say that one eye of the German state is closed so as to not see terrorist groups such as FET and the PKK.

However, the deepening crisis undermines the interests of both the EU and NATO.

Germany cannot have the luxury to undermine NATO’s interests in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Balkans and the Caucasus only for the sake of messing with Erdoan on whom some German politicians personally waged war.

Those who almost declared Turkey an enemy must be reminded that Turkey is also a NATO member and as essential to it as Germany. Likewise, although Germany views the EU as a commodity made in Germany, particularly in the context of the crisis with Turkey, many EU countries are disturbed by the situation. They do not support Germany’s demands for sanctions on Turkey.

As a result, it seems that Germany is not capable of resolving the crisis with Turkey constructively.

Turkey, which has the second-largest military in NATO and guards a critical region on behalf of NATO, cannot be declared an enemy just because a few German politicians wish it so.

Also, provoking Turkey against the EU will bring no benefit to the EU. NATO and the EU must intervene as mediators to avert greater losses.

Link:

NATO and EU must intervene in Turkish-German crisis – Daily Sabah

Belarus Invites Observers To Monitor ‘Zapad 2017’ Exercises, But NATO Critical – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

The Belarusian Defense Ministry has invited observers from several countries to the Zapad 2017 joint Belarusian-Russian military exercise that takes place September 14-20 in Belarus, but NATO has said such efforts “fall short.”

“Observers from seven countries — Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, and Norway — have been invited to this event,” the Belarusian Defense Ministry said in an August 22 statement.

Russia and Belarus say that Zapad 2017 is expected to involve some 12,700 soldiers.

The Belarusian statement said on August 22 that the invitation came as part of the 2011 Vienna Document, which sets thresholds for the number of troops allowed to take part in exercises before the opposing side is allowed to demand a mandatory inspection.

Exercises involving 13,000 or more troops are subject to mandatory inspections. In the case of exercises involving 9,000 or more soldiers, the other side must be notified.

Meanwhile, a NATO official told RFE/RL on August 22 that Belarus has invited military liaison missions to attend “distinguished visitors days” — when foreign officials such as attaches can come and visit — during the Zapad 2017 exercise, and that NATO will send two experts to attend.

However, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because NATO officials are not allowed to speak on the record unless instructed to do so, said that the participation of NATO experts “is not the same as observation as set out in the Vienna Document.”

“We regret that neither Russia nor Belarus have applied the Vienna Document transparency measures to Zapad, in line with the rules agreed by all OSCE states,” the official said.

“The Vienna Document transparency measures are important because they prevent misperceptions and miscalculations.

“A Vienna Document observation has required elements to it — briefings on the scenario and progress, opportunities to talk to individual soldiers about the exercise, and overflights of the exercise.

“Russia and Belarus are instead choosing a selective approach that falls short. Such avoidance of mandatory transparency raises questions,” the official said.

Lithuania’s Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis warned in June that Moscow might use the maneuvers as cover for an aggressive troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank. Karoblis said his government estimated that 100,000 Russian troops would be involved in the exercises, rather than the official 12,700.

Formerly Soviet-ruled Baltic states worry that, after Ukraine, they may be next to face pressure from the Kremlin, which is why they are casting a wary eye on Zapad 2017 drills in Belarus, which borders Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Go here to read the rest:

Belarus Invites Observers To Monitor ‘Zapad 2017’ Exercises, But NATO Critical – RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty


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