Junta says that foreign aid is not needed; Nargis survivors can live on frogs

Junta says that foreign aid is not needed;

Nargis survivors can live on frogs

From Moe Thee Zun

Myanmar state media resumes its attack on western nations:

they are without humanitarian spirit if they continue to link economic aid to relief workers access to the worst hit areas. (Because SPDC could not get 99% as commission for aid delivery. The Myanmar Tatmadaw had already decided generously to hand ove 1%of donated aids to victims.)

The government censures all information relating to Nargis.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Myanmar’s survivors of cyclone Nargis “do not need foreign food aid; they can feed themselves on frogs and fish that abound in the worst hit areas”.  

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a government mouthpiece, has re-launched its attack on foreign relief workers and condemned donors for “linking aid money to full access to the hardest-hit regions in the Irrawaddy Delta”.

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NATO should not practice: No Action Talk Only in Burma

NATO should not practice:

No Action Talk Only in Burma


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°52′34.16″N, 4°25′19.24″E

North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organization du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord
Flag of NATO
Flag of NATO
NATO countries shown in blue
NATO countries shown in blue
Formation 4 April 1949
Type Military alliance
Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
Membership 26 member states and 14 major allies
Official languages English, French
Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Chairman of the Military Committee General Raymond Henault
Website http://www.nato.int/
NATO Portal

NATO 2002 Summit in Prague. NATO 2002 Summit in Prague.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); French: Organization du Traité de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN); (also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance, or the Western Alliance) is a military alliance established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

For its first few years, NATO was not much more than a political association. However the Korean War galvanised the member states, and an integrated military structure was build up under the direction of two U.S. supreme commanders. Thoughout the Cold War doubts over the strength of the relationship between the European states and the United States ebbed and flowed, along with doubts over the credibility of the NATO defence against a prospective Soviet invasion. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the organisation became drawn into the Balkans while building better links with former potential enemies to the east, which culminated with three former Warsaw Pact states joining the alliance in 1999. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks NATO has attempted to refocus itself to new challenges and has deployed troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.


  • 1 History of NATO
    • 1.1 Beginnings
    • 1.2 Détente
    • 1.3 KAL 007 and NATO deployment of missiles in W. Europe
    • 1.4 Post Cold War
    • 1.5 After the September 11 attacks
    • 1.6 Expansion and restructuring
    • 1.7 Involvement in Afghanistan: Taking over ISAF
    • 1.8 NATO missile defence talks controversy
  • 2 Membership
    • 2.1 Future enlargement of NATO
  • 3 Cooperation with non-member states
    • 3.1 Euro-Atlantic Partnership
    • 3.2 Individual Partnership Action Plans
  • 4 Structures
    • 4.1 Political structure
      • 4.1.1 List of officials
    • 4.2 Military structure
    • 4.3 Organisations and Agencies
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links


History of NATO



The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union’s Defence Organisation in September 1948.However, participation of the United States was thought necessary in order to counter the military power of the Soviet Union, and therefore talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately.

These talks resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D.C. on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states, as well as the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Support for the Treaty was not unanimous; Iceland suffered an anti-NATO riot in March 1949 which may have been Communist-inspired. Three years later, on 18 February 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined.

The Parties of NATO agreed that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense will assist the Party or Parties being attacked, 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.

Such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force” does not necessarily mean that other member states will respond with military action against the aggressor(s). Rather they are obliged to respond, but maintain the freedom to choose how they will respond. This differs from Article IV of the Treaty of Brussels (which founded the Western European Union) which clearly states that the response must include military action. It is however often assumed that NATO members will aid the attacked member militarily. Further, the article limits the organization’s scope to Europe and North America, which explains why the invasion of the British Falkland Islands did not result in NATO involvement.

The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 was crucial for NATO as it raised the apparent threat level greatly (all Communist countries were suspected of working together) and forced the alliance to develop concrete military plans. The 1952 Lisbon conference, seeking to provide the forces necessary for NATO’s Long-Term Defence Plan, called for an expansion to 96 divisions. However this requirement was dropped the following year to roughly 35 divisions with heavier use to be made of nuclear weapons. Also at Lisbon, the post of Secretary General of NATO as the organisation’s chief civilian was also created, and Baron Hastings Ismay eventually appointed to the post. Later, in September 1952, the first major NATO maritime exercises began; Operation Mainbrace brought together 200 ships and over 50,000 personnel to practice the defence of Denmark and Norway. Meanwhile, while this overt military preparation was going on, covert stay-behind arrangements to continue resistance after a successful Soviet invasion (‘Operation Gladio’), initially made by the Western European Union, were being 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.

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

The incorporation of West Germany into the organization on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time. Indeed, one of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 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.

The unity of NATO was breached early on in its history, with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle’s presidency of France from 1958 onward. De Gaulle protested the United States’ strong role in the organization and what he perceived as a special relationship between the United States 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 United States and the United Kingdom, and also for the expansion of NATO’s coverage to include geographical areas of interest to France, most notably Algeria, where France was waging a counter-insurgency and sought NATO assistance.

Considering the response given to be unsatisfactory, and in order to give France, in the event of a East German incursion into West Germany, the option of coming to a separate peace with the Eastern bloc instead of being drawn into a NATO-Warsaw Pact global war, de Gaulle began to build an independent defence for his country. On 11 March 1959, France withdrew its Mediterranean fleet from NATO command; three months later, in June 1959, de Gaulle 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 ten major air force bases that had operated in France since 1950 to the French by 1967.

In the meantime, France had initiated an independent nuclear deterrence programme, spearheaded by the “Force de frappe” (“Striking force”). France tested its first nuclear weapon, Gerboise Bleue, on 13 February 1960, in (what was then) French Algeria.

Map of Major USAF bases in France before Charles de Gaulle's 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command. Map of Major USAF bases in France before Charles de Gaulle’s 1966 withdrawal from NATO military integrated command.

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. This withdrawal forced the relocation of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) from Paris to Casteau, north of Mons, Belgium, by 16 October 1967. France remained a member of the alliance, and committed to the defence of Europe from possible Communist attack with its own forces stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany throughout this period. France rejoined NATO’s Military Committee in 1995, and has since intensified working relations with the military structure. France has not, however, rejoined the integrated military command and no non-French NATO troops are allowed to be based on its soil. The policies of current French President Nicolas Sarkozy appear to be aimed at eventual re-integration.

The creation of NATO brought about some standardisation of allied military terminology, procedures, and technology, which in many cases meant European countries adopting U.S. practices. The roughly 1300 Standardization Agreements (STANAGs) codifies the standardisation that NATO has achieved. Hence, the 7.62×51 NATO rifle cartridge was introduced in the 1950s as a standard firearm cartridge among many NATO countries. Fabrique Nationale’s FAL became the most popular 7.62 NATO rifle in Europe and served into the early 1990s. 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.


During most of the duration of the Cold War, NATO maintained a holding pattern with no actual military engagement as an organization. On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear weapons sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as U.S. 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.

On 30 May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. 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 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of U.S. GLCM cruise missiles and Pershing II theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position in regard to nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy. Similarly, in 1983-84, 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.

KAL 007 and NATO deployment of missiles in W. Europe

With the background of the build-up of tension between the Soviet Union and the United States, NATO decided, under the impetus of the Reagan presidency, to deploy Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe, primarily West Germany. These missiles were theatre nuclear weapons intended to strike targets on the battlefield if the Soviets invaded West Germany. Yet support for the deployment was wavering and many doubted whether the push for deployment could be sustained. But on Sept. 1, 1983, the Soviet Union shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, a Boeing 747 with 269 people aboard, in international waters just past the west coast of Sakhalin Island – an act which Reagan characterized as a “massacre”. The barbarity of this act, as the U.S. and indeed the world understood it, galvanized support for the deployment – which stood in place until the later accords between Reagan and Mikhael Gorbachev.

The membership of the organization in this time period likewise 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. On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when, following a referendum, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance.

In November 1983, NATO manoeuvres simulating a nuclear launch caused panic in the Kremlin. The Soviet leadership, led by ailing General Secretary Yuri Andropov, became concerned that the manoeuvres, codenamed Able Archer 83, were the beginnings of a genuine first strike. In response, Soviet nuclear forces were readied and air units in East Germany and Poland were placed on alert. Though at the time written off by U.S. intelligence as a propaganda effort, many historians now believe that the Soviet fear of a NATO first strike was genuine.


Post Cold War

The NATO Secretary General, the U.S. President, and the Prime Ministers of Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Estonia after a ceremony welcoming them into NATO on 29 March 2004 at the Istanbul Summit. The NATO Secretary General, the U.S. President, and the Prime Ministers of Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Estonia after a ceremony welcoming them into NATO on 29 March 2004 at the Istanbul Summit.

The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991 removed the de facto main adversary of NATO. This caused a strategic re-evaluation of NATO’s purpose, nature and tasks. In practice this ended up entailing a gradual (and still ongoing) expansion of NATO to Eastern Europe, as well as the extension of its activities to areas that had not formerly been NATO concerns. The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with the reunification of Germany on 3 October 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. The scholar Stephen F. Cohen has argued that a commitment was given that NATO would never expand further east, but this appears to be a misperception; no formal commitment of the sort was made.

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 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe agreed between NATO and the Warsaw Pact and signed in Paris in 1990, mandated specific reductions. 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, signed some years later.

The first NATO military operation caused by the conflict in the former Yugoslavia was Operation Sharp Guard, which ran from June 1993-October 1996. It provided maritime enforcement of the arms embargo and economic sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 28 February 1994, NATO took its first military action, shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Operation Deny Flight, the no-fly-zone enforcement mission, had begun a year before, on 12 April 1993, and was to continue until 20 December 1995. NATO air strikes that year helped bring the war in Bosnia to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement, which in turn meant that NATO deployed a peacekeeping force, under Operation Joint Endeavor, first named IFOR and then SFOR, which ran from December 1996 to December 2004. Following the lead of its member nations, NATO began to award a service medal, the NATO Medal, for these operations.

Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbours were set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which finally happened in 1999.

A NATO bombing campaign, Operation Deliberate Force, began in August, 1995, against the Army of Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre. On 24 March 1999, NATO saw its first broad-scale military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it waged an 11-week bombing campaign, which NATO called Operation Allied Force, against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in an effort to stop Serbian-led ethnic cleansing. A formal declaration of war never took place (in common with all wars since World War II). The conflict ended on 11 June 1999, when Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milošević agreed to NATO’s demands by accepting UN resolution 1244. 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.[11] NATO then helped establish the KFOR, a NATO-led force under a United Nations mandate that operated the military mission in Kosovo. In August-September 2001, the alliance also mounted Operation Essential Harvest, a mission disarming ethnic Albanian militias in the Republic of Macedonia.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and most other NATO countries opposed efforts to require the U.N. Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the ongoing action against Yugoslavia, while France and some others claimed that the alliance needed U.N. approval. The U.S./U.K. 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.

After the September 11 attacks

NATO Defence Ministers' Summit in Poiana Braşov, 13-14 October 2004 NATO Defence Ministers’ Summit in Poiana Braşov, 13-14 October 2004

The expansion of the activities and geographical reach of NATO grew even further as an outcome of the September 11 attacks. These caused as a response the provisional invocation (on September 12) of the collective security of NATO’s charter-Article 5 which states that any attack on a member state will be considered an attack against the entire group of members. The invocation was confirmed on 4 October 2001 when NATO determined that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty. The eight official actions taken by NATO in response to the attacks included the first two examples of military action taken in response to an invocation of Article 5: Operation Eagle Assist and Operation Active Endeavour. Operation Active Endeavour is a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea and is designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction as well as to enhance the security of shipping in general. It began on October 4, 2001.

Despite this early show of solidarity, NATO faced a crisis little more than a year later, when on 10 February 2003, France and Belgium vetoed the procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq. Germany did not use its right to break the procedure but said it supported the veto.

On the issue of Afghanistan on the other hand, the alliance showed greater unity: On 16 April 2003 NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all 19 NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO took place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area. Canada had originally been slated to take over ISAF by itself on that date.

In January 2004, NATO appointed Minister Hikmet Çetin, of Turkey, as the Senior Civilian Representative (SCR) in Afghanistan. Minister Cetin is primarily responsible for advancing the political-military aspects of the Alliance in Afghanistan. In August 2004, following U.S. pressure, NATO formed the NATO Training Mission – Iraq, a training mission to assist the Iraqi security forces in conjunction with the U.S. led MNF-I.

On 31 July 2006, a NATO-led force, made up mostly of troops from Canada, Great Britain, Turkey and the Netherlands, took over military operations in the south of Afghanistan from a U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition.

Expansion and restructuring

Map of NATO countries chronological membership. Map of NATO countries chronological membership.

New NATO structures were also formed while old ones were abolished: The NATO Response Force (NRF) was launched at the 2002 Prague Summit on 21 November. On 19 June 2003, a major 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, Virginia, USA, 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.

Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Northern European and Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague Summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004, shortly before the 2004 Istanbul Summit. The same month, NATO’s Baltic Air Policing began, which supported the sovereignty of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia by providing fighters to react to any unwanted aerial intrusions. Four fighters are based in Lithuania, provided in rotation by virtually all the NATO states. Operation Peaceful Summit temporarily enhanced this patrolling during the 2006 Riga Summit.

A number of other countries have also expressed a wish to join the alliance, including Albania, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Montenegro and Ukraine. From the Russian point of view, NATO’s eastward expansion since the end of the Cold War has been inconsistent with understandings between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President George H. W. Bush which allowed for a peaceful unification of Germany. NATO’s expansion policy is seen as a continuation of a Cold War attempt to surround and isolate Russia.[15]

The 2006 NATO summit was held in Riga, Latvia, which had joined the Atlantic Alliance two years earlier. It is the first NATO summit to be held in a country that was part of the Soviet Union, and the second one in a former COMECON country (after the 2002 Prague Summit). Energy Security was one of the main themes of the Riga Summit.

At the April 2008 summit in Bucharest, Romania, NATO agreed to the accession of Croatia and Albania and invited them to join. The membership of Macedonia was vetoed by Greece, while Ukraine and Georgia were told that they will eventually become members.

Involvement in Afghanistan: Taking over ISAF

Current membership of NATO in Europe. Current membership of NATO in Europe.

Main article: International Security Assistance Force

In August 2003, NATO commenced its first mission ever outside Europe when it assumed control over International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. However, some critics feel that national caveats or other restrictions undermine the efficiency of ISAF. For instance, political scientist Joseph Nye stated in a 2006 article that “many NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan have ‘national caveats’ that restrict how their troops may be used. While the Riga summit relaxed some of these caveats to allow assistance to allies in dire circumstances, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, and the U.S. are doing most of the fighting in southern Afghanistan, while French, German, and Italian troops are deployed in the quieter north. Due to the intensity of the fighting in the south, France has recently allowed a squadron of Mirage 2000 fighter/attack aircraft to be moved into the area, to Khandahar, in order to reinforce the alliance’s efforts.[18] It is difficult to see how NATO can succeed in stabilizing Afghanistan unless it is willing to commit more troops and give commanders more flexibility.” If these caveats were to be eliminated, it is argued that this could help NATO to succeed.


NATO missile defence talks controversy

For some years, the United States negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic for the deployment of interceptor missiles and a radar tracking system in the two countries. Both countries’ governments indicated that they would allow the deployment. The proposed American missile defence site in Central Europe is believed to be fully operational in 2015 and would be capable of covering most of Europe except part of Romania plus Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

In April 2007, NATO’s European allies called for a NATO missile defence system which would complement the American National Missile Defense system to protect Europe from missile attacks and NATO’s decision-making North Atlantic Council held consultations on missile defence in the first meeting on the topic at such a senior level.[20]

In response, Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed that such a deployment could lead to a new arms race and could enhance the likelihood of mutual destruction. He also suggested that his country should freeze its compliance with the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)-which limits military deployments across the continent-until all NATO countries had ratified the adapted CFE treaty.

Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the system would not affect strategic balance or threaten Russia, as the plan is to base only 10 interceptor missiles in Poland with an associated radar in the Czech Republic.

On July 14, Russia notified its intention to suspend the CFE treaty, effective 150 days later.

Separately, NATO has decided to establish the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE) at Tallinn, Estonia, to assist its member states,[23] in addition to the already-existing internal computer network defence team.



There are currently 26 members within NATO.

Date Country Expansion Notes
April 4, 1949 Flag of Belgium Belgium Founders  
Flag of Canada Canada  
Flag of Denmark Denmark  
Flag of France France France withdrew from the integrated military command in 1966 to pursue an independent defence system. However, there are now plans for it to rejoin sometime in 2008.[24]
Flag of Iceland Iceland Iceland, the sole member that does not have its own standing army, joined on the condition that it would not be expected to establish one. However, it has a Coast Guard and has recently provided troops trained in Norway for NATO peacekeeping.
Flag of Italy Italy  
Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg  
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands  
Flag of Norway Norway  
Flag of Portugal Portugal  
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom  
Flag of the United States United States  
18 February 1952 Flag of Greece Greece First Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure from 1974 to 1980 as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Flag of Turkey Turkey  
9 May 1955 Flag of Germany Germany Second Joined as West Germany; Saarland reunited with it in 1957 and the territories of Berlin and the former German Democratic Republic reunited with it on 3 October 1990.
30 May 1982 Flag of Spain Spain Third  
12 March 1999 Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic Fourth  
Flag of Hungary Hungary  
Flag of Poland Poland  
29 March 2004 Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria Fifth  
Flag of Estonia Estonia  
Flag of Latvia Latvia  
Flag of Lithuania Lithuania  
Flag of Romania Romania  
Flag of Slovakia Slovakia  
Flag of Slovenia Slovenia  
TBD April 2009 [25] Flag of Albania Albania Sixth  
Flag of Croatia Croatia  

At the NATO summit in Bucharest (April 2008) Albania and Croatia were officially invited to start accession talks with the alliance.

Future enlargement of NATO

       Current members     Invited members     Promised invitation      Intensified Dialogue     Membership not goal     Undeclared intent

     Current members     Invited members     Promised invitation      Intensified Dialogue     Membership not goal     Undeclared intent

In addition to the above listed members, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (or FYROM) was under consideration to enter NATO in 2009 but was not agreed upon. FYROM is likely to enter the alliance at some point, with Jane’s Defence Weekly commenting on 16 April 2008 that resolution to the naming issue that is holding up entry is ‘likely by the end of this year [2008] and no later than the 2009 summit.’ At the same 2008 summit in Bucharest, the communique explicitly said that Georgia and Ukraine ‘will become members of NATO.’

Other potential candidate countries include, in South-eastern Europe, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montengro. Other possible, long neutral countries that might become members are Finland and Sweden.


Cooperation with non-member states

     NATO member states      Partnership for Peace countries      Mediterranean Dialogue countries      NATO member states      Partnership for Peace countries      Mediterranean Dialogue countries


Euro-Atlantic Partnership

A double framework has been established to help further co-operation between the 26 NATO members and 23 “partner countries”.

  • 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. The PfP programme is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.
  • The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) on the other hand was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all 49 participants.

The 23 partner countries are the following:

  • Former Soviet republics:
  1. Flag of Armenia Armenia
  2. Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan
  3. Flag of Belarus Belarus
  4. Flag of Georgia (country) Georgia
  5. Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan
  6. Flag of Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyzstan
  7. Flag of Moldova Moldova
  8. Flag of Russia Russia
  9. Flag of Tajikistan Tajikistan
  10. Flag of Turkmenistan Turkmenistan
  11. Flag of Ukraine Ukraine
  12. Flag of Uzbekistan Uzbekistan
  • Countries that (though militarily neutral) possessed capitalist economies during the Cold War:
  1. Flag of Austria Austria
  2. Flag of Finland Finland
  3. Flag of Ireland Ireland
  4. Flag of Sweden Sweden
  5. Flag of Switzerland Switzerland
  • Nations that (though militarily neutral) possessed socialist economies during the Cold War:
  1. Flag of Albania Albania
  2. Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina (as part of Yugoslavia)
  3. Flag of Croatia Croatia (as part of Yugoslavia)
  4. Flag of Montenegro Montenegro (as part of Yugoslavia)
  5. Flag of Serbia Serbia (as part of Yugoslavia)
  6. Flag of the Republic of Macedonia Republic of Macedonia (as part of Yugoslavia)
  • Flag of Malta Malta joined PfP on April 26, 1995, but its new government withdrew on October 27, 1996 Malta’s Membership in PfP was reactivated on April 3, 2008.
  • Flag of Cyprus Cyprus’s admission to PfP is resisted by Turkey, because of the Northern Cyprus issue. Because of this Cyprus is not participating in ESDP activities that use NATO assets and information.

Individual Partnership Action Plans

Launched at the November 2002 Prague Summit, Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs) are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO.

Currently IPAPs are in implementation with the following countries:

  • Flag of Georgia (country) Georgia (29 October 2004)
  • Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (27 May 2005)
  • Flag of Armenia Armenia (16 December 2005)
  • Flag of Kazakhstan Kazakhstan (31 January 2006)
  • Flag of Moldova Moldova (19 May 2006)
  • Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina (10 January 2008)


The NATO website divides the internal NATO organisation into political structures, military structures, and agencies & organisations immediately subordinate to NATO headquarters.


Political structure

Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer meeting George W. Bush on March 20, 2006. Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer meeting George W. Bush on March 20, 2006.

Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 26 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty, and other agreements, outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 26 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. 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).

Together the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective political authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher levels 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. NATO summits also form a further venue for decisions on complex issues, such as enlargement.

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 second pivotal member of each country’s delegation is the Military Representative, a senior officer from each country’s armed forces. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee (MC), 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. Like the council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of defence, the most senior military officer in each nation’s armed forces. The Defence Planning Committee excludes France, due to that country’s 1966 decision to remove itself from NATO’s integrated military structure.On a practical level, this means that issues that are acceptable to most NATO members but unacceptable to France may be directed to the Defence Planning Committee for more expedient resolution. Such was the case in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee is Ray Henault of Canada (since 2005).

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly, presided by José Lello, is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as 13 associate members. It is however officially a different structure from NATO, and has as aim to join together deputies of NATO countries in order to discuss security policies.

Subordinate to the political structure are the International Staff and International Military Staff, which administer NATO programmes and carry out high-level political, military, and also civil emergency planning.[39]

Over the years, non-governmental citizens’ groups have grown up in support of NATO, broadly under the banner of the Atlantic Council/Atlantic Treaty Association movement.

List of officials

Secretaries General
1 General Lord Ismay Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 4 April 1952-16 May 1957
2 Paul-Henri Spaak Flag of Belgium Belgium 16 May 1957-21 April 1961
3 Dirk Stikker Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 21 April 1961-1 August 1964
4 Manlio Brosio Flag of Italy Italy 1 August 1964-1 October 1971
5 Joseph Luns Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 1 October 1971-25 June 1984
6 Lord Carrington Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 25 June 1984-1 July 1988
7 Manfred Wörner Flag of West Germany West Germany/Germany 1 July 1988-13 August 1994
8 Sergio Balanzino Flag of Italy Italy 13 August 1994-17 October 1994
9 Willy Claes Flag of Belgium Belgium 17 October 1994-20 October 1995
10 Sergio Balanzino Flag of Italy Italy 20 October 1995-5 December 1995
11 Javier Solana Flag of Spain Spain 5 December 1995-6 October 1999
12 Lord Robertson of Port Ellen Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 14 October 1999-1 January 2004
13 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 1 January 2004-present
Deputy Secretary General of NATO
# Name Country Duration
1 Sergio Balanzino Flag of Italy Italy 1994-2001
2 Alessandro Minuto Rizzo Flag of Italy Italy 2001-present

Military structure

NATO E-3A flying with US F-16s in a NATO exercise. NATO E-3A flying with US F-16s in a NATO exercise.

NATO’s military operations are directed by the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, and split into two Strategic Commands both commanded by a senior US officer 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.

Before 2003 the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) but the current arrangement is to separate command responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations, responsible for NATO operations world wide.

The commander of Allied Command Operations retained the title “Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)”, and is based in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. This is about 80 km (50 miles) south of NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels. ACO is headed by SACEUR, a US four star general with the dual-hatted role of heading US European Command, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. SHAPE was in Paris until 1966, when French president Charles de Gaulle withdrew French forces from the Atlantic Alliance. NATO’s headquarters were then forced to move to Belgium, while many military units had to move.

ACO includes Joint Force Command Brunssum in the Netherlands, Joint Force Command Naples in Italy, and Joint Command Lisbon, all multinational headquarters with many nations represented. JFC Brunssum has its land component, Allied Land Component Command Headquarters Heidelberg at Heidelberg, Germany, its air component at Ramstein in Germany, and its naval component at the Northwood Headquarters in the northwest suburbs of London. JFC Naples has its land component in Madrid, air component at Izmir, Turkey, and naval component in Naples, Italy. It also directs KFOR in Kosovo. JC Lisbon is a smaller HQ with no subordinate commands. Lajes Field, in the Portuguese Azores, is an important transatlantic staging post. Directly responsible to SACEUR is the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen in Germany where a jointly funded fleet of E-3 Sentry AWACS airborne radar aircraft is located. The C-17s of the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability, to be made operational in the next few years, will be based at Pápa airfield in Hungary, and probably come under SACEUR’s control.

Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is based in the former Allied Command Atlantic headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Allied Command Atlantic, usually known as SACLANT (Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic), after its commander, became ACT in 2003. It is headed by the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), a US four-star general or admiral with the dual-hatted role as commander US Joint Forces Command (COMUSJFCOM). There is also an ACT command element located at SHAPE in Mons, Belgium.

Subordinate ACT organisations include the Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) located in Stavanger, Norway (in the same site as the Norwegian NJHQ); the Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland; the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre (JALLC) in Monsanto, Portugal; and the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC),La Spezia, Italy.

Organisations and Agencies

The NATO website lists forty-three different agencies and organisation and five project committees/offices as of 15 May 2008. They include:

  • nine logistics bodies (including five pipeline and one medical), which include the:
    • NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency
    • Central European Pipeline System
    • NATO Pipeline System
  • five production logistics bodies, including the:
    • NATO Eurofighter and Typhoon Management Agency
  • four standardisation bodies, including the NATO Standardization Agency
  • three civil emergency planning bodies
  • five Air Defence & Air Traffic Control bodies, including the:
    • NATO ACCS Management Agency (NACMA), based in Brussels, manages around a hundred persons in charge of the Air Control and Command System (ACCS) due for 2009.
    • NATO Programming Centre
  • one AEW body, the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Programme Management Organisation
  • eight communications & information systems bodies, including the:
    • NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A),[43] reporting to the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Organisation (NC3O). The SHAPE Technical Centre (STC) in The Hague (Netherlands) merged in 1996 with the NATO Communications and Information Systems Operating and Support Agency (NACOSA) based in Brussels (Belgium), forming the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A). The agency comprises around 650 staff, of which around 400 are located in The Hague and 250 in Brussels. It reports to the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Board (NC3B).
    • NATO Communications and Information Systems Agency (NCSA),[44] based in Mons (BEL), was established in August 2004 from the former NATO Communications and Information Systems Operating and Support Agency (NACOSA).
  • one electronic warfare agency
  • one meteorological body, the Military Committee Meteorological Group (MCMG)
  • one oceanography body, the Military Oceanography (MILOC) Group
  • the Research and Technology Agency (RTA),[45] reporting to the NATO Research and Technology Organisation (RTO);
  • four education & training bodies, including the NATO School and NATO Defence College
  • five project committees and offices:
    • Alliance Ground Surveillance Capability Provisional Project Office (AGS/PPO)
    • Battlefield Information Collection and Exploitation System (BICES)
    • NATO Continuous Acquisition and Life Cycle Support Office (CALS)
    • NATO FORACS Office
    • Munitions Safety Information Analysis Center (MSIAC)