North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord
NATO OTAN landscape logo.svg
NATO flag.svg
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (orthographic projection).svg
Land controlled by member states shown in dark green
AbbreviationNATO, OTAN
Formation4 April 1949 (1949-04-04)
TypeMilitary alliance
HeadquartersBrussels, Belgium
Official language
  • English
  • French


Jens Stoltenberg
Lt. Admiral Rob Bauer, Royal Netherlands Navy
General Tod D. Wolters, United States Air Force
Général Philippe Lavigne, French Air and Space Force
Expenses (2019)US$1.036 trillion[2] Edit this at Wikidata
Anthem: "The NATO Hymn"

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, /ˈnt/; French: Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord, OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 member states – 27 European, one transcontinental, and two North American. Established in the aftermath of World War II on the insistence of the Truman administration in the United States, the organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed on 4 April 1949.[3][4]

NATO is a system of collective security: its independent member states agree to defend each other against attacks by third parties. It was established during the Cold War in response to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. The alliance remained in place after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and has been involved in military operations in the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. The NATO headquarters is located in Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium. The organization's motto is "animus in consulendo liber" (Latin for "A mind unfettered in deliberation").[5]

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30. The most recent member state to be added to NATO was North Macedonia on 27 March 2020. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine as aspiring members.[3] Enlargement has led to tensions with non-member Russia, which is one of the 20 additional countries that participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace programme. Another 15 countries are involved in institutionalized dialogue programmes with NATO. The combined military spending of all NATO members in 2020 constituted over 57 per cent of the global nominal total.[6] Members agreed that their aim is to reach or maintain the target defence spending of at least 2 per cent of their GDP by 2024.[7][8]

  1. ^ "English and French shall be the official languages for the entire North Atlantic Treaty Organization". Final Communiqué following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 17 September 1949 Archived 6 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine. "... the English and French texts [of the Treaty] are equally authentic ..." The North Atlantic Treaty, Article 14 Archived 14 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2010–2019)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 October 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "What is NATO?". NATO – Homepage. n.d. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  4. ^ Cook, Lorne (25 May 2017). "NATO, the world's biggest military alliance, explained". Military Times. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Animus in consulendo liber". NATO. Archived from the original on 9 January 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  6. ^ "The SIPRI Military Expenditure Database". SIPRI. IMF World Economic Outlook. 2021. Archived from the original on 24 February 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  7. ^ The Wales Declaration on the Transatlantic Bond Archived 10 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine, NATO, 5 September 2014.
  8. ^ Erlanger, Steven (26 March 2014). "Europe Begins to Rethink Cuts to Military Spending". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. Last year, only a handful of NATO countries met the target, according to NATO figures, including the United States, at 4.1 percent, and Britain, at 2.4 percent.

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