The North Atlantic Treaty Organization
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization , also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium.
NATO is on duty day and night, 365 days a year, preventing conflicts through political consultation and diplomacy, and protecting our security and freedom on land, at sea, in the air and in cyberspace.
From the skies of Iceland to the waters of the Indian Ocean and from Afghanistan to the Atlantic, men and women from across the Alliance are engaged in military operations and missions to make our countries safe and our world more secure. NATO cooperates with partners as diverse as Australia and the United Arab Emirates, Sweden and Japan. NATO and partner forces train with the weapons systems of today and are developing those of tomorrow.
NATO is an Alliance that consists of 28 independent member countries
NATO’s essential purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.
POLITICAL – NATO promotes democratic values and encourages consultation and cooperation on defence and security issues to build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
MILITARY – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military capacity needed to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – NATO’s founding treaty – or under a UN mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organizations.
NATO provides a unique opportunity for member countries to consult and take decisions on security issues at all levels and in a variety of fields.
A “NATO decision” is the expression of the collective will of all 28 member countries since all decisions are taken by consensus.
Each member nation is normally represented on the North Atlantic Council by an Ambassador or Permanent Representative supported by a national delegation composed of advisers and officials who represent their country on different NATO committees. The Council also meets from time to time at the level of Heads of State and Heads of Government or Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Defence.