• Created by: noueux
  • Created on: 15-05-19 20:34
  • NATO is ultimately governed by its 26 member states
  • The North Atlantic Treaty and other agreements outline how decisions are to be made within NATO.
  • 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 Government and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO's policies are generally taken
  • The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO
  • 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
  • The Military Representatives, senior officers from each country's armed forces, 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
  • NATO's military operations are directed by two Strategic Commanders, both senior American Officers 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


  • The Military Committee’s 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
  • It has traditionally stated that its general aim is to “safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation” of its members by promoting “stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area”
  • Was originally created to block Soviet expansion in Europe

How has NATO changed in the last decade or so?

  • NATO began as a counter to potential Soviet aggression in Europe following the post WW2 establishment of communist regimes in central and eastern Europe. However the end of the cold war followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent demise of the Warsaw Pact left NATO with no obvious purpose
  • Since then NATO ha used its defensive role to justify a more proactive approach to “out of area” activities, arguing that instability in any part of Europe would constitute a threat to NATO members.
  • NATO presented a variety of new threats to validate its existence, including: international terrorism; regional ethnic conflicts; and resurgent nationalism.
  • In 1999 the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became the first former Warsaw Pact countries to gain NATO membership. This was followed by the joining of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, republics of the USSR until its collapse in 1991, in 2004
  • Following the collapse of the USSR in 1991, NATO embarked on a series of steps designed to build new relationships with the former Warsaw Pact countries and particularly with Russia, which was extremely suspicious of…


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