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North Atlantic Treaty Organization

North Atlantic Treaty organization is an alliance of 16 North American and European nations. These nations are: the United States, Canada, Iceland, Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, West Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Together these nations contain a large segment of the world’s population and more than half of the world’s industrial capacity and wealth.

The heart of the treaty is founding the far-reaching provisions of Article 5, by which the signatories agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all; and… that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them… will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by adding forthwith…such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic Area” (Asmus, 2002).

Thesis Statement: This research scrutinizes the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in terms of its raison detre, its admission, policies and its internal structure and management. This also analyzes the successes and failures of the organization. II. Background A. Organization The controlling authority of NATO is the North Atlantic Council. Composed of permanent civilian representatives of the member states, it meets once or twice a week at Brussels, Belgium. Twice a year, the council meets at the ministerial level.

Since France’s withdrawal from NATO’s integrated military activities in 1966, the council reconstitutes itself as the Defense Planning Committee, without French representation (Kaplan, 2004), whenever it discusses defense matters in which France is not interested. The highest noncivilian authority is the Military Committee, which is also located at the Brussels headquarters. It makes recommendations to the Defense Planning Committee and has control over NATO commanders. Permanent representatives of the chiefs of staff of the member states are occasionally replaced on the committee by the chiefs of staff themselves (Powaski, 1994).

B. NATO Structure The North Atlantic Treaty, signed on April 4, 1949, commits its signatories to safeguard the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law, and to promote peace, well-being, and stability (Hendrickson, 2006). The treaty creates a defensive military alliance by stipulating that an armed attack against one or more of the members shall be considered an attack on all. The North Atlantic Council, chief policy making body of NATO, meets permanently at Brussels.

Each nation appoints one representative to the council, and policy decisions must be made by unanimous vote. The chairman of the council is also secretary general of NATO and heads the secretariat (Wilcox, 2003). The North Atlantic Council has more than 20 standing committee works out defense plans on the basis of instructions received from the council. The Military Committee, consisting of the chiefs of staff of all the member nations except France and Iceland (Wilcox, 2003), makes recommendations to the Defense Planning Committee and the North Atlantic Council.

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