What you might not know about NATO

What is NATO? -
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed on April 4, 1949 in Washington, D.C.

Original NATO member countries - NATO currently has 30 member states.

Warsaw Pact -
Following the membership of West Germany in 1955, the Soviets responded to NATO by signing the Warsaw Pact. 

Mission -
“NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.”

NATO’s strategic commander appointment - In December 1950, NATO appointed its first Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The SACEUR is responsible to NATO’s highest military authority, the Military Committee (MC). The current SACEUR is Tod D. Wolters, United States Air Force.

The SACEUR works in cooperation with the other strategic commander: the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). 

Military structure -
NATO itself doesn’t have its own armed forces. Instead, its military force is composed of those of member countries.

Military spending -
In summary, NATO member countries spend around 2% of their GDP on the military. 

The Soviet Union tried to join NATO - In 1954, a year after Stalin died, the Soviets asked to join NATO. 

MC 48 -
While this is not explicitly mentioned, wording such as "all types of weapons without exception" implies that nuclear weapons can be used.

Operation Allied Force -
On March 24, 1999, NATO forces started a bombing campaign in Yugoslavia that lasted 78 days.

Enhanced Forward Presence -
The Enhanced Forward Presence mission was established in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in 2016.

Ukraine applied for fast-track NATO membership on September 30 in response to Russia's annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

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