In 1949, twelve countries came together to sign the Washington Treaty, marking the beginning of what would become the world’s most powerful military alliance. In the seventy-five years that have followed, NATO has expanded to include an additional twenty like-minded allies as well as numerous partnerships in order to counter threats to the rules-based international order. As NATO celebrates its milestone anniversary, it also must respond to today’s—and the future’s—wide-ranging global challenges. 

During this historic year for the Alliance, the Atlantic Council is leading the charge in shaping the agenda for the Washington summit, guiding the transatlantic community, and demonstrating NATO’s enduring value. 

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About the Summit

From July 9 to 11, heads of state and government officials from NATO member countries and the Alliance’s partners will convene at the Washington summit to discuss today’s most pressing security challenges. 

On the sidelines of the summit, NATO and the US government, in partnership with civil-society organizations including the Atlantic Council, will host the NATO Public Forum to connect with communities across the Alliance. NATO is only strong as long as it is united—making public support and understanding a vital component of collective defense. The forum offers government officials and experts alike the opportunity to offer their insight on summit developments. 

In the news


Essays on the Alliance’s future

NATO’s seventy-fifth anniversary is a milestone in a remarkable story of reinvention, adaptation, and unity. However, as the Alliance seeks to secure its future for the next seventy-five years, it faces revanchist old rivals, escalating strategic competition, and uncertainties over the future of the rules-based international order. 

With partners and allies turning attention from celebrations to challenges, the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Security Initiative invited contributors to engage with the most pressing concerns ahead of the historic Washington summit and chart a path for the Alliance’s future. This series features seven essays focused on concrete issues that NATO must address at the Washington summit and five essays that examine longer-term challenges the Alliance must confront to ensure transatlantic security. 


Expert commentary

NATO’s impact

Since its inception, the Alliance has collectively promoted global stability, peace, and prosperity beyond just the transatlantic community. NATO allies commit to collective defense and deterrence to build a safer, more secure world. Learn more about each NATO ally in the interactive graphic below.

Research & publications

US Navy sailors operate onboard aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, in the Adriatic Sea, February 2, 2022.

Issue Brief

Jun 5, 2024

A new NATO command structure

By Richard D. Hooker, Jr.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO suggest an urgent need for a revised NATO Command Structure, better suited to the security needs of allies and better organized to deter and defend in light of these new realities.

NATO Security & Defense

Issue Brief

Apr 5, 2024

Accelerating transatlantic defense innovation in an era of strategic competition

By John T. Watts

NATO’s warfighting edge will not be sufficient for the transatlantic community to weather today’s military and geopolitical realities.

Defense Technologies NATO

Issue Brief

Feb 21, 2024

NATO multidomain operations: Near- and medium-term priority initiatives

By Franklin D. Kramer, Ann Marie Dailey, Joslyn Brodfuehrer

How can NATO improve its ability to fight as a multination coalition? These seven initiatives for NATO to take over the next five years can help.

Defense Policy Defense Technologies

Issue Brief

Dec 22, 2023

Navigating Sweden’s NATO membership: Insights for political and operational adaptation

By Viltaute Zarembaite, Christopher Skaluba, Ann Marie Dailey

Sweden is on the cusp of joining Finland as NATO’s newest members, bridging a crucial gap in the region’s security architecture and creating new opportunities for closer security cooperation. Once Sweden is in NATO, the Baltic Sea will be a geographically coherent strategic space—or, in more casual parlance, a “NATO lake.”

Europe & Eurasia NATO

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