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 liberal democratic order. As NATO commemorates this milestone anniversary, it also must take stock of challenges on the horizon. During this historic year for the Alliance, the Atlantic Council is leading the charge in shaping the agenda for the Washington Summit, informing the transatlantic and domestic community, and demonstrating NATO’s enduring value.

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. Check out this interactive graphic to learn more about each NATO ally.

Featured content series

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 the revanchism of 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 will feature 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.

Washington Summit


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Research & publications

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


Dec 15, 2023

A security strategy for the Black Sea

By Atlantic Council Task Force on Black Sea Security

This report outlines the strategic setting, regional challenges and threats, key planning assumptions, risk and risk mitigation, and finally DIME (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic) based recommendations for enhancing security and stability in the Black Sea region.

Europe & Eurasia NATO


Oct 26, 2023

Continued US and allied integration is essential to deter Russian CBRN use

By Natasha Lander Finch, Ryan Arick, Christopher Skaluba

This report presents the findings and recommendations of the Atlantic Council project Conceptualizing Integrated Deterrence to Address Russian Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Escalation. The objective of this project was to develop an approach for incorporating European allies and partners into the US model of integrated deterrence against Russian CBRN use.

Arms Control Defense Policy

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Save the dates for the upcoming 2024 NATO Summit in Washington, DC from July 9 – July 11. For more information and updates on future events and publications, follow @ACScowcroft and join the conversation with #StrongerwithAllies. 

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