Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellows for Military Affairs and National Security Policy David Barno and Nora Bensahel cowrite for War on the Rocks on the various challenges facing NATO and what steps it can take now to support its members and prepare for what’s next:

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of NATO’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Last week’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris underscore the changing security threats confronting the alliance. Just two years ago, the biggest issues facing the six-decades-old organization were defending NATO’s European members from Iran’s nascent ballistic missile program and reestablishing domestic support in the aftermath of its deeply divisive operation in Afghanistan.

Yet today, NATO is facing a two-front war that is very much close to home. To the south, NATO faces new threats driven by Islamist extremism across the breadth of the Middle East and North Africa. The Paris attacks painfully demonstrate the increasing danger of overseas extremism brought home. Further, the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from these and other conflicts and crossing Europe’s borders affect nearly every NATO member. These new threats from the south are joined by a revitalized older one from the east: Vladimir Putin has re-asserted Russia’s long-standing threat to the alliance and his European neighbors after a period of hopeful but uneasy détente. NATO must now confront two very different — and difficult — types of threats at the same time.

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