North Atlantic Treaty Organization
May 20, 2022
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (abbreviation: NATO (Nato, English: North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Abbreviation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization. English pronunciation is close to the sound of Naito when written in kana)) , French: Organization du traité de l'Atlantique nord (Organization du traité de l'Atlantique nord) is a military alliance of 30 countries in Europe and North America. It is the enforcement body of the North Atlantic Treaty signed on April 4, 1949 after World War II. Also known as the North Atlantic Alliance. NATO constitutes a system of collective defense by having independent member states agree on mutual defense in response to external attacks. Member States may exercise collective self-defense and jointly respond if any country in the region is attacked. NATO's headquarters are in Evere, Brussels, Belgium, and the Allied High Command is near Mons, Belgium. When it was founded in 1949, 12 countries were the original member countries: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Luxembourg and Iceland. After that, Greece and Turkey in 1952, Germany (West Germany) in 1955, Spain in 1982, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania in 2004, 2009. Albaria and Greece, Montenegro in 2017, and North Macedonia in 2020 joined the group, making it a total of 30 countries (# member countries). As of December 2021, NATO recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine as potential member states. An additional 20 countries are participating in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, and 15 other countries are participating in institutionalized dialogue programs. The total military spending of NATO member countries accounts for more than 70% of the world total. Member States have agreed to target defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024.