NATO

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As a military alliance with roots in the Cold War, NATO's strategy and purpose have had to shift since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. RAND has assisted U.S. and European defense establishments by recommending expansion strategies; analyzing activities in the Balkans and Afghanistan, areas outside NATO's traditional focus; and advising decisionmakers on issues critical to NATO's mission and the interests of its member nations.

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a news conference during a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, February 5, 2015, photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters

    Report

    NATO Needs a Comprehensive Strategy for Russia

    Mar 25, 2015

    Russia's intervention in Ukraine has shattered the vision of a stable, secure, and economically healthy Europe that's guided NATO and EU policy for two decades. NATO, working closely with the EU, needs to regain the initiative to proactively seek peace and stability in Europe and find a coherent, cohesive way forward.

Explore North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • Russian paratroopers wait to board a helicopter during a military exercise outside the southern city of Stavropol, Russia, October 27, 2015

    Commentary

    Outnumbered, Outranged, and Outgunned: How Russia Defeats NATO

    Today NATO is outnumbered, outranged, and outgunned by Russia in Europe and beset by a number of compounding factors that make the situation worse. But it is possible to begin restoring a more robust deterrent posture and to do so at a price tag that appears affordable.

    Apr 21, 2016

  • Russia's and NATO's Defence Ministers at a NATO-Russia defence ministers council at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, October 23, 2013

    Commentary

    A Risky Move in Brussels

    In the last two years, NATO's relations with Russia have collapsed to their post-Cold War nadir. The decision to convene a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on April 20 has been met with an unusual amount of controversy and could prove to be a mistake.

    Apr 19, 2016

  • The NATO flag flies on a sunny day

    Commentary

    NATO's Southern Exposure: The Real Threats to Europe—and the Alliance

    If NATO fails to define a strategy for its southern challenges (terrorism and the ongoing influx of migrants), it could slip into strategic irrelevance.

    Apr 18, 2016

  • Journal Article

    The Military Aspects of the US Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific

    The contributions made in this volume point to the ongoing challenge of understanding the substance and direction of the relationship between NATO and four Asia-Pacific partners (Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea).

    Apr 11, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a meeting dealing with the commissioning of military products at the National Defense Control Center in Moscow, March 11, 2016

    Commentary

    How Russia Undermines Nuclear Security

    Russian aggression in Ukraine and nuclear saber rattling are jeopardizing the very global nonproliferation efforts that this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington seeks to further. Moscow's actions deserve a stronger response than they have received.

    Apr 1, 2016

  • Tunisian soldiers participate in an exercise along the frontier with Libya in Sabkeht Alyun, Tunisia, February 6, 2016

    Commentary

    Use Force to Forge Peace in Libya

    Five years after the uprising against Qaddafi and the civil war that followed, Libya is now home to the second-largest and fastest-growing Islamic State group affiliate outside Iraq and Syria. The U.S. and its allies need to step in to help restore Libyan sovereignty.

    Feb 17, 2016

  • Estonia's Defence League volunteer soldiers attend training drill near Rabasaare, Estonia, September 12, 2015

    Report

    Unconventional Options for the Defense of the Baltic States

    Unconventional options from the Swiss defense strategy during the Cold War could benefit Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. These include training and equipping local defense units and preparing transportation infrastructure for demolition to prevent an invasion.

    Feb 5, 2016

  • Map of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

    Report

    Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics

    A series of wargames examined the threat Russia may present to the three Baltic republics. As currently postured, NATO could not defend the territory. What might be done to prevent Russia from attempting to reclaim it?

    Jan 29, 2016

  • U.S. Marines receive a safety brief before they conduct live-fire drills during Trident Juncture 2015 in Almeria, Spain, October 27, 2015

    Commentary

    Building Interoperability for European Defense

    To make the most out of declining defense budgets, the U.S. needs to engage European forces to build interoperability that would enable joint operations to deter and defeat potential adversaries, even with little advance notice. But building interoperable units has often proved difficult even among the friendliest of nations.

    Nov 9, 2015

  • Russian nesting dolls bearing the faces of Russian leaders are displayed in a souvenir shop near Sochi, February 21, 2014

    Report

    What Explains Russia's Annexation of Crimea?

    Russia's attitude toward Ukraine is consistent with historical Russian (and Soviet) thinking about security interests and foreign policy. But these patterns are only a starting point for understanding recent events.

    Sep 22, 2015

  • A Belgian Air Force F-16 over Ghardabiya Air Base, Libya, April 29, 2011

    Report

    Airpower in the Libyan Civil War

    In 2011, a coalition of nations waged a war against Muammar Qaddafi's regime that reversed the tide of Libya's civil war. The intervention's central element was a relatively small air campaign. What lessons did each nation glean from the experience?

    Jul 8, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening of the Army-2015 international military forum in Kubinka, Russia, June 16, 2015

    Commentary

    The Baltic Balance: How to Reduce the Chances of War in Europe

    Recent announcements of increased U.S. military support in the Baltics are a positive step in addressing a major new challenge to European security.

    Jul 2, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) and Colonel-General Oleg Salyukov (R) in Moscow, May 9, 2015

    Commentary

    Will Putin Gamble All on a Broader Ukraine Invasion?

    If the Kremlin is contemplating further action in Ukraine, it faces a tough choice. The decision could have an enduring impact on Russia's fortunes.

    May 26, 2015

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a live broadcast nationwide call-in in Moscow April 16, 2015; he said Russian military forces were not in Ukraine, denying allegations that Moscow is providing troops and support for pro-Russian rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine

    Commentary

    Ukraine Crisis Is a Geopolitical Game Changer

    Russia's aggression abroad and repression at home have altered the basic assumptions of earlier Western policy. By misjudging the tolerance for aggression in Europe, Moscow is bringing on the encirclement it fears. The West is now better prepared to deal with any further aggression and more confident that Ukraine's future will be as part of an enlarged Europe.

    Apr 17, 2015

  • People welcome U.S. Army soldiers during a military exercise in Harrachov, Czech Republic

    Report

    The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security

    If the Department of Defense is tasked with helping NATO build a more robust deterrence and defense posture in Eastern Europe, the U.S. Army and Air Force will need to revisit planning assumptions that have minimized U.S. military commitments to that region since the end of the Cold War.

    Apr 2, 2015

  • French President Francois Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama, and British Prime Minister David Cameron discuss the situation in Ukraine at the G20 in Brisbane, November 16, 2014

    Commentary

    France Is Replacing the UK as America's Top Ally in Europe

    The United States' relationship with France should be recognized and strengthened. France retains the military capability and the political moxie to contribute significantly and aggressively to collective responses to security threats to the Atlantic Alliance.

    Mar 30, 2015

  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a news conference during a NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, February 5, 2015

    Report

    NATO Needs a Comprehensive Strategy for Russia

    Russia's intervention in Ukraine has shattered the vision of a stable, secure, and economically healthy Europe that's guided NATO and EU policy for two decades. NATO, working closely with the EU, needs to regain the initiative to proactively seek peace and stability in Europe and find a coherent, cohesive way forward.

    Mar 25, 2015

  • Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at their news conference following diplomatic meetings at Camp David, Maryland, March 23, 2015

    Commentary

    What Afghanistan Wants from Washington

    Afghan President Ghani's main mission in coming to Washington is to change the American view of Afghanistan, not so much inside the Obama administration as on Capitol Hill. This view remains a mostly negative one, formed by a seemingly endless war, high levels of government corruption, and repeated expressions of rank ingratitude on the part of Ghani's predecessor.

    Mar 23, 2015

  • The Lithuanian Army's rapid reaction force unit, first formed in Nov. 2014 in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea, carries out a drill in Rukla Mar. 19, 2015

    Commentary

    Stop Putin's Next Invasion Before It Starts

    The U.S. needs to consider stationing forces in Eastern Europe to support its commitment to protect the independence of the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania against Russian aggression. If not, and Russia invades, the options available to this or a future U.S. president are stark.

    Mar 20, 2015

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko (2nd L) attend a signing ceremony during a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State at the Kremlin in Moscow, March 3, 2015

    Commentary

    Europe Must Spend More on Arms to Deter Putin

    Demonstrations in Greece and elsewhere suggest that the European public may have little sympathy for governments not devoting most efforts to domestic discontent and foreign indebtedness. But the longtime downward trends in European defense spending matter now that Russia has chosen to flex its military might, diminished though it may be.

    Mar 3, 2015