The US, NATO and European Security

NATO headquarters

NATO headquarters

Photo by UD Frode Overland Andersen/CC BY-ND 2.0


There has long been debate about NATO’s role and capabilities as an international actor. Some have questioned whether perceptions of what NATO can and should do, and the ways in which the Alliance can and should operate, are based on outdated assumptions.

Since NATO’s creation, a number of trends have influenced the Alliance’s evolution and the priorities and preferences of its members. RAND Europe conducted an examination of these assumptions, the trends which had influenced NATO’s evolution to date, and those which are likely to influence its development in the future.


The study considered the perceptions of a range of European NATO Member States on the role of NATO and threats to the Alliance, as well as NATO capabilities. It was intended to help shape expectations about the Alliance, its role and capabilities. Additionally, the study provided a broad aperture on the primary questions that should inform capability planning both for individual Member States and the Alliance as a whole .


The project used of a range of methodologies, including:

  • Desk-based research
  • Key Informant Interviews with key stakeholders from NATO ACT, ACO, Commands, COE and academics
  • A workshop held at NATO HQ in Brussels

Project Team

Alex Hall (Project Leader)
James Sladden (Project Manager)
Giacomo Persi Paoli
Lucia Retter
Marta Kepe
Jacopo Bellasio