North Atlantic Treaty Organization (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.

  • Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde, Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Finland's Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen pose during a photo call in Stockholm, Sweden, February 2, 2022, photo by Paul Wennerholm/ TT News Agency via Reuters

    Commentary

    Finland and Sweden Mull NATO Membership

    Mar 3, 2022

    After decades of military neutrality between NATO and Russia, recent events saw a potential sea-change in how Finland and Sweden consider their role with the NATO alliance. NATO leadership could start planning now so that if Sweden and Finland make the jump to joining the alliance, they can be welcomed in quickly.

  • Destroyed military vehicles on a street, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region, Ukraine, March 1, 2022, photo by Serhii Nuzhnenko/Reuters

    Commentary

    Ensuring Russia's War with Ukraine Doesn't Morph into Direct Conflict with NATO

    Mar 2, 2022

    Russia has launched an unprecedented act of aggression against Ukraine. The United States and its allies must respond forcefully. But as they do, they should take into account the possibility of triggering a spiral of escalation that could lead to the only outcome worse than the invasion of Ukraine itself: a hot war between Russia and NATO.

Explore North Atlantic Treaty Organization

  • Multimedia

    Limiting Regret and Deterring Russian Aggression in the Baltic States

    Testimonies presented before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces on March 1, 2017.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • U.S. Army sergeant helps direct an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle off a flatbed on Tapa Army Base, Estonia, June 4, 2015

    Testimony

    What It Takes to Deter Russian Aggression in the Baltics

    The United States and NATO face several challenges in deterring Russia in the Baltics. Solving these is vital to achieving core U.S. objectives in Europe. The first step is to ensure that NATO can stay in the game and deny Moscow an easy strategic victory.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • A U.S. Army Soldier assigned to 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, provides security during Decisive Action Rotation 16-06 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif

    Testimony

    How to Build the Army America Will Need

    The world has changed since 2014, when the size and capabilities of today's U.S. forces were set. As the Trump administration develops its defense policy and strategy, it must assess whether further growth in ground force size, capabilities, and posture are needed.

    Mar 1, 2017

  • U.S. Marines were among 4,000 soldiers from 11 NATO countries who participated in Exercise Iron Sword 16 in Lithuania

    Commentary

    America's NATO Partners Should Engage Trump in Brussels

    At May's NATO summit in Brussels, President Trump will be looking for a symbolic victory rather than a confrontation with 27 other national leaders. Therefore, Europe needs to create a positive outcome for him in advance.

    Feb 27, 2017

  • Estonian soldiers in a military parade celebrate Estonia's Independence Day near the Russian border in Narva, February 24, 2015

    Report

    The Potential for Russian Hybrid Warfare in the Baltics

    Russia would likely have trouble using nonviolent tactics to destabilize the Baltics. Covert violent action is also unlikely to succeed on its own. Thus, the Baltics' main vulnerability is Russia's local superiority in conventional forces.

    Feb 23, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference following the talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, Hungary, February 2, 2017

    Commentary

    Dealing with a Revanchist Russia

    The deployment of additional U.S. forces and other NATO units to Poland, Norway, the Baltics, and other states symbolically reinforces the West's commitment to the alliance. But countering Russia's influence will require a fundamental reformulation of EU and U.S. political strategy.

    Feb 8, 2017

  • News Release

    News Release

    Domestic Political Discord Now the Greatest Threat to U.S. Global Leadership

    Faced with traditional threats from opponents such as Russia and emerging threats from non-traditional adversaries such as the Islamic State, the United States needs a comprehensive foreign policy strategy that can provide stability and improve policymakers' ability to manage in today's more complex and turbulent times.

    Jan 18, 2017

  • Aerial view of the Earth

    Research Brief

    Exploring America's Role in a Turbulent World

    The post–Cold War era is over. The United States faces new challenges abroad and rising political polarization at home. How should America advance its interests and pursue new opportunities around the world?

    Jan 18, 2017

  • The mascots of the Democratic and Republican parties are seen on a video screen at U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, March 8, 2016

    Report

    Domestic Political Discord Is Now the Greatest Threat to U.S. Global Leadership

    The United States needs a coherent international strategy for today's turbulent world. But this will be hard to pursue without more domestic political consensus on America's global role.

    Jan 18, 2017

  • U.S. and Polish soldiers meet after a welcoming ceremony for U.S. troops deployed as part of a NATO buildup in Eastern Europe, Zagan, Poland, January 14, 2017

    Report

    How Are European Countries Vulnerable to Russia?

    Russia's aggression against Ukraine has highlighted potential threats to NATO and the EU. But European countries differ in how susceptible they are to possible Russian actions.

    Jan 18, 2017

  • Dissertation

    Dissertation

    NATO, Climate Change, and International Security: A Risk Governance Approach

    Offers a prospective analysis of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the anticipated security consequences of climate change.

    Dec 30, 2016

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 1, 2016

    Commentary

    Can Trump Make a Deal with Putin?

    If executed properly, President-elect Trump's diplomacy could help reverse a destabilizing downward spiral in U.S.-Russian relations and create a vision of what normal relations might entail.

    Dec 5, 2016

  • Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan meet to sign a bilateral agreement on construction of the TurkStream undersea gas pipeline in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016

    Commentary

    The Turkish-Russian Rapprochement: How Real? How Durable?

    The recent strengthening of ties between Turkey and Russia may represent more of an economic marriage of convenience than a deeply rooted political alliance. On a number of important issues, particularly the Syrian conflict, the two nations have very different interests and priorities.

    Nov 21, 2016

  • World map with global communication lines.

    Commentary

    The Made-in-America Global Security and Economic System Still Serves U.S. Interests

    The next U.S. president will have many willing partners and an opportunity to expand the global system of security and economic institutions in a way that will help the United States and the world for decades.

    Oct 26, 2016

  • News Release

    News Release

    U.S. Interests Abroad Face Steep Challenges

    The United States' interests abroad are facing challenges because the alliances, economic institutions, and political relationships that have made up the international order since the end of World War II are under threat from global upheaval.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • Report

    Report

    Building a Sustainable International Order: Summary of the First Workshop in the International Order Project Series

    This conference summary reflects key insights from a January 2016 workshop discussion that informed the next stages of a project titled "Building a Sustainable International Order."

    Oct 19, 2016

  • A globe and marbles balancing

    Report

    U.S. Interests Abroad Face Steep Challenges

    Global upheaval is threatening the alliances, economic institutions, and political relationships that have made up the international order since 1945. This is creating challenges for U.S. interests.

    Oct 19, 2016

  • World map concept with puzzle pieces

    Essay

    Election 2016: The International Issues

    America's next president will face challenges that test the fundamentals of world order. RAND experts have outlined key decisions, the dangers involved, and the least-bad options that now often pass for good ones.

    Oct 7, 2016

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates meets with the other NATO Ministers of Defense and of Foreign Affairs

    Multimedia

    Rethinking Russia's Threat to NATO

    A series of wargames examined the probable outcome of a Russian invasion of the Baltic states. The wargames showed that a near-term Russian invasion could reach the Estonian and Latvian capitals in less than 60 hours.

    Sep 30, 2016

  • Bullets and firearm on a retail store counter

    Commentary

    Tracing Firearms and Ammunition

    The marking of firearms and ammunition supports effective tracing by enabling identification and efficient record keeping. But currently there are no mandatory, globally accepted standards that regulate firearms marking.

    Sep 9, 2016