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Established: 1949.
Membership: 28 Alliance Members: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania,

Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom,
and United States.

the NATO Headquarters (HQ), the Permanent Representatives and National Delegations, The Secretary General, and the International Staff (IS). The main
bodies of the military structure are the Military
Committee, the Chairman of the Military Committee,
Strategic NATO Commanders, International Military
Staff, Allied Command Europe (ACE), and Allied
Command Atlantic (ACLANT).

Background: The Brussels Treaty of 1948, revised
in 1984, represented the first step in the post-war
reconstruction of Western European security and
brought into being the Western Union and the Brussels Treaty Organization. It was also the first step in the process leading to the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949 and the creation of the North Atlantic Alliance. The Brussels Treaty is the founding document of the present day Western European Union (WEU).

Regional bodies related informally to NATO include
the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the NATO
Parliamentary Assembly.

Negotiations culminated in the signature of the Treaty of Washington in April 1949, bringing into being a common security system based on a partnership
among 12 countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark,
France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the
United States. In 1952, Greece and Turkey acceded
to the Treaty. The Federal Republic of Germany
joined the Alliance in 1955 and, in 1982, Spain also
became a member of NATO. The Czech Republic,
Hungary, and Poland joined NATO in 1999. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Romania became NATO members in 2004.
Croatia and Albania became members in April 2009.
Objectives and Structure: The North Atlantic Alliance was founded on the basis of a Treaty between Member States entered into freely by each of t hem
after public debate and due parliamentary process.
The Treaty upholds their individual rights as well as
their international obligations in accordance with the
Charter of the United Nations. It commits each me mber country to sharing the risks and respo nsibilities as well as the benefits of collective security and requires
each of them to undertake not to enter into any other
international commitment that might conflict with the
NATO’s structure comprises separate civil and military structures and various organizations and agencies. Within the civil structure, the main bodies are

NATO Nuclear Policy: In its new Strategic Concept
adopted in Lisbon November 2010, NATO commi tted to “a world without nuclear weapons,” pledging to contribute to international efforts to fight prolifer ation, but affirmed its intention to maintain nuclear forces “as long as there are nuclear weapons in the

world.” The NATO document recognized the change
in the security environment after the Cold War and
that circumstances in which nuclear weapons might
have to be contemplated are “extremely remote.”
NATO members emphasized that security would be
sought “at the lowest possible level of forces,” and
announced a reduction in reliance upon nuclear weapons in NATO strategy including continued reductions of the number of nuclear weapons stationed in Europe.
The collective security provided by NATO’s nuclear
posture is shared among all members of the Alliance,
of which deterrence remains a core element. The “supreme guarantee” of security is assured by Alliance strategic nuclear forces, particularly U.S. forces,
while U.K. and French strategic nuclear forces contribute to NATO’s overall deterrence and security. Collective defense planning on nuclear roles is decided collectively with the “broadest possible participation” from NATO members. NATO enables member countries to achieve esse ntial

national security objectives without infringing upon
national sovereignty through organs like the Nuclear
Planning Group (NPG). The NPG exercises ultimate
authority on nuclear policy within NATO, and its
discussions cover a broad range of nuclear policy
issues including common concerns regarding nuclear
arms control and nuclear proliferation. It permits
member states irrespective of nuclear weapon status
to participate in the review and modification of

Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes © Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Last update: 7/14/2011

NATO’s nuclear posture as security challenges shift
in the international environment All NATO members,
with the exception of France, are part of the NGP.
The participation of non-nuclear countries in the Alliance nuclear posture demonstrates Alliance solidarity, the common commitment of its member countries to maintaining their security, and the widespread

sharing among them of burdens and risks. Decisions
are made by consensus so the position of the community as a whole is reflected in the Alliance’s nuclear posture.
Assuring the security of the Euro-Atlantic area remains at the heart of NATO’s purpose, but the role of U.S. nuclear forces based in Europe has been reduced
as the Alliance’s ability to diffuse a crisis diplomat ically has significantly improved. NATO has committed to eliminate “all nuclear artillery and groundlaunched short-range nuclear missiles” and significantly reduce the role and readiness of sub -strategic nuclear weapons in defense planning. This position

is reflected by member states such as Denmark, Norway, and Spain which forbid the deployment of nuclear weapons on their territory in peacetime. Though the nuclear forces based in Europe provide an essential link between Europe and North America, NATO will only maintain a “minimum level sufficient to

preserve peace and stability” while reducing the strategic role of these weapons in defense plans. Alliance Policy on WMD Proliferation: In September 2009, NATO made public the “Comprehensive, Strategic-Level Policy for Preventing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Defending against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Threats”, a document that identifies the potential for terrorists to acquire WMDs

as the primary threat of WMD proliferation and
pledges active efforts to prevent proliferation while
assuring protection and recovery of all Alliance
members from WMD threats, WMD attacks or
CBRN events. The document also noted that greater
intelligence and information sharing on WMD issues
within the Alliance is important to continued security
assurances, as well as improved communication and
cooperation with other regional and international
organs addressing WMD proliferation.
There are three senior NATO groups dealing with the
Alliance’s political and defense efforts against WMD
proliferation, namely the Senior Politico-Military
Group on Proliferation (SGP) and the Senior Defense
Group on Proliferation (DGP), which deal respectively with the political and defense dimensions of NATO’s response; and the Joint Committee on Proliferation (JCP), which coordinates and brings together

the work of both aspects. The SGP considers a range
of factors in the political, security, and economic
fields that may cause or influence proliferation and
discusses political and economic means to prevent or
respond to proliferation. The DGP addresses the military capabilities needed to discourage WMD proliferation, to deter threats and use of such wea pons, and to protect NATO populations, territory, and forces.

The Alliance's WMD Initiative: The Alliance provides an essential consultative forum for its members on all aspects of their defense and security, including
arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation.
Consultation takes place in the full range of NATO
bodies, but most particularly in the various prolifer ation groups within NATO as well as the EuroAtlantic Partnership Council, the NATO-Russia Council, and the NATO-Ukraine Commission. In
addition, NATO bodies regularly meet with experts
on disarmament, notably prior to significant international meetings such as the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, the UN First
Committee, and the Conference on Disarmament.
NATO also provides a forum for consultations on the
implications for Alliance security and global strategic
stability of theatre missile defense options and
Verification and Compliance:
Verification: The body for verification is the NATO
Council, which considers matters concerning the i mplementation of the Washington Treaty. The Council is organized to be able to meet promptly at any time.
The Council is mandated to set up subsidiary bodies
it may deem necessary, in particular a defense co mmittee which recommends measures for implementation. NATO members, as stipulated in the Treaty of Washington of 1949, agreed to consult together
whenever the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any of the Parties is threatened. The Parties agreed that an armed attack against one
or more of them in Europe or North America shall be
considered an attack against them all. Consequently,
they agreed that in exercise of the right of individual
or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of
the Charter of the United Nations, they would assist
the Party or Parties attacked by taking such action as
NATO deemed necessary, including the use of armed
force, to restore and maintain the security of the
North Atlantic area.
Compliance: Any such armed attack and all mea sures taken as a result would immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures would be
terminated when the Security Council took the measures necessary to restore and maintain international

Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes © Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Last update: 7/14/2011

peace and security. This Treaty does not affect in any
way the rights and obligations under the Charter of
the Parties which are members of the United Nations,
or the primary responsibility of the Security Council
for the maintenance of international peace and security.
NATO established a Council, on which each member
is represented, to consider matters concerning the
implementation of NATO obligations. The Council is
organized to be able to meet promptly at any time.
The Council sets up subsidiary bodies as needed; in
particular, it may establish immediately a defense
committee to recommend measures for implementation.
Provision for Withdrawal: Any Party may cease to
be a Party one year after its notice of denunciation
has been given to the government of the United
States, which will inform the governments of the
other Parties of the deposit of each notice of denunciation.

For developments on important regional bodies related informally to NATO, see the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the NATO Parliamentary
2011: On 24-25 January, NATO and Ukraine discussed providing protection against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats in preparation for the UEFA European Football Cha mpionship that will take place in June 2012. Poland and Ukraine, the hosting nations of the football event,

asked NATO for its assistance in providing security
during the championship. The Head of NATO’s
WMD Centre, Ambassador Jacek Bylica, said that
NATO will facilitate the process by providing CBRN
and counter-terrorism assistance, while some aspects
of the security will need to be provided by ho st countries. On 10-13 May, in Kiev, Ukraine, two workshops
funded by NATO were held to address the threat
posed by chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) agents. Experts from NATO and Ukraine attended the workshop, as well as profe ssionals in the field of scientific and technological research. Delegates addressed environmental and

industrial hazards and how to best manage those
threats. Industry representatives were given an oppo rtunity to demonstrate their capabilities in support of CBRN defense procedure. The interaction between
military and civilian expertise at the workshop contributed toward greater understanding of each other’s perspective on the topic of CBRN as well as creating

a “greater sense of synergy between NATO’s organizational and strategic infrastructures.” On 24 May, the Secretary-General of NATO, Anders
Fogh Rasmussen, was in Afghanistan to discuss the
security t...

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