NATO summits are not regular meetings like the more frequent NATO ministerial meetings, but rather are important junctures in the alliance's decision-making process on the highest level. Summits are often used to introduce new policy, invite new members into the alliance, launch major new initiatives, and build partnerships with non-NATO countries.
From the founding of NATO in 1949, there have been a total of twenty-six NATO summits; the last of which was the 2014 Newport summit held in September 2014. Only the traditional summits have received an official number, thereby excluding the exceptional summit of 2001 in NATO headquarters. The next NATO summit will take place in Warsaw, Poland in July 2016.