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North Atlantic Treaty Organization Portal
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO ; French: Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord; OTAN), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29. The most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total. Members have committed to reach or maintain defense spending of at least 2% of GDP by 2024.
Gladio (Italian: sword) is a code name denoting the clandestine NATO "stay-behind" operation in Italy after World War II, intended to counter an eventual Warsaw Pact invasion of Western Europe. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organisations, "Operation Gladio" is used as an informal name for all stay-behind organisations, sometimes called "Super NATO".
Operating in many NATO and even some neutral countries, Gladio was first coordinated by the Clandestine Committee of the Western Union (CCWU), founded in 1948. After the creation of NATO in 1949, the CCWU was integrated into the Clandestine Planning Committee (CPC), founded in 1951 and overseen by the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe), transferred to Belgium after France’s official withdrawal from NATO's Military Committee in 1966 — which was not followed by the dissolution of the French stay-behind paramilitary movements.
The role of the CIA in sponsoring Gladio and the extent of its activities during the Cold War era, and its relationship to terrorist attacks perpetrated in Italy during the Years of Lead and other similar clandestine operations is the subject of ongoing debate and investigation. Italy, Switzerland and Belgium have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter.
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Selected member military
The military of Luxembourg consists of a solitary branch: the army (the Gendarmerie was merged into the Grand Ducal Police in 2000), which was formerly commanded by a colonel, but as of 2008 is commanded by a general; Luxembourg has no navy (it's a landlocked nation) or air force. The army has been an all-volunteer force since 1967. It has a current strength of approximately 450 professional soldiers, about 340 enlisted recruits and 100 civilians, and a total budget of $369 million, or 0.9% of GDP. The army is under civilian control. The Commander-in-Chief is the Grand Duke, but day-to-day responsibility for defence matters is vested in the Minister for Defence, currently Jean-Louis Schiltz (since February 23, 2006), under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
Luxembourg has participated in the Eurocorps since 1994, has contributed troops to the UNPROFOR and IFOR missions in former Yugoslavia, and participates with a small contingent in the current NATO SFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Luxembourg army is integrated into the Multinational Beluga Force under Belgian command. Luxembourg troops have also deployed to Afghanistan to support ISAF. Luxembourg has financially supported international peacekeeping missions during the 1991 Gulf War, in Rwanda and, more recently, Albania. The army also has participated in humanitarian relief missions such as setting up refugee camps for Kurds and providing emergency supplies to Albania.
- June 22: The Turkish government has agreed to allow NATO AWACS aircraft to operate from bases in Western Turkey providing better air traffic control and radar control over Afghanistan. Read more...
- June 18: During a farewell visit to Afghanistan, outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that the alliance would send an extra 8,000 to 10,000 troops to the country to provide additional security during August elections. Read mores...
- June 14: A warship from the NATO naval force off Somalia freed 14 Indian sailors held hostage by pirates. Read more...
- The threats we face today are not unique to any of us – they are common across the globe, and none of our countries is immune to them. --Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
- Our unique partnership was born in common philosophies of freedom and democracy. It was forged during half a century's fight against tyranny. Now it stands as a beacon of democracy, toleration, plurality, openness and candor in a world menaced by extremism and instability. --Lord Robertson
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