NATO’s essential purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.
POLITICAL – NATO promotes democratic values and encourages consultation and cooperation on defence and security issues to build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
MILITARY – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military capacity needed to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – NATO’s founding treaty – or under a UN mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organizations.
NATO provides a unique opportunity for member countries to consult and take decisions on security issues at all levels and in a variety of fields.
A “NATO decision” is the expression of the collective will of all 28 member countries since all decisions are taken by consensus.
Each day, hundreds of civilian and military experts and officials come to NATO HQs to exchange information, share ideas and help prepare decisions when needed, in cooperation with national delegations and the staff at NATO HQs.