The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is one of the world’s major international institutions. It is a political and military Alliance of 28 member countries from Europe and North America.



The Alliance takes all its decisions by consensus. Every member country, no matter how large or small, has an equal say in discussions and decisions.

Member states are committed to individual liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. These values are at the heart of NATO’s transatlantic bond.



The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend NATO’s territory and populations. Article 5 of NATO’s founding charter, the Washington Treaty, sets out the Alliance’s collective defense commitment.

It states that an attack on one shall be considered an attack on all. Article 5 has been invoked only once in NATO’s history, on 12 September 2001, the day after the terrorist attacks on the United States.

What Countries Are Not In NATO?

Six EU member states, all of which have declared their non-alignment with military alliances, are not NATO members: Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta, and Sweden.

Additionally, Switzerland, which is surrounded by the EU, has also maintained its neutrality by remaining a non-EU-member.

Is NATO an Army?

NATO has access to about 40,000 troops in its NATO Response Force but so far has not activated that group. About 5,000 of those troops have been placed on heightened alert.

Some of the organization’s members have been supplying arms and equipment to Ukraine, but NATO isn’t taking similar action itself.

The Alliance counts on the military might of its 30 Allied and partner nations to support missions and operations around the world.

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