Since the Balkan crises of the mid-1990s, NATO has been continuously deployed on military operations and missions across three continents. NATO's current deployments build upon the experience of over two decades.
A wide range of partners contribute troops and equipment to NATO-led military operations and missions.
NATO is a political and military organisation which allows the 28 Allies to debate, decide and deploy quickly, seamlessly and effectively. This structure permits commanders to run the full range of operations, missions and exercises, under the political oversight of the Allies.
NATO is unique in its ability to gather and use the most modern and effective military capabilities for its military operations. Allies make a wide range of assets available to NATO when needed and are working together to develop and extend their capabilities in critical areas, which are essential for future security.
Allies and partners are sharing skills and expertise in the fields of education, training and exercises and, more generally, capacity-building, to maintain interoperability between their forces and acquire long-term know-how.
The heart of NATO is the 28 members of the Alliance. They are bound together by the Washington Treaty, their common commitment to collective values and collective defence.
NATO has developed a network of structured partnerships with countries from the Euro-Atlantic area, the Mediterranean and the Gulf region, as well as individual relationships with other partners across the globe.
Partnership for Peace partners
Founded in January 1994, the Partnership for Peace programme aims to promote peace, security and stability through cooperation across the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond. It currently numbers 22 countries.
Mediterranean Dialogue partners
Created in December 1994, the Mediterranean Dialogue builds political consultation and practical cooperation between NATO and seven countries in the Mediterranean area.
Istanbul Cooperation Initiative partners
Launched in June 2004, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative promotes political consultation and practical cooperation between NATO and four countries in the Gulf region.
Partners across the globe
NATO cooperates on an individual basis with a number of countries, which are not part of its partnership framework. These countries develop cooperation with NATO in areas of mutual interest and some contribute to NATO-led military operations and missions.
NATO is on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, deterring threats, defending Allies, conducting operations, carrying out exercises, developing new capabilities and working with partners. These video and web features highlight just some of the Alliance's latest activities.
NATO leaders agreed in 2002 to develop missile defences to protect deployed troops, and decided, in 2010, to expand that coverage to NATO's European populations, territory and forces.
NATO maintains 24/7 awareness of air movements in and around the Alliance's air space. The objective is to ensure freedom of action by protecting against air and missile attacks.
NATO's cyber defence capability takes the lead in protecting NATO's computer networks against attack. It is based at the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) Technical Centre, housed at SHAPE, Belgium.
Special Operations Forces from Allied countries are brought together at the NATO Special Operations Headquarters, SHAPE, Belgium. The headquarters coordinates NATO's Special Operations and optimises their employment.
NATO has a strong and flexible deployable force, the NATO Response Force, in a permanent state of readiness. In addition, SACEUR, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, can call on national headquarters to provide high-readiness leadership.
Sea power is a vital strategic capability and is fundamental to NATO's ability to carry out its core tasks. NATO's naval presence reaches from the Indian Ocean to both shores of the North Atlantic.
JISR brings together sensor platforms, communications systems and analytical expertise to give commanders the best possible understanding of what is happening on the ground, at sea and in the air at any one time. It is a capability that addresses some of the information-sharing deficiencies observed during recent military operations.
One of the key lessons from NATO's operation to protect civilians in Libya was the importance of precision-guided munitions as a means to deliver military results while minimising the risk to civilians. NATO is taking measures to improve the availability of these munitions and of personnel trained to use them.
NATO conducts a wide range of training and exercises to make sure that Allies and partners can operate together seamlessly in demanding crisis situations.
NATO is on duty day and night, 365 days a year, preventing conflicts through political consultation and diplomacy, and protecting our security and freedom on land, at sea, in the air and in cyberspace.
From the skies of Iceland to the waters of the Indian Ocean and from Afghanistan to the Atlantic, men and women from across the Alliance are engaged in military operations and missions to make our countries safe and our world more secure. NATO cooperates with partners as diverse as Australia and the United Arab Emirates, Sweden and Japan. NATO and partner forces train with the weapons systems of today and are developing those of tomorrow.
As the Alliance prepares for the Wales Summit in September 2014, this interactive map illustrates some of the ways NATO is working around the clock and around the world, to keep our citizens free and safe now, and for the future.
Last updated: 26 August 2014
The data provided on this site are for informational purposes only. The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by NATO. The coloured overlays used to highlight countries are approximate markers.
* Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
** The State of Israel has designated Jerusalem as its capital. The position of the United Nations on the question of Jerusalem is contained in several Resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council concerning this question.