HMS Ledbury, Royal Navy mine hunter, Sardinia, NATO countermeasures



HMS Ledbury, British Royal Navy mine hunter, Sardinia, NATO countermeasures






Finally, Vladimir Putin seized what he thought was his golden opportunity to invade Ukraine, with what he rather misguidedly thought would be a cakewalk. The Russian CRINK dictator could not leave it much longer, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy was steering his country to NATO membership, since Crimea was annexed - with the democratic free world too pussy to do anything about it - blinded by greed, avarice, cheap oil and gas and Chinese imports from Xi Jinping. Shades of WWII and the appeasement of Adolf Hitler.


It makes you wonder how democratically elected politicians could be so obtuse. Did they not see World War Three looming? They took one heck of a gamble relying on fossil fuels. When they should have been pulling teeth with solar and wind powered renewables to generate clean electricity and green hydrogen.


But, no use crying over spilt milk. Now the world has to mop up their mess. It will probably cost the lives of millions - if not billions, when the balistic missiles start to rain down - against an almost total lack of protect with nuclear fallout shelter for the masses.


Iran and North Korea are busy honing their weapons capability, in their quest to destroy capitalist values, and rule the world as dictators. But, only so long as they are alive, and their populations are kept in the dark. Then again, corruption in the free world must be stamped out if to lead by example.


Meantime, Israel is up against a proxy war from Iran and nobody is safe in the Red Sea.




The Houthis are an Iranian-backed rebel group which considers Israel an enemy.

In response to the war in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis started firing drones and missiles towards Israel. Most have been intercepted.

On 19 November, the Houthis hijacked a commercial ship in the Red Sea.

They have since launched dozens of missile and drone attacks on commercial ships. Of these, 34 have resulted in reported damage to vessels.

The Rubymar, a cargo ship which was hit in February, later sank.

On 6 March, three crew members were killed in a missile attack on the Barbados-flagged cargo ship True Confidence.

US-led naval forces have thwarted many attacks.

The Houthis initially said they were attacking ships connected with Israel, or heading to or from there. However, many of the vessels have no connection with Israel.

In response to US and UK air strikes on their positions, the Houthis have more recently targeted ships tied to owners or operators in the UK or US.

Major shipping companies have stopped using the Red Sea - through which almost 15% of global seaborne trade usually passes - and are using a much longer route around southern Africa instead.

The US and UK started carrying out air strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen on 11 January. There have been several more strikes since then.

President Joe Biden said they were in "direct response" to the attacks on Red Sea ships, which "jeopardised trade, and threatened freedom of navigation". 

Saudi Arabia is now trying to make a peace deal with the Houthis, and a UN-brokered truce has been in effect since April 2022.

The war has killed more than 160,000 people, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED). More than four million people have been displaced.

The US says Iran enabled the Houthis to target ships, and President Biden has sent a "private message" to Tehran urging it to stop. Iran has denied involvement.

Saudi Arabia and the US say Iran has smuggled weapons - including drones, and cruise and ballistic missiles - to the Houthis during Yemen's civil war in violation of a UN arms embargo.

It says such missiles and drones have been used in attacks on Saudi Arabia, as well as its ally, the United Arab Emirates. 

Iran denies supplying weapons to the Houthis and says it only supports them politically.

"The Houthis could not operate at this level without Iranian arms, training and intelligence," says Dr Elisabeth Kendall, a Middle East specialist at Cambridge University.

According to the Italian Institute of International Political Studies, Iran has helped the Houthis build factories to make drones in Yemen.




The writing is on the wall. You'd have to be blind not to see it. NATO should have the guts to tell it's members to prepare for the worst. And this time, the world should take the opportunity to wipe out radicals - for the safety of future generations. To our way of thinking, that means taking out China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. As Ian Flemming may have called it: "Operation Grand Slam." Goldfinger was right. China is busy buying gold bullion as fast as Xi Jinping can go. Why would he be doing that if not in preparation for the worst. And China has nuclear bomb shelters.


China has built up a $170bn (£135bn) stockpile of gold after a record buying spree, in a move that has raised fears Beijing is preparing its economy for a possible conflict over Taiwan.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) bought 27 tonnes of gold in the first three months of the year, taking its reserves to a record high of 2,262 tonnes, according to data from the World Gold Council.

China has now been buying gold steadily since October 2022, marking its longest build up of the precious metal since at least 2000. The 17-month streak has increased its gold reserves by 16pc.

Gold is currently trading near a record high of $2,343 per troy ounce, valuing Beijing’s stockpile at $170.4bn.

Experts said China’s stockpiling was likely an effort to guard its economy against Western sanctions in the event of a conflict over Taiwan.




The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, the Atlantic Alliance or the Western Alliance, is an international organisation for collective security established in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington, DC, on 4 April 1949. Its headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium. Its other official name is the French equivalent, l'Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN).





The core of NATO is Article V of the NATO Treaty, which states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all. Consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

The Treaty cautiously avoids reference both to the identification of an enemy and to any concrete measures of common defense. Nevertheless, it was intended so that if the USSR and its allies launched an attack against any of the NATO members, it would be treated as if it was an attack on all member states. This marked a significant change for the United States, which traditionally harboured strong isolationist groups across parties in Congress. However, the feared invasion of Western Europe never came. Instead, the provision was invoked for the first time in the treaty's history on 12 September 2001, in response to the September 11 attacks on the United States the day before.





North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord


Flag of NATO

Flag of NATO


NATO countries are in blue

NATO countries are in blue





26 member states

Official languages

English, French

Secretary General

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer


April 4, 1949

Official website







The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. This treaty established a military alliance, later to become the Western European Union. However, American participation was thought necessary in order to counter the military power of the Soviet Union, and therefore talks for a new military alliance began almost immediately.


These talks resulted in the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, DC on 4 April 1949. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states, United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Three years later, on 18 February 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined.


The incorporation of West Germany into the organisation on 9 May 1955 was described as "a decisive turning point in the history of our continent" by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time. Indeed, one of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union and its satellite states as a formal response to this event, firmly establishing the two opposing sides of the Cold War.







U.S. President, NATO Secretary General, and the Prime Ministers of Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Estonia after a South Lawn ceremony welcoming them into NATO on 29 March 2004




Early Cold War - Crisis with France


The unity of NATO was breached early on in its history, with a crisis occurring during Charles de Gaulle's presidency of France from 1958 onwards. De Gaulle protested the United States' hegemonical role in the organization and protested what he perceived as a special relationship between the United States and Great Britain. In a memorandum he sent on 17 September 1958 to President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, he argued for the creation of a tripartite Directorate that would put France on an equal footing with the United States and the United Kingdom, and also for the expansion of NATO's coverage to include geographical areas of interest to France.


Considering the response he was given unsatisfactory, De Gaulle started pursuing an independent defense for his country. France's Mediterranean fleet was withdrawn from NATO command in 11 March 1959. An independent nuclear programme was also pursued: In June 1959, De Gaulle banned the stationing of foreign nuclear weapons on French soil, which caused United States to transfer 200 military aeroplanes out of France; on 13 February 1960 France tested its first nuclear bomb -- a move much criticized among its NATO allies.


Though France showed solidarity with the rest of NATO during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, de Gaulle continued his pursuit of an independent defense by also removing the Atlantic and Channel fleets of France from NATO command. Finally in 1966 all French armed forces were removed from NATO’s integrated military command and all non-French NATO troops were forced to leave France. This precipitated the relocation of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) from Paris to Brussels by 16 October 1967. France rejoined NATO's military command in 1993.





During most of the duration of the Cold War, NATO maintained a holding pattern with no actual military engagement as an organisation. On 1 July 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty opened for signature: NATO argued that its nuclear weapons sharing arrangements did not breach the treaty as US forces controlled the weapons until a decision was made to go to war, at which point the treaty would no longer be controlling. Few states knew of the NATO nuclear sharing arrangements at that time, and they were not challenged.


On 30 May 1978, NATO countries officially defined two complementary aims of the Alliance, to maintain security and pursue détente. This was supposed to mean matching defences at the level rendered necessary by the Warsaw Pact's offensive capabilities without spurring a further arms race.


However, on 12 December 1979, in light of a build-up of Warsaw Pact nuclear capabilities in Europe, ministers approved the deployment of US Cruise and Pershing II theatre nuclear weapons in Europe. The new warheads were also meant to strengthen the western negotiating position in regard to nuclear disarmament. This policy was called the Dual Track policy. Similarly, in 1983–84, responding to the stationing of Warsaw Pact SS-20 medium-range missiles in Europe, NATO deployed modern Pershing II missiles able to reach Moscow within minutes. This action led to peace movement protests throughout Western Europe.


The membership of the organisation in this time period likewise remained largely static, with NATO only gaining one new member in 30 May 1982, when newly democratic Spain joined the alliance, following a referendum. Greece also in 1974 withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure, as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Cyprus dispute; Greek forces were however readmitted in 1980.


In November 1983, a NATO manoeuvre code-named Able Archer 83, which simulated a NATO nuclear release, caused panic in the Kremlin. Soviet leadership, led by ailing General Secretary Yuri Andropov became concerned that US President Ronald Reagan may have been intending to launch a genuine first strike. In response, Soviet nuclear forces were readied and air units in Eastern Germany and Poland were placed on alert. Though at the time written off by US intelligence as a propaganda effort, many historians now believe Soviet fear of a NATO first strike was genuine.



Post-Cold War


The end of the Cold War, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, removed the de facto main adversary of NATO. This caused a strategic reevalution of NATO's purpose, nature and tasks. In practice this ended up entailing a gradual (and still ongoing) expansion of NATO to Eastern Europe, as well as the extension of its activities to areas not formerly concerning it.


The first post-Cold War expansion of NATO came with the reunification of Germany on 3 October 1990, when the former East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany and the alliance. This had been agreed in the Two Plus Four Treaty earlier in the year. To secure Soviet approval of a united Germany remaining in NATO, it was agreed that foreign troops and nuclear weapons will not be stationed in the east.


On 28 February 1994, NATO also takes its first military action, shooting down four Bosnian Serb aircraft violating a UN no-fly zone over central Bosnia and Herzegovina. NATO air strikes the following year help bring the war in Bosnia to an end, resulting in the Dayton Agreement.


Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbours are set up, like the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. On 8 July 1997, three former communist countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO, which finally happened in 1999.


On 24 March 1999, NATO saw its first broad-scale military engagement in the Kosovo War, where it waged an 11-week bombing campaign against what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The conflict ended on 11 June 1999, when Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milošević agreed to NATO’s demands by accepting UN resolution 1244. NATO then helped establish the KFOR, a NATO-led force under a United Nations mandate that operates the military mission in Kosovo.


Debate concerning NATO's role and the concerns of the wider international community continued throughout its expanded military activities: The United States opposed efforts to require the UN Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the ongoing action against Yugoslavia, while France and other NATO countries claimed the alliance needed UN approval. American officials said that this would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they noted that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia. In April 1999, at the Washington summit, a German proposal that NATO adopts a no-first-use nuclear strategy is rejected.






NATO Defence Ministerial Conference in Nice 2005





After the September 11th attacks


The expansion of the activities and geographical reach of NATO grew even further as an outcome of the September 11th attacks. These caused as a response the provisional invocation (on September 12) of the collective security of NATO's charter — Article 5 which states that any attack on a member state will be considered an attack against the entire group of members. The invocation is confirmed on 5 October 2001 when NATO determines that the attacks were indeed eligible under the terms of the North Atlantic Treaty. [1]


Despite this early show of solidarity, NATO would face a crisis little more than a year later, when on 10 February 2003, France and Belgium vetoed the procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq. Germany did not use its right to break the procedure but said it supported the veto.


On the issue of Afghanistan on the other hand, the alliance showed greater unity: On 16 April 2003 NATO agreed to take command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The decision came at the request of Germany and the Netherlands, the two nations leading ISAF at the time of the agreement, and all 19 NATO ambassadors approved it unanimously. The handover of control to NATO takes place on 11 August, and marked the first time in NATO’s history that it took charge of a mission outside the north Atlantic area. Canada had originally been slated to take over ISAF by itself on that date.


New NATO structures are also formed while old ones are abolished: The NATO Response Force (NRF) is launched at the 2002 Prague Summit on 21 November. On 19 June 2003, a major restructuring of the NATO military commands began as the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic were abolished and a new command, Allied Command Transformation (ACT), was established in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) became the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO). ACT is responsible for driving transformation (future capabilities) in NATO, whilst ACO is responsible for current operations.


Membership went on expanding with the accession of seven more Eastern European countries to NATO: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania. They were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague Summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004. A number of other countries have also expressed a wish to join the alliance, including Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, and Croatia.






Membership of NATO in Europe





Founding members (4 April 1949)
Countries that joined after the foundation during the Cold War
  •  Greece (18 February 1952)

  •  Turkey (18 February 1952)

  •  Germany (9 May 1955 as West Germany; East Germany reunited with it on 3 October 1990)

  •  Spain (30 May 1982)

Former Eastern Bloc states that joined after the Cold War

12 March 1999:

29 March 2004:

  •  Bulgaria

  •  Estonia

  •  Latvia

  •  Lithuania

  •  Romania

  •  Slovakia

  •  Slovenia




Note 1: France withdrew from the integrated military command in 1966. From then to 1993 it has remained solely a member of NATO's political structure.


Note 2: Iceland, the sole NATO member that does not have its own military force (the Icelandic Defense Force being the US Military contingent permanently stationed in Iceland), joined on the condition that they would not be expected to establish one.


Note 3: Greece withdrew its forces from NATO’s military command structure from 1974 to 1980 as a result of Greco-Turkish tensions following the 1974 Cyprus dispute.



Cooperation with non-member states


Euro-Atlantic Partnership


A double framework has been established to help further co-operation between the 26 NATO members and 20 "partner countries".


  • The Partnership for Peace (PfP) program was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation. The PfP program is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership. [2] [3]

  • The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council on the other hand was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular co-ordination, consultation and dialogue between all 46 participants. [4]


The 20 partner countries are the following:


  • 12 former Soviet republics:

  •  Armenia

  •  Azerbaijan

  •  Belarus

  •  Georgia

  •  Kazakhstan

  •  Kyrgyzstan

  •  Moldova

  •  Russia

  •  Tajikistan

  •  Turkmenistan

  •  Ukraine

  •  Uzbekistan

  • 5 countries that (though militarily neutral) possessed capitalist economies during the Cold War:

  • 3 Balkan nations that (though militarily neutral) possesed socialist economies during the Cold War:

  •  Croatia

  •  Republic of Macedonia

  •  Albania


  • Malta joined PfP in 1994, but its new government withdrawn in 1996. Because of this Malta is not participating in ESDP activities that utilize NATO assets and information.

  • Cyprus admission to PfP is obstructed by Turkey, becasue of the Northern Cyprus issue. Because of this Cyprus is not participating in ESDP activities that utilize NATO assets and information.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro are aspirants for PfP and EAPC participation (and future full NATO membership). Their inclusion into the programm depents on implementing some reforms (in the military and political spheres) and cooperation with the ICTY.


International Partnership Action Plans


Launched at the November 2002 Prague Summit, Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs) are open to countries that have the political will and ability to deepen their relationship with NATO. [5]


Currently IPAPs are in implementation with the following countries:

  • Georgia (29 October 2004)

  • Azerbaijan (27 May 2005)

  • Armenia (16 December 2005)


Under development are IPAPs with the following countries:

  • Moldova

  • Kazakhstan


Mediterranean Dialogue


The Mediterranean Dialogue, first launched in 1994 is a forum of cooperation between NATO and seven countries of the Mediterranean: [6]


  •  Algeria

  •  Egypt

  •  Israel

  •  Jordan

  •  Mauritania

  •  Morocco

  •  Tunisia


NATO-Russian Federation Council


NATO and Russian Federation made a reciprocal commitment in 1997 "to work together to build a stable, secure and undivided continent on the basis of partnership and common interest."


In May 2002, this commitment was strengthened with the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council, which brings together the NATO members and Russia. The purpose of this council is to identify and pursue opportunities for joint action with the 27 participants as equal partners.





In April 2005, Australia signed a security agreement with NATO on enhancing intelligence cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Australia also posted a defense attache to NATO's headquarters. [7]



Other partners


Cooperation with Japan, South Korea and New Zealand was also announced as priority [8].





Israel is currently a Mediterranean Dialogue country and has been recently seeking to expand its relationship with NATO. The first visit by a head of NATO to Israel happened on 23-24 February 2005  and the first joint Israel-NATO naval exercise occurred on 27 March 2005. In May of the same year Israel was admitted in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Israeli troops also took part in NATO exercises in June 2005.


There have been advocates for the NATO membership of Israel, among them the former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar and Italian Defence Minister Antonio Martino. However Secretary-General of the organisation Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has dismissed such calls, saying that membership for Israel is not on the table. Martino himself said that a membership process could only come after an Israeli request; such a request has not yet taken place.


Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom stated in February 2005 that his country was looking to upgrade its relationship with NATO from a dialogue to a partnership, but that it wasn't seeking membership, saying that "NATO members are committed to mutual defence and we don't think we are in a position where we can intervene in other struggles in the world," and also that "We don't see that NATO should get engaged in our conflict here in the Middle East."


The issue of Israel's potential membership again came to the forefront in early 2006 after heightened tensions between Israel and Iran. Former Prime Minister of Spain José María Aznar argued that Israel should become a member of the organisation alongside Japan and Australia, saying that "So far, expansion of NATO was an attempt at the growth and consolidation of democratic change in the former Communist countries. Now it is time to do the opposite, to expand toward those democratic nations that are committed to the struggle against our common enemy and ready to contribute to the common effort to free ourselves from it." 

Aznar also proposed a strategic co-operation with India and Colombia.





Political structure


Like any alliance, NATO is ultimately governed by its 26 member states. However, the North Atlantic Treaty, and other agreements, outline how decisions are to be made within NATO. Each of the 26 members sends a delegation or mission to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The senior permanent member of each delegation is known as the Permanent Representative and is generally a senior civil servant or an experienced ambassador (and holding that diplomatic rank).


Together the Permanent Members form the North Atlantic Council (NAC), a body which meets together at least once a week and has effective political authority and powers of decision in NATO. From time to time the Council also meets at higher levels involving Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers or Heads of Government and it is at these meetings that major decisions regarding NATO’s policies are generally taken. However, it is worth noting that the Council has the same authority and powers of decision-making, and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets.


The meetings of the North Atlantic Council are chaired by the Secretary General of NATO and, when decisions have to be made, action is agreed upon on the basis of unanimity and common accord. There is no voting or decision by majority. Each nation represented at the Council table or on any of its subordinate committees retains complete sovereignty and responsibility for its own decisions.


  • The second pivotal member of each country's delegation is the Military Representative, a senior officer from each country's armed forces. Together the Military Representatives form the Military Committee, a body responsible for recommending to NATO’s political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area. Its principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It provides guidance on military matters to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings, and is responsible for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance under the authority of the Council.


Like the council, from time to time the Military Committee also meets at a higher level, namely at the level of Chiefs of defence, the most senior military officer in each nation's armed forces.


The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is made up of legislators from the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as 13 associate members.






NATO E-3A flying with American F-16s in NATO exercise





Military structure


NATO’s military operations are directed by two Strategic Commanders, both senior U.S. officers assisted by a staff drawn from across NATO. The Strategic Commanders are responsible to the Military Committee for the overall direction and conduct of all Alliance military matters within their areas of command.


Before 2003 the Strategic Commanders were the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) but the current arrangement is to separate command responsibility between Allied Command Transformation (ACT), responsible for transformation and training of NATO forces, and Allied Command Operations, responsible for NATO operations world wide.


The commander of Allied Command Operations retained the title "Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)", and is based in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. This is about 80 km (50 miles) south of NATO’s political headquarters in Brussels. Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is based in the former Allied Command Atlantic headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.


NATO operates a fleet of E-3A Sentry AWACS airborne radar aircraft based out of Geilenkirchen Air Base in Germany.



List of officials


Secretaries General






General Lord Ismay

 United Kingdom


Paul-Henri Spaak



Dirk Stikker



Manlio Brosio



Joseph Luns



Lord Carrington

 United Kingdom


Manfred Wörner



Sergio Balanzino, acting



Willy Claes



Sergio Balanzino, acting



Javier Solana



Lord Robertson of Port Ellen

 United Kingdom


Jaap de Hoop Scheffer




Deputy Secretary General of NATO







Sergio Balanzino


1994 – 2001


Alessandro Minuto Rizzo


2001 – present



Research and Technology (R&T) at NATO


NATO currently possesses three Research and Technology (R&T) organisations:


  • NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC), reporting directly to the Supreme Allied Command Transformation;

  • Research and Technology Agency (RTA), reporting to the Research and Technology Organisation (RTO);

  • NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A), reporting to the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Organisation (NC3O).




NATO summit 2002



Possible NATO expansion


For the further expansion of NATO, a mechanism called MAP or Membership Action Plan was approved in the Washington Summit of 1999. Participation in MAP for a country entails the annual presentation of reports concerning its progress on five different fields:


  1. Political and economic: Countries must demonstrate a willingness to settle international, ethnic or external territorial disputes by peaceful means as well as a commitment to the rule of law and human rights. Democratic control of their armed forces must be established.

  2. Defense and military: This chapter focuses on the ability of the country to contribute to the Alliance's defense and missions.

  3. Resources: This concerns the need for candidate countries to allocate enough resources to their armed forces to be able to meet the commitments of membership.

  4. Security: Concerning the security of sensitive information, and safeguards ensuring it.

  5. Legal issues: Ensuring the compatibility of domestic legislation with NATO cooperation.

NATO provides feedback as well as technical advice to each of the countries and evaluates their progress on an individual basis. [9]


Currently MAPs are in implementation with the following countries:

  • Albania

  • Croatia

  • Republic of Macedonia


At the Summit in Sofia, on 28 April 2006, it was announced that it is expected to agree on MAPs with the following countries in time for the Riga Summit in November 2006: [10] google cache:[11]


  • Georgia (currently implementing IPAP)

  • Ukraine (currently in "Intensified Dialoge")




Defence Minister of Ukraine Anatoly Hrytsenko has declared that Ukraine will have an Action Plan on NATO membership by the end of March 2006, to begin implementation by September of the same year. A final decision concerning Ukraine's membership in NATO is expected to be made in a 2008 NATO-Ukraine, with full membership possibly attained by the year 2010.


The idea of Ukrainian membership in NATO has gained support from a number of NATO leaders, including President Traian Basescu of Romania and president Ivan Gašparovič of Slovakia. The Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Alexander Grushko, announced however that NATO membership for Ukraine was not in Russia's best interests and wouldn't help the relations of the two countries.


Currently a majority of Ukrainian citizens oppose NATO membership. Protests have taken place by opposition blocs against the idea, and petitions signed urging the end of relations with NATO. Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov has indicated Ukraine will not enter NATO as long as the public continues opposing the move.




HMS Ledbury, Royal Navy mine hunter, Sardinia, NATO countermeasures



Diver from HMS Ledbury, Royal Navy mine hunter, Sardinia, discovers a mine 2012






Finland is participating in nearly all sub-areas of the Partnership for Peace programme, and has provided peacekeeping forces to the Afghanistan and Kosovo missions. The possibility of Finland's membership in NATO was one of the most major issues debated in relation to the Finnish presidential election of 2006.


The main contester of the presidency, Sauli Niinistö of the National Coalition Party, supported Finland joining a "more European" NATO. Fellow right-winger Henrik Lax of the Swedish People's Party likewise supported the concept. On the other side, incumbent president Tarja Halonen of the Social Democratic Party opposed changing the status quo, same as most other candidates in the election. Her victory and re-election to the post of president has currently put the issue of a NATO membership for Finland on hold for at least the duration of her term.


Other political figures of Finland who have weighed in with opinions include former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari who has argued that Finland should join all the organisations supported by other Western democracies in order "to shrug off once and for all the burden of Finlandisation".  Another former president, Mauno Koivisto, opposes the idea, arguing that NATO membership would ruin Finland's relations with Russia.


Polls in Finland indicate that the public is strongly against NATO membership.





In August 2003, NATO had its first mission ever outside Europe when it assumed control over International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.




ORP Kontradmiral Xawery Czernicki , Polish Navy mine hunter



ORP Kontradmira Xawery Czernicki 2013, Polish Navy ship 78m, 2390 tons







Standing NATO Mine-Countermeasures Group 2, is a multinational, integrated maritime force - made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team - that is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range tasks, from participating in exercises to crisis response and real world operational missions. Usually the Force is employed in the Mediterranean area but, as necessary, will be available anywhere NATO requires it to deploy.




SNMCMG1 left the port of Gdynia, Poland, on Monday the 21st January 3013 with a new commander at the helm and new ships. The first days at sea are usually used for ships and crew to get acquainted with the new command and with the respective capabilities of each vessel.

Last Thursday, the crew of SNMCMG1 conducted a series of simulated damage control and fire fighting drills.

The exercise began with simulated fires spreading throughout the command ship, ORP ‘Kontradmiral Xawery Czernicki’, while her crew was busy containing multiple simulated breaches in the hull. The scenario also included several injured crew members requiring urgent medical evacuation. The variety of the incidents is paramount to ensure that the ships can handle a wide range of tasks at the same time. The crew of ORP ‘Czajka’ and FGS ‘Weilheim’ were called upon to assist the flagship with repairs and fire fighting. The drill ended with the simulated towing of the crippled ship by the rest of the group.

During the night, flash-light exercises were conducted to ensure the ships are able to communicate by Morse code. These trainings are organised to maintain the highest standard of readiness at night and to guarantee that command signals can be transmitted in more than one way, should primary systems fail.

The crew are now preparing for the ‘Neustadt harbour phase’: a series of drills designed to train the group in the field of fire fighting, damage control and medical interventions while the ships are at port. These intensive exercises will be conducted at the German Damage Control Training Centre, in Neustadt.

SNMCMG1 is currently composed of the flagship ORP ‘Kontradmiral X. Czernicki’ and two mine hunters: German FGS ‘Weilheim’ and Polish ORP ‘Czajka’. In the first half of 2013 the Group will be joined by other mine hunters from Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway.





ORP Kontradmirał Xawery Czernicki


Xawery Czernicki


Northern Shipyard, Gdańsk

Laid down:

August 16, 2000


November 16, 2000


September 1, 2001


Active service




73.8 m (242 ft 2 in)


13.8 m (45 ft 3 in)


5.6 m (18 ft 4 in)


14.1 knots (26.1 km/h/16.2 mph)


1 × short range antiaircraft complex ZU-23-2MR Wróbel-II
1 × II 23 mm (0.91 in) cannon with 1xII Strela 2M missile launcher)





Allied Maritime Command
Atlantic Building,
Northwood Headquarters
Sandy Lane, Northwood 
Middlesex, HA6 3HP
United Kingdom

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WWII Mine Hunters







Asmus, Ronald D. Opening NATO's Door: How the Alliance Remade Itself for a New Era Columbia U. Press, 2002. 372 pp.

Bacevich, Andrew J. and Cohen, Eliot A. War over Kosovo: Politics and Strategy in a Global Age. Columbia U. Press, 2002. 223 pp.

Eisenhower, Dwight D. The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower. Vols. 12 and 13: NATO and the Campaign of 1952 : Louis Galambos et al., ed. Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1989. 1707 pp. in 2 vol.

Gearson, John and Schake, Kori, ed. The Berlin Wall Crisis: Perspectives on Cold War Alliances Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. 209 pp.

Hunter, Robert. "The European Security and Defense Policy: NATO's Companion - Or Competitor?" RAND National Security Research Division, 2002. 206 pp.

Jordan, Robert S. Norstad: Cold War NATO Supreme Commander - Airman, Strategist, Diplomat St. Martin's Press, 2000. 350 pp.

Kaplan, Lawrence S. The Long Entanglement: NATO's First Fifty Years. Praeger, 1999. 262 pp.

Kaplan, Lawrence S. NATO Divided, NATO United: The Evolution of an Alliance. Praeger, 2004. 165 pp.

Kaplan, Lawrence S., ed. American Historians and the Atlantic Alliance. Kent State U. Press, 1991. 192 pp.

Lambeth, Benjamin S. NATO's Air War in Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND, 2001. 250 pp.

Létourneau, Paul. Le Canada et l'OTAN après 40 ans, 1949-1989 Quebec: Cen. Québécois de Relations Int., 1992. 217 pp.

Maloney, Sean M. Securing Command of the Sea: NATO Naval Planning, 1948-1954. Naval Institute Press, 1995. 276 pp.

John C. Milloy. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1948-1957: Community or Alliance? (2006), focus on non-military issues

Powaski, Ronald E. The Entangling Alliance: The United States and European Security, 1950-1993. Greenwood, 1994. 261 pp.

Ruane, Kevin. The Rise and Fall of the European Defense Community: Anglo-American Relations and the Crisis of European Defense, 1950-55 Palgrave, 2000. 252 pp.

Sandler, Todd and Hartley, Keith. The Political Economy of NATO: Past, Present, and into the 21st Century. Cambridge U. Press, 1999. 292 pp.

Smith, Joseph, ed. The Origins of NATO Exeter, UK U. of Exeter Press, 1990. 173 pp.

Telo, António José. Portugal e a NATO: O Reencontro da Tradiçoa Atlântica Lisbon: Cosmos, 1996. 374 pp.

Zorgbibe, Charles. Histoire de l'OTAN Brussels: Complexe, 2002. 283 pp.



NATO uses British English spelling as its standard. This convention is discussed in its online frequently asked questions: "Q: Why do you spell 'organisation' with an 's' and not a 'z'? A: By tradition, NATO uses European English spellings in all public information documents...". NATO has two official languages, English and French, defined in Article 14 of the North Atlantic Treaty.


Boulevard Léopold III, B-1110 BRUSSELS, which is in Haren, part of the City of Brussels, "NATO homepage."

"Aznar proposes NATO reform to Hoover Institute." The Spain Herald

"Aznar criticised the Iranian regime, firm response from Europe." The Spain Herald.,20060424001

Helsingin Sanomat: Former President Ahtisaari: NATO membership would put an end to Finlandisation murmurs

Helsingin Sanomat: Finland, NATO, and Russia

Helsingin Sanomat: Clear majority of Finns still opposed to NATO membership

Atlantic Council

Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps

NATO Medal

NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency

Non-Aligned Movement


Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe

Adapted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty

Partnership for Peace


Silence procedure


Warsaw pact


List of terms used to describe NATO in Serbian media during Kosovo War

Ranks and insignia of NATO

Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies Officers

Ranks and insignia of NATO Armies Enlisted

Ranks and insignia of NATO Air Forces Officers

Ranks and insignia of NATO Air Forces Enlisted

Ranks and insignia of NATO Navies Officers

Ranks and insignia of NATO Navies Enlisted

List of NATO country codes

History of NATO – the Atlantic Alliance - UK Government site

Basic NATO Documents

'NATO force 'feeds Kosovo sex trade' (The Guardian)

NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) Official Website

NATO Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A) Official Website

NATO Official Website

NATO Response Force Article

NATO searches for defining role

Official Article on NATO Response Force

World Map of NATO Member Countries

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports regarding NATO


Balkan Anti NATO Center, Greece

NATO Defense College

Atlantic Council of the United States

CBC Digital Archives - One for all: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization






Dragonfly, solar powered autonomous mine hunter-killer, unmanned drone.


The Dragonfly autonomous mine hunter-killer can search all day 355 days a year without fuel or crew. Using an onboard ROV it can destroy any mines it finds remotely or log them for later demolition. Expressions of interest are invited for delivery in 2014/15 - confidentiality assured. Of the 19 US Navy ships destroyed since WWII, 15 were by mines. Countermeasures are essential even in times of peace. Effective countermeasures keep the peace. 






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