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Sep 2 2021

nato Missions

Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is marking its 70th anniversary this year and we are celebrating with an in-depth look into the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). We will journey back in time to the very beginning of the Alliance and week-by-week give you a new window into this Transatlantic-multinational organisation.


NATO Missions


NATO actively works to maintain peace and security across the globe. From crisis management and humanitarian crises to air policing and training missions, NATO remains prepared to respond to anything. 

NATO's oldest on-going mission began in 1999 in Kosovo. NATO has been leading peace-support operations through the Kosovo Force (KFOR). KFOR consists of around 3,500 Allied and partner troops and remains a strong presence today. KFOR was initially created to deter hostilities, establish a secure environment, ensure public safety and order, remove the Kosovo Liberation Army, support the international humanitarian effort and coordinate with the international civil presence. KFOR continues to ensure a safe and secure environment and protect the freedom of movement for everyone in Kosovo. 

Another peace-keeping mission NATO continues to support is the African Union. NATO assists the AU in Somalia with air and sealift support, provides capacity building support and expert training support to the African Standby Force (ASF). The ASF is ready to deploy in Africa in times of crisis as part of the AU's efforts to develop long-term peacekeeping capabilities. 

Other missions NATO has supported are Resolute Support, (2015 - 2021), in Afghanistan and NATO Mission Iraq, launched in 2018. Both were established to provide non-combat training and support. For the latter, the Iraqi government, in coordination with the Global Coalition to Defeat Isis, requested the support. The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS is an 83-member team aiming to reduce the threat ISIS poses to international security. Several hundred NATO trainers teach Iraqi forces how to counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs), civil-military planning, armored vehicle maintenance and military medicine. 

NATO's missions expand outside zones of conflict. After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, NATO launched Operation Active Endeavour. The purpose of the operation was to detect and deter terrorist activity in the Mediterranean. In October 2016, the operation ended and was replaced by Sea Guardian. Operation Sea Guardian performs maritime situational awareness, counterterrorism at sea and support to capacity-building. The operation could also uphold freedom of navigation, conduct interdiction tasks and protect critical infrastructure. 

In 2014, in response to Russia's illegal military intervention in the Ukraine, NATO began boosting air policing missions. The air policing missions provide Allied fighter jet patrols to Allies who do not own fighter jets. Since beginning this mission, NATO has sent additional aircraft to Albania, Montenegro, Slovenia and the Baltic region. In addition to air policing, NATO also has standing maritime forces and an integrated air defense system which includes the Alliance's ballistic missile defense system. The three form a collective defense effort ready at a moment's notice to defend Allies and partners. 

This is part seven of the SHAPE Public Affairs' series "Knowing NATO". Following highlights will focus on NATO missions. 

Video by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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