The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 European and North American countries.
The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
The NATO alliance celebrates 72 years since the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty.
Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30.
NATO’s essential and enduring purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. Collective defense is at the heart of the Alliance and creates a spirit of solidarity and cohesion among its members.
No military operations were conducted by NATO during the Cold War. Following the end of the Cold War, the first operations, Anchor Guard in 1990 and Ace Guard in 1991, were prompted by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Airborne early warning aircraft were sent to provide coverage of southeastern Turkey, and later a quick-reaction force was deployed to the area.