NATO: Understanding and Sustaining Its Relevance in the 21st Century

  • Colonel Gary R. Graves

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) remains not only relevant, but an essential component for the protection and advancement of U.S. national interests in Europe, with ancillary effects globally. By maintaining a strong collaborative transatlantic security approach between the United States and its closest and strongest allies, the member nations of NATO, the United States can advance U.S. national interests while supporting the international order of the 21st century. However, the United State must assist NATO in increasing its overall capabilities (Means), to respond to a multitude of threats, by applying interoperable resources across all of the warfighting domains (Ways), to achieve the desired political end states – i.e. deter, and if required, defeat regional sources of instability, while promoting political integration and economic interdependence (Ends). NATO effects not only U.S. policies, but also influences a variety of U.S. national interests. By accepting this, and continuing to invest in the growth and strength of the alliance, the United States will direct its own diplomatic and economic destiny, and guarantee continued access and influence not only in Europe, but also around the world.