Accession Number:



It is Time to Reassess NATO's Value

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The United States joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO in 1949 with sound justification. After 1945 the Soviet Union trailed only America in economic and military strength, while Western European nations strove to rebuild their countries. As these democratic nations could not effectively defend themselves from an aggressive Soviet Union, Western Europe and North America banded together to create NATO. European nations did recover, to the extent that they now enjoy standards of living that bear no resemblance to the state of affairs existing at the time of NATOs establishment. The European Union EU, even without the United Kingdom UK, is one of the worlds most powerful economic players, possessing a larger population and a larger economy pre-Brexit than does the United States. However, as many American statesmen and military leaders predicted when NATO was formed, European governments would lag in defense spending and development as long as the United States maintained troops on the continent andor financially supported the NATO alliance. Once these predictions proved true over the following decades, successive United States US presidents repeatedly demanded that European countries spend more on defense. European leaders would agree in principle, but their actual financial commitments continually fell short. US leaders grudgingly bore the burden because they believed it was in their nations interest to do so. Unfortunately, this approach, whether primarily altruistic or fundamentally self-serving, taught our European allies that no matter how little they invest in their own security, Washington will defend the continent. As NATOs largest out of area missions, Resolute Support and Kosovo Force KFOR, potentially wind down, alliance nations again must consider the alliances purpose and future direction.


Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]