Portal:NATO

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) French: Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN), also called the (North) Atlantic Alliance, is a military alliance established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, and the organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

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Able Archer 83 was a ten-day NATO command post exercise starting on November 2, 1983 that spanned Western Europe, centred on SHAPE's Headquarters situated at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons. Able Archer exercises simulated a period of conflict escalation, culminating in a coordinated nuclear release. The 1983 exercise incorporated a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, participation by heads of state, and a simulated DEFCON 1 nuclear alert.

The realistic nature of the 1983 exercise, coupled with deteriorating relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and the anticipated arrival of Pershing II nuclear missiles in Europe, led some in the USSR to believe that Able Archer 83 was a ruse of war, obscuring preparations for a genuine nuclear first strike. This relatively obscure incident is considered by many historians to be the closest the world has come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 The threat of nuclear war abruptly ended with the conclusion of the Able Archer 83 exercise on November 11.

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NATO aircraft in flight
A NATO E-3 AWACS aircraft flying with three US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons during a NATO exercise.

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The military of Belgium is the Belgian armed forces. The Belgian Armed Forces have about 47,000 active troops. They are organised into one unified structure which consists of four main components:

1. Land Component, or the Army;

2. Air Component, or the Air Force;

3. Naval Component, or the Navy,

4. Medical Component.

The budget of €3.4 billion is divided amongst the four components as follows [1]:

  • 63% is spent on salaries
  • 25% is spent on equipment maintenance
  • 12% is spent on new investments

The operational commands of the components (COMOPSLAND, COMOPSAIR, COMOPSNAV and COMOPSMED) are subordinate to the Staff Department for Operations and Training of the Ministry of Defence, which is headed by the Assistant Chief of Staff Operations and Training (ACOS Ops & Trg), and to the Chief of Defence (CHOD).

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  • June 22: The Turkish government has agreed to allow NATO AWACS aircraft to operate from bases in Western Turkey providing better air traffic control and radar control over Afghanistan. Read more...
  • June 18: During a farewell visit to Afghanistan, outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that the alliance would send an extra 8,000 to 10,000 troops to the country to provide additional security during August elections. Read mores...
  • June 14: A warship from the NATO naval force off Somalia freed 14 Indian sailors held hostage by pirates. Read more...
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Jakob Gijsbert "Jaap" de Hoop Scheffer (born 3 April 1948) is a Dutch politician and the current NATO Secretary General. Hoop served as the Dutch foreign minister, and was an important figure in the Dutch decision to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2004, Hoop was chosen as the 11th NATO Secretary General. Read more...

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  • The threats we face today are not unique to any of us – they are common across the globe, and none of our countries is immune to them. --Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
  • Our unique partnership was born in common philosophies of freedom and democracy. It was forged during half a century's fight against tyranny. Now it stands as a beacon of democracy, toleration, plurality, openness and candor in a world menaced by extremism and instability. --Lord Robertson
  • "Russia is a part of European culture. Therefore, it is with difficulty that I imagine NATO as an enemy.” --Vladimir Putin

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Brussels
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United Nations
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Greek Military
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United States Military
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WikiProject International Relations
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  1. Het Nieuwsblad; saturday 19, sunday 20 and monday 21 july 2008