The Future Direction of NATO


  • Magdalena Tham Lindell
  • Kristina Zetterlund

Publish date: 2008-03-19

Report number: FOI-R--2491--SE

Pages: 84

Written in: Swedish


  • NATO
  • PfP
  • United States
  • France
  • Afghanistan
  • EU
  • transatlantic relations
  • security policy
  • defence policy


Both NATO and the international security environment in which it operates have evolved considerably since 1949 when the Alliance was created. This report considers what NATO's future tasks may be and in what likely direction the organisation is heading. In order to illustrate the broad spectrum of possible determinants, the chosen framework has been to study the issue at hand from different levels of analysis found in international relations - the state, the organisation and the system. One conclusion reached is that NATO most likely will remain a reactive organisation, adapting to events. That said, NATO will need to define and clarify its mission scope if it is to remain a relevant international security alliance. The outcome of ongoing military operations, especially in Afghanistan, will be critical to the future direction of NATO. Developments in and the chosen policies of NATO's most prominent member state, the United States, are also expected to have a decisive impact.

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