Series of articles
Military-Political Bloc — a Union or an agreement of states, united for joint actions to address common political, economic and military tasks.
NATO or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949. According to official documents of the Alliance the organization's goal is collective security of its member countries. Hence, in 90-s after the great changes in Europe, NATO enunciated itself as the main force in the process of security expansion and the guarantor of the European stability.
At the beginning the organization included Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United States and France, (France had been out of the military constituent of the alliance for the period of 1961-2009).
NATO accepted Turkey and Greece – in 1952, Federal Republic of Germany – in 1955, Spain – in 1982, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland – in 1999, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria – in 2004, Albania and Croatia – in 2009.
The main shock forces were (nowadays remain) US and UK Armed forces. The bloc was formed to counteract the "Soviet military threat"; the main aim was to prevent the expansion of USSR spheres of influence. The main spheres of bloc influence were European theater of operations and North Atlantic. In the end of 2008 the total strength of NATO armed forces accounted about 3,6 million. Total defense expenditures reached 895 billion dollars, including Europe – 300 billion and U.S. – 575 billion. As a percentage of GDP for NATO member countries in total the expenditures accounted 2.6%, while in the United States this rate was 4%, in Europe – 1,7%.
The highest political authority of NATO is the North Atlantic Council (NATO Council or NAC). Representatives of all member countries of NATO have a seat at the NAC. It can meet at the level of Permanent Representatives (or Ambassadors), at the level of Foreign and Defence Ministers, and at the level of Heads of State and Government. It is chaired by the Secretary General. It meets at least every week and often more frequently, at the level of Permanent Representatives; it meets twice a year at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, as well as at the level of Ministers of Defence, and occasionally at the Summit level with the participation of Prime Ministers and Heads of State and Government.
The Defence Planning Committee is the ultimate authority within NATO with regard to the Alliance's integrated military structure. It implements decisions taken by the participating countries in relation to collective defence planning and issues related to the integrated military structure of the Alliance. It also approves Force Goals and Ministerial guidance for future NATO defence planning. It is chaired by the Secretary General.
One of the ultimate authorities within NATO is Nuclear Planning Group (NPG). NPG usually meets twice a year at the level of Ministers of Defence, usually before the meetings of the NAC. The Nuclear Planning Group is the ultimate authority within NATO with regard to nuclear policy issues, as are the North Atlantic Council or the Defence Planning Committee on matters within their competence. Its discussions cover a broad range of nuclear policy matters, including the safety, security and survivability of nuclear weapons, communications and information systems, as well as deployment issues. It also covers wider questions of common concern such as nuclear arms control and nuclear proliferation.
The role of the Nuclear Planning Group is to review the Alliance`s nuclear policy in the light of the ever-changing security challenges of the international environment and to adapt it if necessary. It provides a forum in which member countries of the Alliance can participate in the development of the Alliance's nuclear policy and in decisions on NATO`s nuclear posture, irrespective of whether or not they themselves maintain nuclear weapons. The policies that are agreed upon therefore represent the common position of all the participating countries. Decisions are taken by consensus within the NPG, as is the case for all NATO committees.
NATO`s official languages are English and French. The headquarters of NATO is located in Brussels.
The Partnership for Peace Program (PfP) was established in 1994. It cooperates with 23 European countries and former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which are not member states.
In 2001 the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) were deployed in Afghanistan. In autumn 2008, the ISAF were about 50 thousand people; 26 NATO member countries and 15 other countries took part in the mission.
In 1951 there was founded another military bloc ANZUS – a regional military alliance of Australia, New Zealand and the United States, aiming to coordinate collective defensive efforts on the Pacific Ocean area. This bloc, unlike NATO, did not have a unified command, unified armed forces and the permanent headquarters. At present, this Bloc doesn`t factually exist, although it was not officially disbanded.
In 1954 SEATO was formed with the primary goal to counteract the Soviet political expansion to South and Southeast Asia. It united Australia, France, New Zeeland, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Great Britain and the USA. Hence it didn`t exist for a long time and was disbanded in 1977, by the official agreement of its member states.
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) – military and political alliance founded by the CIS countries on the basis of the Collective Security Treaty, signed on May 15, 1992. The Treaty tacitly extends every five years.
Its members are Armenia, Belorussia, Kirghizia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Russia. According to the Treaty the member states secure themselves on collective basis. In case of security threat for territorial integrity or sovereignty of one or several member states, for international peace and security, the member states would immediately initiate the mechanism of collateral consultations in order to coordinate their positions and making steps for elimination of the appeared threat.
The ultimate authority of the organization is the Collective Security Council (CSC). The Council consists of the Heads of member states. It deals with the fundamental issues of the organization and makes decisions to achieve its goals. The Council also provides the coordination and joint functioning of the member states.
The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs is an advisory and executive body of the organization aimed to coordinate the interaction of the member states in foreign policy issues.
The Council of Ministers of Defense is an advisory and executive body aimed to coordinate interaction of the member states in military policy, military construction and military-technical cooperation.
The Committee of Secretaries of Security Councils is an advisory and executive body aimed to coordinate interaction of the Member States in their national security issues.
The Secretary General is highest administrative official of the organization. He manages the Secretariat of the organization. The Secretary General is an advance holder of the Council and is appointed by the decision of the CSC from among the citizens of the member states. Nowadays the Secretary General of the organization is Nikolai Bordyuzha.
The Secretariat of the organization is the permanently working body aimed to execute the organizational, informational, analytical and advisory functions in order to provide activity of organization`s bodies.
CSTO Joint Headquarters is a permanently working authority of the organization and CMD of the CSTO. It is responsible for preparation of proposals and implementation of solutions of CSTO military component.
In 2001 within the framework of the CSTO the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces (CRRF) were created. They consist of 10 battalions: three in each from Russia and Tajikistan, and two in each from Kazakhstan and Kirghizia. The total CRRF strength is about 4 thousand people. Aviation constituent (10 aircrafts and 14 helicopters) is located on Russia's military airbase in Kirghizia.
In case of a large-scale military conflict, CSTO member states would be required to provide their military contingents or all the Armed forces to repel the aggression.
On December 2 in 2004 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution giving the organization of the Collective Security Treaty the status of an observer at the UN General Assembly.
On February 4 in 2009 in Moscow the leaders of the CSTO member states endorsed the establishment of the CRRF. According to the document, the CRRF will be used to repel military aggression, conduct special operations to fight against international terrorism and extremism, transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, as well as for emergency operations.
On April, 3 in 2007 a representative of the CSTO Secretariat said that Iran is able obtain the status of an observer in the CSTO in the future.