NATO's 75th Anniversary


Statement from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on NATO's 75th Anniversary
APRIL 4, 2024


Seventy-five years ago today, on April 4, 1949, the United States and many of our closest allies signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, DC. In the aftermath of World War II, in the face of the new threat of Soviet aggression, the original 12 NATO Allies resolved to promote security in the North Atlantic area, to safeguard freedom and democracy, and to stand together for their collective defense. From that foundation, we have built the strongest, most successful Alliance in human history.

In the 21st century, NATO remains the bulwark of our common security—and America's commitment to this great defensive alliance remains a sacred trust. Today's 32-member alliance is larger than ever, after the historic recent addition of the proud democracies of Finland and Sweden; stronger than ever; and more united than ever.

Putin's reckless and lawless invasion of Ukraine has brought war back to Europe on a scale that NATO's founders had hoped to consign to history. Today, the world needs NATO as much as ever. When our leaders meet in Washington in July for NATO's 75th-anniversary Summit, we will strengthen our resilience, accelerate the development of advanced technologies, advance the implementation of NATO's most robust defense plans since the Cold War, and strengthen our collective deterrence and defense.

Today and every day, the United States and our NATO Allies reaffirm their bedrock commitment to view an attack on one ally as an attack on all allies. Our commitment to Article Five remains ironclad.

America's network of Allies and partners—built and sustained by successive generations of wise and bipartisan postwar American leadership—remains a core strategic strength that no rival can match and that no foe should doubt. Today, we salute NATO's achievements, and we pledge to build upon them.

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