Handbook of Governance and Security
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Handbook of Governance and Security

Edited by James Sperling

The Handbook of Governance and Security examines the conceptual evolution of security governance and the different manifestations of regional security governance. In particular, James Sperling brings together unique contributions from leading scholars to explore the role of institutions that have emerged as critical suppliers of security governance and the ever-widening set of security issues that can be viewed profitably through a governance lens.
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Chapter 34: NATO

Andrew Cottey


Although there is a large academic and policy-oriented literature on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, there has so far been little analysis of NATO from a specifically security governance perspective. The concept of security governance directs our attention to two aspects of NATO: first, processes of cooperation and policy-making within the alliance (the governance functions NATO performs among its member states); and second, NATO’s role in wider security governance, both within Europe and globally. The chapter analyses NATO as a security governance institution, examining these different dimensions of the alliance. Although some observers and analysts argue that NATO is in decline, there is a strong case that it remains and is likely to remain an important international security institution. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s member states clearly still view the alliance as an important (arguably central) component of their national security strategies and foreign policies: NATO’s members have repeatedly committed themselves to maintaining the alliance and adapting it to the changing security environment; at the national level, formal foreign policy and national security strategy documents repeatedly emphasize the value of NATO and the need to maintain the alliance. Indeed, policy-makers’ expressions of concern about NATO’s future are ironically an indication of the continued importance they attach to NATO. Other states also view the alliance as important.

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