In the post-cold-war period, NATO’s mission has shifted from static territorial defence against a well-defined adversary to expeditionary missions against ill-defined adversaries along the entire conflict spectrum. We trace the evolution of NATO security strategies and the attendant changes in allied threat perception, purpose, and force structure, the range and kinds of military operations between 1990 and 2016, and military exercises undertaken after the Russian annexation of Crimea. We then assess allied contributions to those operations (burden- and risk-sharing) and the selective participation of allies in operations (risk-assuming and risk-shirking). A final substantive concern is the growing capabilities gap among the allies, its implications for future allied operations, and its consequences for the alliance. The conclusion addresses the key question facing the alliance: should NATO abandon expeditionary operations and return to static territorial defence consistent with the original intent of the North Atlantic Treaty?
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