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NATO Faces Immediate and Long-Term Challenges

While the immediate problems will no doubt garner the most attention in the upcoming Chicago summit, the long-term challenges are far more important for the United States and its European allies as they enter a period of austerity.

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The 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO—the 63-year-old military alliance created to prevent the Soviet Union from expanding its control from Eastern Europe into Western Europe—face a daunting agenda of immediate and long-term challenges as they gather in Chicago this week for their seventh summit in the last 10 years and the first to be held in the United States in the last 13 years.

The most pressing concerns are the transition of the NATO or International Security Assistance Force combat mission to Afghanistan security forces by 2014 and addressing the gaps in military capabilities between the United States and other NATO members that became apparent in the Libyan campaign to oust longtime dictator Moammar Ghaddafi last year.

The long-term challenges include defining the role of the 63-year-old alliance in the post-Cold War and post-9/11 world and financial and military burden sharing between the United States and the 27 other alliance members.

While the immediate problems will no doubt garner the most attention in Chicago, a new issue brief from Lawrence J. Korb and Max Hoffman focuses on the long-term challenges because they are far more important for the United States and its European allies as they enter a period of austerity.

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