NATO missions: Where is the alliance operating?

The NATO military alliance has a range of missions ongoing across the globe.

Formed from 30 states, including key players such as the US, France, Canada and the UK, forces can be rotated in strategic areas to bolster security with allies and partners.

We've explored the current operations falling under NATO control.


Since 2015, British military personnel have helped support Ukraine against Russian aggression, training thousands of students, some of whom are volunteers, in key medical and infantry skills.

A rotated British force on Operation Orbital shares expertise on counter-sniping, mortar planning, anti-armour, counter-Improvised Explosive Devices and logistics.

The show of support followed Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.

NATO has announced it is sending additional ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe as more recent tensions with Russia on the border of Ukraine continue to mount.

Baltics and Poland

NATO commits to 24/7 air policing missions to secure the skies above Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

These Baltic states do not have the capability to police their own skies, so allies step in to ensure each member is offered the same level of protection.

Alliance fighter jets have repeatedly intercepted Russian aircraft violating airspace boundaries.

Combat-ready NATO troops are also stationed in the Baltic states and Poland under NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) to deter Russian forces from potential invasion.

This formation also followed the annexation of Crimea and sees light battlegroup forces in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia – the latter sees a rotated British force on Operation Cabrit.

Watch: Operation Orbital – the British troops training Ukrainian forces.

The Balkans 

Kosovo has about 3,500 NATO troops deployed to the country as part of NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR).

The mission has been running since 1999 to ensure peace and stability in the region, the alliance forces becoming smaller and more flexible as time goes on.

NATO air policing missions take place in Slovenia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and Montenegro.

The Netherlands is sending two F-35 jets to Bulgaria from April to bolster this activity in the face of Russian aggression on the border of Ukraine.

The Syrian crisis prompted NATO to augment Turkey's air defence against ballistic missile threats in 2012.

In 2015, NATO added enhanced air patrols, reconnaissance, and a stronger naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Watch: RAF Typhoons police Romanian skies on Op BILOXI.

Middle East and Africa 

Since 2018, NATO has provided non-combat training to Iraqi soldiers helping to secure the country and wider region against terrorism.

The request of the national government was for multinational forces to help secure the country in the face of the Daesh threat.

In February 2021, the alliance increased the size and expanded the activities of the mission.

NATO is providing logistical support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

This consists primarily of strategic air and sealifts of kit and personnel, while there is support ongoing to train the new Africa Standby Force which is hoped to take on the continent's peacekeeping duties in the long term.


Iceland's strategic geographical location and a lack of its own air force has prompted the alliance to deploy jets there for around a month at a time, three times each year, for peacekeeping purposes.