We often hear about NATO and the U.S. commitment to it, but how much do you actually know about the organization?

NATO stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It includes 28 members from Europe and North America, including the U.S., Canada, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom. The organization’s mission is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members by consulting and cooperating on defense and security issues and building trust to prevent conflict.

However, if diplomatic efforts fail, NATO has the military capacity to start crisis-management operations.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been traveling this to Germany, Estonia and Belgium for a series of meetings with European defense ministers in support of NATO and Operation Atlantic Resolve which encompasses smaller operations such as, Anakonda16, BALTOPS, and Saber Strike, the ongoing response to Russian intervention in Ukraine. Carter will also take part in his first NATO Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium, where he plans to discuss U.S. commitments to the NATO alliance.