Senators Shaheen, Cardin, Boxer, Menendez, Coons, Murphy and Kaine Introduce Resolution to Commemorate the 15th Anniversary of NATO’s Invocation of Article V

September 13, 2016

(Washington D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),  Ben Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ),  Chris Coons (D-DE), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Tim Kaine (D-VA), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this week introduced a resolution to commemorate the 15th anniversary of NATO’s invocation of Article V in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.  Article V enshrines the principle of collective defense, meaning that an attack against one NATO ally is considered as an attack against all NATO allies. The resolution recommits the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty, affirms that the United States remains fully prepared, capable, and willing to honor its commitments under Article V, and encourages all NATO allies to continue their valuable contributions to the Alliance, including by investing at least two percent of gross domestic product in national defense spending.

“The first and only time NATO has invoked Article V, its guarantee of collective defense against acts of violence and aggression, was less than 24 hours after the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” said Senator Shaheen. “With that act, NATO put its full weight behind American security and counterterrorism efforts, stating clearly to the world that an attack on one member is an attack on all members. Today, the NATO alliance remains indispensable to our global security in times of peace and in times of war. The United States is committed to NATO and to the freedom, security and democratic values of its members.”

"In the aftermath of one of the United States' darkest days, NATO was there for the American people in defense of our freedom and our shared values," said Senator Cardin. "I'm pleased to join this resolution with my colleagues to reaffirm our unwavering support for NATO and to encourage all Members to recommit to the founding principles of the treaty which have served us well these past seventy years and which will do so in the years ahead. NATO remains the most successful mutual security agreement and deterrent the world has ever known."

“For all of us September 11th, 2001 became one of those days when we will remember where we were and whom we were with for the rest of our lives,” said Senator Menendez. “That day, families came together and the world united behind us. ‘We Are All Americans,’ was the headline in Le Monde in France, and for the first time our NATO allies invoked Article V of the Treaty reaffirming the cornerstone of this critical international alliance: when one NATO nation is attacked, it is an attack on every nation -- and every nation responded. Now, fifteen years later, much has been accomplished, but many challenges remain in an uncertain region of the world that still requires us to stand with our allies against terrorism. This is a global effort that requires collaboration and strong alliances. It is an honor to join my colleagues in introducing this important resolution.”

“This resolution underscores Democratic support for NATO’s Article V, a bipartisan foreign policy consensus for nearly seven decades,” said Senator Coons.  “The principle of collective defense is a critical reason that NATO is the most successful military alliance in history.  Our NATO allies stood with the United States in the dark days after 9/11, and the United States must reassure our European partners that we will come to their defense.  Our commitment is even more important after Russia’s aggression in Eastern Europe and Donald Trump’s recent compliments of Vladimir Putin and his questioning of America’s commitments to our NATO allies.”

“For over half a century, NATO has protected the rights and interests of the United States and our allies,” said Senator Murphy. “At a time when some political leaders have threatened our commitment to our NATO allies, we honor them for being there in our country’s greatest hour of need and commit to redoubling our support for this important transatlantic partnership.”