NATO group tours New Mexico air force base

A group of NATO officials began a three day tour of the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico on Thursday in order to witness the nuclear deterrence mission and national security programs taking place there.

NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance that is based on the North Atlantic Treaty, an agreement signed at the start of the Cold War in fears of the Soviet Union's growing aggression. Part of the NATO treaty is agreement to a mutual defense response in case of attack by an external party.

The delegation of NATO officials was made up of over 50 representatives from 23 European countries, and was accompanied by members from the Departments of Defense and State, the National Nuclear Security Administration and other U.S. agencies.

The group examined the research and technology in the base, some of which is required to implement the U.S. policies that continue to support the NATO alliance.

The delegation's three day tour featured a look at the national security and weapons programs in Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories. The tour concluded with mission briefings by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.