Date of Award

Spring 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Political Science

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Lawrence C Reardon


NATO was formed in 1949 to safeguard and promote stability for its members throughout the North Atlantic. Since its formation its members have sought to uphold its mission and objectives while expanding its agenda and engaging in a broad range of activities. These activities have included engagements that lay outside the traditional European boundaries of the Alliance. Historically, the member nations were unable to carry out an out-of-area policy due to disagreements between interests, ideologies, and viewpoints. The end of the Cold War signaled a shift in member nations' attitudes and policy regarding out-of-area operations. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Alliance engaged in several missions and participated in its first out-of-area mission in Afghanistan. Through a dialogical analysis of NATO's policy building upon rule-orientated constructivism, this thesis will explore NATO member nations' shift in out-of-area policy and understand why NATO became involved in Afghanistan in 2001.