WASHINGTON, D.C. (Erie News Now) -- Dozens of foreign leaders and dignitaries from across the globe are making their way to the nation’s capital this week for the annual NATO Summit. 

This year is the 75th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). With major conflicts abroad, the timing of this year’s summit could not be more critical. 

NATO was founded to collectively push back the Soviet Union following World War II, leading into the Cold War. NATO is a political and military alliance with mostly European member countries, except for the United States and Canada. 

This year is unique for a few reasons. It’s the first big meeting with new NATO members: Sweden and Finland. Those two countries were recently accepted into NATO. The war in Ukraine pushed those countries into joining. Russia’s invasion into Ukraine will be a major topic throughout the summit which will run Tuesday through Thursday. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be in Washington meeting with leaders, pushing not only for NATO support in Russia's attacks but also pushing for Ukraine NATO membership as well.  

Other main topics this week will include the Indo-Pacific and strengthening deterrence. The Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza will likely be discussed among leaders and attendees but there are no specific events scheduled to address the conflict. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to deliver an address to Congress later this month. 

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks at the summit Tuesday evening. It will be a big moment for the 81-year-old President, especially in the aftermath of the June 27 CNN debate which exacerbated concerns regarding the President’s mental and cognitive abilities. Some Democrats have called for Biden to step aside in this year’s election as a result of his debate performance. 

At the summit, the President will try to assure NATO allies and the American public that he is up for the job while also trying to exhibit strength to U.S. adversaries who will be watching closely. 

Monday morning, President Biden doubled down in a letter to House Democrats, explaining that he is up for another four years amid Democratic tension surrounding his reelection bid. 

“I can respond to all this by saying clearly and unequivocally: I wouldn't be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024,” said Biden in the letter. “The question of how to move forward has been well-aired for over a week now. And it's time for it to end. We have one job. And that is to beat Donald Trump.”  

As of Monday, heightened security measures including an increased law enforcement presence, road closures, security fencing and other precautions were on display in Washington ahead of the NATO Summit.