The NATO Grand Priory is an autonomous member of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH), commonly known by its English translation, The Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (SMOTJ) or simply as Knights Templar. The Order is a 200 year old organization, founded in France in 1804, on the precepts and goals of the noble crusading Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, 1118-1307.

Membership in the NATO Grand Priory is composed of military officers and defense officials of NATO member countries and partner states, who are recommended, and who are awarded, the NATO Grand Priory Maltese Cross. Award of the Maltese Cross is in recognition of significant contributions to the NATO community and to the Grand Priory’s humanitarian goals.
The purposes of the NATO Grand Priory include furthering the concepts of Christian chivalry of the original Knights Templar Order, and pursuing humanitarian objectives in the modern world. The NATO Grand Priory supports communications and networking among NATO and NATO partnership militaries and defense establishments, support of NATO peace and peacekeeping initiatives, development of interoperability of NATO and NATO partner forces, and support of veterans and veteran organizations.