Mr Chirac was greeted by President Bill Clinton at a ceremony on the White House lawn in icy sunshine.
Mr Clinton praised France's "historic decision to participate once again in Nato's defence councils", 30 years after Charles de Gaulle withdrew from the US-dominated integrated military command.
Noting that U.S. and French troops were serving side-by-side to enforce a peace agreement in Bosnia, Mr Chirac said: "Let us work together to shape the security architecture of the new Europe and adapt our Atlantic Alliance."
"Let us organise for the 21st century the necessary partnership between the United States, that the world needs more than ever, and a European Union that is building itself up and asserting itself more and more as one of the pillars of tomorrow's world. Let us organise a real global partnership."