The Political Committee discusses and exchanges information and assessments on political and regional developments of interest to Allies. It assists the North Atlantic Council and the Secretary General by undertaking all necessary preparatory work for them to be able to fulfil their responsibilities for political consultation.
The Political Committee is established under the authority of the Council – NATO’s principal political decision-making body – and consists of representatives from each delegation, aided by specialists from Allied capitals when needed. Individual member countries have a key role in proposing topics for the committee agenda, making experts available to inform the debate and providing food-for-thought papers and political assessments.
The committee is chaired by the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and is supported by the Political Affairs and Security Policy Division.
It was originally established in 1957 under the name of Committee of Political Advisers, following the recommendations of the “Report of the Committee of Three on Non-Military Cooperation in NATO” (December 1956). The Report recommended broadening areas of cooperation beyond the military to include non-military cooperation and encouraging regular political consultation among member countries to reinforce unity and cohesion. The Report explicitly mentioned the creation of a committee to “assist Permanent Representatives and the Secretary General in discharging their responsibilities for political consultation” (paragraphs 56 and 96 of the Report). The adoption of political consultation as a key component of the Alliance in 1956 permanently characterised NATO as a political and military organisation.
In 2010, following a committee reform, the Political Committee was disbanded and its responsibilities transferred to the Political and Partnerships Committee. In July 2014, the Council decided to reinstate the Political Committee as a dedicated forum in which to discuss and exchange information on political and regional developments of interest to Allies.