The Defence Planning Committee

One of NATO's key defence decision-making bodies

  • Last updated 27-Oct-2010 15:51

The Defence Planning Committee (DPC) is the senior decision-making body on matters relating to the integrated military structure of the Alliance.

It provides guidance to NATO's military authorities and oversees the force planning process, which identifies NATO's military requirements, sets planning targets for individual countries to contribute to those requirements, and assesses the extent to which members meet those targets and provide other forces and capabilities to the Alliance.

What are its tasks and responsibilities?

The Defence Planning Committee is the ultimate authority within NATO with regard to the Alliance's integrated military structure, as are the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and the Nuclear Planning Group on matters within their competence.

It implements decisions taken by the participating countries in relation to collective defence planning and issues related to the integrated military structure of the Alliance. It also approves Force Goals and Ministerial guidance for future NATO defence planning.

Who participates?

Members participating in NATO's integrated military structure (all member countries) are part of the DPC. It is chaired by the Secretary General.

How does it work in practice?

As is the case of all NATO committees, decisions are taken by consensus within the DPC.

Although the work of the DPC focuses on the integrated military structure and military and defence related issues, in recent years, the NAC has also discussed some of these matters.

On 19 February 2003, the DPC authorised NATO military authorities to implement defensive measures to assist Turkey including preventive deployment of NATO Airborne Early Warning Aircraft (AWACS); support for possible deployment by Allies of theatre missile defences; and support for possible deployment by Allies of chemical and biological defence capabilities.

The work of the DPC is prepared by a number of subordinate committees with specific responsibilities. In particular, the Defence Review Committee coordinates the force planning process within NATO and examines other issues relating to the integrated military structure. Like the North Atlantic Council (NAC), the DPC looks to the senior committee with the relevant specific responsibility for the preparatory and follow-up work arising from its decisions. Within the International Staff, the DPC is principally supported by the Division of Defence Policy and Planning and the Operations Division.

The DPC meets when necessary at the level of Ambassadors and twice a year at the level of Ministers of Defence. It is chaired by the Secretary General of NATO.