Verification Coordinating Committee (VCC)
The Verification Coordinating Committee (VCC) is responsible for coordinating and making recommendations on all activities in arms control verification, which have been agreed by countries as being appropriate for handling on a cooperative basis within the Alliance.
In sum, it is the principal body for decisions on matters of conventional arms control implementation and verification activities. It coordinates Alliance monitoring and verification efforts for conventional arms control agreements and treaties. It also provides a forum in which national plans can be coordinated to ensure that cooperative verification measures are carried out without unwanted duplication of national efforts and that the most efficient use is made of the collective resources of Alliance countries.
While the VCC is responsible for Alliance coordination of implementation and verification of arms control, arms control policy is formulated within the High-Level Task Force on Conventional Arms Control.
The VCC reports directly to and receives guidance from the North Atlantic Council – NATO’s top political decision-making body.
All member countries are represented on this committee, as well as the International Military Staff, which provides military advice as necessary. It is chaired by the Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy (PASP) from the International Staff at NATO Headquarters, Brussels. PASP is also the supporting division for this committee.
It meets as required and works in different configurations and at different levels: in plenary sessions, working groups, expert groups, and seminars and workshops. Participants can include experts from ministries of foreign affairs and from ministries of defence, as well as experts from verification units and also secretaries of Delegations in Brussels.
The VCC was created in 1990 during the negotiations of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) between NATO member countries and members of the Warsaw Pact. It was considered that cooperation on verification of the CFE Treaty would be preferable within the framework of the existing NATO framework. The committee was therefore created to: “…oversee cooperation in inspection co-ordination and data management, and to examine further opportunities for cooperation in verification.”