Chairman: Mr. J. Luns.
Current military posture Warsaw Pact forces, in particular strengthening of Soviet nuclear and conventional capabilities - Review of follow-up action on AD/70 recommendations - Eurogroup achievements - Soviet maritime presence - SACLANT's briefing on exercise "STRONG EXPRESS".
The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on
Wednesday, 24th May, 1972, for its regular Spring meeting.
- Ministers were briefed on the current military posture of
the Warsaw Pact forces and noted the further strengthening of
Soviet nuclear and conventional capabilities, the increasing
world-wide deployment and overall combat capability of naval forces, and the modernization and consolidation of ground and air forces. Against this background, they agreed that NATO defence must continue to provide an effective and realistic deterrent against all forms of aggression and so to ensure a firm defence posture from which a genuine and lasting detente can be negotiated. In this context, Ministers reaffirmed once more the declaration which was made at Reykjavik in June of 1968 that the overall military capability of NATO should not be reduced except as a part of a pattern of mutual force reductions balanced in scope and timing.
- They reaffirmed their close interest in the subject of
mutual and balanced force reductions, with its implications
for the overall military security of the Alliance.
- Ministers reviewed the present status of defence planning
in the Alliance with particular emphasis on the progressive
implementation of the recommendations made in the December
1971 Follow-up Report on Allied Defence Problems for the 1970s
(AD/70) for strengthening NATO's defence posture during the
present decade; they welcomed the action already taken by countries on a number of those recommendations for making further progress towards "the total force concept", that is to say bringing all elements of NATO defence into the fullest and most balanced co-ordination.
- Ministers were informed of the continuing achievements of
the Eurogroup countries within the Alliance framework. They
welcomed the extensive work done to execute the European
Defence Improvement Program and also the progress being made,
particularly in closer co-operation within the equipment
field, to achieve better collective value for the resources
expended on defence by member countries of the Alliance.
- Ministers noted the Force Goals for 1973-1978 established
for member countries and for the Alliance as a whole which had
been approved earlier in the year. The achievement of these
Goals would constitute a major step in the implementation of
the AD/70 program; and Ministers therefore underlined that the
Goals will be taken into account to the fullest possible
extent by member countries in their national planning. In this
context they reaffirmed that the aim within NATO should be to
allocate to defence purposes, where this is within the
economic capability of countries, a stable and possibly larger
proportion of their growing national wealth.
- Ministers discussed the continuing and important presence
of Soviet maritime forces in the Eastern Mediterranean and in
Northern European waters. They further noted the increasingly
active Soviet deployments into the Western Mediterranean and
throughout the' Atlantic. They noted the progress made with
measures to counter Soviet expansion in these areas and they
agreed to continue their efforts on further measures.
- The Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic, on behalf of all three Major NATO Commanders, gave a presentation on the large-scale exercise "STRONG EXPRESS" which will take place in the autumn of this year. Eleven NATO countries will contribute forces which will include maritime, amphibious and air units, as well as the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force. The aim will be to test and develop NATO capabilities for rapid reaction and reinforcement to strengthen the Alliance's defensive posture in time of emergency.
- Ministers noted the satisfactory development of planning
for the NATO Integrated Communications System.
- The Defence Planning Committee will meet in Ministerial
Session in Brussels during December 1972.