The Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization met in Ministerial Session on 10th and 11th
December, 1974, in Brussels.
- During their meeting the Defence Planning Committee heard an
appraisal of the overall situation from the Secretary General
and an assessment of the military situation from the Chairman of
the Military Committee. In the light of these they discussed the
implications for NATO of the continued strengthening and modern-
ization of Warsaw Pact forces on land and in the air, and the
growing capability and worldwide deployment of the Soviet Navy.
Ministers expressed their deep concern at the scale of resources
which the Soviet Union is continuing to devote to military
purposes, which indicates its determination to seek military
superiority over the West, and noted that these resources
already provide the Soviet Union and its Allies with a military
power far in excess of that required for self-defence.
- Ministers took note of the status of the current talks
between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation
of strategic armaments, and in particular of the important
developments in this area represented by the agreements reached
between President Ford and Mr. Brezhnev at Vladivostok.
Ministers also exchanged views on the state of negotiations in
Vienna on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions, in anticipation
of the discussion which the North Atlantic Council will have on
the subject in the next few days. In this connection, they
confirmed their support for the agreed Alliance approach and,
collectively and individually, they reaffirmed the importance
they attach to the principle that NATO forces should not be
reduced except in the context of a Mutual and Balanced Force
Reduction agreement with the East.
- Ministers heard with interest a report by the Chairman of the
Eurogroup on the Group's discussions in Ministerial Session
earlier in the week. They welcomed the announcement of substantial European force improvements planned for 1975 and expressed
their appreciation of the Eurogroup's work in developing a
strong and cohesive European contribution to the common defence.
They also took note of a further report on the consultations
between Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway on the
replacement program for the F-104G and other aircraft.
- After reviewing the national force contributions to Alliance
defence for the current year, Ministers then turned their
attention to plans for the next planning period. They discussed
the extent to which national plans for the period up to 1979
provide for the implementation of the force goals adopted by
them at their June meeting. They took note of certain proposed
changes in national defence programs on which Alliance
consultation was proceeding. Subject to the outcome of these
consultations they approved the NATO Force Plan for the period
1975-1979 and designated the forces which their countries
undertook to commit to NATO over the coming twelve months.
- Ministers took note with approval that substantial improvements had been made to the conventional capabilities of NATO
forces during the past year; they also noted the programs
initiated in many countries for improving the quality of NATO
forces in the important fields of anti-armor and low level air
defence, and the extra impetus being given to improvements in
electronic warfare capabilities, the provision of modern
aircraft munitions and the level of war reserve stocks. They
noted the substantial aircraft modernization programs under way
in some countries, and the need for early decision in others.
They reviewed the plans for improving the survivability and
anti-submarine warfare capabilities of the maritime forces.
During this part of their discussion Ministers also identified
areas of NATO defence where weaknesses seemed likely to persist,
and agreed to redouble their efforts to correct them.
- Ministers took note with special satisfaction of the
intention of the United States to form the equivalent of two new
brigades in Europe beginning in 1975 by the re-allocation of
personnel from supporting functions. They welcomed this
practical recognition of the need for improving the capability
of ready combat forces.
- Ministers reviewed the present strategic situation in the
Southern Region and the Mediterranean, and discussed measures
needed to maintain the security of the Alliance in this area. In
particular the expressed concern at the scale of Soviet military
activity in the Mediterranean area and the possible
repercussions on the Alliance of the unstable situation in the
- Ministers next discussed the impact of inflation on defence
budgets and the measures being taken by countries to maintain
the current purchasing power of their defence expenditures. In
so doing they re-emphasized the need to make the optimum use o
resources through co-operative efforts in defence.
- In this connection Ministers received a report on current
activities in the areas of rationalization and specialization
selected for detailed examination. They agreed to give full
support to these continuing activities and called for special
efforts by countries to take advantage of these possible methods
of improving the effectiveness of NATO forces.
- Ministers received reports covering standardization in
certain areas of military equipment, with particular reference
to the area on which they had previously agreed to concentrate
their efforts namely airborne early warning, electronic warfare,
the replacement for the F-104G aircraft, the standardization of
rifle ammunition and a new rifle for the 1980s. They welcomed in
particular the prospect of standardizing on two caliber's only
for the whole family of future portable infantry weapons. They
agreed to give special attention to two further specific areas,
interpretability and security of communications, and a second
generation anti-ship missile In so doing, they endorsed the
urgent need for co-ordinated Alliance wide action in the first
of these and welcomed the promising initiative taken with
respect to the second.
- Ministers agreed to the level of funding for the next five
year Infrastructure program covering the period up to 197S
subject to confirmation of the final cost-sharing arrangements
and details of the program by the Defence Planning Committee in
- Ministers then turned their attention to the Guidance that
they will give next Spring to provide policy direction for
defence planning activities in NATO for the period up to l982.
The decided that the new Ministerial Guidance should include a
long range defence concept setting objectives for co-operative
effort within the framework of the NATO strategy of flexible
response and forward defence, in order to obtain maximum
efficiency from the force levels and resources which the
Alliance can reasonably expect to have at its disposal. They
instructed the Defence Planning Committee in Permanent Session
to prepare a new Ministerial Guidance including such a planning
concept, for consideration by Ministers at their Spring 1975