Chapter 4: Determination of Logistic
Requirements and Logistic Support
Defence Planning Process
402. Defence planning covers both the medium and the
long term. The medium term establishes the basic NATO force
plan and the capabilities needed by the NATO forces in the form
of the force goals. The long term process establishes a basis
for planning in the form of concepts and long term
planning guidelines. In determining the size and the nature of
their contribution to the common defence, member-nations have
full independence of action. Nevertheless the collective nature
of NATO's defence demands that, in reaching their
decisions, governments take into account the force structure and
capabilities recommended by the NATO Military Authorities (NMAs),
and adopted by the Defence Planning Committee (DPC), and of
the medium and long-term military plans of the Allies.
403. NATO's procedures for common force planning must
take into account factors such as: the risk, the Alliance
military requirements established by the NMAs, the best use of the
available resources, advances in science and technology, a rational
sharing of the defence burden among member countries, and the
recognition that force plans have to be within economic and financial
capabilities of nations. NATO force planning is based on three major
- Ministerial Guidance, issued every two years,
- Force Goals, covering a six year period, which
are adopted every two years; and
- Annual Defence Review, leading to an agreed NATO
force plan for the succeeding five year period, the first year of
which is a firm commitment of forces to NATO by each nation.
404. It is important to remember that the
process is a continuing cycle by which planning is reviewed and
projected each year for a period of five years ahead. The outline
below sets out the sequence of events, using the development of
the Ministerial Guidelines as a starting point.
- The Military Committee (MC) prepares the
Military Appreciation based on military factors and
considerations likely to affect force structures, deployments and
equipment during the period under review. This appreciation
is published in the even numbered years.
- Taking this appreciation into account, as
the Economic Appreciation and other factors that have
a bearing on defence efforts, the Defence Review
Committee (DRC) drafts the Ministerial Guidance, which is agreed
and issued by the Ministers in the Autumn of even
numbered years. This political guidance, issued to both nations
and NMAs, governs the preparation of force proposals for
the relevant planning period. It includes the political
and economic factors affecting the development of NATO
forces over the period. Of particular importance is the
resource guidance which becomes the fundamental baseline for
the ensuing force goals.
- In the Autumn, Major NATO Commanders
(MNCs) publish their draft Force Proposals which have already
been discussed on a bilateral basis with nations.
- During the Winter and Spring, the draft
Proposals are reviewed by the MC, at which time their
military validity and conformity with the Ministerial
Guidance is assessed. Subsequently, they are considered by
the DRC and modified where necessary to reflect
political and economic realities. The Draft Force Proposals
are adopted by the DPC in permanent session as new
NATO Force Goals and endorsed by Ministers at their
- Following this, nations use the NATO Force
the basis for reporting their force plans for the next five
year period commencing in December of that year.
- These National Force Plans are forwarded to
NATO Headquarters in the national responses to the
annual Defence Planning Questionnaire (DPQ) and are
analyzed by both the Military Authorities and the International
Staff (IS). Where differences occur between the national plans
and the NATO goals, a first attempt is made to reconcile
them by the IS, the International Military Staff (IMS) and
the representatives of the MNCs, together with
representatives of the individual nations concerned. These are
called "trilateral discussions" and are generally held in capitals.
- The results of this examination are then
passed to the
DRC which attempts to eliminate any remaining differences
in multilateral meetings at NATO Headquarters. All
nations participate, supported by the IS, IMS,and NMAs.
- After these multilateral examinations, the
prepares a Country Chapter on each nation and a General
Report for the DPC setting out how far nations have been
able to meet the Force Goals, and where and why
shortfalls have occurred.
- At the same time, the MC reports to the
the military suitability and the military risk associated
with the emerging Alliance-wide five year force plan.
- In the light of both these reports, the
a five year Force Plan for Ministers to consider.
- Ministers review the DPC recommendations
the aspects of political balance, economic
feasibility, acceptability and associated degree of risk. The five
year Force Plan then becomes the basis for national
defence planning over the whole period and, as stated
above, becomes a firm commitment of forces by each
country for the first year.
- It should be noted that, in the Autumn of
the next year, nations will report for a second time against the same
force goals, with emphasis of major changes in defence and
in the level of implementation.