2 Dec. 1997

Final Communiqu

Ministerial Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group on 2nd December 1997

  1. The Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 2nd December.

  2. The Madrid Summit advanced the Alliance's comprehensive transformation, including the adaptation of NATO's defence capabilities and its military structure to undertake the whole range of the Alliance's roles and missions. The military effectiveness of the Alliance will remain indispensable for Euro-Atlantic security and stability.

  3. We accordingly reaffirm our determination to ensure the effectiveness and coherence of our individual and collective military capabilities to fulfil the full range of Alliance missions including the core function of collective defence. In this context the Alliance's collective defence planning system remains of vital importance. In addition to providing for deterrence and collective defence it must now also be sufficiently flexible to meet the demands of a changing and more complex security environment.

  4. The defence planning system has proved its worth as a means of preparing for membership nations invited to join NATO. It is playing a central role in preparing the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for the military responsibilities and obligations of Alliance membership. We are pleased that the three invitees have declared themselves prepared to make appropriate and significant military contributions to the Alliance on accession and to participate fully in the defence planning system. We took note of a report on their force structures and plans which also set out the force contributions they intend to make available to the Alliance on accession. We also endorsed guidance on the process of developing, with the three invitees, Target Force Goals by next Spring which will address areas for further work with initial emphasis on the ability of their forces to operate together with those of the Alliance.

  5. We have reviewed national defence plans for the period 1998-2002 and beyond and have adopted a five-year force plan which will ensure that our defence plans continue to match the requirements of the changing security situation. We have concluded that our force structure remains capable of fully meeting the requirements of the Alliance's core functions of deterrence and collective defence, including for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland on accession. Alliance forces will continue to be adapted in order to respond better to the risks and potential threats associated with the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their means of delivery. They will also be adapted, while maintaining their ability to conduct Article 5 operations, to the greater likelihood of their being called on for non-Article 5 operations, which may increasingly be carried out in cooperation with our Partners. In this context, work is continuing in order to provide a clearer indication of the availability of forces for such missions. We have also assessed through the NATO defence planning system the military requirements for WEU operations and the forces and capabilities that might be available to meet these requirements, and we intend to refine this work further. As the Alliance continues to adapt its force structure to new circumstances, we emphasized the need to commit appropriate levels of resources to ensure that our leaner military capabilities are properly manned, equipped and trained.

  6. We received with appreciation a presentation by the U.S. Secretary of Defense on the prospects for ratification of the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II). In this context, we welcomed the agreements signed by Secretary Albright and Foreign Minister Primakov on 26th September to enhance the prospects for Russian ratification of START II. We expressed our hope that the Russian Federation will ratify START II promptly so that the benefits of that treaty may be attained and negotiations can begin soon on START III.

  7. We also welcomed a second set of agreements signed on 26th September by the United States with the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine relating to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and theatre ballistic missile defences. Taken together, these agreements will ensure the continued viability of the ABM Treaty, which has been an important element of strategic stability for over 25 years. We fully support the goal that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty should enter into force as soon as possible and, to this end, encourage all states to sign and ratify the treaty without delay. We also continue to attach great importance to the early beginning of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.

  8. We welcomed the initiation of reciprocal exchanges between Russian and US strategic force commanders and took note of the recent visit by the Commander-in-Chief of the US Strategic Command to Russian nuclear installations. We received a presentation on the status of Russian tactical nuclear forces. We look forward to consultations on nuclear weapons issues with Russia in the Permanent Joint Council. We reaffirmed our conviction that this dialogue will help to increase transparency and improve understanding of the role of nuclear weapons in the security strategies of NATO and the Russian Federation.

  9. We confirmed that nuclear forces continue to play an essential role in NATO strategy and that their fundamental purpose is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war. By ensuring uncertainty about the nature of the Allies' response to aggression, they demonstrate that aggression of any kind is not a rational option. The changes in NATO's nuclear policy and posture since the end of the Cold War are amongst the most radical in the Alliance's transformation. Since 1991, NATO has significantly reduced its nuclear stockpile and force posture in the light of the changed security environment. Alliance nuclear forces are not targeted at any country; and NATO has reduced the number and readiness of its dual capable aircraft.

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