Updated: 06-May-2002 NATO Press Releases

8 June 2000

Statement on the Defence Capabilities Initiative

Issued at the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
in Defence Ministers Session held in Brussels
on 8 June 2000

  1. We reviewed the implementation of the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI). Launched at last year's Summit in Washington, this initiative is designed to ensure that the Alliance has the capabilities required to meet the security challenges of the 21st century across the full spectrum of the Alliance's missions. Recent operations, especially in Kosovo, have revealed the need for improvements in a number of areas, particularly in NATO's ability to move forces quickly where they are needed, to support them as long as necessary and rotate them as required, to provide them with the means they need to fulfil their missions properly and to ensure that they are better protected, and to enable them to communicate and operate smoothly and effectively with one another. DCI sets out specific steps that the Alliance as a whole and the Allies individually must take to improve our defence capabilities and to enhance the interoperability of our forces.
  2. We are strongly committed to the success of the DCI. Achieving its objectives will also strengthen European defence capabilities and the European pillar of NATO, so that European Allies will be able to make a stronger and more coherent contribution to NATO. It will also improve their capability to undertake EU-led operations where the Alliance as a whole is not engaged. The EU's Headline and Capability Goals and the objectives arising from DCI will be mutually reinforcing. In addition, the Initiative will improve the ability of Allied and Partner forces to operate together in NATO-led crisis response operations. We therefore welcome and encourage our Partners' improvements of their military capabilities in line with the DCI.
  3. We received a report from the Chairman of the High Level Steering Group charged with overseeing the implementation of the Initiative. We welcome the progress the report shows. Early examples include progress in the fields of strategic transport, air-to-air refuelling, precision guided munitions, air defence, exchanges of information on multinational formations and work towards the harmonisation of defence planning processes. The Initiative has given added impetus and direction to the efforts of the nations and of the Alliance as a whole towards achieving those improvements that are most urgently required. We welcome the reports that nations have provided on how they are approaching DCI. These provide clear evidence that Allies are taking the Initiative into account in their national plans. We note with interest the recent US Defence Trade Security Initiative, we will examine it and look forward to the positive effect it may have on the enhancement of transatlantic defence industrial co-operation.
  4. However, there is still much to be done, and a greater and prolonged commitment will be essential if substantial capability improvements are to be ensured. Nations bear the main responsibility for the implementation of DCI. All Allies must stand ready to provide the resources necessary to achieve DCI objectives through the most efficient use of available resources and where necessary the provision of additional resources. The most efficient use of resources will require, as appropriate, the reprioritisation and/or reallocation of resources, increased use of multinational, joint and common funding (including contributions in kind) and other efficiency measures such as pooling and sharing of resources as well as co-operative procurement. We believe that multinational arrangements will provide the most viable solutions to some of the more expensive current capability shortfalls, while also enhancing interoperability and facilitating the participation of all Allied countries. In this context we welcome the continuing adaptation of the common funded programmes to Alliance security requirements as set out in the new Strategic Concept and the Defence Capabilities Initiative, including improvements in resource management.

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