18 Dec. 2001
Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee
and the Nuclear Planning Group held in Brussels
On 18 December 2001
- The Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels
on 18 December 2001.
- In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States and
the invocation of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, our defence planning
work takes on a new importance. We reaffirmed our commitment to collective
defence and the importance of the Alliance having the capabilities necessary
to ensure that we can respond effectively to any aggression, or threat
of aggression, against our nations, as well as dealing with other crises
that may arise.
- In reviewing Allies' defence plans, we noted that the force structures
and capabilities of Allies are generally sufficient to deal with possible
conventional military attacks against Alliance territory. However, as
set out in NATO's Strategic Concept, and as borne out by recent events,
our forces also need to be able to deal effectively with a wider range
of challenges, which may involve the deployment of sizeable forces outside
Allied territory. In this respect, as well as in their ability to deal
with the risks of a proliferation of NBC weapons and their delivery
means, the forces of most Allies still have significant shortfalls.
Measures to address these shortfalls have been identified in the Defence
Capabilities Initiative and in our NATO defence planning process. However,
there is now an urgent need to make more progress in the development
of more deployable forces to undertake the tasks we have set ourselves
in the Ministerial Guidance last year.
- We are determined to ensure that our forces are developed in ways
that meet these challenges. To this end we shall vigorously pursue the
necessary restructuring and modernisation processes which are currently
under way. In part, we intend to achieve this through more effective
use of defence resources, including greater use of multinational cooperation.
But we also acknowledge that in some cases more resources will be needed
to turn this ambition into reality, and we will make the utmost endeavours
to ensure that these resources are made available.
- Developing Alliance capabilities is also relevant in the context
of the success of possible future EU?led operations. For each of the
nations concerned, both NATO and EU requirements will have to be met
from a single set of forces. We have also taken account in the defence
review of forces and capabilities that Allies could make available for
EU?led operations. These commitments appear entirely compatible and
consistent with Alliance force plans and should therefore not adversely
affect the Alliance's ability to carry out its missions.
- At our Nuclear Planning Group meeting, we reviewed the status of
NATO's nuclear forces and addressed a number of related issues. Noting
the fundamentally political purpose to preserve peace and prevent coercion
and any kind of war, we reaffirmed the principles underpinning these
forces as set out in the Alliance's Strategic Concept. Given new security
challenges of an unprecedented nature, we have particular reason to
reaffirm our complete trust in, and steadfast commitment to, the strength
and validity of the transatlantic link in our Alliance, which guarantees
equal security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. We emphasised
again that nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO continue
to provide an essential political and military link between the European
and North American members of the Alliance.
- We appreciated information by the United States Secretary of Defense
on ongoing exchanges between the United States and the Russian Federation
on a new strategic framework. We fully support developments that are
designed to foster cooperation based on shared interests and to enhance
strategic stability and non-proliferation cooperation. We welcome the
results of President Bush's 13-14 November meetings with President Putin
and expressed our expectation that the atmosphere of confidence and
cooperation in matters of global security and strategic stability fully
pervade the Alliance's relationship with Russia, including the exchanges
on nuclear weapons issues.
- Deterrence and defence along with arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation
will continue to play a major role in the achievement of the Alliance's
security objectives. We welcomed President Bush's decision to reduce
over the next decade the number of U.S. operationally deployed strategic
nuclear weapons to between 1,700-2,200 and President Putin's statement
that Russia intended to reduce its strategic nuclear weapons "in
kind". We reaffirmed our determination to strengthen the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to contribute to the implementation
of the conclusions of the 2000 NPT Review Conference. We continue to
support the existing moratoria on nuclear testing.
- In these times of heightened security awareness, we take pride in
the outstanding safety and security record regarding NATO's nuclear
weapons. We reaffirmed our standing commitment to the highest standards
of safety and security of these weapons and emphasized, again, that
NATO's nuclear weapons are safe and secure in every aspect.
- We expressed great satisfaction with the encouraging progress in
exchanges with the Russian Federation on nuclear weapons issues under
the auspices of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, in particular
on nuclear-related confidence and security building measures proposed
by NATO. We agreed that a near-term focus of these discussions on nuclear
weapons safety and security issues is in our mutual interest. Agreement
by both sides on the value of these exchanges and on the desirability
of meetings of nuclear experts is a constructive development towards
improved transparency, predictability and growing mutual trust between
NATO and Russia in this important field.