Updated: 12-Jun-2003 NATO Press Releases


12 June 2003

Final Communiqué

Ministerial Meeting
of the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group
held in Brussels on Thursday, 12 June 2003

  1. The Defence Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 12 June 2003. Our colleagues from the seven countries invited to join the Alliance took part in our discussions in the Defence Planning Committee.
  2. Effective military forces, able to deploy to wherever the Alliance decides, are essential to the Alliance’s ability to achieve its wider security objectives as well as its core function of collective defence. Our forces must have the advanced capabilities necessary to conduct the full range of Alliance missions, including the ability to move quickly to a crisis area and sustain operations over time. Ensuring these capabilities is the central focus of NATO’s collective defence planning process, and of the transformation of the Alliance, on which we exchanged views today.
  3. We approved new Ministerial Guidance to provide a framework for NATO and nations' defence planning until 2010 and beyond. This guidance addresses the need to overcome the shortcomings identified in our review of national plans. We emphasised the need to pursue quality rather than quantity in adapting our force structures, and to focus resources on deployable forces and capabilities. We also emphasised the need to provide sufficient resources for these capabilities by aiming to increase defence spending in real terms and to spend available funds more effectively, bearing in mind that NATO's requirement for non-deployable forces is very limited.
  4. We reviewed progress made in the development of the NATO Response Force. We approved the comprehensive concept for the Force and look forward to successful completion of the further work required. Establishment of this force will be a significant step in providing NATO with a capability for rapid action and a catalyst for the development of advanced capabilities. Because nations have only a single set of forces, work on the NATO Response Force should be mutually reinforcing with related work in the EU.
  5. We have also agreed NATO’s new streamlined command arrangements. They will provide robust capabilities to plan and execute operations, promote the further modernisation and interoperability of Alliance forces, and enhance the transatlantic link. There will be two commands at the strategic level, one to conduct all Alliance operations and one to guide and encourage the transformation of forces and other capabilities. The second, operational, level will consist of two standing Joint Force Commands that can provide one land-based Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) headquarters, and a robust but more limited standing Joint Headquarters from which one sea-based CJTF headquarters capability can be drawn. At the third, component or tactical, level, a limited number of Joint Force Component Commands and Combined Air Operations Centres (some of them deployable) will provide service-specific expertise to the second level. These new command arrangements build on and take full account of the command capabilities within NATO’s new Force Structure, within which all of the envisaged high readiness corps and maritime headquarters have now been certified as having reached full operational capability. In the new Alliance Command Transformation structure, there will, in addition, be a NATO Joint Warfare Centre, with a subordinate Joint Force Training Centre and a Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre, and a number of nationally- or multi-nationally sponsored Centres of Excellence, which will provide opportunities to enhance training, improve interoperability, test and develop doctrines, and conduct experiments to assess new concepts. The streamlined structure will be more effective, and is expected to yield cost and manpower savings which can be channelled to addressing existing Alliance shortfalls. Achieving rapid implementation of the new command structure is essential to ensure continuity of the command arrangements and momentum in the transformation process. We therefore direct that the new structure be implemented as rapidly as possible, and request the NATO Military Authorities to report to us on progress made at our meeting in December.
  6. In discharging our responsibilities for collective defence planning in the Alliance, we reviewed the force plans of Allies and of invited countries.
  7. We noted with satisfaction that most Allies are continuing to restructure their forces to make them smaller, more flexible, more modern and more effective for the full range of Alliance missions. The implementation of current plans, including the commitments undertaken as part of the Prague Capabilities Commitment, will bring about important improvements. Shortfalls in a number of critical capability areas will nevertheless continue to exist, particularly in the number of fully deployable units and formations with the necessary support units able to operate where little or no host nation support exists. Further efforts are therefore needed to overcome these deficiencies, especially correcting the balance between combat and support units.
  8. We applaud the steps taken so far by the invited nations to adapt their forces to participate in Alliance structures and look forward to welcoming these countries as members next year. We and our counterparts from these countries recognise, however, that much more remains to be done, including through recently-launched defence reviews, to re-orient force structures for the full range of Alliance missions. This will be a long-term process and will require sustained efforts.
  9. At Prague, our Heads of State and Government noted the importance of transforming our military capabilities. Since the defence planning process will play a major role in this effort and remains the cornerstone of NATO’s ability to provide for the defence and security of its members, we tasked the Defence Review Committee, taking account of the advice of NATO’s Military Authorities, to review and further adapt where appropriate the process so that it is better able to assist the transformation of our military capabilities. It must be flexible, responsive and more focussed on capabilities for the full range of Alliance missions. It should take into account national planning cycles and also consider the evolving NATO-EU relationship. The Allied Command Transformation will play a major role in this review and the subsequent work to develop capabilities. We look forward to reviewing progress in this work at our meeting in December 2003 where we will, if necessary, issue additional guidance, and to receiving a final report, with recommendations, at our Spring meeting in 2004.
  10. At this, our first meeting as Nuclear Planning Group after the Prague Summit, we reviewed the status of NATO’s nuclear forces and addressed related issues and activities. We reaffirmed the principles underpinning NATO’s nuclear forces as set out in the Alliance’s Strategic Concept. We continue to place great value on the nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO, which provide an essential political and military linkage between the European and the North American members of the Alliance.
  11. We welcomed the recent entry into force of the May 2002 Moscow Treaty between the United States and Russia on Strategic Offensive Reductions. We agreed that this Treaty represents an important step in establishing more favourable conditions for actively promoting security and cooperation, and enhancing international stability.
  12. The Alliance’s goal to enhance global security will continue to be strengthened through our support for arms control and non-proliferation. In this regard, we expressed concern over violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime and, in particular, over recent pronouncements by the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea that it had withdrawn from the Treaty and that it was in possession of nuclear weapons. We strongly urged it to dismantle immediately any nuclear weapons programme in a verifiable, transparent and irreversible manner. We urge all nations to continue to work together to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We reaffirmed our determination to contribute to the implementation of the conclusions of the 2000 NPT Review Conference and welcomed the accession of Cuba and East Timor to the Treaty.
  13. We welcome the invitation extended to Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia and look forward to meeting them in this forum as full Alliance members. We endorsed a time-phased programme to inform them about Alliance nuclear issues, designed specifically to prepare them to participate effectively in discussions of Alliance nuclear policy when they are members. Given their full support of NATO’s Strategic Concept, including the essential role that nuclear forces play in the Alliance’s strategy of preservation of peace and prevention of war or any kind of coercion, the new members will strengthen security for all in the Euro-Atlantic area.
  14. We noted with satisfaction that, based on our guidance issued in June last year, NATO’s dual-capable aircraft posture has been further adapted and readiness requirements for these aircraft have been further relaxed. We welcome the ongoing work of the High Level Group as it continues to discuss deterrence requirements in the new security environment and to provide advice to Ministers as appropriate.
  15. We welcomed the agreement with the Russian Federation on a Work Plan for nuclear experts’ consultations under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council. We agree with the plan to focus in the near term on nuclear weapons safety and security, but we also expressed our strong view that the nuclear Confidence and Security Building Measures proposed by NATO in December 2000 should be addressed in these consultations. We look forward to the next practical steps to further implement this important Work Plan.

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