15 June 2007

Final Communique

Ministerial meetings of the Defence Planning Committee
and the Nuclear Planning Group
held In Brussels on Friday, 15 June 2007

  1. The Defence Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group met in Ministerial Session on 15 June 2007.

  2. As the Defence Planning Committee, responsible for the collective force planning system of the Alliance, we considered the results of the 2006/7 review of nations’ defence plans in the light of Ministerial Guidance and the priorities set out in the Comprehensive Political Guidance.  We are particularly encouraged by the progress made by nations in adjusting their defence plans and transforming their forces towards more expeditionary and sustainable capabilities in line with the guidance and priorities set out in these documents.  These efforts demonstrate a continued dedication to transformation and will further enhance our ability to meet current and future challenges.  As we look forward to the Bucharest Summit in 2008, we reaffirm our determination to use the NATO planning system to its fullest to meet these challenges.

  3. We are also encouraged that nations, individually, are responding to the targets for usability agreed at Istanbul in 2004 and confirmed in the Comprehensive Political Guidance.  Many nations have already reached the 40% and 8% targets for land force deployability and sustainability and those who have not have plans to move towards them.  The challenges our forces face in the demanding operations in which they are engaged underline the imperative of continued efforts to increase the speed of transformation so that those forces can most effectively continue to provide security and stability at present and in the future.

  4. We also reviewed the extent to which nations will meet our collectively agreed force goals and are encouraged by progress already made, and also reflected in national plans, but we also noted the continuing shortfalls in a number of important capability areas related to the deployability, sustainability and combat effectiveness of our forces, such as strategic lift, capable battlefield helicopters and information superiority.  These are apparent in current operations as well as in our stocktaking of capabilities more generally.  A general shortage of deployable support capabilities exists.  The resulting imbalance between combat forces and support forces in nations’ force structures, as well as deficiencies in key enabling capabilities are being addressed, but faster progress is needed in many cases,  in particular to reduce the disproportionate reliance on a few Allies to provide most of the advanced and diverse capabilities that are needed to deal with the challenges we face now and will face in the future. Accelerating the pace of change requires rigorous prioritisation to ensure the most efficient use of limited defence resources.  But above all it requires the political will to make the necessary changes, and the allocation of sufficient financial resources.  Therefore we encourage nations whose defence spending is declining to halt that decline and to aim to increase their defence spending in real terms. 

  5. At our Nuclear Planning Group meeting, we reviewed the status of NATO’s nuclear forces and the work of the High Level Group.  We reaffirmed the principles of NATO nuclear policy as set out in the Alliance’s Strategic Concept.  In this context, we welcome the ongoing work of the High Level Group as it continues to consider deterrence requirements for the twenty-first century and to provide advice to Ministers as appropriate. 

  6. We reaffirmed that the fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.  We recalled that NATO’s nuclear forces are maintained at the minimum level sufficient to preserve peace and stability.  In keeping with this goal, we continue to place great value on the nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO, which provide an essential political and military link between the European and North American members of the Alliance.  We noted with appreciation the continuing contribution made by the United Kingdom’s independent nuclear forces to deterrence and the overall security of the Allies, reaffirmed the value of this capability and welcomed the recent UK White Paper in which the UK restated its commitment to provide this contribution.

  7. The Alliance’s goal to enhance global security will continue to be strengthened through our support for arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament.  We reaffirmed our full commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of global nuclear non-proliferation efforts and an essential basis for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.  We stressed the importance of all states abiding by and strengthening existing multilateral non-proliferation and export control regimes and international arms control and disarmament accords.  We call again on all countries to abide by their commitments in this domain.

  8. We noted the importance of NATO’s relationship with Russia on nuclear weapons issues and look forward to further consultation and cooperation under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council.


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