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Updated: 12-Apr-2002 Background information

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The Military Committee

The Military Committee (MC) is the senior military authority in NATO working under the overall political authority of the North Atlantic Council (NAC), the Defence Planning Committee (DPC) or the Nuclear Planning Group (NPG). The Committee assists and advises the NAC, the DPC and the NPG on military matters. The Military Committee also provides military guidance to the NATO Strategic Commanders, whose representatives attend its meetings. The International Military Staff (IMS) at NATO Headquarters supports the work of the Military Committee, preparing and following up its directions.

The MC comprises the Chiefs of Defence Staff of each member nation that contributes forces to the integrated NATO commands. France, not participating in the military structure, the defence planning and nuclear matters, plays a full part in the work of the MC with corresponding rights and responsibilities but with some limitations subject to its position. Iceland having no military establishment is represented by a civilian official. In order to function continuously with effective power of decision, each country has appointed in Brussels a permanent Military Representative (MilRep) who represents his Chief of Defence during the year.

The MC normally convenes three times a year at the level of Chief of Defence. Two of these meetings occur in Brussels (April/May and November/December) and one (in September) is hosted by NATO members on a rotational basis. The MC meets in permanent session in NATO Headquarters (Brussels) at the level of the Milreps in principal every Thursday, following Wednesday's weekly NAC meetings.

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