New NRC Committee Structure
On 4 December 2009, the Nato-Russia Council (NRC) of Foreign Ministers decided to agreed several re-arrangements in the NRC Committee structure. This reform is part of an important reflection of NRC member states to improve cooperation mechanisms within the NRC and to adapt its structure to new priorities and goals identified by the NRC. This work is known as "taking the NRC forward".
An attempt was made to restrain from increasing the number of Committees and to avoid giving them overlapping competencies.
The new committees are designed to be more flexible, with a broader mandate, which would allow them to address new topics, if needed.
The exact mandate and procedures of each new Committee, Working Group and Ad Hoc Working Group is still to be negotiated, defined and approved of.
The NRC structure is composed of the following entities:
- Preparatory Committee
- Working Groups and Ad hoc working groups
The NATO-Russia Council NRC (C).
The NRC (C) is a forum for consultation, consensus building, cooperation and it is the main decision-making body, charged with the identification of problems and the undertaking of joint decision and actions. The Council's chairman is NATO Secretary General. NRC member states take decisions by consensus.
In 2009, the NRC (C) launched an important work on a "Joint Review of 21st Century Common Security Challenges". The main challenges identified include Afghanistan, Fight against terrorism, countering WMD proliferation, counter-narcotics, missile defence, maritime security, cyber security and environment related challenges.
The Preparatory Committees (PREP-COM) are tasked to support and prepare NATO-Russia Council by:
- Preparing the working documents of the NATO-Russia Council,
- Establishing agendas of NRC (C),
- Following the activities of the Committees, Working Groups and Ad Hoc Working groups and insuring that their work is in line with the goals and priorities defined by the NRC Annual Work Programme.
There are two preparatory committees, namely:
- The NRC (PREP): the Preparatory Committee is comprised of the political advisors of the 29 NRC member states. The chairman of the committee is NATO's Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy. At the preparatory level, decisions are also taken by consensus.
- The NRC (PREP-ESC): Preparatory Committee- Executive Steering Committee on the NRC Pilot Project on Counter- Narcotics Training of Afghan and Central Asian Personnel.
· The NRC (SPS): the NRC Committee on Science for Peace and Security was designed to promote, encourage and coordinate projects involving NRC countries in the field of scientific and technical cooperation. It provides policy guidance for joint scientific activities under the NRC. Its work is focused on security-related, non-classified scientific, environmental and technological topics of primary importance to both the Russian Federation and NATO countries.
The areas of cooperation include notably:
- explosive detection: cooperative scientific research leading to improved methods for rapidly detecting both trace and bulk explosives, which is a critically needed capability in the fight against terrorism,
- psychological and sociological consequences of terrorism: research to better understand the societal and psychological underpinnings of terrorists' activity,
- CRBN (chemical, radiological, biological and nuclear) protection,
- Cyber security: research to strengthen the security of global, interlinked information systems,
- Transport security: research to reduce vulnerabilities and to rapidly detect impending attacks,
- Environmental security and eco-terrorism: research leading to the development of measures for the prevention of ecological terrorism and the mitigation of its consequences.
The NRC (SPS) is chaired by NATO Assistant General for Public Diplomacy.
· The NRC (ODC): the NRC Operational, Defence and Cooperation Working Group. The NRC (ODC) is a new working group, which took part of the mandate of two united groups: the NRC (REF) - Working Group on Defence Reform and Co-operation and the NRC (PK) - Working Group on Peacekeeping. Its chairman is NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations.
The mandate of this working group will be to act as a forum for discussion on operational cooperation and for concrete collaboration in areas of mutual interests such as counter-piracy, Afghanistan and crisis-management. This group will be devoted to improving the capacity of NATO and Russia to lead joint actions by seeking to increase interoperability.
This Working group is supervising a Sub-Group on Afghanistan: the NRC (ODC-AFG). This group is in charge of providing a forum for discussion and cooperation on shared issues of concern in Afghanistan.
· The NRC (DTSR): the NRC Defence Transparency, Strategy and Reform Working Group. The NRC (DTSR) is a new working group, which took part of the mandate of two united groups: the NRC (REF) - Working Group on Defence Reform and Co-Operation and the NRC (NUCL) - Nuclear Experts. Its chairman is NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence and Policy Planning.
The NRC (DTSR) will be tasked to debate and exchange views on various doctrinal matters, notably on doctrine, strategy and reform. It is conceived as a forum to enable confidence-building, allowing for more discussion and transparency. It will enable NRC member states to have a forum in which they can exchange experiences on the implementation of their respective defence reforms.
· The NRC (ADN): the NRC Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Working Group. The NRC (ADN) is a new working group, which took part of the mandate of two united groups: the NRC (ACE) - Conventional Arms Control Experts and the NRC (PROL) - Proliferation Issues. Its chairman is NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy.
In this working group, members of the NRC will have a forum to discuss issues related to conventional arms control and to try and cooperate on non-proliferation topics.
· The NRC (MD): the Missile Defence Working Group is a new Working Group, which inherited part of the competencies of the NRC (TMD) - Theatre Missile Defence. Its chairman is the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning.
This group will discuss issues related to collective and national Missile Defence. It is also a group where cooperation could be decided, notably on the organisation of joint MD training and exercises.
· The NRC (CEP): the NRC Civil Emergency Planning and Protection Working Group. This Working Group is chaired by NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations. The NRC (CEP) aims at identifying areas for cooperation in order to develop enhanced mechanisms for improving international response to civil emergencies. As consequences of such disasters are not constrained by borders, it is important that NRC member countries are able to co-operate in subsequent consequence management operations.
· The NRC (CAI): the NRC Working Group on Cooperative Airspace Initiative and the NRC (CAI-ESC) Cooperation Airspace Initiative Working Group - Executive Steering Committee, aim at improving the cooperation of NRC countries in Airspace Management. It is working on establishing modalities for the reciprocal exchange of data on Civil and Military Air Traffic pictures and cooperation in Airspace Management.
AD-HOC WORKING GROUPS
· The NRC (LOG) AHWG: the ad hoc Working Group on Logistics is a joint civil/ military group aimed at:
- Carrying forward successfully the logistic aspects of the NRC Work Programme,
- Identifying and promoting opportunities for joint action by NRC member states in all areas of logistics, including air transport and air-to-air refuelling,
- Initiating and harmonising the development of initiatives between the NRC member states.
· The NRC (TER) AHWG: the ad hoc Working Group on the Terrorist Threat to the Euro-Atlantic Area. The NRC (TER) aims at evaluating the terrorist threat to the Euro-Atlantic Area and at developing and implementing concrete projects that foster practical cooperation in combating terrorism. The areas of focus comprise notably terrorist propaganda, recruitment, radicalization, terrorist tactics but also the danger originating from failed states. Several conferences and seminars have been already held in order to share experiences and develop exchange of information between NRC members.