def070731 - No. 66

Session 2006-07, 31 July 2007

Operational Note


DEFENCE COMMITTEE INQUIRING INTO THE FUTURE OF NATO AND EUROPEAN DEFENCE

The House of Commons Defence Committee is conducting an inquiry into the future of NATO and European defence. This is a comprehensive analysis of the Atlantic Alliance, its role, purpose and prospects, considering what role NATO should play in the future of UK and European defence, and whether NATO has a viable, long-term future.

The Committee’s inquiry was launched last December following NATO’s Riga Summit, at which the Alliance defined its overall political direction, strategic priorities, and capability requirements for the next decade and beyond. The inquiry is analysing the results of Riga and is considering whether NATO remains relevant in dealing with newly emerging threats and challenges. It is also examining the Alliance’s utility and effectiveness and is assessing how NATO could best be used as an organisation, how deep allied co-operation should go and what issues the Alliance should address if NATO is to remain a feature of transatlantic and European defence.

The inquiry is also examining the prospects for, and implications of, further NATO enlargement; the progress made to date in improving NATO’s capabilities and how to address the capability gaps which remain; the existing division of labour, costs and risk within the Alliance including the issues of national caveats, Alliance burden-sharing and defence spending; whether the Alliance is militarily configured and resourced to handle situations like Afghanistan and what lessons there are for NATO from its operational deployments; NATO’s relationship with the European Union including how effectively the two organisations work together, the role of, and prospects for, the European Security and Defence Policy and the implications a growing role for the European Union in defence and security for the long-term future of NATO.

The first evidence session for this inquiry was held on 19 June, the transcript of which is available on the Committee’s website (www.parliament.uk/defcom). Further evidence sessions will be held in the Autumn, beginning on 9 October. Further details, including the names of witnesses, will be announced in due course.

The Committee would welcome further written evidence on these matters. This should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Monday 3 December 2007. Submissions received by the end of October will be taken into consideration when deciding on witnesses for oral evidence.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP (Chairman), Mr David S Borrow MP, Mr David Crausby MP, Linda Gilroy MP, Mr David Hamilton MP, Mr Mike Hancock MP, Mr Dai Havard MP, Mr Adam Holloway MP, Mr Bernard Jenkin MP, Mr Brian Jenkins MP, Mr Kevan Jones MP, Robert Key MP, Willie Rennie MP, John Smith MP

2. News Release: No. 66

SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN EVIDENCE:

Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to [email protected] The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions should be as brief as possible, and paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. Longer documents should include an executive summary.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, Tel 020 7219 1589/ 07917 488488, email - [email protected]

Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 5745, email - [email protected]

Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/defcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk