Def061219 - No.14

Session 2006-07, 19 December 2006

New Inquiry announced


The House of Commons Defence Committee has today launched an inquiry into the future of NATO and European defence. This will be 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 follows the conclusion of NATO’s Riga Summit in which the Alliance defined its political direction, strategic priorities, and capability requirements for the next decade and beyond. It will analyse the results of the Riga Summit and will consider whether NATO remains relevant in dealing with newly emerging threats and challenges. It will also examine the Alliance’s utility and effectiveness and will assess 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 will also address the issue of NATO enlargement and will consider the challenges new members have confronted, whether membership has fulfilled their expectations, and the prospects for, and implications of, further enlargement.

The Committee’s inquiry will examine NATO’s readiness and capabilities, both military and civilian. It will analyse the progress made to date in improving capabilities, the capability gaps which remain and how these can be addressed. And it will consider the existing division of risk within the Alliance and the issue of national caveats. It will also address the challenges of Alliance burden-sharing and defence spending.

The Committee will also examine how NATO manages its operations. It will assess whether the Alliance is militarily configured and financially resourced to handle situations like Afghanistan and what lessons there are for NATO from its operational deployments. It will also consider the impact of NATO’s performance in Afghanistan for the future of the Alliance.

Finally, the inquiry will examine NATO’s relationship with the European Union. It will consider the respective roles of NATO and the EU and how effectively the two organisations work together. It will also analyse the role of, and prospects for, the European Security and Defence Policy and will consider what implications a growing role for the European Union in defence and security might have for the long-term future of NATO.

The Committee would welcome written evidence on these matters. This should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Monday 12 March 2007.


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. 14


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