def070731 - No. 66

Session 2006-07, 31 July 2007

Operational Note


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 ( 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.


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


Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to 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.

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