(Prepared and compiled by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, State Department) (1960) March 21, 1997 Posted by the United States Information Service

Washington -- The military system of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization today is fundamentally different from the system that existed before the end of the Cold War. Alliance doctrine has changed and NATO's standing military forces have been reduced radically because the alliance is no longer postured against an extended military threat or enemy to the East.

Allied nuclear forces no longer are targeted on any nation nor poised on alert, and nuclear readiness levels have been substantially reduced. In addition, NATO pledged in December 1996 that it has "no intention, no plans, and no reason" to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of any new alliance member who joins as part of the forthcoming alliance enlargement process.

As NATO Secretary General Javier Solana pointed out earlier this year, "NATO has changed beyond recognition" as it has adopted a new security approach which embraces the principle of cooperation with non-member countries and other institutions.

A new European security architecture is evolving through the interlocking efforts of a number of major European international organizations:

-- OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) discussions on a security model for the 21st century are developing the modalities for a wider security community based on shared values;

-- The European Union is evolving its own role in European security into the next century in the context of the Intergovernmental Conference; and

-- The Western European Union (WEU) is gaining new capacities to act.

In the context of developing this new European security architecture -- one that provides a full role for Russia -- NATO is undergoing fundamental changes as it prepares for a major summit in Spain in July. In addition, adaptation of the treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) is under way.

All of these initiatives reflect the fundamentally changed nature of European security; the historic shift from confrontation to cooperation, from suspicion to transparency, from blocs to inclusiveness -- for Russia as for all other European states.


Since the end of the Cold War the alliance has been shifting direction. For example:

-- NATO no longer considers the former Soviet Union to be an adversary;

-- All former Eastern-bloc communist states are welcome to cooperate with NATO through programs such as Partnership for Peace (PFP);

-- NATO does not seek to isolate any country in the former Eastern bloc; and

-- The alliance seeks to erase divisions on the European continent.

NATO also seeks to pursue a broad approach to stability and security in Europe through its new Strategic Concept which:

-- Identifies the changing European security landscape, seeks to encourage changes already under way in the East, and stresses dialogue and partnership with the emerging democracies in the former Warsaw Pact;

-- Notes the importance of addressing, for the first time, security threats beyond the NATO area, and establishes the basis for peacekeeping and coalition crisis management operations as important NATO missions;

-- Restructures the forces and missions of NATO's integrated military commands to better deal with Europe's new security environment by focusing on peacekeeping and cooperative military efforts open to all European states willing to participate;

-- Stresses that the fundamental purpose of nuclear weapons is to preserve the peace.

NATO's commitment to an inclusive Europe is manifest through:

-- The creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC) in November 1991 establishing a new institutional framework for political security consultation and cooperation between NATO and the former communist states of the East (See footnote +), and

-- An expressed willingness, beginning in 1993, to lend its available resources and expertise on a case-by-case basis for peacekeeping activities outside NATO territory under the responsibility of the OSCE (formerly the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe) and the United Nations. NATO's peacekeeping force in Bosnia became the first example of this -- drawing on the support of Russia and other partners.


NATO has initiated significant changes in policy, procedure and structure while reducing and restructuring headquarters and staffs to achieve a streamlined and efficient alliance command structure. Elimination of between 1,200 and 2,600 military positions is being considered.

The following changes have occurred since 1991:

-- Defense budgets have decreased by 30 percent;

-- Armed forces have decreased in size by 28 to 40 percent for most countries;

-- Land forces are down 25 percent; major warships by 20 percent; and combat aircraft by 30 percent;

-- U.S. forces in Europe are down 66 percent from a total of 300,000 to 100,000 military personnel; air wings reduced from 4 to 2; and brigades from 17 to 4 since 1989;

-- NATO has shifted its emphasis from high-readiness, forward-deployed heavy units to lower-readiness forces and a rapid reaction corps oriented toward the new missions;

-- All chemical weapons have been withdrawn; and

-- Eighty percent of nuclear weapons have been withdrawn.

NATO's integrated command structure has been reduced or streamlined since 1990 in the following ways:

-- Major NATO commands have been reduced from 3 to 2;

-- Major subordinate commands have dropped from 4 to 3;

-- AFNORTHWEST (Allied Forces Northwest, Europe) has been reduced in size; and

-- Two elements of AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe) -- CENTAG (Army Group, Central Europe) and NORTHAG (Northern Army Group, Central Europe) -- were dismantled.


NATO is working to develop a visible European security arrangement within the alliance structure, which could be used for WEU-led operations. In a reorganized, slimmed-down structure the number of NATO commands will be reduced from 65 to about 22 to 23, with European officers playing a proportionately greater role.

NATO is also supporting the development of the European Security and Defense identity (ESDI) within the framework of the alliance by:

-- Conducting, in cooperation with the WEU, military planning and exercises, in accordance with NATO procedures and standards, for WEU missions identified by the WEU;

-- Developing mechanisms for the identification of NATO capabilities, assets and headquarters and headquarter elements for WEU-led operations;

-- Making arrangements for the release of these assets for WEU-led operations; and

-- Redefining European command arrangements within NATO that could prepare and conduct WEU-led missions.

The goal of having European allies shoulder greater responsibility for European security includes the following changes at SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe):

-- The position of Chief of Staff (a four-star general) is now filled by a European rather than an American;

-- There is a single European Deputy SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander, Europe);

-- The Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence has been shifted from a U.S. position to a European post; and

-- There are more German and British generals than American now serving in SHAPE.


PFP seeks to forge a real partnership with the new democracies as well as other European states who are willing and able to participate. Participants work within PFP to promote transparency in defense planning, democratic control of the military, and joint planning and training with NATO military forces.

PFP's main focus is on practical security cooperation such as developing the capacity to work together in crisis management, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance.

At NATO headquarters:

-- A Military Cooperation and Regional Security Division (headed by a French general) has been created; and

-- Partnership Branches have been created in the Political Affairs and Defense Planning and Policy Divisions of the International Staff.

In an effort to enhance PFP, the alliance has:

-- Established the Atlantic Partnership Council (APC) to provide a new single framework for enhanced political and military consultative and cooperative functions. The APC is designed to enhance the ability of all Partners to consult, cooperate and make decisions with NATO.


The Combined Joint Task Forces is designed to be a way for the Europeans to address security concerns under their own banner and allow non-NATO partners to participate in NATO-led contingencies such as peacekeeping in Bosnia.

It also provides "separable, but not separate" military structures and supports a strengthened European pillar of the alliance through WEU.

Large-scale CJTFs are expected to be created at NATO's regional commands, offering the prospect of major Partner (including Russian) involvement.


As CFE is adapted and modernized, NATO is making serious efforts to address Russian concerns about the Treaty:

-- In its adaptation proposal NATO is trying to respond to Russian security concerns (especially over possible future concentrations of forces in the territory of new NATO members); and

-- NATO consultations and seminars are ongoing with NACC-PFP partners on conventional arms control implementation.


NATO has expanded its consultations with NACC-PFP Partners on disarmament and issues related to countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, with Russia as an active participant in the regular meetings of experts. Key to this is assistance to the NIS (Newly Independent States) for nuclear weapons dismantlement/safe storage (with NATO compiling data on and seeking to coordinate allied financial and technical contributions).

In May 1994, NATO approved two milestone documents: a political framework paper structuring the broad political-military approach of the Alliance to proliferation and a three-phase work plan for the newly created Senior Defense Group on Proliferation (DGP) to address the defense implications of proliferation. NATO works with Russia and a number of other Partners in this important area.


The goal of transparency is not simply for Partners to be transparent to NATO, but to each other and for NATO to be transparent in return. The theme of transparency permeates all of the NATO's outreach efforts, including NACC and PFP.

NACC activities involve nations and NATO on topics such as science, peacekeeping, challenges of modern society, information, and defense planning. PFP activities go into greater depth into military-to-military contacts, civil-military relations, defense-to-defense exchanges and political cooperation and consultation.

The aim of transparency is to promote mutual trust and the breakdown of old, out-of-date stereotypes, and to provide the opportunity for nations to continue reducing force levels to reflect a new strategic environment, enabling them to focus resources, instead, on internal, societal requirements.

These benefits, in turn, lead to settling old disputes, building new partnerships based on common interests, cooperating to solve transnational problems, crafting mutually beneficial and interdependent business arrangements, and, in total, building the same kind of prosperous, normalized relations that Allies have built and shared for 50 years.

In this context, the Alliance has proposed to Russia the establishment of military liaison missions, placing Russian officers at NATO headquarters, SHAPE, and SACLANT (Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic). In addition, some Russian SFOR (Stabilization Force) liaison officers are already at SHAPE and NATO officers are at the Russian General Staff and Ministry of Defense.

NATO has opened many committees to Partners' participation: the Conference of National Armaments Directors Committee on European Airspace Cooperation, the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee, the Senior NATO Logisticians Conference, the NATO Air Defense Committee, and others.


The future of NATO remains tied to its ability to work with Allies and Partners to strengthen stability and security throughout Europe. In this respect, IFOR (Implementation Force) and SFOR in Bosnia represent a major element of NATO's new work, a peacekeeping effort that involves all those European (and even other) states that wish to participate. The successful Russian involvement in IFOR and SFOR -- and the Russian army cell operating full-time at SHAPE -- support the premise of meaningful and effective cooperation in the future.

(+)16 NATO members, plus Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; observer nations: Austria, Finland, Malta and Sweden).

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