Letter from the Secretary of State for
Defence (4 April 2000)
Following the evidence session held last week,
it might be helpful to clarify a couple of issues that were raised,
specifically, progress on the Defence Capabilities Initiative
(DCI) in NATO and the role of DSACEUR with regard to European
Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
Firstly DCI. The DCI has been in existence for
two years now and in that time the Alliance and the UK have made
substantial progress in implementing the 58 DCI Decisions.
Progress on individual DCI Decisions is measured
with a traffic light system: green indicates that a Decision has
been fully implemented or that clear guidelines and procedures
have been established; amber shows that a Decision has some resource
or procedural input still outstanding, but there has been progress
and a way forward is being mapped out; red implies major resource
allocation or technical difficulties. These traffic lights are
allocated by NATO's International Staff. At the most recent meeting
of the High Level Steering Group (the body overseeing the implementation
of DCI), seven of the Decisions were classified as red, 30 were
amber and 21 green. Two of the amber Decisions are due to be re-classified
as green very shortly.
These traffic light indicators are for implementation
of Decisions across the Alliance as a whole. Progress at national
level is measured through reference to NATO's force planning system,
in which the Alliance sets a range of "Force Goals"
which nations are expected to implement. Many of these Force Goals
have a DCI dimension. As I mentioned at the recent Committee hearing,
44 per cent of these DCI-related Force Goals are being fully implemented
across the Alliance; the UK, in contrast, is fully implementing
some 60 per cent of DCI-related Force Goals, with partial implementation
of a further 30 per cent.
One reason why we are doing comparatively well
on DCI implementation is that much of the DCI mirrors the outcome
of the Strategic Defence Review. Hence we are making good progress
on strategic lift, with the acquisition of C-17 large aircraft
(and A400M in the longer term) and new roll-on, roll-off ferries,
as well as the introduction of C130J transport aircraft. We have
also made good progress in DCI's Effective Engagement category,
with the introduction of Storm Shadow, Brimstone and Maverick
missiles, submarine-launched Tomahawk and the ASTOR aerial ground
surveillance system. In the category of Survivability of Forces
and Infrastructure the UK is well-placed, with excellent personal
Nuclear, Biological and Chemcial protection, especially after
the establishment of the Joint NBC Regiment. The UK has been at
the forefront of implementing Sustainability and Logisitics Decisions,
pressing Allies to allocate sufficient resources and chairing
meetings (including on co-operative procurement of logistics)
to develop the best ways forward. Finally, the UK is heavily involved
in the area of Command, Control and Information Systems, helping
in particular to advance the various working groups on interoperability.
On the other hand, we are not complacent. NATO
is keen that the UK makes particular progress in the areas of:
Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (where we are currently developing
"twinning" arrangements with Italian and German squadrons);
combat search and rescue (again we are exploring co-operation
with other nations) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (where we are
currently looking at next generation systems). While not strictly
within the definition of DCI, but essential for the provision
of effective capability, NATO has also cast the net wider and
called attention to recruitment and retention where, as you know,
we are on the case. In a similar vein, NATO is also keen that
we continue the conversion of TA units to the support role, as
we are doing. More generally, we are working hard to ensure that
DCI and the European Headline Goal dovetail, as both initiatives
are about enhancing capability to the benefit of the Alliance.
All in all, we are pleased with the progress
the UK has made within the DCI framework and, while recognise
that we still have work to do, are concentrating our efforts on
ensuring that there is a similar level of achievement Alliance-wide.
Jimmy Hood asked about the role of DSACEUR and
ESDP and in particular his attendance at meetings of the EU Military
Committee. The NICE Presidency conclusions indicate that dialogue
between EU and NATO staffs will be supplemented when necessary,
and in particular where the capabilities and expertise of the
Alliance are concerned, by inviting NATO representatives to meetings
on a basis of reciprocity. This will apply to the Secretary-General
of NATO for ministerial meetings and the Chairman of the NATO
Military Committee for meetings of the EU Military Committee (EUMC).
In view of his responsibilities for the European pillar of NATO
and his potential role in EU-led operations, Nice also states
that DSACEUR will be invited to attend meetings of the EUMC. But
we expect that DSACEUR's role in ESDP will go well beyond attendance
at the EUMC.
Prior to any decision to launch an EU-led operation,
DSACEUR will lead and co-ordinate any NATO planning that might
be requested by the EU in support of its elaboration of military
DSACEUR is the primary choice of Operation Commander
for EU operations with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities.
In this capacity he will prepare, for approval by the EU, and
keeping the NAC informed, a Concept of Operations and Operation
Plan, which he will subsequently execute under the political control
and strategic direction of the EU. He will also undertake force
generation for the operation. Should another European NATO commander
be selected as Operation Commander, DSACEUR will co-ordinate any
NATO support that he may require in the preparation of planning
documents, in force generation and the subsequent execution of
Where an EU operation without recourse to NATO
assets and capabilities is concerned, the designated Operation
Commander will prepare the Concept of Operations and Operation
Plan, and undertake force generation. DSACEUR will stand ready
to co-ordinate NATO support and advice on request.
Where force planning is concerned, DSACEUR will,
in addition to his responsibilities for the NATO defence planning
process, and in co-operation with the NATO International Staff
and International Military Staff, oversee and co-ordinate any
NATO military technical support and input to the EU capability
development and review process, and to any capability development
and review activities conducted jointly by the EU and NATO.
DSACEUR will therefore have a crucial working
relationship with the EU Military Committee and will attend their
meetings on many occasions. There will be other occasions however,
when the EUMC will meet to discuss purely EU matters and where
DSACEUR will not need or want to attend.
Rt hon Geoffrey Hoon MP