Towards the next Defence and Security Review: Part Two-NATO - Defence Committee Contents

5  Recommendations

102. The NATO alliance has not considered Russia as an adversary or a potential territorial threat to its Member States for twenty years. It is now forced to do so as a result of Russia's recent actions. Events in Ukraine this year, following on from the cyber attack on Estonia in 2007 and the invasion of Georgia by Russia in 2008, are a "wake-up call" for NATO. They have revealed alarming deficiencies in the state of NATO preparedness, which will be tough to fix. The UK Government should take the lead in ensuring that the NATO Summit addresses these threats in the most concrete and systematic fashion.

103. We recommend that the NATO Summit sets plans to ensure:

·  dramatic improvements to the existing NATO rapid reaction force;

·  the pre-positioning of equipment in the Baltic States;

·  a continuous (if not technically 'permanent') presence of NATO troops, on training and exercise in the Baltic;

·  the re-establishment of large-scale military exercises including representatives from all NATO Member States. These exercises must involve both military and political decision-makers;

·  the establishment of headquarters structures, at divisional and corps level to focus on Eastern Europe and the Baltic;

·  consideration of the re-establishment of a NATO standing reserve force along the lines of the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force-Land, involving all Member States; and,

·  re-examination of the criteria, doctrine and responses to calls under Article 4 for 'collective security' support against asymmetric attacks, especially, but not limited to, cyber attacks where attribution is difficult.

104. We recommend that the NATO Summit also addresses the Alliance's vulnerabilities in the face of asymmetric (ambiguous warfare) attacks. In particular it should consider

·  How to establish the intelligence processes and an "Indicators and Warning" mechanism to alert Allies to the danger or imminence of such an attack;

·  What steps it needs to take to deter asymmetric threats;

·  How it should respond in the face of an imminent or actual such attack;

·  The circumstances in which the Article 5 mutual defence guarantee will be invoked in the face of asymmetric attack;

·  How it can, as a matter of urgency, create an Alliance doctrine for "ambiguous warfare" and make the case for investment in an Alliance asymmetric or "ambiguous warfare" capability.

105. We recommend that the Ministry of Defence address, also as a matter of urgency, its capacity to understand the nature of the current security threat from Russia and its motivations. Ensuring that there are sufficient numbers of Defence Attachés to provide the analysis and expertise required is one measure which would help to address this issue. In particular we recommend the appointment of additional Defence Attachés to cover the Baltic States and in Central and Eastern Europe and reverse the cutbacks in Russia and Ukraine. We further recommend that the Government ensure that there is adequate representation in Poland which may be of critical importance in the future. We also recommend the creation of a "red team" in the Ministry of Defence to provide a challenge to existing orthodoxy from a specifically Russian perspective.

106. We recommend that, in opening the NATO Summit, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State should make a commitment to the UK maintaining defence spending at or above 2% of GDP. Increasing levels of spending amongst European NATO Member States and the collective efficiency of such spending must be made a priority of the Summit as a demonstration of NATO's political will and its commitment to collective defence.

107. This report does not deal with the detail of emerging events in the non-NATO state of Ukraine but it would be wrong to publish a report on NATO relations and responses to Russia without expressing our sympathies and condolences to all the families, friends and nations who have experienced the deaths of relatives, friends and citizens from the downing of Malaysian Airlines civilian flight MH17 with military rockets near the borders of Ukraine and Russia. Our condolences are extended to all affected but especially to the relatives and friends of the UK citizens killed and to our allies who suffered such a heavy toll of innocent lives.

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2014
Prepared 31 July 2014