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NATO Transformation Programme

Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

NATO remains the bedrock of our security and defence policy. We are determined to ensure its effectiveness and efficiency in current and future operations, and in delivering the capabilities that we need. At last week’s NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting, we took stock of progress, including on British initiatives to make more helicopters and other key capabilities available for operations. I have agreed to host a special NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting on transformation in September in London. Our aim is that that will allow Ministers to give political direction to help to resolve such transformation issues.

It is accepted that NATO has found it difficult to transform itself from the most effective political-military organisation that the world has ever known, and one which was configured for a cold war situation, into one that can respond to the modern challenges. A common view is that a transformed NATO will have the capabilities that it needs to succeed in operations of the sort to which we currently deploy NATO troops, such as in Afghanistan or Kosovo; will use its resources efficiently to support our future needs; will have all its members sharing the burdens and risk of operations; will work better with organisations such as the European Union, UN and African Union; and will have a slimmed-down command structure, suitable for modern operations.