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House of Lords Written Answers for Tuesday 29 May 2012


Question for Short Debate

12.36 pm

Asked By Lord Browne of Ladyton: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the outcome of the NATO Deterrence and Defence Posture Review and the implications of clarifying NATO’s deterrence posture for European security and the relationship with Russia.

Lord Browne of Ladyton: My Lords, I am pleased to have been granted the privilege of initiating this debate today. At the outset, I draw the attention of your Lordships’ House to my entry in the Register of Lords’ Interests, particularly my association with a number of organisations involved in arms control and disarmament. Our Prime Minister, David Cameron, has now attended two NATO summits: in Lisbon in November 2010 and in Chicago two weeks ago. After Lisbon, in his Statement to Parliament, he said: “the test for NATO now is whether it can meet the challenges of the present and future. That means real change-not just signing communiqu├ęs about change but showing real political will to bring those changes about”. Then he promised that the alliance would, “shift its focus and resources still further from the old, Cold Wars of the past to the new unconventional threats of the future”.-[Official Report, 22/11/10; col. 979-80.] With respect, I must say that that is the correct analysis and the proper test to be applied to NATO’s transformation in the 21st century. As part of the necessary “real change”, NATO spent the year before Lisbon rewriting the alliance’s main doctrine-the strategic concept-but it did not finish the job in time for Lisbon. The alliance managed to agree that, “aslong as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance”.

The apparent clarity of that statement masked an inability of member states to agree on key issues about NATO’s nuclear deterrence. At the same time, NATO agreed to,”develop the capability to defend our populations and territories against ballistic missile attack as a core element of our collective defence”.

However, that, too, hid significant differences about the role of ballistic missile defence in the alliance’s future mix of capabilities.
The Lisbon summit solved this continuing disagreement by a procedural device and tasked the NATO council to continue to review, “NATO’s overall posture in deterring and defending against the full range of threats to the Alliance”.

This process, the Defence and Deterrence Posture Review-DDPR-set out to consider the appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional and missile defence forces for NATO, and reported to the NATO summit in Chicago. Last week the Prime Minister reported the outcome of Chicago in a Statement to Parliament. Unfortunately, however, the Statement did not mention the DDPR.

For completeness, I asked the Library to research any parliamentary material or references relating to the DDPR. Yesterday it reported that, apart from an obscure reference in the Prime Minister’s Statement following Lisbon, all it could find were Questions that I had put down and which were answered last week. Today’s debate, therefore, represents a unique opportunity to discuss whether the DDPR achieved the best possible outcome and whether the mixed capabilities mentioned in the outcome are indeed appropriate for the international security environment in the years ahead.

What were the realistic expectations of the DDPR? I and more than 40 other senior European political figures outlined in a statement issued prior to Chicago what we hoped the review and the Chicago summit might achieve. Together, we requested our leaders in Chicago to pave the way for a world without nuclear weapons and to live up to President Obama’s vision in Prague, which they all say they support. We stressed the opportunity to outline a clear NATO nuclear declaratory policy: that our nuclear weapons will be used for deterrence purposes only, aligning NATO’s policy with the declaratory polici

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