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Armaments Committee

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Armaments Committee

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The AC/74 chronological series contains the records of the Armaments Committee.The Council approved the report of the Working Party on the Formation of a Defence Production Committee(1) on 20 April 1954, and such a committee was rapidly established with the designation Defence Production Committee (C-R(54)15, part 3). Its tasks, laid down in the terms of reference dated 10 April 1954, were: to advise the Council and make recommendations on policy questions in the field of defence production, to draw up its working programme and keep the execution of that programme under review, to set up expert and working groups, draw up their terms of reference, consider their reports and formulate recommendations accordingly; to establish close working relations with other appropriate NATO bodies; to meet at regular intervals and report directly to the Council (C-M(54)29). For this purpose national armaments specialists, International Staff members and Standing Group representatives met, from 6 May 1954, chaired by the Assistant Secretary General for Production and Logistics. The Committee took in hand all the armaments working groups which were designated expert groups. It was very active and did essential work for defence through these expert groups. It created new groups, such as the Liaison Group for Spare Parts (AC/74(LG)) and the Working Party on the Application of the New Assumptions to the Emergency Planning Work of the Committee (AC/74(NA)) in 1955.The Defence Production Committee operated in this way until August 1958, when its terms of reference and its name were changed. With the rapid development of science and technology the emphasis must then be shifted to cooperation on research in advance of production. On the basis of analysis by the French, German, Netherlands and United States delegations the Armaments Committee’s terms of reference were extended to cover pre-production matters (C-M(58)107), and a Joint Working Group on Cooperation in the Field of Armaments (AC/142) was set up which was to recommend the NATO basic military requirement (NBMR) procedure. In the following years the Committee put considerable work into procedures to facilitate the initiation and completion of cooperative arms production projects. But in spite of progress the result, with some eight major production programmes (but only one springing from a NATO basic military requirement) was deemed insufficient.The failure of the NBMR method led the Organization to develop a new more flexible concept, dissolving the Armaments Committee in September 1966 and completely reorganizing all bodies responsible for defence production (C-M(66)33(Revised)). This reorganization was intended to give new impetus to cooperation in NATO, with the new Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) and NATO service armaments groups taking on the functions of the vanished Armaments Committee.

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