Committee of the Annual Review

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Committee of the Annual Review

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The AC/19 chronological series contains the records of the Committee of the Annual Review. At the conference held in Lisbon in February 1952, the Council decided that the relevant NATO bodies should undertake an ongoing review of the requirements arising from the creation of an adequate defence capability (C9-D/20 dated 23 February 1952). The Council and the International Staff should be organized in such a way that the requirements of NATO programmes would coincide with the real possibilities of implementation at the political and economic levels. With a view to supervising and coordinating all activities in this area, the Council decided at its meeting of 6 May 1952 to set up a working group on the annual report under the chairmanship of the Deputy Secretary General (C-R(52)2).This working group, which was soon to acquire committee status(1) (ISM(52)29), met for the first time on 8 May 1952 under the chairmanshipof Mr H. van Vredenburch, Deputy Secretary General. The Committee of the Annual Review comprised representatives of all the NATO member nations, together with representatives of the International Staff and the Standing Group Liaison Office.The role of the Committee was to supervise the organization of the annual review in order to ensure that political and military directives were implemented. One of the aims of the annual review was to form a clear idea of the defence effort of each nation. The first meetings were mainly devoted to the organization of the annual review and the establishment of working groups(2). Thereafter, each year, the Committee laid downthe procedure, set the work schedule and issued instructions for the overview report to the Council. During its meetings it examined the information provided by member nations in response to the questionnaire on their defence status. The annual review underwent a number of modifications over the years, but in general the procedures changed very little.By the beginning of the 1960s the annual review procedure had become very time-consuming, and nations began to question its efficiency(3). In January 1960, the Council tasked the Steering Group(4) with studying possible modifications to the annual review to make it both simpler and more efficient. The Group’s report proposed that the review should be carried out on a triennal rather than annual basis, so that nations’ defence programmes could be re-assessed every three years in the light of NATO’s global requirements. Circumstances prevented the triennial procedure from being fully implemented.From 1963 onwards, the annual/triennal review ceased to be a priority and was eclipsed by the preparations for forming long-term plans for NATO as decided at the Ottawa ministerial meetings. Under the new procedure, the Committee should adopt a horizontal approach to problems rather than focusing on the situation in each country. The last annual review organized by AC/19 was in 1966. The Committee of the Annual Review was disbanded and replaced by the Defence Review Committee as from 1967(5).


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