Committee of the Annual Review - Working Group on the Annual Review Procedure

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Committee of the Annual Review - Working Group on the Annual Review Procedure

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The AC/39 chronological series contains the records of the Working Group on the Annual Review Procedure.
From 1952 to 1966, the annual review was one of NATO’s main tasks. This process evolved to become one of the factors guiding the development of the Alliance’s defence(1).
At its meeting on 15 December 1952, the Committee of the Annual Review approved a proposal put forward by its Chairman, who emphasized "the urgent need for agreement on procedure for the completion of the 1952 Annual Review and for the 1953 Annual Review" and suggested that "a Working Group should be set up immediately to consider these points with a view to recommending the procedure for the work to be accomplished by the Spring and the additional information to be requested from Governments for the completion of the Annual Review"
The Working Group on the Annual Review Procedure which was then set up met for the first time on 16 December 1952 under the chairmanship of Mr J. K. Horsefield, a member of the Economics and Finance Division. AC/39 comprised representatives of member nations and the NATO International Staff. Representatives of the Standing Group and SHAPE also attended the meetings.
The Group’s first task was to examine the proposals drawn up by the International Staff for the final period of the 1952 annual review. It then quickly turned its attention to the procedure to be put in place for the 1953 annual review.
In the coming years, in addition to establishing the procedure, which was in fact the responsibility of the Committee of the Annual Review, the task of AC/39 was to draft the questionnaire which was circulated around 15 May each year. To this end, the Group met two or three times during the first half of the year to consider proposed modifications to the questionnaire for the current year and to update it.
While the annual review underwent some modifications from one year to the next, overall it changed very little. Over time, the review procedure became very time-consuming and nations began to question its efficiency.
In January 1960, the Council tasked the Steering Group(2) 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 triennial rather than annual basis, but circumstances prevented this proposal 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. The Group met less and less often. The last meeting at which it worked on the questionnaire for the 1964 annual review was held on 20 March 1964. The 1965 annual review was of a nature and purpose very similar to that of 1964, and the procedures remained unchanged. It was therefore decided that the 1964 questionnaire should be retained for the 1965 annual review with as few modifications as possible (AC/39-D/143).
The last document in this series was issued on 2 December 1966.


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