Series AC/4 - Infrastructure Committee

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Infrastructure Committee


  • 1951 - 1966 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

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Administrative history

The AC/4 chronological series contains the records of the Infrastructure Committee.The Special Committee on the Provision of Funds for Second Slice of Infrastructure was created by the Council Deputies on 10 May 1951 (see D D(51)130(final)) to review technical aspects, i.e. the prospects for the development and practical application of arrangements for the funding of infrastructure. The Committee mainly examined issues related to expenditure and how it was shared between the countries. In July 1951, the Committee changed its name to the Special Committee on Infrastructure, with no change in its responsibilities. In July 1952 it was renamed the Infrastructure Committee and its terms of reference were redefined in document AC/4-D/94. The Committee reviewed military projects and determined whether they could be financed internationally. It was responsible for checking whether the infrastructure programs were the most economical way of satisfying the military requirement, then submitted the results of those deliberations, i.e. the project and its cost estimate, to the Council. The Committee then reviewed the programs under way to reassess their military usefulness in relation to the expenditure required for them. Finally, it recommended the financial arrangements needed to maintain the program structures as well as ways to save money and avoid delays in the execution of infrastructure programs. Its terms of reference were amended again in 1953 (see AC/4-D/235).In September 1951, the issue of cost-sharing of the second slice of infrastructure was temporarily resolved by the Council Deputies’ Ottawa Agreement (see D D(51)248).To apply the Ottawa Agreement, slightly modified by the Special Committee on the Provision of Funds for Second Slice of Infrastructure,a Payment and Progress Subcommittee was created. Many other subcommittees also reported to the Infrastructure Committee.The Committee’s work was carried out in co-operation with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE), which issued advice on the procedures to be adopted on standards. The Committee also worked closely with other NATO committees such as the Standing Group, the Annual Review Committee and the Budget Committee.The Infrastructure Committee still exists today.

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The documents in the AC/4 chronological series present all the aspects of NATO infrastructure:

• Infrastructure programmes: The NATO infrastructure slices were discussed, at their beginning and throughout their completion, in the Committee. Progress on the projects was analysed, status reports were produced and administrative procedures were followed. The International Staff issued reports on the infrastructure slices under way. New categories of works to be carried out were regularly approved. Financial ceilings were applied to the programmes and discussed between Member countries.
The infrastructure programmes of the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) and the Channel Command are also mentioned. Both SHAPE and SACLANT played a major role in the discussion of projects; they proposed standards and produced reports on the work.
The series contains many reports on formal acceptance inspections for infrastructure and installation projects. A questionnaire (see AC/4-D/76) was sent to the Member countries for infrastructure slices I to V, and another on delays in the execution of approved infrastructure programmes (see AC/4-D/260).

• Financial discussions: These concerned, among other things, the financing of infrastructure slices, tax exemptions for the host countries and the countries contributing to the infrastructure, currency exchange problems in the reimbursement of costs, customs agreements and the Committee’s budgetary control.
The financial issues also related to the sharing of the financial cost of completing the works (standards were drafted on this), as well as the projected costs and the payment procedures. The economic usefulness of the projects was also taken into account. A contingency fund was set up, and the Committee sought the most effective ways of contributing to it and using it.
Finally, the Committee monitored the progress of nationally funded works related to the infrastructure programme.

• Calls for bids: A call for bids was required for work carried out as part of infrastructure programmes. The Committee recalled the procedures to be followed, in particular for participation by companies from non-NATO countries. The application of calls for bids in the Member countries and the competition principle are mentioned. Finally, the Committee endeavoured to settle disputes, in particular by discussing the need for a court of arbitration.

• Air bases and airfields: In 1951, air bases were the Committee’s main concern, and they subsequently remained an important focus of infrastructure projects. The issues discussed in this area include the costs related to air defence bases, diversion airfields, naval airfields and tactical air bases. With regard to airfields, the new defence doctrine was discussed.
For air bases, as with other types of bases, the cost of the land, of the base itself, of the local infrastructure required for operation of the base (roads, railways, connection to the electrical system), of accommodation for troops, of guarding the site and so forth was examined. In addition, the costs of (and responsibility for) maintenance and repairs were taken into account, plus how they would be used in peacetime and war.
The “host” countries of the system were mainly Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.

• Other military bases: These are ground and naval bases equipped and maintained by NATO. Overall the discussions and reports address the same issues as for air bases. Training facilities in particular were discussed by the Committee.

• Telecommunications: Telecommunications consist of the following communication equipment: radar, early warning radar, radio, signalling, electronic transmission, forward propagation, encryption, radio relay, etc. The documents on telecommunications focus on the installation of the necessary equipment, the cost of projects, maintenance, the standards to be followed and possible departures from them. Costs are of course addressed, in particular the fees for use of the facilities.
The countries involved were Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

• War headquarters: The construction and maintenance of war headquarters are mentioned. Moreover, the SHAPE provisional war headquarters and the SACLANT headquarters were discussed by the Committee.

• Oil (POL projects): The oil supply was studied by a petroleum, oils and lubricants (POL) group that brought together the Committee’s petroleum experts. This group focused on the maintenance and the construction of oil pipelines and depots as well as the supply of essential products and services (such as electricity) to them.
The discussions on jet fuel concerned facilities, standards, the construction of fuel tanks and fuel distribution. The POL group also looked into fire-fighting.

• Personnel: The recruitment of experts to address issues requiring in-depth study was discussed. In addition, the requirements and costs related to the personnel working for NATO in the area of infrastructure were assessed. Accommodation for personnel was also taken into consideration.

• Supply, equipment and infrastructure: In order for sites, and military bases in particular, to be constructed, local infrastructure had to be in place. The discussions focused mainly on the maintenance and implementation of such infrastructure, which covered the supply of water, materiel, equipment and electricity, as well as road and railway construction and water drainage systems. Problems related to the supply of raw materials are also discussed, in particular for France, as well as the procedure for selecting and purchasing materiel.
The Committee looked into the issue of ammunition (procurement, storage, etc.) and the provision of armaments.

• NATO Member countries’ vigilance: A bomb warning system was created in 1963 and then modified over time for increased effectiveness.

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System of arrangement

The chronological documents produced by the Infrastructure Committee are arranged by type - Document (D), Decision Sheet (DS), Memorandum (M), Record/Summary Record (R) and Working Paper (WP) - and then by year and number.

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Conditions governing access

NATO publicly disclosed information is available for research and education purposes. Any commercial use requires the written permission of NATO. Please credit the NATO Archives should any documents be used for publication. Guidelines for the proper citation of NATO publicly disclosed information can be found on the NATO Archives website (

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The records were circulated in NATO’s two official languages, English and French.

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