Series VKC - Long-Term Scientific Studies for the Standing Group NATO (Von Karman Committee)

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Long-Term Scientific Studies for the Standing Group NATO (Von Karman Committee)


  • 1961 - 1963 (Creation)

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The VKC chronological series contains the records of the Long-Term Scientific Studies for the Standing Group NATO (Von Karman Committee). During the 24th Meeting of the Military Committee (MC) in Chiefs of Staff Session it was decided that the Standing Group (SG) should make a study on the strategic concept and the military plans which may be necessary in the 1970’s in the light of anticipated scientific advances. This decision was in accordance with US Secretary of State Mr. Hertel’s proposal on defining long-term goals for the Alliance.On 18 November 1960 the Standing Group approved the establishment of a committee to direct a study of the scientific factors which may have an effect on the military art in the 1970’s. The committee would be known as the von Karman Committee and would be dissolved by the Standing Group after completion of their studies. The study would be directed by Dr. von Karman as Chairman of a Steering Committee consisting of representatives of the three Standing Group nations (US, UK and France) and of scientists of two non-Standing Group nations, namely Dr. G.S. Field (Canada) and Dr. K. Fisher (Germany). The Standing Group members would be designated by the national Ministries of Defence concerned (see SGM-0630-60).The Committee decided that two distinct multinational exercises would be needed. The first exercise was conducted entirely by scientists from member countries who were grouped into working groups and instructed to forecast the state of the art up to 1970/75 for the following fourteen subjects: I. Surveillance and Signal Processing Techniques. II. Navigation. III. Geophysics. IV. Telecommunications. V. Data Processing. VI. Weaponry. VII. Aircraft. VIII. Ships and Submarines. IX. Ground Vehicles. X. Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defence. XI. Logistics. XII. Energy Conversion. XIII. Human Factors and Life Science. XIV. Space Science and Technology (see VKC EX 1 GP 01).The second exercise comprised eight working groups on the following development areas: I. Reconnaissance and Detection. II. Anti-Submarine Warfare. III & IV. Weapons. V. Mobility. VI. Survivability. VII. Communications. VIII. Human Factors (see VKC EX 2 GP 01).Both exercises would produce a report for each subject by the working groups. A Final Report was finally issued in September 1961 merging all the findings (see VKC FINAL) and pointing out other 4 subjects that needed to be studied: I. Environmental Warfare. II. Electronic Warfare. III. Command and Control. IV. Man-Machine Relationship. In December 1961 the Military Committee decided that the Von Karman Committee would carry out further studies in these four areas in a third exercise divided into 2 phases. The first phase would take care of Environmental and Electronic Warfare, while the second phase would be focused on Command and Control and Man-Machine Relationship (see VKC EX 3 PH 1 GP 01).In September 1963 a Supplementary Report was issued including the results of the studies of the third exercise (see VKC SR).

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VKC series records contain reports on the scientific studies performed on 26 different subjects to forecast the state of the art for military implementation up to 1970/75.

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The chronological document series created by Long-Term Scientific Studies for the Standing Group NATO (Von Karman Committee) is arranged by Exercise (up to 3), phase and group or subject off study.

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

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