Sub-series AC/159 - Steering Group on Reform of the Annual Review

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Steering Group on Reform of the Annual Review


  • 1960 (Creation)

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Administrative history

The AC/159 chronological series contains documents on the reform of the annual review. 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). Over time, the annual review procedure became very time-consuming. The review was too complicated and covered too many questions of detail, and it no longer fully served its purpose. From 1959, nations began to question its efficiency. In December 1959, the Council decided to make a more thorough study of the proposals of the Standing Group and Norway on modifying the procedure for future annual reviews. Subsequently, at its meeting on 13 January 1960, it set up a restricted group, namely the Steering Group on Reform of the Annual Review. This group comprised the permanent representatives of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdomand the United States. One representative of the Standing Group and appropriate members of the International Staff also attended the meetings of the Group, which elected its own Chairman. AC/159 was tasked with studying possible modifications to the annual review to make it both simpler and more effective. The purpose of the Group’s first meeting on 19 January 1960 was to elect a Chairman, develop a work method and establish a programme. Mr J. Léger, the Canadian Permanent Representative, was chosen as Chairman. The Group met six times between 19 January and 4 March 1960, at which point it decided to present its report to the Council and to discontinue its activities. The Group’s report, which was approved by the Council on 23 March 1960 (C-M(60)20), proposed that the annual review should be carried out on a triennial rather than annual basis, so that nations‘ defence programmes could be re-assessed every three years in the light of NATO’s overall requirements. Circumstances prevented the triennial procedure from being fully implemented.

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The records in the AC/159 series contain the draft report of the Steering Group on Reform of the Annual Review and the comments made by the Standing Group and by delegations on the preliminary draft report.

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The records in the AC/159 series which were circulated by the Steering Group on Reform of the Annual Review are assembled by type - Notice (N), Record (R) and Working Paper (WP) - and then by 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 documents of the AC/159 chronological series were circulated in both NATO official languages (English and French).

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(1) For further details see the descriptions of the AC/19 and Annual Review series.

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