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NATO must move beyond concepts of conventional warfare

5 June 2018

The NATO Summit, July 2018, is a key opportunity to discuss and clarify some of the key questions and challenges facing the alliance, says International Relations Committee report published today.


The Lords International Relations Committee today publishes its report, 'The NATO Summit 2018', in which it calls on the UK Government to use July's NATO Summit to highlight contemporary issues facing the Alliance. The Committee advises the Government to address US foreign policy under President Trump; Russia and hybrid warfare; institutional reforms; and national defence spending.

Chairman's comments

Commenting on the report, the Chairman of the Committee,Lord Howell of Guildford, said:

"NATO is the bedrock of the UK's defence, and is now "even more important" for Britain, according to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. However, it is not without its challenges. The Summit in July provides an opportunity to address issues including the Alliance's approach to Russia, cyber-warfare and NATO expansion, to recognise that institutional reform is needed, and for the UK to demonstrate its commitment to European security.

"We hope the House will now have the chance to debate these issues, and urge the Government to take these forward to the Summit in July."

Other conclusions and recommendations

  • The credibility of the US commitment to the principle of collective defence that underpins NATO remains uncertain; the omission of a reference to Article 5 by President Trump's in his 2017 speech remains a concern to be addressed.
  • NATO's response to the security challenges its members face cannot be effective it remains focused only on conventional warfare.
  • Should the definition of defence spending be broadened to meet a wider range of threats, it may be necessary to increase the current 2 per cent target.
  • The decision to accept new members into NATO should be based on how their membership will contribute to European security.
  • Greater EU defence co-operation should not be allowed to make it harder for non-EU NATO allies to work with EU NATO Allies.
  • Steps should be taken to ensure the unilateral positions of Allies do not weaken the alliance collection positions.

Further information

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