Meeting in Brussels on 8 June, NATO Defence Ministers approved new planning targets for NATO countries, to be able to conduct a greater number of smaller-scale operations than NATO has planned for in the past.
However, the Alliance will also retain its ability to carry out larger operations.
The Ministers of Defence of the 25 NATO countries in the Defence Planning Committee approved what is called ‘Ministerial Guidance’ for the Alliance’s force planning process.
The Alliance’s planning process will be increasingly geared to ensuring that NATO can conduct a greater number of the more likely smaller-scale operations than in the past.
NATO Spokesman James Appathurai told reporters that NATO has for many years gone through very fundamental changes in terms of what it is doing and this development will bring the force planning further into line with the realities of the 21st century. It represent a substantial realignment of the way in which NATO will plan to structure its forces, he said.
Mr. Appathurai also said that the Ministerial guidance set out to ensure that NATO has effective working arrangements to work with other actors, such as other international organisations and NGOs.
The document is based on the so-called Comprehensive Political Guidance, which was agreed by NATO countries last year.
Defence planning in the Alliance is a fundamental element of the arrangements which enable its member countries to enjoy the crucial political, military and resource advantages of collective defence and other common military efforts to enhance security and stability.
The process seeks to ensure that the Alliance has the requisite forces, assets, facilities and capabilities to fulfill its tasks. As such, it covers both NATO's own capabilities and those of Allied countries.