NATO's Prague Capabilities Commitment [January 24, 2004]   [open pdf - 72KB]

"With the end of the Cold War, NATO began to reassess its collective defense strategy and to anticipate possible new missions. The conflicts in the Balkans highlighted the need for more mobile forces, for technological equality between the United States and its allies, and for interoperability. In 1999, NATO launched the Defense Capabilities Initiative (DCI), an effort to enable the alliance to deploy troops quickly to crisis regions, to supply and protect those forces, and to equip them to engage an adversary effectively. The conflict in Afghanistan marked a new development in modern warfare through the extensive use of precision-guided munitions, directed by ground-based special forces; many believe that this step widened the capabilities breach between the United States and its European allies. At its 2002 summit in Prague, NATO approved a new initiative, the Prague Capabilities Commitment (PCC), touted as a slimmed-down, more focused DCI, with quantifiable goals. Analysts have cautioned that the success of PCC will hinge upon increased spending and changed procurement priorities -- particularly by the European allies. At NATO's 2004 Istanbul summit and its 2006 Riga summit, the alliance reaffirmed the goals of PCC and, in light of NATO missions, particularly in Afghanistan, stressed the urgency of acquiring specific capabilities such as airlift. During the 110th Congress, lawmakers are likely to review the alliance's progress in boosting NATO capabilities, especially in the context of the appropriations process. This report will be updated as events warrant. See also CRS Report RS22529, 'The NATO Summit at Riga, 2006', by Paul Gallis."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RS21659
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