Weapons of Mass Destruction Initiative
NATO's 19 leaders today launched a five-part initiative that will ensure
NATO is poised to address the risk of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
in the years ahead. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
and their means of delivery pose a serious and growing threat to NATO
populations, territory, and military forces. Joint action within the
Alliance is necessary to address this threat and to reinforce the work
of existing nonproliferation regimes.
The elements of NATO's WMD initiative are as follows:
Information-sharing: Allies have committed to increase their
sharing of WMD information and intelligence in order to develop a more
comprehensive, shared assessment of the current and evolving threat.
Defense Planning: NATO military authorities will intensify and
broaden the development of Allied capabilities to function safely in
environments that may include a WMD threat.
Non-proliferation: Allies will intensify consultations on national
non-proliferation assistance to other nations, such as the U.S.
Cooperative Threat Reduction program. This clearinghouse function will
assist Allies in identifying areas of greatest need and will supplement
rather than duplicate the work of existing nonproliferation regimes.
Civilian protection: NATO will accelerate coordination of possible
responses in the event of WMD use against allied populations. This will
include maintenance of a database on the immediate availability of
medical stockpiles and expert personnel. Allies will also consider ways
that national military forces might be made available to assist in the
event of a WMD emergency.
WMD Center: To ensure effective coordination of NATO efforts on
WMD, Allies have agreed to establish a WMD Center at NATO Headquarters.
This Center will be responsible for integrating and overseeing all
aspects of NATO's efforts on WMD.