NATO's New Defense Program:

Issues for Consideration

ID-79-4: Published: Mar 13, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1979.

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In May 1978, leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) adopted a new plan to improve alliance defense capabilities. This report describes the new program and its objectives, summarizes what the NATO Defense Ministers and Heads of States agreed to do, and identifies the issues and potential implications for Congress. The Long-Term Defense Program approach will supplement the regular planning process and will focus on long-term planning, selected priorities, functionally oriented and more closely integrated national programs, collective actions, and monitoring of program progress. As Congress considers legislative proposals to implement the U.S. share of the Long-Term Defense Program, the following issues will warrant attention: (1) the responsiveness of NATO allies in fulfilling their new program requirements; (2) the impact of the program on the U.S. defense costs; and (3) the potential role expansion for NATO.

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