NATO Washington Summits - USIA

Fact sheet: NATO on Weapons of Mass Destruction

24 April 1999

This Fact Sheet was released by NATO at the Washington Summit on April 24.

NATO Summit: 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 following:

-- 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 Thrust 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 also will consider ways their 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.

(end NATO Summit Fact Sheet)

(For more information on this subject, access the NATO 50th website: