141. The OSCE has developed further its contribution to building stability in Europe. An Assistance Group was established in Chechnya in April 1995, which assisted negotiations between the parties to the dispute culminating in a ceasefire agreement in July. Despite the subsequent resumption of hostilities, the OSCE aims to continue to play a mediation role. More significantly, the OSCE has undertaken its greatest post-Cold War challenge to date in support of the peace implementation process in the former Yugoslavia. The OSCE Ministerial meeting in Budapest in December agreed that the OSCE would:

142. In addition to defining the OSCE's role in the former Yugoslavia, the 1995 Budapest Ministerial also agreed to take forward work on a Study on a future Model of Security for Europe in the 21st Century. Through this, we aim to promote OSCE principles and commitments to:

Arms Control and Non-Proliferation

143. The proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the means of their delivery are issues that we, with our Allies, have identified as being of major security concern. We continue to make considerable efforts in the field of arms control and non-proliferation, and believe these have been successful in hindering potential proliferators.

144. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of international efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation. In 1995, 13 new states acceded to the Treaty bringing the total number of States Parties to 182. Only nine states remain outside the NPT, which makes it the most widely-supported arms control treaty in history. The NPT came into force on 5 March 1970 with an initial duration of 25 years. On 11 May 1995, at the NPT Review and Extension Conference in New York, the Treaty was extended indefinitely in line with our efforts and those of our Allies. That this was achieved without the need for a vote shows the strength of international support for this important Treaty.

145. We consider that an effectively-verified Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) could play a useful role in the international non-proliferation regime. We are negotiating actively to achieve this goal at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and hope that a Treaty can be concluded in the first half of 1996. The United Kingdom has no plans to carry out further nuclear tests. We have also made it clear that we view a CTBT as prohibiting any nuclear weapon test explosion with a nuclear yield, no matter how small the yield.

146. We have also supported efforts to initiate negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, which would ban the production of fissile material for nuclear explosive purposes. We continue to believe that a multilateral and effectively-verifiable Treaty on the right terms could make a positive contribution to the United Kingdom's non-proliferation objectives.

147. Together with the United States and France, the United Kingdom signed in March the relevant protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga, which creates the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. We believe that internationally-recognised Nuclear Weapon Free Zones can contribute to international peace and security, provided that arrangements for these zones are freely arrived at by States of the region concerned.

148. The Government remains committed to full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. This opened for signature in January 1993; by 1 April this year, it had 160 signatories. It will enter into force six months after the 65th nation ratifies; at 1 April some 49 countries had done so, and the United Kingdom's ratification legislation was before Parliament. We attach considerable importance to the full implementation of the Convention and we are working to ensure that its verification regime will be as rigorous and intrusive as possible.

149. The first two substantive meetings of the Ad Hoc Group of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention established to consider measures, including possible verification measures, to strengthen the Convention took place in July and November-December. Useful progress has been made, particularly in the key area of Compliance Measures. Issues explored include mandatory declarations of facilities and activities relevant to the Convention; on-site visits and inspections; and investigations of alleged biological weapons use. Much work remains to be done, however, and at this stage it is difficult to predict when the process will be completed.

150. Whilst our primary aim remains the prevention of proliferation through political and diplomatic means, it is only sensible to address the implications for our defence posture should those efforts fail. The NATO Senior Defence Group on Proliferation (DGP) was established by the North Atlantic Council in 1994 to do this. The Group is co-chaired at present by the United Kingdom and the United States. The DGP has conducted a comprehensive assessment of the risks to the Alliance posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and has identified a range of capabilities needed to support NATO's defence posture; its work has recently been endorsed by NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers. Many of the capabilities identified are already available to NATO or are being developed; and work is now under way to identify any areas in NATO's current military posture where further progress is needed to better counter the risks posed by WMD proliferation.

151. In addition to our participation in the work of the DGP, and the studies tasked by the NATO Air Defence Committee into ballistic missile defence (BMD), we have continued to make progress on our own pre-feasibility study into possible BMD systems to counter potential threats to the United Kingdom, our Dependent Territories and our forces deployed overseas. The major part of the study is being undertaken by British Aerospace, and is due to finish this summer. It will identify options, costs, timescales and technical risks. This will enable us to assess the United Kingdom's potential requirements for BMD in the context of the emerging conclusions of our policy work on priorities, described in last year's Statement.

152. Conventional arms control also remains an essential tool in building security and stability in Europe. The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty has been an undoubted success, despite some difficulties over implementation. We believe that the Treaty's fundamental aims - of force reduction, transparency and predictability - remain relevant for the future. We will approach the Treaty Review Conference which takes place in May with those aims in mind. More details of our activity under the Treaty are set out at paragraphs [248] to [253].

Nuclear Policy

153. The Government remains committed to maintaining a credible and effective minimum nuclear deterrent for as long as is necessary for our security. Our operationally-independent nuclear deterrent forces continue to provide the ultimate guarantee of our national security and make an important contribution to NATO's strategy of war prevention, a strategy which has prevented major conflict in Europe for almost fifty years. All of our nuclear forces are assigned to NATO and form an integral part of the Alliance's nuclear posture, but could, if necessary, be used independently of the Alliance in the defence of our supreme national interests.

154. With the end of the Cold War, NATO has been able to reduce its reliance on nuclear weapons. We have made substantial reductions in our nuclear forces and have de-targeted our missiles. By the end of 1998, Trident will be our only nuclear system and we will have 21% fewer warheads with 59% less explosive power than during the 1970s. As described in paragraph 145, we are negotiating actively to conclude an effectively-verifiable Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as early as possible this year; and believe that such a Treaty could play a useful role in the international non-proliferation regime. At the same time, we and our Allies believe that deterrence, including a nuclear element, continues to play an important and necessary role in maintaining stability in Europe as new relationships and structures are developed. The Government believes that it would be irresponsible to dismantle the well-established system of deterrence that exists in Europe before new and reliable systems for preserving stability are in place.

155. At the Franco-British Summit in October, the Prime Minister and President Chirac announced that the United Kingdom and France intended to deepen co-operation in nuclear matters. We already discuss nuclear policy and doctrine with France in the Joint Nuclear Commission. We also co-operate in some technical areas. We now intend to build on those exchanges to reinforce our relationship in nuclear matters. Greater bilateral co-operation with France, taken together with our existing co-operation with the United States in the nuclear field, will help to enhance overall deterrence in Europe which we continue to see being provided through NATO.


156. The seven types of mission in which we believe British forces may be engaged in future are set out at Table 3. The demands which they place on the armed forces are broken down in turn into 50 Military Tasks. These define the military activities which the Department and the armed forces are required to undertake to give effect to the Government's security and defence policies and thus provide an explicit link between policy goals and the forces which achieve them.

Table 3: Mission Types for British Forces

157. Each Military Task covers an activity for which there is a common policy rationale. For each Task, we identify the forces and capabilities required to carry it out. In aggregate, and after incorporating judgements on the number of operations that might be run concurrently, the analysis contributes to the determination of our overall force structure. Annex A provides a fuller description of this analysis together with a list of all Military Tasks.

158. Analysis structured in this way allows us to identify three categories of forces. The first category covers our Permanently Committed Forces - dedicated on a day-to-day basis to discharging the first Mission Type in Table 3, covering Military Tasks at home (most notably the provision of Military Aid to the Civil Power in Northern Ireland) and overseas (especially our garrisons in Cyprus, Gibraltar, the South Atlantic, and Hong Kong until next year).

159. The second category covers our National Contingency Forces. These provide a core capability for use should our national interests be challenged; an immediate response to regional tensions that may escalate into conflict, whether on NATO's periphery or wider afield; and a pool from which we can draw for operations in support of international peace and stability. They also provide the foundation on which we could build were we to face again a major external threat to our security.

160. Thirdly, we need to be able to generate forces should the risk re-emerge of General War. This Mission Type has a number of features which distinguish it from the others: we judge it at present to be an extremely unlikely contingency against which we would have a lengthy warning time, allowing us to generate forces through the mobilisation of Reserves; and it would require a military response markedly different in type and scale from all other potential calls on British forces. Its unique demands on our force structure are therefore treated separately.

161. Our force structures are based on a number of key judgements derived from our overall defence and security policies. The first is the key role that NATO will play in developing the military aspects of the response to future challenges. For nearly 50 years, NATO has been the means by which we have successfully maintained our collective defence. It will remain the irreplaceable guarantor of our mutual security and that of our Allies. The foundation of our defence planning remains the ability to respond through NATO were a strategic or regional threat to our interests or those of our NATO Allies to arise in future.