Courtesy Reuters

Military Organization Under the Atlantic Pact

THE preamble to the North Atlantic Pact sets forth that the parties "are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defense and for the preservation of peace and security." To give practical effect to this resolve, Article 9 of the Pact provides for the establishment of "a council, on which each of [the parties] shall be represented, to consider matters concerning the implementation of this Treaty." The council "shall establish immediately a defense committee which shall recommend measures for the implementation of Articles 3 and 5." Article 3 deals with self-help and mutual aid, and the maintenance and development of "individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack." Article 5 provides for common action, in case of armed attack against any of the parties, "to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area."

The tasks of the council and of its defense committee are therefore to survey the resources of the parties to the Pact, and to make recommendations for the most effective use of these resources in developing the "individual and collective" military power of the parties, and plans for common action "to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area" in case an armed attack upon one of them actually takes place. These are tasks of almost unbelievable complexity and difficulty.


In coördinating the military efforts of a coalition of independent states, not only must there be agreement by the governments as to political objectives, and agreement by the military leaders as to the best method of attaining these objectives, but the military plans are subject to the constant pressure of governments for change in direction or character under the influence, at times, of purely local and individual considerations. In war, this is particularly likely to be so during a defensive phase, when each of the allied Powers or coöperating forces expects the enemy attack to fall upon it alone, and each is therefore desperately determined to retain every resource for its own defense, and reluctant to

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.