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26 November 2010 | Nick Martindale
Nato leaders have agreed to a series of cost-cutting measures that will make the defence organisation more efficient.
Heads of state at the summit meeting in Lisbon agreed to cut the number of agencies it operates from 14 to three, and to pool resources for common projects.
A statement read: “We have approved the consolidation and rationalisation of the functions and programmes of the Nato agencies into three agencies, and task the [Nato] Council to prepare a plan for implementing this reform, with a view to achieving improved governance, demonstrable increased effectiveness, efficiency and savings.
“The plan should include a quantified target for savings, while preserving capability and service delivery, in particular support to operations.”
The plan will be put to defence ministers for approval by March 2011, the statement said.
Current Nato procurement is split between at least two agencies. The Nato Consultation, Command and Control Agency is responsible for purchasing most of its command-and-control equipment, while Nato Maintenance and Supply Agency carries out procurement and contract management of support logistics.
Diplomats also pledged to reduce the number of higher-end headquarters from 11 to seven, with a decision expected next year on which bases will be closed. The number of military personnel will also be cut by a third.
Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “With these reforms we will see a strengthened alliance.
“The paradox is that economic austerity will make Nato more effective, more efficient and also more engaged. The response to economic austerity is to co-operate and to prioritise.”
The organisation also said it would co-operate more fully with the European Union in capability development “to minimise duplication and maximise cost-effectiveness”, while developing and operating joint capabilities across member states.