NATO Parliamentary Assembly
HomeDOCUMENTSPolicy Recommendations200515 November 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark - RESOLUTION on REDUCING NATIONAL CAVEATS


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* presented by the Defence and Security Committee

The Assembly,

1. Recalling that national caveats are defined as restrictions placed on the use of national military contingents operating as part of a multinational operation;

2. Recalling that national caveats may be both declared and known to commanders, or undeclared and therefore unknown to commanders until they actually assign a mission to a particular unit and discover that a caveat prevents that unit from performing that mission;

3. Recalling that such restrictions limited the ability of NATO forces in Kosovo to respond to civil unrest there in March 2004;

4. Noting that NATO has since mostly resolved this issue and the current force in Kosovo is far more flexible and capable of responding in the event of future incidents;

5. Further noting that although, in the case of Kosovo, many of those caveats have been eliminated, restrictions placed on the use of national military contingents in Afghanistan remain a serious issue;

6. Concerned that military commanders of NATO forces in Afghanistan consistently cite national caveats as a significant impediment to the planning and execution of their mission;

7. Noting that the issue was not resolved until a crisis occurred in Kosovo;

8. Concerned that the Alliance should not wait for another crisis situation to spark changes in the type and number of caveats regarding the mission in Afghanistan as this could have serious negative effects on the credibility of the Alliance;

9. Further concerned that existing national caveats will have a debilitating effect on ISAF as it continues to expand its presence in Afghanistan to the south and east of the country;

10. Recognizing that sovereign nations have the right to define the terms by which they participate in a mission;

11. But also recognizing that such conditions should be made known to all other participants in the mission before a deployment to avoid complicating the planning process;

12. URGES member governments and parliaments of the North Atlantic Alliance:

a. to eliminate the use of undeclared caveats and allow the restrictions on a national contingent to be taken into consideration during the force planning process;

b. to minimize the use of declared caveats and regularly reconsider the specific caveats to determine which can be eliminated, given changes in the operating environment or in the available resources of the national contingent.