NATO defense ministers announced agreement Friday on a post-Cold War defense strategy of reduced U.S. presence in Europe, smaller forces and a continued mix of conventional and nuclear arms.
"Our future force posture will be based on smaller, more mobile and flexible active forces, able to respond to aggression from any quarter," the ministers said in a communique.They said the Persian Gulf crisis served as an example of "continuing risks of aggression" from outside NATO territory that have a bearing on the vital interests of the allies.
The NATO allies pledged to maintain military and other pressures to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.
The communique said a draft resolution on NATO's future was discussed during the two-day meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels and would be adopted next year.
"Nuclear weapons play a key role in the prevention of war and the maintenance of stability," the communique said. It restated NATO's desire for U.S.-Soviet negotiations on reducing short-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
Defense Secretary Dick Chenay said that the threat of a massive Warsaw Pact invasion had been replaced by new dangers for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
These include lingering threats from the Soviet Union, potential instability in Eastern Europe, the spread of chemical arms and ballistic missiles in the Middle East and possible threats to energy supplies.