By Shaun R. Gregory
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Extra resources for Nuclear Command and Control in NATO: Nuclear Weapons Operations and the Strategy of Flexible Response
The NDAC would receive reports from the second tier seven-member Nuclear Planning Group (NPG). 58 The reason for the two-tier structure was the need to reconcile the demand for most of the European allies to have a voice in nuclear policy and planning with the American (and particularly McNamara's) preference for a relatively limited forum to facilitate effective and rapid decision-making. All of the NATO members except France, Iceland and Luxembourg joined the NDAC. The composition of the NPG was initially decided in the following manner.
The adoption of flexible response raised questions about the uses of longer-range forces in the selective and gradually escalating use of nuclear weapons envisaged by the new strategy. The subject of the use of theatre strike forces was addressed in a series of US-West German studies before a paper entitled 'The Role of the Theatre Nuclear Strike Force in Allied Command Europe' was presented to the NPG on 29th - 30th October 1970. The phase three program to consolidate the diverse guidelines and reports into a single authoritative document of political guidance for NATO on the use of nuclear weapons was delayed, however, by those who had reservations about one or more of the contributory documents.
Membership of NATO, of itself, did not in any way diminish the absolute authority of the two powers over their respective nuclear forces. Nevertheless, operational nuclear control in NATO was complicated by the multinational nature of the alliance and by the complexity of arrangements for sharing nuclear forces. The nature of nuclear control in NATO since the 1950s reflected the desire for alliance agreement on the use of nuclear weapons, given the gravity of such a step for all alliance members.
Nuclear Command and Control in NATO: Nuclear Weapons Operations and the Strategy of Flexible Response by Shaun R. Gregory