Diplomats: NATO defence ministers back deep staff cuts
NATO defence ministers on Thursday backed proposals to slash the number of headquarters and special agencies the alliance runs in a bid to cut back costs, diplomats said, DPA reported.
NATO is currently debating a new strategy for the next 10 years, and headquarters reform is tipped to be one of the main issues. Initial plans had called for NATO's permanent staff to be cut from some 13,000 to around 9,000.
Defence ministers at a meeting in Brussels approved those proposals and parallel calls for the number of NATO command bases to be cut by a third from the current figure of 11, diplomats said.
NATO heads of state and government are expected to finalize the reform plans at a summit in Lisbon on November 19-20. The decision on which bases in which countries should be closed is expected to follow later and generate heated political debate.
However, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Thursday that at least one command base should stay in the US, while US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said one should stay in Turkey, diplomats said.