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NATO To Prioritize Arms Standardization in New Action Plan

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The Defence Production Action Plan that the heads of state of NATO members agreed to during their Vilnius summit in July prioritizes standardization of materials and weapons interoperability, according to Wendy Gilmour, the alliance’s assistant secretary general for defense investment.

Gilmour told Defense News that the plan does not seek to have every NATO member buying the same weapon, as doing so entails risks. “But we do want all of the kits to be interoperable with one another and adhere to the same standards,” she added.

NATO’s Defence Production Action Plan was promulgated primarily to bolster the defense industry base of alliance members as they restock weapons simultaneously with sending military aid to Ukraine. One of the first lessons learned from the Ukraine war was that the organization’s ammunition stockpile is not enough to support the nation, Gilmour said.

According to the NATO Summit’s communique, the new action plan’s initial focus will be on land munitions. The plan will also serve as a platform for understanding the inner workings of the entire NATO defense industry, including small and medium-size companies.

Rob Murray, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council think tank, noted that “the central challenge” for the plan will be expediting contract awards. To solve the problem, Murray suggested options including adaptable sourcing policies and improved coordination among allies.

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