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Lisbon Agreement on NATO Force Levels

Lisbon Agreement on NATO Force Levels (1952).The Lisbon force goals, which were adopted by the North Atlantic Council (NAC) in February 1952, represented the high point of NATO's attempt to build up the conventional forces defending Western Europe following the outbreak of the Korean War. They were based on the recommendations of the Temporary Council Committee (TCC), an ad hoc body established by the NAC the previous September to reconcile NATO's military requirements with the political and economic constraints that were already causing the initial rearmament efforts of the European members to falter. In December, the TCC presented a detailed program that called for the creation by the end of 1954 of a total of forty‐two ready divisions and forty‐five (increased to forty‐eight by the NAC) reserve divisions mobilizable within thirty days. Soon after these goals were adopted, however, it became clear that they could not be achieved, primarily because the economic assumptions on which they were based were overoptimistic. The NATO force goals for the end of 1952 adopted at Lisbon were twenty‐five ready divisions and twenty‐eight and two‐thirds reserve divisions mobilizable within thirty days. Actual forces in existence at the end of 1952 were twenty‐five ready divisions and twenty reserve divisions. Although the goals for 1952 were largely met by the end of the year, further significant increases, especially in mobilizable divisions, seemed doubtful. Force goals for the end of 1953 were thirty‐six and two‐thirds ready divisions and thirty‐five and two‐thirds reserve divisions; in April 1953, however, the NAC revised these goals downward to thirty and one‐third ready divisions and twenty‐six and one‐third reserve divisions.
[See also Korean War.]

John S. Duffield

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