The Commons Defence Committee said the recent Ukraine conflict showed "serious deficiencies" in Nato's preparedness to counter threats - and "radical reform" was needed. The MPs said the risk of a conventional assault remained low - but warned over methods such as cyber-attacks and the use of irregular militias. Nato said it would study the findings.
The committee called for changes including:
- Establishing a continuous presence of Nato troops and military equipment in "vulnerable" Baltic states, including Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
- Adding unconventional threats such as irregular militia and cyber-attacks to Nato's Article 5 commitment for all members to come to the aid of a member which is attacked
- "Dramatic" improvements to existing rapid reaction forces.
- Large-scale exercises involving military and political leaders from all Nato states
The MPs also warned Nato "may not have the collective political will to take concerted action to deter attack". And they said public opinion may not support the use of military force to honour Article 5 commitments in a confrontation with Russia.
"Nato is currently not well-prepared for a Russian threat against a Nato member state," the report said. "A Russian unconventional attack, using asymmetric tactics - the latest term for this is 'ambiguous warfare' - designed to slip below Nato's response threshold, would be particularly difficult to counter."
'Too complacent'Tory MP Rory Stewart, who was elected chairman of the committee in May, said: "The risk of attack by Russia on a Nato member state, whilst still small, is significant. We are not convinced that Nato is ready for this threat.
"Nato has been too complacent about the threat from Russia, and it is not well-prepared. "Even worse, the nature of Russian tactics is changing fast - including cyber-attacks, information warfare, and the backing of irregular 'separatist groups', combining armed civilians with Russian Special Forces operating without insignia," said Mr Stewart, a former soldier and diplomat who has worked in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq. "We have already seen how these tactics have been deployed by Russia and its proxies in Ukraine to destabilise a Nato partner state, annex part of its territory and paralyse its ability to respond."
The report said that while Nato had not seen Russia as a territorial threat for 20 years, recent events meant it was "forced to do so".
"Events in Ukraine this year, following on from the cyber attack on Estonia in 2007 and the invasion of Georgia by Russia in 2008, are a 'wake-up call' for Nato", it read. "They have revealed alarming deficiencies in the state of Nato preparedness, which will be tough to fix."
The committee also called on the government to show leadership when it hosts a Nato summit in Wales in September. The report added: "The UK government should take the lead in ensuring that the Nato summit addresses these threats in the most concrete and systematic fashion."
Source: BBC news