Alliance Commitment Remains Steadfast, Military Committee Chairman Says

While circumstances have changed since NATO was formed in 1949, the commitment and support to defend alliance members – “is as resolute today as it was in 1949,” the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee said here today.

British Royal Air Force Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach spoke at the conclusion of the meeting at alliance headquarters. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended for the United States.

The Military Committee is formed from alliance chiefs of defense and they provide military advice to political leaders.

Major Challenges

The chiefs of defense agreed that Russia and international terror groups are two major challenges facing the alliance, Peach said. “Discussions focused on continuing to monitor Russia’s posture as well as on the importance of keeping NATO-Russia military-to-military lines of communication open,” he said.

Russia has escalated actions in Ukraine with seizure of Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov. The chiefs spoke about military-to-military cooperation with Ukraine.

More broadly, the chiefs reviewed progress on NATO’s Military Strategy, Peach said. “They underlined that there should be an integrated approach to all external challenges facing the alliance, as the military instrument, whilst powerful, is just one of the tools available,” he said. “Today’s security environment is unpredictable which means that more than ever, the alliance needs to be ready and able to counter any threat or challenge from both state and nonstate actors.”

The chiefs looked at the alliance’s current and future challenges to discern what may emerge as a threat. “The chiefs of defense emphasized the importance of continued intelligence sharing between allies and international partners,” the air chief marshal said.

Disruptive Technologies

One threat the chiefs see emerging are new technologies classed as disruptive capabilities that could influence the planning and execution of future operations, missions and activities, he said. NATO needs to understand those technologies to maintain a competitive edge, Peach said.

The chiefs discussed the operations in Afghanistan and received briefings on the operational and political situation there. “The chiefs of defense reiterated their support for the NATO-led mission to train, assist and advise the Afghan national defense and security forces and institutions,” he said.

They also reaffirmed their commitments to the long-term security of the country and to an Afghan-led peace process.

The chiefs also received a briefing from Pakistani chief of defense army Gen. Zubair Mahmood Hayat. “The allied chiefs welcomed Pakistan’s commitment and support to reconciliation in Afghanistan and acknowledged Pakistan’s continued support to facilitate NATO’s logistical supply lines for its Resolute Support Mission,” the chairman said. The chiefs also thanked Pakistan for its “sacrifice and commitment to defeating terrorist threats.”

The results of the Military Committee sessions will be provided to the North Atlantic Council ahead of next month’s Defense Ministerial meeting.