NATO Aims to Stay Capable, Agile to Meet Threats

May 16, 2018

NATO continues “to adapt, to strengthen its deterrence and defense, and to ensure it meets its core objectives of protecting the population and territory of the alliance,” Czech Gen. Petr Pavel, the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, said here today.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended the Military Committee meeting for the United States.

Pavel also said NATO needs “to remain agile, transformative — always ready and able to counter any threat or challenge that comes across our horizon.”

The Military Committee is meeting to examine proposals that will go to defense ministers at their NATO meeting next month, and ultimately to alliance heads of state/government at the July summit meeting in Brussels.

Today’s meeting also features talks with NATO’s Enhanced Opportunity Partners — Australia, Georgia, Jordan, Finland and Sweden — to discuss military contributions to security and stability in Europe’s southern neighborhood.

Projecting Stability

And, “following the decision by foreign ministers last month, we will deliberate the details regarding the transition of the alliance’s training and capacity building initiative in Iraq into a mission. We will also discuss key military deliverables for projecting stability,” Pavel said.

The chiefs will also discuss deterrence and defense postures, he said.

“The ever-changing security environment calls for no complacency and requires that we look to future challenges and how we will meet them,” Pavel said. This discussion, he said, will concentrate on military mobility, maritime posture and increased intelligence sharing.

Making the NATO command structure more agile is another important discussion the chiefs will engage in today, Pavel said. “We will focus on the ongoing NATO command structure adaptation within the broader context of alliance’s modernization,” he said.

Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, the NATO supreme allied commander – Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, and French air force Gen. Denis Mercier, the NATO supreme allied commander for transformation, will brief on recommended options and will provide guidance ahead of the upcoming June defense ministerial conference, Pavel said.

“As for NATO’s modernization, we will review the progress made since the Wales summit, and reinforced with the decisions taken at the Warsaw summit,” he said. At the Wales meeting, NATO members agreed to increase defense spending in their countries to at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product. In Warsaw, they decided that 20 percent of NATO’s military spending be concentrated on modernization accounts.

“As we move forward, we aim to ensure that our efforts are deliberate and allow for the full range of projects and activities that lay before us,” Pavel said. “The alliance is adapting — politically, militarily, and institutionally. Moving forward, it is our paramount importance that we enhance our overall military coherence, increase our capability delivery and synergize further the political-military collaboration that is so unique and fundamental to our alliance.”

This meeting is Pavel’s last as chairman. He will turn over his post as chairman to British Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach in June.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)