NATO Military Committee Examines Full Range of Alliance Challenges

NATO chiefs of defense will discuss the alliance’s full range of challenges, operations and processes as part of the Military Committee meeting here today.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined 28 other alliance chiefs as the committee looked at Afghanistan, the threats from the south and operations to deter Russia.

British Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the new chairman of the Military Committee, said the alliance faces “an unpredictable and fluid environment, with many challenges and developing threats posed by state and nonstate actors in the traditional domains of land, sea and air, as well as hybrid warfare and cyberattacks.”

Peach reminded all that the chiefs of defense work together under the alliance structure “to safeguard the security of 1 billion citizens on both sides of the Atlantic.”

At the beginning of the meeting, the chiefs observed a minute of silence for the NATO troops killed in the line of duty since the Military Committee last met in May. Three Czech soldiers and two American soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

The chiefs will first look to missions and operations. Almost 20,000 NATO military personnel are engaged in operations around the world in complex ground, naval and air operations in all types of environments, Peach said.

Unwavering Commitment

The two main efforts are in Afghanistan and the new training mission in Iraq.

“Our commitment to Afghanistan is unwavering,” the air chief marshal said. “The security situation remains challenging. Nevertheless, the Afghan national security forces are working hard to secure their country and deny a safe haven to terrorists.”

In Iraq, NATO continues to support the Iraqi government and its efforts to stabilize the country and fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, he said.

The meeting’s second session will focus on NATO military strategy. “As the alliance adapts and modernizes in line with political decisions and guidance, the Military Committee needs to ensure the alliance continues to have an overarching framework to promote a common understanding of NATO’s military goals, intended approaches and resource requirements,” Peach said. “The alliance does not have the luxury of deciding which security threats we face, so we must be able to operate across all domains now and in the future.”

Resilient Posture

The third session will focus on readiness, responsiveness and reinforcement, as the military chiefs look to ensure the alliance’s deterrence and defense posture remains credible, coherent and resilient. “It is of strategic importance to improve responsiveness, heighten readiness and improve reinforcement,” he said.

NATO’s readiness initiative will ensure that more high-quality national combat forces will be available to NATO, quickly, the committee chairman said. “From within the pool of forces, allies will offer an additional 30 naval combatants, 30 heavy or medium maneuver battalions, 30 kinetic air squadrons with enabling forces at 30 days readiness or less,” he said.

The final session will look at NATO’s modernization, command structure adaptation and headquarters functional review.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)