The twenty-nine Allied Chiefs of Defense met in the new NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium today (16 May 2018) to review and discuss key military deliverables ahead of the forthcoming Defence Ministerial in June and the Heads of State and Government Summit in July. Discussions focused on NATO’s Strategic Direction South, Deterrence and Defense, and Allied Modernization.
Setting the scene for their deliberations, the Chiefs of Defence met with Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, General Mikhail Kostarakos. Following discussions on the key strategic issues facing the Alliance, the Chiefs of Defence welcomed the Deputy Secretary General’s recognition of their crucial military contributions to NATO.
Turning towards the South in their second session, the Allied Chiefs of Defence met with their Enhanced Opportunities Partners (Georgia, Sweden, Finland, Australia and Jordan). The Chiefs of Defence reiterated the importance of complementarity between NATO’s Training and Capacity Building Mission in Iraq and complementary with other international efforts, in particular the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the European Union mission. They stressed the need for more coherence of the activities by the many actors in Iraq and in general across the South in order to deliver greater effect in a more efficient way. On the Hub for the South, the Chiefs of Defence reaffirmed their support and the need to continue improving our ability to anticipate crises and the threats and challenges in the region.
In the third session of the day, the Allied Chiefs of Defence provided guidance on further enhancing NATO’s deterrence and defence, highlighting the requirements for enhanced readiness and rapid reinforcement. On the latter, the Chiefs of Defence acknowledged the progress made and called for further close work with the European Union to ensure NATO’s freedom of movement and a single set of requirements. Noting the necessity to deter and defend across all domains, the Chiefs of Defence reviewed the Alliance’s maritime posture and provided additional recommendations on ways to further develop this capability.
Allliance Modernization was the focus of the last session. The Chiefs of Defence commended the NATO Military Authorities for their work on the NATO Command Structure Adaptation Detailed Implementation Plans in response to Defence Minister’s February 2018 tasking. Regarding the ongoing political, military and institutional adaptation of the Alliance, the Chiefs of Defence stressed the need to preserve the principle of unfettered military advice.
Concluding the May 2018 Military Chiefs of Defence Session (MCCS), the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Pavel, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Scaparrotti and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Mercier held a joint press conference. During his last MCCS press conference, the Chairman took the opportunity to thank the Strategic Commanders for their dedication, hard work and friendship during his tenure, and stress the continued relevance of the Alliance as it nears its seventieth anniversary, “I want to take this opportunity to thank both SACEUR and SACT for their continuous support, for their leadership in their respective commands and their invaluable advice during my three years as the Chairman. It allowed me to lead the military part of this Alliance to its most significant adaptation in recent years.”
The Chairman concluded his remarks by stating “Nearly seventy years after its creation, NATO’s essential mission has not changed: to ensure that the Alliance remains an unparalleled community of freedom, peace, security, and shared values, including individual liberty, human rights, and democracy, and of course the rule of law. I am very honoured to have been part of this endeavour.”