On 10 May 2023, NATO’s highest Military Authority, the Military Committee, is meeting at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The meeting brings together Allied Chiefs of Defence and their invitee counterpart from Sweden. The Chiefs of Defence are supported by General Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and General Philippe Lavigne, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT). NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg joined the meeting’s first session to address the Alliance’s key priorities and challenges ahead of the Vilnius Summit.
In his opening remarks, Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the Military Committee, commended the Secretary General for his unparalleled leadership during challenging times for global security. On Russia´s war of aggression against Ukraine, Admiral Bauer said that Russia is now in the fifteenth month of what they hoped would be a 3-day war. “Goliath is wavering. And that is because David has shown immense resilience and tactical brilliance, supported by 50 nations around the world,” he said.
The Secretary General thanked NATO’s military leaders for their work in transforming the Alliance over the past decade and ensure that it is well prepared for a “new era of collective defence.” Following President Putin’s full-fledged invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, NATO activated all its defence plans, put 40,000 troops under NATO command, backed by significant air and maritime power, and strengthened its forward defences. “These actions reduce the risk of miscalculation and escalation. By making crystal clear we will defend every inch of NATO territory,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
The NATO Military Authorities are developing Regional Plans. These are geographically specific plans that describe how the Alliance will defend itself against the two threats described in NATO’s Strategic Concept and the NATO Military Strategy: Russia and terrorist groups. The Regional Plans require a new NATO Force Model to produce more troops at high readiness across the Alliance, as well as a New Force Structure to determine the number and types of equipment and organisations needed to conduct NATO operations.
Admiral Bauer praised the herculean effort accomplished by SHAPE and the Joint Force Commands Brunssum, Naples and Norfolk to integrate NATO and national military planning on such a detailed level. Admiral Bauer: “This makes it possible to collectively defend not only the physical safety of our one billion people and 31 nations… but also the democratic values we all hold dear”.
The Secretary General outlined some of the main priorities for the Vilnius Summit in July to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence. These include supporting new regional defence plans, along with an ambitious new defence investment pledge and a new Defence Production Action Plan. “We need that investment and production capacity now and for the long-term. We are moving in the right direction, but not as fast as the dangerous world we live in demands,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
Today at 17:30 there will be joint press conference by Admiral Bauer, General Cavoli and General Lavigne. This will be livestreamed on the NATO website.