NATO Defence Ministers pave the way to Chicago Summit

  • Last updated: 02 Feb. 2012 16:20

The Defence Ministers of NATO’s 28 Allies and over 20 partner countries meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday for talks on a range of issues including Afghanistan, Smart Defence and NATO Reform.

General view of the meeting room

On Thursday, NATO Ministers will focus on the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan and take stock of progress on transition. They will discuss how the Alliance can best support Afghan security forces once transition is completed by the end of 2014. Defence Ministers will then turn to NATO’s reform agenda and review progress in the streamlining of NATO agencies, military command structures and headquarters.

The second working session will focus on Smart Defence. This approach centres on Allies focussing resources on top priorities, agreeing to specialise and cooperating on multi-national projects. For the discussion, Ministers will be joined by Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. At a working dinner, they will review progress in the development of Missile Defence. Ministers aim for NATO to declare an Interim Capability for Missile Defence by the time of the Chicago Summit.

On Friday, NATO Defence Ministers will discuss the situation in Kosovo, which experienced an increase in tension in 2011. Allies will be joined by Ministers from non-NATO KFOR troop contributors. For the final session on Afghanistan, representatives from the 50 ISAF troop contributing nations will be joined by Afghan Defence Minister Wardak, the Commander of ISAF Generall Allen and NATO's Senior Civilian Representative Ambassador Gass. They will take stock of the operational situation and progress made in transition to Afghan security lead. Ministers are also expected to start discussions on the likely sustainable size of the Afghan Security Forces after 2014 and how the international community might fund these forces.