General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the Military Committee (CMC), led the high-level military discussions during the first major official gathering of NATO’s military authorities following the Chicago Summit and ahead of the Defence Ministerial in Brussels (October 2012).
The Conference began with a discussion on global security trends and an analysis of the potential security risks. This situational awareness update contributed to a shared understanding of the global security challenges by the NATO CHODs and led to a productive exchange of national perspectives. The conclusions of the discussions will be presented to the Council and will provide the military input to the upcoming Defence Ministerial.
Admiral Jim Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe and in charge of NATO’s operations, together with General John Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) shared their views to set the scene for the discussions. CHODs heard that the Afghan forces are getting stronger and more confident, they are genuinely moving into the lead. Within weeks, the ANSF will reach their full strength of 352,000 and they are taking the lead for providing security for three quarters of the population. The consensus based outcome of this meeting will be instrumental to the eventual decision of Defence Ministers at NATO Headquarters in October 2012.
The discussion on the development of a long-term strategy for NATO's future commitment in the Western Balkans was introduced by the former EU Chief Negotiator on Western Balkans, Ambassador Robert Cooper. CHODs recommitted themselves to KFOR and the security in the region and reiterated the need for a durable political solution, encouraging all parties involved to continue with discussions under the auspices of the European Union.
The Defence Package, agreed at the Chicago Summit, was thoroughly discussed among CHODs with a focus on Smart Defence and the Connected Forces Initiative. Both projects aim to increase interoperability among nations and to stimulate cooperation in the acquisition of military equipment and tools. The conclusion of the discussions provides guidance to General Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and his successor General Palomeros for the further development of the Defence Package Implementation Plan, which will be presented to Defence Ministers in October.
The Conference ended with a session dedicated to the election of the next Director General of the International Military Staff (DGIMS). CHODs decided that General Jurgen Bornemann's successor will be Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper of the United Kingdom who will take up his new position in Summer 2013.