NATO Defence Ministers to gather in Bratislava
Allied Defence Ministers will meet in Bratislava on 22-23 October 2009. They are expected to discuss a broad range of defence-related issues on NATO’s agenda, including the operation in Afghanistan, defence transformation and missile defence.
The meeting will start on Thursday, 22 October with a working dinner devoted primarily to defence transformation. Ministers will focus on resources prioritisation in a difficult economic environment. This puts a premium on collective solutions, with an important role for common funding arrangements and common projects where appropriate. Participants are also likely to discuss how best to ensure the availability of usable and sustainable forces for NATO missions. Ministers will also discuss the tasks assigned to the NATO Response Force, including its role in enhancing Allied collective defence and overall cohesion of NATO.
In the morning of Friday 23 October, Ministers will discuss NATO’s operations, primarily Afghanistan, as well as missile defence. Discussion on Afghanistan will take as a point of departure the assessment of the situation in Afghanistan provided by the Commander of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF), General Stanley McChrystal. Transition to the Afghan lead in the security sector will be at the fore of the Ministerial discussion. In this context, the establishment and resourcing of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A) will constitute an essential element of ministerial deliberations.
That session will also be an opportunity to discuss work undertaken by the Alliance on development of an effective missile defence in light of the new phased adaptive approach proposed by the United States. Ministers will consult on the way ahead leading towards the NATO summit at the end of 2010.
The working lunch will bring together Allied Ministers and their counterparts from non-NATO ISAF Troop Contributing Nations. Afghan Defence Minister Wardak and representatives of international organisations present in Afghanistan will also participate.
Accompanying the ministerial meeting, the Slovak Atlantic Association will host a major security conference entitled “New Challenges – New Capabilities” in Bratislava on 21 and 22 October.