Secretary General’s Annual Report: Alliance adapts to changed security environment
The year 2014 was a ‘black year’ for European security but NATO has been able to respond to the changing environment, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during the launch of his Annual Report Friday (30 January, 2015). Mr Stoltenberg said violent extremism close to NATO’s southern borders is fuelling terrorism in Allied countries, and that Russia’s actions have destabilized eastern Ukraine. “This Annual Report demonstrates that we are adapting to deal with these changes, and to keep NATO strong,” said Mr Stoltenberg. He added that the Readiness Action Plan, agreed at the Wales summit, is being turned into reality: “This will be the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.”
The Secretary General said NATO remains the strongest military Alliance in the world but, in order to respond to the new environment, Allies need to spend more, and to spend better - as was agreed by Allied leaders at the Wales Summit in September 2014. “Last year we made an important pledge. To stop the cuts in defence spending, to aim to spend 2% of Gross Domestic Product on defence within a decade, and to spend that money more efficiently. We have seen some steps in the right direction, but there is a long way to go,” said the Secretary General.
The Annual Report looks at what NATO achieved last year and what challenges lie ahead. Special mention is made of NATO’s role in Afghanistan; the conclusion of the NATO-led ISAF Mission in the country and the launch of the new Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National and Security Forces. “Today, the security of Afghanistan is fully in Afghan hands. While many challenges remain, we are determined to support Afghanistan to build on the gains that we have made with great effort and sacrifice,” writes the Secretary General in the introduction to the report.