Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visits Australia to discuss Maritime Security, the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and Global threats
While visiting Sydney and Canberra on a three day visit 15-18 February 2015, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Knud Bartels thanked Australia for its contributions to NATO-led Operations and Missions and discussed enhanced NATO – Australian military to military cooperation and interoperability. After meeting with Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Chief of the Australian Defence Force and Mr. Dennis Richardson, the Secretary of Defence of Australia, the Chairman stressed the need “for substantial and practical cooperation, to learn from each other, share best practices and develop common standards because NATO and Australia have a strong partnership and are committed to enhancing their abilities of working together in order to better tackle future global challenges”.
Meeting with the Assistant Minister for Defence, the Honourable Mr. Stuart Robert, General Bartels welcomed Australia’s continued involvement in Afghanistan and participation in NATO’s Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces. The Chairman highlighted the professionalism and hard work of the Australian forces. They also discussed NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partnership with Australia to build on the lessons learnt in operations and increase the ability to counter security challenges together.
During a meeting with the Special Chiefs Service Committee, General Bartels also discussed the NATO Readiness Action Plan, ways to collaborate further in the fight against terrorism and cyber security: “NATO is committed to involving our partners in shaping the decisions we take when they concern operations and missions in which they are involved. It is only fair: their servicemen and women share our efforts, so they should share the right to shape the decisions which affect them”, he said. .
Maritime Security was a significant topic of discussion during the three day visit due to its high importance to NATO countries and Australia. The sea is a lifeline for transport, communications, energy and trade and it needs to kept open and secure. Intensified cooperation on maritime security would be beneficial for both Australia and NATO.
After giving a presentation at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies on Future NATO, General Bartels took the opportunity to lay a wreath at the National War Memorial for all those who have died in service for their country, “I was honoured to lay a wreath during the beautiful ceremony and pay my deepest respect to those soldiers’ who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and security”.