Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visits Finland
Lieutenant General Steven M. Shepro, Deputy Chairman of the NATO Military Committee (DCMC) visited Finland on 28-29 August 2017. During his visit, Lieutenant General Steven M. Shepro attended the 4th Helsinki Summer Session and visited the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats.
During his visit, Lieutenant General Steven M. Shepro attended and spoke at the 4th Annual Helsinki Summer Session which was organised by the Center for US Politics and Power (CUSPP) at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. His speech, titled “NATO and the future of Collective Defence”, addressed the prospects of collective defence, the military and political measures NATO has taken to meet current and future challenges as well as the role of NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partners.
When speaking about the new challenges that have emerged in recent years and have drastically changed the post-Cold War security environment, Lieutenant General Shepro highlighted NATO’s efforts in responding to these challenges: “In response to these challenges, NATO’s is enhancing the SPEED, SCALE and SCOPE of its ability to ensure effective collective defense. To do this, the Alliance is looking at three key areas, keeping carefully in mind the importance of partners, like Finland: 1) Situational Awareness (360°), 2) Readiness and Interoperable Capabilities 3) Coherence and Communication”. Lieutenant General Shepro went on to explain the ongoing work on the Alliance’s Defense and Deterrence capabilities, as well as the implementation of the Readiness Action Plan, Enhanced Forward Presence and Tailored Forward Presence, and the important role they play in NATO’s response to these challenges and deterring any potential aggressor.
The General also emphasised that in a world where globalised threats have become a reality, NATO must “build bridges with international organisations such as the EU and capitalize on its partnerships with countries like Finland or Sweden. These partnerships are critical. NATO is increasingly including partners in exercises, information-sharing, standardization, and requirements planning. As an Enhanced Opportunity Partner, Finland is particularly engaged in these areas”.
The visit was also an opportunity for Lieutenant General Shepro to visit Finland’s European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Earlier this year, nine NATO and EU Nations signed the Memorandum of Understanding to establish the centre: Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. While not signatories themselves, NATO and the EU will participate actively in the Centre’s activities. Lieutenant General Shepro acknowledged the importance of the Centre, “countering hybrid threats is a priority for NATO, as they blur the line between war and peace and combine multiple capabilities and tactics”. The Centre will open officially later this year.