The Chair of the NATO Military Committee praises France's significant contributions to Allied Deterrence and Defence
On 17th December 2021, Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee was in Paris to meet with General Thierry Burkhard, Chief of Defence of the French Armed Forces. He also visited the Centre for Planning and Conduct of Operations where he received a series of briefings on France's military activities.
After an official Honour Guard at the “École Militaire” in Paris, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Bauer visited the Centre for Planning and Conduct of operations. Since 2004, this paramount entity has been supporting France’s ability to plan and conduct national and international military operations involving its troops. In constant communication with operational commands around the world, including deployed missions, the centre enables better coordination, quicker responses to evolving situations and improved crisis management. Speaking to Major General, Philippe Susnjara, Director of the Centre, Admiral Bauer highlighted the importance of having such a headquarters, “new challenges demand new responses, especially in our newest domains where technology is being developed at an incredibly fast-pace. We need to ensure we can respond in an efficient and timely manner, having an operational insight within the decision-making process is therefore crucial”.
The Admiral also received a series of briefings on France’s 360° priorities and ongoing military activities, including its current operations in Mali and Iraq as well as its ongoing participation in EU and NATO missions. Currently, France is contributing to NATO’s Enhanced Air Policing Mission and to the Multinational Battlegroup in Estonia as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. “There are currently 30 000 French troops deployed at home and abroad to protect country, people and values. A part of these troops is deployed to support EU and NATO missions which enables the security, deterrence and defence of the Euro-Atlantic territory”, he added.
In his meeting with General Thierry Burkhard, Chief of Defence of the French Armed Forces, they discussed ongoing work strands, especially the development of the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept and the Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area. They also touched upon the current defence spending status with France being the third largest defence spender in Europe, and the fourth largest in NATO. Admiral Bauer also thanked France for offering to host the new NATO Centre of Excellence for Space, which will be established in Toulouse by 2025. “France has outstanding troops, high-end capabilities, the political will to use them and the ability to deploy them rapidly. French jets regularly join NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, keeping Allied airspace safe. And next year, NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force will be led by a French-German Brigade. France is actively contributing across traditional domains to the Alliance Deterrence and Defence, and now this will include Space too”, he concluded.
During their meeting, General Burkhard stated: “In a deteriorated international context, characterized by the hardening of competition between powers and by the undermining of multilateralism, only the strengthening of our cooperation and our collective action will enable us to reinforce our capacity to defend our interests and our values and to win the war before the war.”