NATO Military Committee visits key NATO and US Strategic Commands
From 28 February to 2 March 2023, the NATO Military Committee visited NATO’s Allied Command Transformation, Allied Joint Force Command Norfolk, the US Joint Staff Headquarters and the US 2nd Fleet. The visit provided an opportunity for the NATO Military Representatives and Invitees Finland and Sweden, to gain more insights in the capabilities and challenges of each of these commands, in their respective areas of responsibility.
Starting the visit at Allied Command Transformation (ACT), the Military Committee received an overview on ACT’s ongoing work to enable the Alliance to respond to current and futures challenges as well as develop new warfighting capabilities. The Military Representatives were briefed on ACT’s contributions to the NATO Defence Planning Process, which is taking on-board Lessons Learned of the war in Ukraine. They also received updates on the concept for Multi-Domain Operations, on Cyber Defence and on the structuring of the Digital Transformation project as well as the concepts for Cognitive Superiority and Assisted Decision-Making.
Opening the meeting, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Bauer thanked Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Lavigne for his warm welcome and the salient programme. “Under the galvanising leadership of General Lavigne, ACT is not only evaluating NATO’s readiness and ensuring it remains able to face 21st Century challenges, but is also helping shape NATO’s military superiority, through cognitive warfare, digital transformation and multi-domain operations, enabling a stronger Alliance for the future. You are preparing our Alliance to be fit to fight tomorrow”, added Admiral Bauer.
In his remarks, General Lavigne noted the essential need to not only respond to the changed security environment, but also foresee the requirements for NATO's strategic evolution, by improving its defence capabilities and developing effective strategies to deter potential threats. “Working hand in hand with ACO, ACT is guiding NATO’s military commands towards more multi-domain operations, higher interoperability and a faster digital transformation. ACO ensures NATO is fit-to-fight today; ACT ensures NATO is fit-to-fight tomorrow; and together, we are preparing for ‘the Midnight Hour’ fight, when today becomes tomorrow”, concluded General Lavigne.
On the second day, the NATO Military Committee visited the Allied Joint Force Command Norfolk, NATO’s premiere headquarters in the lead to project stability, deter aggression and defend NATO’s Allies in the North Atlantic and High North, from seabed to space. After a short welcome by its Commander, Vice Admiral Daniel Dwyer, the Military Committee was briefed on the JFC’s principal and upcoming activities. This included the ongoing and planned exercises across their Area of Operations, which is characterised by large remote areas, both sea and land, with limited accessibility and rapidly changing environmental conditions. The coordination of those exercises allows a coherent deterrence message, demonstrating the Alliance’s will, capability, and capacity to respond across the whole area.
Concluding the trip with a visit to the US Joint Staff and the US 2nd Fleet, in Suffolk, the NATO Military Committee was able to have a thought-provoking discussion on the synchronization of National and NATO strategies, especially in the areas of advancing joint operational effectiveness and warfighting in modern warfare. On board the USS Bataan and the USS Mesa Verde, the US Navy leadership provided an amphibious capability brief and readiness update via a ship tour. These capabilities highly contribute to the deterrence and defence of the Alliance.