Chair of NATO Military Committee visits Romania to discuss renewed focus on collective defence
From 11 to 14 April 2023, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer was in Romania upon the invitation of its Chief of Defence, General Daniel Petrescu. During the visit, Admiral Bauer met with the Defence Minister, Mr Angel Tîlvăr, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Bogdan Aurescu, and Presidential Advisor on National Security, Mr Ion Oprișor. Admiral Bauer visited the NATO Multinational Battlegroup; he was briefed at the Headquarters Multinational Corps South-East, the Multinational Division South-East; and visited troops stationed at the the Joint National Training Centre in Cincu, the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base and the Radio-electronic and Observation Brigade in Constanta.
Admiral Bauer started his visit in Bucharest by meeting the Minister of Defence, Mr Tîlvăr and the Chief of Defence, General Petrescu. Both meetings centred on Romania’s recent pledge to increase its defence investment as well as its ongoing drive to invest in new defence capabilities and equipment. “In their own unique way, every one of our Allies helps reinforce and uphold NATO’s defensive shield. As such, Romania is making significant investments in defence capabilities, including jets, tanks, submarines, missiles as well as modernising equipment. Proving that you understand the value of Collective Defence”, highlighted the Admiral during his press conference with General Petrescu.
In the meeting with Presidential Advisor Mr Oprișorto, Admiral Bauer and General Petrescu discussed the current security environment, especially in the Balkan and Black Sea Regions. “Russia’s war against Ukraine rages on Romania’s borders, undermining the international rules-based order. This is a critical time for our security but we are sending an important message: NATO is here. NATO is vigilant. And NATO is ready to defend every inch of Allied territory”, stated Admiral Bauer.
In his meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Aurescu, Admiral Bauer noted Romania’s ongoing support to Ukraine. “You are showing admirable solidarity to your neighbours, especially Ukraine. Romania has been instrumental in providing support to Ukraine – with both military and humanitarian support, but, also by facilitating the support from other NATO Allies and partners to Ukraine”, noted Admiral Bauer.
The second part of the trip focused on key NATO and Romanian assets dedicated to the Alliance’s Collective Defence. Starting his tour with a series of briefings at the Headquarters Multinational Corps South-East and the Headquarters Multinational Division South-East, Admiral Bauer stated: “These headquarters are another major contribution to our collective defence, helping Romania and NATO organise exercises, and ensuring that NATO troops can deploy here quickly, smoothly and effectively”.
Moving on to the Joint National Training Centre in Cincu, Admiral Bauer was able to interact with Romanian and multinational troops stationed on the ground. He underscored that “the Cincu training area remains a premier venue to test the Alliance’s high-readiness capabilities, mobility and interoperability. By working together, we demonstrate our resolve to protect the one billion citizens that live on Allied soil”.
Next, Admiral Bauer visited the NATO Multinational Battlegroup in Romania. This Battlegroup was officially established on the 1st of May 2022 as part of NATO’s enhanced deterrence and defence posture. Led by France, it consists of French, Dutch, Belgian, Luxembourgish and Romanian military personnel. “NATO is built on a fundamental truth: we are much stronger together than we are alone. Our strengthened deterrence and defence ensures that there is no room for misunderstanding about our readiness to protect and defend all Allies”, he concluded.
The Chair was also able to visit the Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, where he was briefed on Air Policing activities over Romania. On a daily basis, Italian Eurofighters fly together with Romanian F-16 fighters. Their mission is to protect the skies and to maintain the adequate level of training under a NATO banner of enhanced Air Policing, Air Shielding and Assurance missions.
Admiral Bauer was shown NATO’s immediate response capabilities by the Italian Enhanced Air Policing Contingent, which ensures detection and identification of air contacts in international and Allied air space and provides credible and visible deterrence and defence at any time required.
He also received a briefing of the United States 10th Mountain Division Operations Contingent on Allied cooperation, mutual support and interoperability of deployed forces in the region.
At the airbase, Admiral Bauer also spoke about Romania’s ongoing participation in NATO’s Air Policing Mission over the Baltic States. “Just last week, two of your Carpathian Vipers fighters were deployed to intercept some Russian aircraft that had ventured into Allied airspace. This was a strong demonstration of how NATO Allies operate together and are ready to defend every inch of airspace above Allied territory”, he added.
The following day, Admiral Bauer was received by the Radio-electronic and Observation Brigade of the Romanian Naval Forces in Constanta, which is the main Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance structure of the Romanian Naval Forces. It is designated to fight in the electromagnetic environment and to ensure the informative support for the Romanian Naval Forces and other beneficiaries.
The trip concluded with a visit to the Romanian Navy Diving Centre, where Admiral Bauer received a tour of the brand new deep diving simulator.
During his visit to Romania, Admiral Bauer was awarded the Emblem of Honour of the Defence Staff, which is a sign of appreciation for the commitment and dedication demonstrated by an individual while performing military duties.