"NATO membership is good for Montenegro, for the region and for the whole alliance", says Chair of NATO Military Committee
On 23-24 January 2024, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer visited Montenegro at the invitation of the Montenegrin Chief of Defence, Brigadier General Zoran Lazarević. While in Podgorica, the Chair met with President Jakov Milatovic, Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Aleksa Bečić and Minister of Defence, Mr Dragan Krapovic. He also delivered a lecture at the University Donja Gorica, titled "The road ahead, from Vilnius to Washington".
After a short welcome ceremony and honour guard, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Bauer and the Montenegrin Chief of Defence Brigadier General Lazarević sat down to discuss the outcomes of the recent Chiefs of Defence meeting and the impact on Allies, including Montenegro. “NATO’s new Defence Plans were agreed at the Vilnius Summit last year, since then Allies have been working to maximise the executability of these plans that will be exercised for the first time, by all 31 Allies, during Steadfast Defender 24. This will be a crucial opportunity for Montenegro to test its existing defences, capabilities and forces, but also identify potential areas to be perfected”, said the Chair.
Speaking with the Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Aleksa Bečić and Minister of Defence, Mr Dragan Krapovic, Admiral Bauer commended Montenegro for its contributions to the Alliance. “Over the last 7 years, Montenegro has become a valued and valuable NATO Ally, making many contributions to our shared security, including to our missions in Kosovo and Iraq as well as our multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria and in Latvia. This shows that Montenegro is a country that takes responsibility for our shared security”, underscored Admiral Bauer.
In his meeting with the President of Montenegro, Mr Jakov Milatovic, Admiral Bauer noted the recent decision made by the Montenegrin government to increase their national defence spending to NATO’s 2% pledge. “Collective defence starts with a strong national defence. Therefore, it is important to ramp up our military capabilities and this can only be done with more defence spending. This increase will translate into more defence investment, especially in major new equipment. A stronger national defence makes for an even stronger Alliance”, added the Admiral.
During his visit, Admiral Bauer also delivered a lecture to students, faculty and military personnel at the University of Donja Gorica. In his remarks, he highlighted the fundamental changes in our global security, addressing the impact of Russia’s illegal and brutal war against Ukraine, and NATO’s response with increased deterrence and defence.