Opening remarks

by General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Commitee at the 178th Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session

  • 16 Jan. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 17 Jan. 2018 15:52

(As delivered)

Mesdames et messieurs, bonjour. Je souhaiterai d’abord la bienvenue aux chefs d’état-major de la défense des pays de l’OTAN et aux commandants stratégiques, à cette première réunion de l’année 2018 du Comité militaire en session des chefs d’état-major de la défense.

Je souhaite tout particulièrement saluer les nouveaux collègues qui nous rejoignent :

  • Général Alain Duschène du Luxembourg
  • Général Ilija Dakovic, du Montenegro
  • Amiral Rob Bauer des Pays-Bas

Alain, Ilija and Rob, félicitations pour vos nominations.

 Aujourd’hui, nos échanges viseront essentiellement à instaurer une interprétation commune de l’évolution récente de l’environnement de sécurité. Nous fixerons également les domaines dans lesquels il convient de donner un avis aux ministres pour leurs prochaines réunions et avant le sommet de Bruxelles. 

Ce matin, nous ferons le point sur les progrès réalisés depuis notre rencontre en septembre de l’année dernière.

We will start our day with a meeting with the Secretary General.  In line with our continued enhanced cooperation between NATO and the European Union, our colleague, the Chairman of the European Union’s Military Committee, General Mikhail Kostarakos is joining us. Welcome, Mikhail. We will cover the Alliance’s political and military priorities and intent ahead of the February Defence Ministerial, and well as expectations for the July Summit.

We will then meet with our wide network of Partners to discuss military contribution to security and stability in Europe’s southern neighbourhood in the context of NATO’s Projecting Stability efforts. We will deliberate how Allies’ and Partners’ efforts can enhance stability in the area, and in turn support national plans for individual partners. Military cooperation is important, but only when combined with a range of other elements, such as the political, economic, judicial and social, can  a sustained and lasting effect be achieved.

In the afternoon we will meet with our RESOLUTE SUPPORT operational partners.  SACEUR, General Scaparrotti and Commander of the RESOLUTE SUPPORT Mission, General Nicholson will update us on the strategic and operational situation.  Deputy Senior Civilian Representative, Mr Boatswain will provide the political context.  The effectiveness of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) is essential to the stability of Afghanistan, and to the assurance of the Afghan society.  And the positive message about their progress and confidence to fight and win needs to be more widely heard.    

A key component to NATO’s adaptation is a robust and agile command structure. Therefore, in the late afternoon session, we will focus on NATO Command Structure Adaptation. We will receive briefings from SACEUR and SACT on the recommended options for implementation and provide guidance ahead of the February Defence Ministerial.

You will recall our Heads of State and Government met here last May and agreed that NATO formally join the Global Coalition against ISIS.  That campaign has reached an inflexion point with the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  Nevertheless, the campaign is not over – it now moves to a different phase which is less about combat operations and more about security and stabilisation.  We will therefore discuss the transformation of the Global Coalition and, in particular, NATO’s role in Iraq. 

Tomorrow, we will start with two meetings dedicated to our Partners, Ukraine and Georgia, who will inform us of their perspectives of the regional security situation.  We will also hear about the status of Ukrainian Armed Forces Development and NATO’s Substantial Package for Georgia. 

Our final meeting will focus on NATO’s modernisation. Since the Wales Summit, and reinforced with the decisions taken at Warsaw Summit, the Alliance has adapted – politically, militarily, and institutionally. As we move forward, it is paramount importance that we provide an overall coherence to all our military activities. This is to ensure that all the resources at our disposal are used to the utmost effect.

The Strategic Commanders and I will then brief the media on the outcomes of our discussions at a press conference in the afternoon.  I would now like to thank the media for attending our opening session and kindly ask you to leave the room.