Opening remarks

by General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Commitee at the 179th Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session

  • 16 May. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 16 May. 2018 09:27

(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 la deuxieme réunion de l’année 2018 du Comité militaire en session des chefs d’état-major de la défense et la première dans notre nouveau siège.

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

  • Général D’Armée Eberhard Zorn de l’Allemagne
  • Général de Corp D’Armée Ales Opata de la République Tchèque
  • Général de Corp D’Armée Daniel Zmeko de la Slovakie
  • Général De Division Alan Geder de la Slovenie

Ales, Eberhard, Daniel et Alan, félicitations pour vos nominations.

While this is our first meeting, this is my last MCCS before I leave this June and hand over the helm to  Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. I want to warmly welcome you to a group that has a rich and varied wealth of experience and expertise. And whose unfettered military advice and guidance has played and continues to play a pivotal role in Allied decision making.

The Alliance continues to adapt, to strengthen its deterrence and defence, and to ensure it meets its core objectives of protecting the population and territory of the Alliance.

However, this is not to say that there is not more to be done. We need to remain agile, transformative – always ready and able to counter any threat or challenge that comes across our horizon.

I trust that today’s meetings will produce the much sought after military advice and guidance to allow us to move forward on the important tasks we have been given by our Heads of State and Government and our Ministers.

We will start our day with meeting with the Deputy Secretary General.  In line with our close cooperation between NATO and the European Union, our colleague, the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, General Mikhail Kostarakos is joining us and welcome to you. Our meeting will focus on the Alliance’s political and military priorities and intent ahead of the June Defence Ministerial, as well as the expectations and desired outcome for the July Summit.

We will then meet with our Enhanced Opportunity Partners - Australia, Georgia, Jordan, Finland and Sweden - to discuss military contributions to the security and stability in Europe’s southern neighbourhood, within the context of NATO’s Framework for the South. Following the decision by Foreign Minister’s last month, we will deliberate the details regarding the transition of the Alliance’s Training and Capacity Building initiative in Iraq into a mission. We will also discuss key military deliverables for Projecting Stability.

In the afternoon we will turn our attention towards Deterrence and Defence, more specficially to strengthening our posture. The ever changing security environment calls for no complaceny and requires that we look to future challenges and how we will meet them, collectively at twenty-nine but also when needed, with our partners. Main areas of discussion will be Military Mobility, Maritime Posture and increased intelligence sharing.

A key component to NATO’s adaptation is a robust and agile command structure. Therefore, in our final session of today, we will focus on the ongoing NATO Command Structure Adaptation within the broader context of Alliance’s modernisation. We will receive briefings from SACEUR, General Scaparrotti and SACT, General Mercier on the recommended options for implementation and provide guidance ahead of the upcoming June Defence Ministerial.

As for NATO’s modernisation, we will review the progress made since the Wales Summit, and reinforced with the decisions taken at Warsaw Summit. As we move forward, we aim to ensure that our efforts are deliberate and allow for the full range of projects and activities that lay before us. The Alliance is adapting – politically, militarily, and institutionally. Moving forward, it is our paramount importance that we enhance our overall military coherence, increase our capability delivery and synergise further the political-military collaboration that is so unique and fundamental to our Alliance.

The Strategic Commanders and I will then brief the media on the outcomes of our discussions at the press conference today at 1800.  I would now like to thank the media for attending our opening session and kindly ask you to leave the room. Thank you.