Press Statement of Chair of the Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer

Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session, Athens, Greece

  • 18 Sep. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 18 Sep. 2021 18:16

(As delivered)

Kalispera, Good afternoon, early evening.

The Military Committee has just concluded.
Our discussions covered the breadth of the security challenges facing the Alliance:

  • The evolution of NATO-led operations, missions and activities.
  • The increased use of non-traditional definitions of conflict, especially information warfare.
  • The rise of non-state actors and their access to technologies normally limited to state entities.
  • How future conflict will be persistent, simultaneous and boundless.
  • And how the threshold between peace and war is increasingly blurred.

For seventy-two years, the Alliance has protected the freedom and security of its member’s populations and territory through political and military means because it has evolved over time.

Through the Cold War, the wars in the Balkans, the operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, to welcoming sovereign Central and Eastern Europe into the Alliance.

The Military Committee has throughout played a key role – providing military advice to the NATO Secretary General and the North Atlantic Council, and guidance to the two Supreme Allied Commanders.

Our unfettered military advice aims to make sure that what is decided on the political level is indeed militarily attainable.

It was therefore appropriate that our first session of the day focused the Chiefs of Defence’s attention on NATO’s operations, missions and activities.

The dramatic developments of recent weeks and months are tragic for Afghanistan and its people.

And they are a bitter turn of events for the whole international community. There are many lessons to be learnt.

The Alliance will conduct an honest, clear-eyed assessment of our engagement, looking at what worked, and what did not.

Regarding the NATO-led Kosovo Force mission, the Chiefs of Defence reviewed its progress.

They affirmed that KFOR will take the measures necessary to keep a safe and secure environment in Kosovo at all times, in line with its UN mandate.

The Military Committee also stressed that they remain fully committed to stability and security in the Western Balkans.

Turning south, the Chiefs of Defence discussed NATO’s Mission in Iraq as well as the security situation in and around Iraq.

The Military Committee stressed the presence of NATO in Iraq is conditions-based.

Any increase in troop numbers will be incremental, and based on requirements and consent from the Iraqi authorities.

The Chiefs of Defence further welcomed how NATO’s presence in Iraq contributes to the global fight against international terrorism.

Our second session of the day focused on strategic military adaptation.

Building on NATO’s Military Strategy, the NATO Military Authorities have developed two concepts:

NATO’s Warfighting Capstone Concept, which has a 20-year horizon warfighting perspective to ensure NATO is kept strong militarily and has capabilities fit for future warfare.

And secondly, the concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro Atlantic area, DDA for short.

This brings together current military thinking. It is a threat informed and 360 degrees approach which enables us to keep Allied populations and territory safe.

The DDA is now being operationalised into plans for peacetime, times of crisis and times of conflict.

This includes the revision of the Alliance’s Graduated Response Plans and the development of Regional Plans.

The Chiefs of Defence were briefed by General Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in short SACEUR, and General Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, in short SACT, on the progress of their respective concepts.

The Military Committee were grateful for the Strategic Commander’s assessments, and provided further direction on the implementation and development of these concepts.

With the plethora of challenges currently facing the Alliance, the Chiefs of Defence then focused on NATO’s deterrence and defence posture.

NATO’s relationship with Russia is at its lowest point since the Cold War.

Moscow’s aggressive actions are a threat to our security.

China’s rise is fundamentally shifting the balance of power, which has potential consequences for our security, our prosperity and our way of life.

Globally, we are seeing new and more brutal forms of terrorism.

Every day we see an increase in the threats in cyber space.

Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and big data are changing the nature of conflict.

NATO needs to remain vigilant, while keeping a balanced and measured posture.

The Chiefs of Defence emphasised that NATO’s actions are not to provoke but to prevent a conflict and to preserve the peace.

The Military Committee took the opportunity to discuss the NATO 2030 agenda - its opportunities and military implications.

The Chiefs of Defence considered their input to NATO 2030 and how best to support NATO’s next Strategic Concept.

The strategic concept will outline NATO’s enduring purpose and nature, and its fundamental security tasks.

It specifies the elements of the Alliance’s approach to security and provides guidelines for the adaptation of Allied military forces. Our final session of the day saw the Chiefs of Defence elect the new Director General of the International Military Staff, DGIMS. The Director General is the head the International Military Staff at the Headquarters in Brussels.

And the DGIMS is responsible to the Military Committee for the efficient and effective functioning of the International Military Staff.

The DGIMS is empowered to act on behalf of the Military Committee on routine matters, and, in case of urgency, to take executive action on its behalf within its established policies.

I am pleased to announce that Lieutenant General Janusz Adamczak from Poland has been elected as the next DGIMS, and he will start in this position in the summer of 2022. I look forward to working with Janusz.

Thank you

General Floros, Konstantinos, the floor is now yours.