Opening remarks by the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer

Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session

  • 19 May. 2022 -
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  • Last updated: 19 May. 2022 11:36

(As delivered)

Dear Chiefs of Defence, Strategic Commanders, Dear Colleagues, dear Friends. Welcome to the 187th Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session in person. 

The CHODs are the drivers of change as the strategic leadership of the Alliance. And we have adapted the Alliance every decade to the new realities of the Euro-Atlantic partnership and our security environment.

As the Secretary General once said, we are the most successful Alliance in history because of two things: first, our ability to unite. And secondly, our ability to change.
Adaptation is the main topic of our meeting here today. And as a new era for NATO has begun. Because President Putin’s war in Ukraine has presented us with a new strategic dilemma and reality.

In these past few months, NATO has shown that it is capable of swiftly and effectively changing its posture. The foundation for that response came from the work that this committee started years ago.  Together with the Strategic Commanders we developed the NATO Military Strategy, followed by the Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area, the DDA, and the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, the NWCC.

After being involved in crisis response operations for more than two decades, we have implemented the largest reinforcement of our collective defence in a generation. And whilst we are still in the process of further developing and implementing the DDA ‘family of plans’, we have already and rapidly put DDA successfully to the test.

The question now is, what will our posture look like in the midterm and in the long term? How can we make sure that we are prepared to expect the unexpected, in any domain, from any potential aggressor, in any part of the Euro-Atlantic Area?
There is one thing we can say with certainty: time is no longer our friend.

It is our adversary who determines the timeline, and it is up to us as a defensive Alliance to make sure that we are always ready to protect the one billion citizens who live on Allied soil, and deter and defend the threats from Russia and the international terror groups. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for us to provide the political leadership with our unfettered military advice on NATO’s future posture and the continued adaptation, which will in turn allow them to take informed decisions.

Now, let me briefly touch upon the upcoming sessions today. In a moment, the Secretary General will join us to discuss the geostrategic context and the preparations for the Madrid Summit in June. 

The second session is dedicated to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Our partners from Finland, Sweden and Ukraine will participate as well. And Valerii will participate on VTC.

During the third session, led by Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Tod Wolters, we will focus on the implementation of DDA and the development of our long-term posture.

During session four, with partners from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and the new Chairman of the EUMC, General Robert Brieger, we will focus on the Indo-Pacific Region. And how our cooperation benefits global security. 

During the fifth session, led by the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Philippe Lavigne, we will discuss the implementation of the Warfare Development Agenda, the military input to the Political Guidance 23 and the lessons we can learn so far from the war in Ukraine.

We will then be updated on the upcoming September Military Committee Conference in Tallinn, Estonia by the Estonian CHOD, Martin Herem.

And in our last session, we will convene in a 1+0 format, to give us an opportunity for a candid and open exchange on strategic issues. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, if there is one thing that the war in Ukraine has taught us, it is that we should never underestimate the importance of morale. To know what you are fighting for. The 3.2 million men and women who serve this Alliance know exactly what they are fighting for: the protection of our freedom and democracy.

I would like to take a moment to show respect for this immense band of brothers and sisters, who are willing to put it all on the line. Our thoughts go out especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. And to the friends and family who miss them dearly, every day. I would like you, I would like to invite you all to observe a moment of silence. Please stand.

[Moment of Silence]

Thank you. Now allow me to leave you briefly to welcome the Secretary General.

And after he arrived, we will continue the next session.