Joint press conference

by the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer with Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher Cavoli and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne

  • 10 May. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 10 May. 2023 21:22

(As delivered)

Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Bauer

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon. And thank you for attending this press conference.

Today we held a historic meeting of the NATO Military Committee.

For the first time we had the Finnish Chief of Defence around the table as our new brother in arms.

Having Finland in the Alliance makes us all stronger and safer.

But this meeting was historic for another reason as well.

Because today the Chiefs of Defence discussed an unparalleled integration of NATO and national military planning.

NATO is in a new era for collective defence and it is an era that we are ready for.

As the Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said at the opening session this morning: the transformation of our Alliance over the last decade (over the past year, even) has been nothing short of remarkable.

But we’re not done yet…

In the run up to the Vilnius Summit, we are integrating NATO and national planning more and more.

And we are rapidly increasing the readiness of our forces. 

Today, Chiefs of Defence took stock of the progress made so far on the development of the Regional Plans and the new NATO Force Model, which will be required to produce more troops at high readiness across our Alliance.

Readiness and effectiveness is about much more than numbers.  You need speed and scale as well as flexibility and a wide range of capabilities.

Which is why we also addressed the requirement for strengthened command and control capabilities…

… which are linked to our New Force Requirements, which will set the number and types of equipment and organisations that we require, across all regions and domains.

I will let General Cavoli provide more details on these work strands.

But the main thing to note is that this process is ongoing – and the fruits of that labour will be presented, in a few months, to the Allied Heads of State and Government at the Vilnius Summit.

All our efforts are focused on making sure that the Alliance’s political will is matched with military capabilities.

Which is more important than ever…

Russia’s war against Ukraine is the gravest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades.

What Moscow hoped to be a 3-day war is now entering its 15th month…

The strength and determination of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian people continue to astound us.

Earlier today, we dedicated a special session to the military situation in and around Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Military Representative provided a detailed account of the situation on the ground.

And stipulated the support that Ukraine requires to continue the fight for what is legally theirs.

The Chiefs of Defence reaffirmed their unrelenting support. There is no doubt that NATO will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.

Make no mistake: Russia will not stop at Ukraine… its ambitions lie far beyond its borders… we have seen it with Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as Transnistria.

Again and again, Russia has shook the foundations of the Rules-Based International Order.

And – unfortunately - they have ushered us, NATO in a new era of collective defence.

Not just for Ukraine…. Not just for NATO…. But for all free democracies in the world.

The fundamental difference between crisis management and collective defence is this:

It is not we, but our adversary who determines the timeline.

We have to prepare for the fact that conflict can present itself at any time.

NATO has been preparing for this new era for years.

The NATO Military Authorities have been monitoring Russia’s pattern of increasingly aggressive behaviour.

Together, we have implemented the biggest increase in collective defence since the Cold War.

But that work is not done yet.

The integration of NATO and national military planning will enable us to do exactly what the NATO flag symbolises: we will all follow the same compass.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world has changed immensely in the last year.

But NATO will do what it does best: unite, adapt and protect.

The determination and devotion of our 3.2 million men and women in uniform is unwavering.  

They are all working towards one common goal: the protection of the 1 billion people living on Allied soil and the democratic values we all hold dear.

Together, they send an unmistakable message to any potential aggressor.
And embody an important truth: that we are much stronger together than we are alone.

Thank you.


I thank you all for your presence here in the room and online. As we said this new ear of collective defence is not just about physically protecting one billion citizens but also about upholding the democratic values we all hold dear.

The free and independent press plays a big role in that. And you have an immense responsibility in the global quest for truth. By combating disinformation, you increase the resilience of our citizens.

Yesterday, a French AFP journalist was killed by rocket fire in Ukraine, while he was trying to tell the world of the plight of the Ukrainian soldiers. The price for truth can be immeasurably high. 

And I thank you for the work that you do.

Thank you for challenging us. That is exactly how it should be.

Until the next time.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Cavoli

Good afternoon everybody.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak with you today.

Maybe I could just give you a quick update on the implementation of the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area Concept, Strategic Concept that we call DDA.

As I stated, in this forum, back in January, the DDA family of plans is really the “How” of how the Alliance will operate in peace, crisis, and war to provide for our collective defence.
The plans that come out of DDA, the strategic plans as well as the regional plans; these will drive our structure, our operations, our activities, and importantly, as the Chairman pointed out our investments into the future, and this will include changes in our command and control structures.

The community inside Allied Command Operation has worked diligently over the past several months to develop sound objective defensive plans, and I can proudly say that we are on track. We are rapidly increasing the readiness and enablement of our forces, and we are making sure that they are ready to face current as well as future threats and my colleague, General Lavigne will talk about the future in a moment.

Our Regional Plans are geographically oriented plans to defend specific parts of NATO territory. They blend National Defence plans of our front line’s nations into NATO plans, and this optimizes NATO’s ability to move forces to the right place at the right time.

This change will move us from an Alliance that was optimized for out-of-area contingency operations to an Alliance fit for the purpose of large-scale operations to defend every inch of the Alliance’s territory and this is necessitated by the new realities we face.

Our strongest and most enduring advantage, however, will continue to be the unmatched unity of this Alliance. The DDA Strategy is a powerful demonstration of this cohesion and is designed to ensure our Alliance remains strong, our citizens safe, and our values secure.

Thank you again, I look forward to your questions.


Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Lavigne

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, good afternoon.

I am glad of this chance to answer your questions.

But I want to start with a few words about where we ARE and where we need to go.

And we are fostering the transformation of our Military Instrument of Power to prepare us for future challenges at the same time as we face the challenges of today.

Today, we are ready to support Ukraine for as long as it takes to defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity. And at the same time, we need to prepare for the future security environment.

This new environment is what I call the new reality.
I describe this new reality with three words: more, faster and everywhere.

So by more, I mean more data. I mean more unmanned systems. More hard power. More attrition.

By faster, I mean computing power and soon quantum technology and hypersonic weapons that we require to decide swiftly; leveraging our assets in space or cyberspace but also raising our connective superiority.

And by everywhere, I mean that these challenges are boundless, across domains and theatres.

Simultaneity is already a prominent aspect of the war in Ukraine.

We know this characteristic will only increase and expand in the future.   


So, NATO must keep its edge today.

SACEUR talked about it. NATO must ensure it can deter and be ready to defend every inch of Allied territory.

But also we have to ensure that we understand and are prepared for what may come tomorrow.

And we need to do both at the same time.
So how?

Central to this transformation effort is to develop a multidomain Alliance, with new capabilities that reinforce existing ones. And we need to implement our digital transformation. And we need both quality and quantity with more unmanned systems, highly efficient date-centric solutions in order to link seamlessly link sensors to shooters and sensors to decision-makers.
We also have to embrace the emerging and disruptive technology and the initial operational capability of DIANA is essential in this regard.

We are developing even more experimentation, wargaming, modelling and simulation.

We have to leverage partnerships, starting with the commercial sector, especially in the area of digitalisation.

And finally, we need to improve our agility and our ability to act incrementally.

So thank you very much, win as a team and I look forward to answering your questions.