Opening remarks by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers session

  • 26 Feb. 2014
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  • Last updated: 26 Feb. 2014 14:20

Ministers,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to this meeting of NATO Defence Ministers. We are now just six months away from our Summit in Wales in September.

At our previous Summits, in Lisbon in 2010, and in Chicago in 2012, we made important commitments to improve our capabilities. And at Chicago, we set ourselves the goal of NATO Forces 2020. Forces that are modern, tightly connected, equipped, trained, exercised and commanded so that they can operate together and with partners in any environment.

Nous avons clairement progressé vers notre objectif. Mais nous devons en faire plus encore pour pouvoir disposer des capacités qui nous permettront de répondre aux menaces auxquelles nous sommes confrontés. Pour montrer que nous pouvons utiliser ces capacités ensemble, en tant qu'Alliance, et en coopération avec nos partenaires.

La réunion d'aujourd'hui nous offre l'occasion de nous tourner vers l'avenir et d'examiner les lacunes capacitaires qui subsistent. À une époque où les ressources sont limitées, nous devons axer nos investissements sur les priorités les plus importantes. Et admettre que certains programmes capacitaires ne donneront des résultats qu'à long terme. Cela signifie prendre les bonnes décisions aujourd'hui, pour être certains de disposer des bonnes capacités demain.

Since launching our Smart Defence initiative in 2011, Allies have been working more closely together to deliver much needed capabilities.

Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, as well as Missile Defence, are two significant areas where we are already seeing the benefits of this multilateral approach. We now need to step up to the next level. And do more together.

Our Connected Forces Initiative is another important tool for reaching our goal of NATO Forces 2020. By exercising more often together we can improve key elements of our forces. In particular, our NATO Response Force. And our Special Operations Forces. And we can demonstrate our collective determination to tackle the threats of the 21st century.

We continue to make important improvements to our cyber defence, both in terms of our policies and our capabilities. And we are making significant progress in developing our maritime strategy.
At our meeting today, we will also consider how to take steps to develop a NATO Defence Capacity Building initiative. So that we can assist those who request our help. To prevent crises. And to project stability without having to project forces.

Since Lisbon, we have achieved much. And we now need to maintain that momentum through to the Wales Summit, and beyond.

With that, I would like to conclude the public part of our session, and thank the representatives of the media for their attendance.