Opening Remarks by H.E. Corneliu Dobriţoiu, Romanian Minister of Defence

NATO Military Committee Conference - Sibiu, Romania

  • 14 Sep. 2012 - 16 Sep. 2012
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  • Last updated: 15 Sep. 2012 12:39

Mr. Chairman of the Military Committee, Generals, Admirals,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to welcome all of you here in Sibiu, a city with a particular relevance for our history. This city used to be the border of the Western world back in history, as my country along side others outline this border nowadays. Sibiu is also a key city in the heartland of Romania that was the cultural capital of Europe a few years ago.

I very much welcome this opportunity to share with you some thoughts on NATO’s current agenda. After the most recent summit, it could not have been a better time to approach in this framework a number of convergent dynamics derived from Chicago whose relevance and importance are not yet fully evaluated.

Our main task is to look forward at what we should do to follow the political guidance issued in April this year in order to advance on transformation path. We are talking about a steady work along the road including the summits in Bucharest, Strasbourg-Kehl and Lisbon. Moreover, the 2010 Strategic Concept laid the groundwork for the Alliance to be able to face the future security uncertainties and preserve its strategic relevance.

From this perspective, I would like to touch upon two major issues, namely, NATO’s posture and NATO’s effectiveness.

1. There is a widespread understanding of the need for transformation starting from unpredictability and rapid change of the world we live in. Transformation requires a more adapted Alliance to the current security challenges in order to fulfill the fundamental tasks regarding the collective defence as well as crisis management and cooperative security.

Adapting the Alliance entails conceptual adjustment, transformation and capabilities development under the stressful severe economic downturn. There is no doubt that “the name of the game” is a new mindset in approaching security challenges based on operational effectiveness and economic efficiency. Therefore, a particular focus must be devoted to multinational solutions to make a much smarter use of resources by maximizing operational effectiveness. In this regard, pursuing Smart Defence and thus pooling and sharing our efforts is the way out to develop those capabilities required for the Alliance in order to fulfill its core tasks. With no, or limited additional resources available for defence due to the economic austerity in the foreseeable future, the only choice we have got is to become more innovative to strengthen cooperation in defence procurement, to pool and share capabilities to defend our core values.

2. Speaking about NATO’s effectiveness, I would like to highlight the particular relevance of the reform of NATO HQ and the new Command Structure. It is a long and, sometimes, painful process but we have to find the right formula for our Alliance. A balanced approach in designing the organizational roles and functions within the Alliance is mandatory.

We cannot talk about the future role of NATO without taking into account the operational dimension. Of course, Afghanistan and allied operations are most important items on your agenda today. Approaching the end of the enduring operations in Afghanistan, we should thoroughly evaluate the way in which NATO will support Afghanistan after 2014, and we will be ready to join the Allies. NATO contribution, after this deadline, will remain of outmost importance for this country at least on the short and medium term.

Beyond the successful experience of this overseas commitment, we should also regard our participation in Afghanistan as an important driver for transformation. We will continue drawing lessons from this operation to build and transform our forces and capabilities. Moreover, the serious imbalances in NATO capabilities were also demonstrated so severely during the campaign in Libya. These lessons must be an integral part of our future plans.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The topics you are addressing today stand high to support our common goal to move forward NATO’s agenda. Transformation will be a significant process for both NATO’s future posture and effectiveness.

Therefore, with my final remarks I’m drawing upon your important multiple-folded role in advancing Alliance’s transformation process, and I am convinced that your discussions today will bring, as always, an important value to our common endeavor.

Not in the least, as of Romania, I would like to express our Government determination to fulfill all the assumed commitments, of which, those with NATO stand high on our priority.

To conclude, I would like to wish you all fruitful debates that I am certain will provide splendid opportunities for in-depth evaluations back in your capitals and at NATO HQ as well.