by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers session
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.
As I speak, NATO forces are busy around the world. Building security. And spreading stability.
Their dedication and determination is displayed daily in Afghanistan, in Kosovo, in the Mediterranean, in the Gulf of Aden, in the skies over Northern Europe, and on NATO’s south-eastern border.
The Patriot missiles which will augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities are now operational under NATO command and control. This shows Alliance solidarity and resolve.
This deployment is also a clear demonstration of the importance of having the right capabilities, at high readiness. So that we can deter and defend against any threat. And respond to any crisis, wherever, and whenever, our nations’ security is at risk.
The right capabilities. At readiness. These have been the hallmarks of our Alliance for over six decades. To retain them in the years to come, we need to maintain our political, military and economic investment in defence.
We must hold the line on defence spending. Work together to make the best of what we have. And consider what more we can do as our economies start to recover.
At our Chicago summit, we adopted Smart Defence as the new mindset. Because multinational solutions can help keep our costs down and our capabilities strong.
As we prepare to wind down some of our operational deployments, we must also prepare to face the unpredictable challenges of the future.
Our Connected Forces Initiative will be at the forefront of delivering the modern, tightly connected, high readiness forces we need. And for ensuring we are ready to operate together in the most demanding circumstances.
The right capabilities. At readiness. That is the focus for our work here today.
I would now like to thank the press for joining us.