NATO Chiefs of Defence address Adaptation, Coherence and Cooperation
On the 16th and 17th January, the Allied Chiefs of Defence gathered for their first meeting of 2018 in the 178th Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session (MCCS) at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. During the first day, the CHoDs focused on the Alliance’s political and military priorities ahead of the July Summit, military contribution to security and stabilization in Europe’s southern neighborhood, the NATO Command Structure (NCS) adaptation, the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the Global Coalition against ISIS and NATO’s role in Iraq. The second day saw sessions with Ukraine and Georgia, followed by a meeting focused on Military Coherence.
Discussions on Europe’s southern neighbourhood centered on acknowledging the ongoing security challenges and the need to further increase cooperation and coordination of military activities between Allies and partners in support of stability in the Middle East and North Africa. In this context, the CHoDs also stressed the important role of NATO’s Hub for the South.
With regard to the NCS Adaptation, the CHODs gave a recommendation on a proposal that will deliver a structure that is fit-for-purpose, meeting the requirement for effective command and control across all three NATO core tasks in face of current and future security challenges. They also provided guidance for additional work required for the implementation phase once a political decision has been taken.
In the Resolute Support Mission session, the CHoDs, alongside their operational partners, stressed their continued commitment to Afghanistan and the Mission. They also acknowledged the Afghanistan National Defence and Security Forces’ enhanced capabilities. General Pavel stated: “The Chiefs of Defence recognised the progress achieved by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces over the course of last year, in particular the growth of the Afghan Special Security Forces and the Afghan Air Force, improved leadership and – most importantly, the Afghan forces’ growing confidence in their ability to fight and win”.
Concerning the Global Coalition against ISIS and NATO’s involvement in Iraq, the Chiefs of Defence recommended enhanced coordination with the European Union and other international partners as well as the possible adaptation of the NATO Training and Capacity Building activity in Iraq (NTCB-I) to better respond to the needs of the Iraqi authorities in the area of defence sector reform.Meetings with Ukraine and Georgia allowed the respective Partner CHoDs to provide briefings on their challenging regional security situations and progress reports on their national defence force development. The CHoDs recognized the ongoing transformation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2017 and stressed their continued commitment to Ukraine through the Comprehensive Assistance Package. On Georgia, the Allied Chiefs recognized its significant and enduring contribution to NATO’s Operations and Missions, especially to Resolute Support. The CHoDs commitment to supporting the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package was restressed and they noted the opportunity for further NATO-Georgia interoperability.
In their final session, the Allied Chiefs of Defence underlined the need for increased coherence across the numerous work strands in support of all three core tasks. They noted the continued importance of long term strategic thinking intertwined with political guidance.