|Updated: 14-sep-10||NATO IMS Speech|
Opening of the Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence session by Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Military Committee in Chiefs of Staff session here at NATO Headquarters, Brussels. And I am, of course, delighted to extend that welcome to the members of the media who are with us today for this opening session.
This is our first meeting of 2010, and we know that this year, like last year, will present NATO with challenges – but it will also present NATO with opportunities, and we must be sure that we are in a position to capitalise on these opportunities. I say ‘opportunities for NATO’, but as you can see by the nations gathered around this table, it goes much wider than that.
Last year we were celebrating NATO’s sixtieth birthday, and this was just after Albania and Croatia had become the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth full members of the Alliance. The Alliance has grown from its original twelve members to an Alliance of twenty eight members, but in terms of our operations and activities, of course, we are working as part of a much greater Alliance. Over the course of the next two days, we will conduct meetings in seven formats, and sixty three nations will sit around this table and discuss the ways and means by which they will collectively strive to continue to bring security to the wider world.
Our partners who are not NATO members contribute in many senses as much as NATO members, but more importantly, they bring to this table their shared common values and a belief in the need for a collective approach to security, not only within their own individual nations, but in the form of a ‘forward security’ conducted and delivered through operations at a distance, yet undertaken to deliver security at home.
We will, during our meetings discuss the specifics of operations that affect many nations, not just the NATO nations, and this will include discussions on Afghanistan, Kosovo, and counter-piracy. Our sessions, quite rightly, will not be conducted in ‘NATO only’ format, because this is not a NATO-only problem, it is a shared problem requiring a shared view and shared solutions. We will also hold meetings with partners and with individual nations, including a meeting at twenty nine with Russia. All of the meetings are intended to strengthen our relationships and to ensure that we continue on a path that will deliver wider security for all of our populations to enjoy.
Today, we concentrate on Kosovo and other operations, as well as the various partner meetings; tomorrow, we will cover Afghanistan and the New Strategic Concept. For the Afghanistan session, we will hear in person from General Kayani, the Pakistan Chief of Army Staff whose views will, I am sure, be of particular interest to the ISAF community, representing as they do a particular dimension of the Afghanistan endeavour. General McChrystal, Commander ISAF will be here and General Caldwell Commander NTM-A will join us via VTC; they will be key to the debate. For the session on the New Strategic Concept, I am delighted that we will be joined by Doctor Madeleine Albright and the Group of Experts. This will allow Chiefs of Defence to follow-on from the discussions on this subject that they had in our conference in Lisbon, and to continue to discuss the specific military dimensions of the New Strategic Concept.
But now, I would like to make some specific welcomes: to General Hakan Syren, the Chairman of the EU Military Committee with whom we will now share our ideas, just as we share many of the same challenges. Also to SACEUR – Jim Stavridis, and SACT – Stéphane Abrial, and to the three Joint Commanders (General Egon Ramms, Admiral Mark Fitzgerald and General Philippe Stoltz) – thank you for taking the time to be here. We also welcome the new Chiefs of Defence of Denmark – General Knud Bartels; of Germany – General Volker Wieker; and of Norway – General Harald Sunde; although for Knud and Harald we are really welcoming you back to NATO as you are both former MilReps of course. You will find their CVs in front of you for you to read at your leisure. And, we say hello to the Military Representatives of Belgium, Denmark, France, Portugal, Slovenia, and the USA, who are joining us for the first time. With that, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to move to our first agenda item – operations, but first I would like to ask the members of the media to leave the room.