Brussels, 26 April 2012 – Chiefs of Defence from NATO member and NATO Partner countries have concluded two days of meetings at NATO Headquarters. Chaired by General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the Military Committee, NATO’s highest-level military gathered in Brussels to discuss key security issues. Discussions focused on NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, Lessons Identified in Libya, military cooperation with Partners and issues in anticipation of the Chicago Summit (20-21 May 2012).
NATO’s two Strategic Commanders, Admiral James Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) and General Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) also participated, together with the Chairman of the European Union’s Military Committee, General Hakan Syren.
Gen. John Allen, Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan updated NATO and ISAF Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) on the progress of the transition process. Transition remains on track, and CHODs are cautiously optimistic with regard to the improvement in the security situation, supported by the confidence in quality and commitment of the Afghan National Security Forces. In the context of the NATO Strategic Plan for Afghanistan, discussions focussed on NATO’s support to Afghanistan beyond 2014 and the operational and logistical challenges of redeployment.
The Military Committee welcomed the announcement by Lt.Gen. Zamana, Chief of General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, of the deployment next year of a national frigate to Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter–piracy mission. By doing so, Ukraine will become the first Partner nation to contribute to Operation Ocean Shield.
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Georgia, Lt.Gen Tchankotadze, discussed his country’s view as a partner in NATO-led operations. He also expressed his country’s intent to increase its contribution to ISAF by another 750 soldiers, making Georgia the largest non-NATO troop-contributing nation to ISAF.
The NATO Russia Council Military Representatives (NRC-MR) noted the NRC-MR Workplan for 2011 and endorsed the continuation of enhanced NATO-Russia military cooperation. The Russian Chief of Defence, Army Gen. Makarov, invited a NATO delegation to Moscow to attend the Missile Defence Seminar in May 2012.
An update on NATO’s other operations was provided by Adm. Jim Stavridis, SACEUR, who focused in particular on NATO’s operation in Kosovo (KFOR) and the Alliance’s Counter-Piracy operation off the Horn of Africa.
The CHODS reiterated their support for KFOR to fully implement its mandate to preserve a safe and secure environment for all people in Kosovo in an impartial way. SACEUR presented the situation on the ground as calm, but still volatile and emphasized any future change in troop numbers will be the result of a condition-based assessment.
The CHODs then discussed Lessons Identified from Operation Unified Protector, NATO’s operation over and off Libya. They paved the way for implementation and integration of the strategic lessons into the new NATO Command Structure.
In its concluding session, CHODs held an informative discussion on the military aspects of the Chicago Summit to which the MC’s advice will be instrumental.
NATO’s Military Committee is scheduled to meet again in CHODs format 14-16 September, in Romania.