NATO Chiefs of Defence concluded a successful two-day meeting at NATO Headquarters identifying the future military priorities in Operations, Partnerships and Transformation, setting the basis for the work on the 2014 Summit deliverables.
To emphasize the importance of partnership to NATO, the Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence format agreed to revitalize the forum of the Mediterranean Dialogue and strengthen the important military-to-military relations with partners from the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, in order to enhance mutual understanding, practical cooperation and interoperability.
During the ISAF meeting, NATO and Partner Chiefs of Defence reaffirmed their commitment to fully support the ISAF Commander over the next 11 months. Reviewing the preparations for the delivery on the post 2014 NATO-led Train Advise and Assist mission, they underlined the need to stay flexible and agile in the planning process. “There are no doubts about our commitment to Afghanistan post 2014, as part of a broad international community effort. So the sooner the legal framework is agreed on, the better it will be for the continuation of our planning,” stated the Chairman of the Military Committee, General Knud Bartels.
At the NATO-Russia Council with Military Representatives, Chiefs of Defence approved the 2014 Work Plan and agreed to continue to explore areas of mutually beneficial cooperation, such as counter piracy, counter terrorism, search & rescue at sea, logistics and medical support. They also acknowledged the value of the Cooperative Airspace Initiative and the Afghan Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund. “These are both very positive achievements which demonstrate the tangible benefits of our cooperation,” emphasised General Bartels.
In the KFOR session, NATO and Partner Chiefs of Defence shared an optimistic view of the security situation in Kosovo and endorsed a series of benchmarks and indicators which set the basis for the consideration of KFOR’s future role and structure.
Concluding with a dedicated session on NATO Transformation, the Chiefs of Defence expressed their full support in the implementation of the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI), which will be crucial after 2014, when the ISAF mission will conclude. In this context, NATO Chiefs of Defence expressed their commitment to support Exercise Trident Juncture 2015, which will be a milestone for the Connected Forces Initiative and NATO. The Chiefs of Defence also emphasized the importance of linking and clustering national and NATO exercises, and underlined the continued need for partnership participation in exercises.
NATO Chiefs of Defence highlighted the important of the Smart Defence approach and agreed to focus attention on key projects, which are associated with the capability shortfalls identified in the NATO Defence Planning Process, such as Joint ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) and Ballistic Missile Defence. They concluded with a discussion on NATO’s activities in the maritime domain, during which they noted the Alliance’s important role in respect of countering terrorism, piracy and emerging global threats.