NATO Plans Greater Show of Force in Response to Russian Aggression
NATO Plans Greater Show of Force in Response to Russian Aggression
(Source: British Forces News; issued May 17, 2018)
Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan have been high on the agenda at NATO’s Military Committee session. The 29 Allied Chiefs of Defence met in the new NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday to review and discuss key military issues ahead of the next month’s meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.

Russia has been a top concern for defence chiefs since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. However, tension has ramped up recently as Moscow was blamed for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Russian aircraft have increasingly tested NATO air defences as they fly dangerously close to NATO planes. Earlier this month, a high-speed Russian fighter jet had a near miss with a US surveillance plane over the Baltic.

Nato forces

In response to Russian aggression, the alliance has sent battle groups to reassure nervous countries which border Russia. Now NATO is planning a much greater show of force on land, air and sea.

Trident Juncture 18 will take place this November in Norway with over 40,000 participants from more than 30 nations.

General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, said: “This exercise is a prime example of NATO allies and partners working together in peacetime as well as in crisis. It will be one of NATO’s largest exercises in the recent years.”

NATO Chiefs have also been considering Afghanistan and is boosting its training mission there by sending an extra 3,000 troops to join the 13,000 already there.

However, overall NATO says violence is at its lowest level for five years as Afghan forces gradually weaken insurgents.

General Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said: “We’ve had a second year of putting pressure on the Taliban and enough pressure as we look to the future – what would I hope to see - is more of them coming to the table for reconciliation and we have to get to a negotiated point.”

On Iraq, NATO intends to set up a permanent training mission and military academies.

But with anti-western cleric Muqtada al-Sadr now in holding the balance of power in the country, it is unclear what kind of welcome NATO troops will receive.

General Petr Pavel, Chairman Nato Military Committee, said: “Regarding the NATO training and capacity building mission in Iraq, the chiefs of defence noted the need for NATO to continue discussions with the new Iraqi government once it is formed.”

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NATO Chiefs of Defence Inaugural Meeting in New NATO Headquarters Focuses on Deterrence and Defence, Modernisation and Projecting Stability
(Source: North Atlantic Treaty Organization; issued May 16, 2018)
The twenty-nine Allied Chiefs of Defence met in the new NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium today (16 May 2018) to review and discuss key military deliverables ahead of the forthcoming Defence Ministerial in June and the Heads of State and Government Summit in July. Discussions focused on NATO’s Strategic Direction South, Deterrence and Defence, and Allied Modernisation.

Setting the scene for their deliberations, the Chiefs of Defence met with Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, General Mikhail Kostarakos. Following discussions on the key strategic issues facing the Alliance, the Chiefs of Defence welcomed the Deputy Secretary General’s recognition of their crucial military contributions to NATO.

Turning towards the South in their second session, the Allied Chiefs of Defence met with their Enhanced Opportunities Partners (Georgia, Sweden, Finland, Australia and Jordan). The Chiefs of Defence reiterated the importance of complementarity between NATO’s Training and Capacity Building Mission in Iraq and complementary with other international efforts, in particular the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the European Union mission.

They stressed the need for more coherence of the activities by the many actors in Iraq and in general across the South in order to deliver greater effect in a more efficient way. On the Hub for the South, the Chiefs of Defence reaffirmed their support and the need to continue improving our ability to anticipate crises and the threats and challenges in the region.

In the third session of the day, the Allied Chiefs of Defence provided guidance on further enhancing NATO’s deterrence and defence, highlighting the requirements for enhanced readiness and rapid reinforcement. On the latter, the Chiefs of Defence acknowledged the progress made and called for further close work with the European Union to ensure NATO’s freedom of movement and a single set of requirements. Noting the necessity to deter and defend across all domains, the Chiefs of Defence reviewed the Alliance’s maritime posture and provided additional recommendations on ways to further develop this capability.

Allliance Modernization was the focus of the last session. The Chiefs of Defence commended the NATO Military Authorities for their work on the NATO Command Structure Adaptation Detailed Implementation Plans in response to Defence Minister’s February 2018 tasking. Regarding the ongoing political, military and institutional adaptation of the Alliance, the Chiefs of Defence stressed the need to preserve the principle of unfettered military advice.

Concluding the May 2018 Military Chiefs of Defence Session (MCCS), the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Pavel, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Scaparrotti and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Mercier held a joint press conference. During his last MCCS press conference, the Chairman took the opportunity to thank the Strategic Commanders for their dedication, hard work and friendship during his tenure, and stress the continued relevance of the Alliance as it nears its seventieth anniversary:

‘I want to take this opportunity to thank both SACEUR and SACT for their continuous support, for their leadership in their respective commands and their invaluable advice during my three years as the Chairman. It allowed me to lead the military part of this Alliance to its most significant adaptation in recent years.”

The Chairman concluded his remarks by stating “Nearly seventy years after its creation, NATO's essential mission has not changed: to ensure that the Alliance remains an unparalleled community of freedom, peace, security, and shared values, including individual liberty, human rights, and democracy, and of course the rule of law. I am very honoured to have been part of this endeavour’.

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