At the meeting in Brussels on February 15 NATO Ministers of Defence approved the Alliance Joint Air Power Strategy that lays out long-term guidelines in the development of NATO air capabilities and defines air force adaptation the Alliance will pursue in the future in accordance with the changes in security environment. T
he goal is to ensure that air and related forces of NATO allies maintain superiority and ability to respond immediately and appropriately respond to emerging threats as security of NATO allies is ensured and stability is projected.
“Development of such capabilities as air defence is very important for us because of the shortage of these capabilities in the region in comparison to what is needed for an effective response to Russia’s A2/AD capabilities in the region. Enhanced NATO air power will ensure control and defence of NATO airspace which significantly strengthens collective defenced and deterrence,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said.
The Strategy was drafted taking into account the necessity to have properly prepared NATO air capabilities due to great security challenges in the present security environment, including in the Baltic region because of Russia’s aggressive posture and actions of Russia, as well as development of military technology and innovations. Such capabilities would ensure there is a swift and precise response either alone or jointly with land, maritime or special operations forces, and would give flexibility to joint forces.
The meeting also addressed NATO readiness to send in reinforcement in case of a crisis. It was agreed that the widely supported initiative will be further developed ahead of the NATO Summit in July, with a particular focus on readiness of forces. “High readiness forces and speedy decision-making are crucial for ensuring a timely and effective reinforcement in a crisis which is particularly relevant in the Baltic region,” R. Karoblis stressed.
At the meeting the Defence Ministers also discussed NATO’s role in responding to the challenges to the South. It was agreed to begin planning a NATO training mission in Iraq on the basis of the present activities.
On the margins of the meeting a session of U.S., UK, Canadian, Polish and Lithuanian Defence Ministers took place to address assistance to Ukraine and the country's ongoing reform.