On October 27, Lieutenant-General Leonids Kalnins, chief of Latvian Defence, Admiral Haakon Brunn-Hanssen, chief of Norwegian Defence and General Micael Byden, chief of Swedish Defence, visited NATO Allied Command Transformation.
They were individually greeted in front of the Headquarters by General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, before all joining him to the Old Dominion University, where General Mercier introduced them to the Innovation Hub, Allied Command Transformation’s office embedded in the University.
They were also present at the award of the prize for the Allied Command Transformation organised Innovation Challenge, hosted by Old Dominion University.
The visit of the three highest military personnel of their respective countries was the right occasion to raise current issues about the Northern flank of the Alliance and the importance of partners like Sweden. During talks with Admiral Brunn-Hanssen, General Mercier described the successful visit of his Majesty King Harald V of Norway, in August 2018. He also raised the topic of Trident Juncture 2018, the major exercise of the Alliance which will take place in the Baltic area in November 2018, with important support provided by the host nation.
General Mercier also took the opportunity to speak about interoperability, including allies and partners. The examples of the Enhanced Forward Presence at Camp Adazi, Latvia, or the Baltic air policing mission, offer opportunities for real-time experimentation to make improvements in each domain.
The discussions about the Northern flank of the Alliance, which took part on the west bank of the Atlantic Ocean, are positive example of how there are no topics or issues which do not include the Alliance. It is the role of Allied Command Transformation, NATO’s home in North America to make this link between the two sides of the ocean, and to deal with strategic topics in order to improve the Alliance’s military posture, now and in the future.