In Tirana, Albania, General Mercier joined NATO’s Chiefs of Defense for the NATO Military Committee meeting. The military leaders from across the Alliance welcomed a new NATO Hub for the South achieving Initial Operational Capability while noting the important role the hub will play in improving NATO’s regional understanding and ability to anticipate crises in the region.
The Chiefs of Defence provided guidance to the International Military Staff and the Strategic Commands on the conceptual work done so far together by Allied Command Transformation and Allied Command Operations on the NATO Command Structure Review, with a view to ensure a fit-for-purpose, robust and agile NCS capable of responding to any threats from any direction. The meeting discussions also stressed continued cooperation with the European Union, and other partners and the election of Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chief of the British Defence Staff, as the next Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach takes office in mid-2018.
General Mercier met with the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Šundov, and helped mark the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Croatian Navy. He also met with Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Damir Krstičević. Minister Krstičević briefed General Mercier on the Ministry's activities in the past two months, highlighting the adoption of the new National Security Strategy, the drafting of the National Security System Act, whose goal is to improve the co-ordination of all institutions to identify, prevent and timely respond to the threats in the security and defence sectors.
General Mercier also joined NATO’s Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre 15th anniversary, with staff and distinguished guests including Ambassadors of Allied Nations and the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. General Mercier noted that the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre's data collection and analysis capabilities are invaluable to the transformation of the Alliance and that the Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre is expected to play a key role as NATO adapts to keep the edge in the future by translating lessons into usable data for the benefit of the whole Alliance, through the NATO Lessons Learned Portal.
All of these engagement held the same goal: To continue to improve the Alliance’s military posture, while ensuring the relationship between North America and European Allies is the bedrock of North Atlantic security now and in the foreseeable future.