161021smpc400NATO Allies and partner nations concluded the annual Strategic Military Partners Conference in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, October 21st. The conference brought together 245 participants from 48 different nations, 25 of which are partner nations.

Its target audience consists of the Chiefs of Defence of NATO, Partnership for Peace nations, Mediterranean Dialogue nations, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative nations, and the Partners across the Globe countries. ‘Partnership: A Pillar of Success, Innovation, and Stability in a World of Change’ was the theme of the conference discussions, organized by four syndicate sessions based on modern operational environments: Maritime, Land, Air and Cyber.

"These discussions were fruitful and open and will further develop NATO’s partnerships around the globe," said General Denis Mercier, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation on the final day, "I have to thank everybody for their efforts and contributions to developing our partnerships." General Mercier's comment comes at a time when NATO is expanding its membership to Montenegro and attendees for this year's conference also included Nigeria and Pacific-based partners such as Japan and Australia. General Mercier address the important of "improving proficiency, readiness and responsiveness across the full spectrum of operations."

Rear Admiral Peter Gumataotao, Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Plans and Policy, Supreme Allied Command Transformation was the main speaker for the first syndicate addressing the Maritime domain. “Together we can do a lot what we can’t do alone, so I am very impressed with what we have covered during the conference," he said during a press gathering following the conference. “In a very global interconnected and complex world we find that there is a wide range of partners that we need to open up to and enhance, align and strengthen to meet our core tasks."

NATO will lead enhancement of mutual Command and Control in order to provide dynamic and improved decision making. In practice this means mutual capability development to offset gaps and vulnerabilities.

The Strategic Military Partners Conference began in 2005 when NATO’s Allied Command Transformation first hosted a seminar that brought senior military representatives from Allied and partner nations together outside of political frameworks. Eleven years later the Strategic Military Partners Conference has become a fixture on NATO's event calendar; it is a focal point for Allies and partners to discuss long-term issues related to the transformation of military partnerships.

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