The Military Committee, NATO’s highest military authority, held a Chiefs of Defence Session via secure teleconference on May 14th, 2020. For the first time in the history of the NATO Military Committee, the 30 Chiefs of Defence held a virtual meeting. Military leaders discussed the Alliance’s ongoing operations, missions, activities and operational commitments as well as the global COVID-19 crisis and NATO’s support to the response efforts. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Military Committee, presided over the sessions supported by General André Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and General Tod Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg provided details of the political outcomes from last month’s Foreign and Defence Ministerial meetings.
The Chiefs of Defence examined NATO’s operational commitments, with particular focus on its ongoing training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq: the Alliance agreed to reduce its Resolute Support Mission to 12,000 troops and NATO continues to train, assist and advise the Afghan security forces. The Chiefs of Defence discussed the importance of preserving the gains achieved in that country over the past many years and avenues to fight terrorism, build stability and strengthen partnerships across the region.
Chiefs of Defence reviewed the ongoing work to develop the Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept. These policies set out NATO’s military priorities as well as a coherent approach to current and future threats.
The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, as an overarching warfighting capstone concept, will inform the development of NATO’s Military Instrument of Power to ensure that NATO maintains and continues to build decisive military advantage.
Allied Command Transformation, NATO’s Warfare Development Command, has taken the lead in the development of the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept. "The Initial NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept developed by ACT looks forward 20 years, providing recommendations for new opportunities and innovative approaches, to ensure our Alliance maintain its technological edge", said General Lanata.
Allied Command Transformation continues to work in a transparent, inclusive and coherent manner with all Allies, including close cooperation with Allied Command Operations.
The Chiefs of Defence also addressed NATO’s role within the response to the COVID-19 crisis and the opportunities to further support allies, partners and countries in need. Allied Command Transformation has increased the number of online training, initiated an innovation challenge to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and harnesses a network of experts to position best practices and lessons learned as part of its response to the pandemic.