NATO Defence Ministers met in Brussels June 26 -27th, 2019 to continue Alliance modernization. Ahead of the two-day meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg outlined the key topics for discussion, including Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, progress on burden sharing, NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, new technologies and NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.
Ministers discussed progress on fairer burden sharing within the Alliance. “Today, we are releasing for the first time figures for 2019 defence spending and I can announce that the real increase for 2019 is 3.9% across European Allies and Canada,” said the Secretary General. Allies are also investing more in new capabilities and stepping up with more forces for NATO missions and operations.
Ministers also addressed Russia’s continuing violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. “We call on Russia to take the responsible path,” said the Secretary General, adding that Allies are planning to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council next week to raise this issue again.
Ministers examined the implementation of NATO’s strengthened deterrence and defence posture, including the NATO Readiness Initiative, and approved NATO’s first overarching space policy, one of Allied Command Transformation's workstrands in cooperation with Allied Command Operations. “NATO can serve as a key forum, bringing Allies together to share capabilities and information,” said the Secretary General.
This policy will guide NATO’s approach to space, the opportunities and challenges. “We can play an important role as a forum to share information, increase interoperability, and ensure that our missions and operations can call on the support they need,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The security implications of new technologies, together with European Union High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini and counterparts from Finland and Sweden, was high on the ministers agenda too. “These technologies raise challenges and opportunities for us all, and this could be a promising area for future NATO-EU cooperation,” said the Secretary General.
General Lanata, who addressed the assembly on the topics of Innovation and Disruptive Technologies, welcomed the discussion of new technologies and the approval of the space policy, the latter following the completion of Allied Command Transformation's many months of work. "Innovation is mainly a matter of changing our processes, adapting our organizations, mobilizing the right skills and having the willingness to change mind-sets, as for example accepting the risk to fail. Changing fast is paramount," he stated.
Emerging and Disruptive Technologies have a rapid and major effect on technologies that already exist and disrupt or overturn traditional business methods and practices. These technologies can present both an opportunity and a threat to the Alliance and, in recognising this, Allied Command Transformation initiated the Emerging and Disruptive Technologies Roadmap in 2018. The Emerging and Disruptive Technologies Roadmap uses a bottom-up approach to conduct rapid and tangible demonstrations in realistic operational conditions in order to understand the potential of Emerging and Disruptive Technologies from both the opportunity and threat standpoints and to set the conditions to use them within NATO and its Member Nations.