NATO’s Chiefs of Defence con­clude their con­fer­ence in Sofia

SOFIA, Bul­gar­ia — Chiefs of Defence from the 26 NATO mem­ber nations, along with Alba­nia and Croa­t­ia on their way to full mem­ber­ship, and the two NATO Strate­gic Com­man­ders, wrapped up two days of dis­cus­sions and sem­i­nars here today.

“It was def­i­nite­ly a pro­duc­tive meet­ing,“ said Admi­ral Giampao­lo Di Pao­la, NATO’s top offi­cer, at the end of his first Mil­i­tary Com­mit­tee Con­fer­ence as Chair­man. “In the frank, trust­ed atmos­phere that is typ­i­cal of our meet­ings, we had a chance to make great steps for­ward in our com­mon agen­da and achieve con­sen­sus on many issues,” Di Pao­la said.

The meet­ings opened focus­ing on NATO ongo­ing oper­a­tions and how to enhance the relat­ed strate­gic approach­es.

Con­cern­ing Afghanistan, the Com­mit­tee wel­comed the dis­tin­guished atten­dance of Gen­er­al Biz­mul­lah Khan, the Afghan Chief of Defence, whose inter­ven­tion, along with the one of Major Gen­er­al Bob Cone, the Com­man­der of Com­bined Secu­ri­ty Tran­si­tion Com­mand (Afghanistan), helped frame the strate­gic reflec­tion on the sit­u­a­tion and the over­all direc­tion in the mil­i­tary cam­paign. The Com­mit­tee under­lined the extreme­ly valu­able brief­ing giv­en by Khan, which con­tributed to shed­ding sig­nif­i­cant light on the sit­u­a­tion of the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces (ANSF) and the encour­ag­ing progress that the Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) in par­tic­u­lar is mak­ing.

In sup­port of polit­i­cal direc­tives, NATO’s mil­i­tary con­tin­ues the strong com­mit­ment in Afghanistan with ISAF, which is sup­port­ing, also through train­ing, the ANA to improve safe­ty and secu­ri­ty across the coun­try. Acknowl­edg­ing the essen­tial role of self-sus­tain­ing ANSF in assur­ing long-term secu­ri­ty, the Com­mit­tee con­firmed the clear and com­mon under­stand­ing of the require­ments to ensure that objec­tives are reached as soon as pos­si­ble, but also not­ed that NATO’s mis­sion in Afghanistan, as an inter­na­tion­al com­mit­ment, requires a bet­ter coor­di­na­tion effort among all the actors involved.

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in Koso­vo was also exam­ined. Progress was assessed, from an oper­a­tional point of view, also in the light of the new real­i­ties that are devel­op­ing on the ground in Koso­vo.

The mem­bers of the Com­mit­tee, dur­ing dis­cus­sions, under­lined the devo­tion, the com­mit­ment and the sac­ri­fice of NATO’s sol­diers in their dai­ly effort to con­tribute in estab­lish­ing bet­ter con­di­tions for peace and secu­ri­ty.

On the basis of the NATO part­ner­ship with Geor­gia, recent events in the Cau­ca­sus region were dis­cussed tak­ing into account the mil­i­tary impli­ca­tions for NATO, in antic­i­pa­tion of the out­come of the recent­ly estab­lished NATO-Geor­gia Com­mis­sion.

The Com­mit­tee then focused on the analy­sis of Mul­ti­ple Futures. Gen­er­al Jim Mat­tis, the Com­man­der of the Allied Com­mand for Trans­for­ma­tion (Nor­folk, USA), dis­cussed his work in devel­op­ing future sce­nar­ios with the impli­ca­tions for the Alliance in terms of trans­form­ing, adapt­ing struc­tures, doc­trine, and pol­i­cy to gain the high­est lev­el in agili­ty, flex­i­bil­i­ty and adapt­abil­i­ty need­ed for today’s and tomorrow’s com­pre­hen­sive approach to oper­a­tions.

Con­sid­er­ing this and all the men­tioned chal­lenges, the Mil­i­tary Com­mit­tee embraced the task of enabling itself to take a far more strate­gic, for­ward-look­ing role, aim­ing to offer the best and most time­ly sup­port to the North Atlantic Coun­cil for all strate­gic and mil­i­tary mat­ters, with the imper­a­tive to bet­ter con­tribute to suc­cess in oper­a­tional and trans­for­ma­tion­al endeav­ours.

Admi­ral Di Pao­la, on behalf of the Com­mit­tee, closed the work­ing ses­sion of the Con­fer­ence, express­ing sat­is­fac­tion for the results of the meet­ings and grat­i­tude to Bul­gar­ia and Gen­er­al Zsla­tan Stoykov for the great hos­pi­tal­i­ty.