NATO chiefs of defense are discussing issues from Afghanistan to Russia to the southern flank during the 177th Military Committee meeting here today.
The chiefs will discuss these issues and make recommendations to their political leaders. Czech Army Gen. Petr Pavel, the chairman of the Military Committee, will lead the discussions. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks for the U.S. military in this forum.
The military leaders of the alliance look to translating “political objectives into military reality; to deliver tangible, coherent and sustainable effects that influence the strategic environment to make it more safe and more secure,” Pavel said at the beginning of the meeting.
The chiefs started with the situation on the southern part of the NATO alliance. “We will discuss two issues that are high on the political agenda: projecting stability to strengthen security beyond our borders and how to enhance NATO’s role in fighting terrorism,” Pavel said.
The chiefs will work from a strategic assessment of the Middle East and North Africa as they look to the next steps in the alliance training and capacity building effort in Iraq, and how to further assist Mediterranean partners. NATO will work with international organizations, including the European Union, in this effort.
The afternoon session will be dedicated to Afghanistan and the 13 partner nations that work with NATO in Afghanistan will participate. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; and Army Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, will brief the chiefs.
Developing Afghan National Defense
“As part of a wider effort by the international community, the continued development of the Afghan national defense and security forces is a vital contribution to the stability of the country — to ensure its own security and permit economic and social development,” Pavel said. “Our aim today is to reaffirm our support in the ongoing development of the Afghan national defense and security forces, preferably aligned with their four-year development plan.”
The four-year plan is the blueprint Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is using to set goals for his nation. In four years, for example, the Afghan government should be able to provide security for 80 percent of its population.
The chiefs will also discuss fair burden sharing. NATO nations pledged at the Wales Summit in 2014 to invest 2 percent of gross domestic product in defense. They reiterated that pledge at last year’s Warsaw Summit.
“From the military side, we should focus our efforts on meeting our capability targets and the priority areas for enhancing NATO’s military capabilities across all domains,” Pavel said.
The chiefs will also discuss progress made in deterring Russia and its influence.