140920sact-cmc-saceur400At their recent Summit in Wales, NATO Allies agreed on a Readiness Action Plan that will strengthen NATO's collective defence and re-ensure that the Alliance is ready to respond to any future security challenge.

At the Military Committee Conference 2014 which took place in Vilnius, Lithuania the military authorities have now taken the next step in guiding and directing the implementation of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), meant to be able to deploy at short notice.

NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros contributed to the discussions in the two main sessions:

During the "Geostrategic Update - Situational Understanding and Strategic Consequences" session, SACT presented some of the trends that will likely form the future security environment. General Paloméros presented three conclusions which might serve as the basis for how NATO approaches capability development in the future: Firstly, in light of present experiences, SACT thinks that our adversaries will not accept internationally established borders, treaties, rules of law or norms of behaviour; they will increase their use of asymmetric or irregular forms of warfare in order to counter our military superiority, and could seek to strike the Alliance within its own borders, in such a way to limit the possibility to adequately use of forces, and even the legitimacy to employ them.

Secondly, SACT is persuaded that NATO's opponents will keep on increasing their capabilities and more and more aim to hinder NATO actions. SACT is of the opinion that "...the Alliance's adversaries will seek to increase the lethality and diversity of threats in their operations in order to increase NATO's dependency on force protection – and affect NATO nations' perceptions of risk and therefore the public opinion and political will to intervene". Thirdly, General Paloméros thinks that NATO's ability to plan and prepare for possible contingencies will be more and more challenged. The project "Framework for Future Alliance Operations" (FFAO) will likely capitalise on those observations to propose orientations for the future, where a premium is placed on being agile enough to adapt, fostering innovation in operational planning – and on maintaining a clear margin of error in both sizing and structuring of the force.

During MC Conference Post-Wales-Deliverable (Session 3), SACT stressed that "our goals are always to keep taking forward the framework of transformation with continuity and consistency, with the necessity of carry on investing in capabilities (highlighted in the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) Capacities Review, in exercises and in the Connected Forces Initiative (CFI), to support and anticipate requirements of NATO's current and future operations, by increasing the level of effective operational readiness of NATO forces. The session provided an opportunity for SACT to stress his key points on the role of CFI, and especially the exercise "Trident Juncture" in 2015: "...our Alliance interoperability, as well as its credibility and solidarity will be emphasised during this major exercise", he said. SACT concluded on the enhancement of the Alliance's responsiveness through the implementation of the VJTF and of the Readiness Action Plan (RAP), which will bring together the training and capability development efforts of the Alliance.