The NATO Military Committee, the Alliance’s highest military authority, met in Chiefs of Defence format in Brussels, Belgium May 19th, 2022. The meeting brought together defence chiefs from the Alliance as well as officials from Sweden and Finland, which applied this week for NATO membership, and Ukraine.
Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the Military Committee, set the tone for the day: “In the past few months, NATO has shown that is it capable to swiftly and effectively change its posture. We have implemented the largest reinforcement of collective defence in a generation. The foundation for that adaptation came from work that the Military Committee started a few years ago, in close cooperation with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg briefed the Military Committee on the current geopolitical situation, discussing the dramatically altered security environment and the further adaptation of the Alliance.
General Tod Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, briefed the Military Committee on the implementation of the Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the longer-term posture of the Alliance.
General Philippe Lavigne, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, provided an update on the implementation of NATO’s Warfighting Capstone Concept, Multi-Domain Operations and the ongoing digital transformation of the Alliance. The Military Committee discussed the importance of the new Strategic Concept and how this could drive NATO’s military adaptation. On digital transformation, General Lavigne said: “We are, first of all, convinced that we have to continue with building our capacity to engage and be able to operate in multi domain operations … in all five operational domains: land, sea, air, space and cyber.” The digital transformation will make the alliance “more agile, and even more coherent, and this digital transformation is the most important enabler of multi domain operation,” he added.
“Transformation is not only technology, it is innovation, it is a mindset change, it is people and their new skills,” General Lavigne continued. “The Russian aggression in Ukraine, and the consequences that war produced for the security of the Euro-Atlantic area is an additional trigger to accelerate the path of transformation.”
The digital transformation will make the alliance “more agile, and even more coherent, and this digital transformation is the most important enabler of multi domain operation,” he added.
Multi-Domain Operations “is both a strategic challenge and an opportunity. It is a challenge, because we have to develop the ability to deal and synchronize with multiple actors, military, governmental, civilian and industry. And it’s also an opportunity because we will be stronger together,” General Lavigne concluded.
The Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence Session comes one month ahead of NATO’s summit in Madrid, where Allied heads of state will approve a range of recommendations to further adapt and strengthen the Alliance as well as NATO’s new Strategic Concept.