NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

NATO Chiefs of Defence Ensure Military Adaptability

May 18, 2021


NATO’s 30 Allied Chiefs of Defence met on May 18th, 2021 at NATO Headquarters for their second meeting in 2021. Five weeks away from the Heads of State and Government Summit at NATO Headquarters in Belgium, the Allied Chiefs discussed NATO 2030, Military Strategic adaptation and planning, and NATO-led operations, missions and activities. They also met with the Chiefs of Defence of two of NATO’s Enhanced Opportunity Partners, Ukraine and Georgia.

The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, briefed Military Committee on his plans for the forthcoming Summit and its forward-looking agenda, which will shape the future of the Alliance. The second meeting of the day focused on military support for the NATO 2030 proposals and the military strategic concepts: the Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept.

Allied Command Transformation leads the development and delivery of the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept; it offers a vision to guide the Alliance’s long-term defence development to remain militarily strong in the future. The Concept looks ahead over the next two decades and supports broader military adaptation. It has taken into account the Alliance’s national defence development efforts and future force modernisation programmes and makes recommendations for achieving future adaptation through a framework of proposals that will help inform and organise the Allies’ own defence development efforts which will in turn, provide coherence, effectiveness and efficiency to the development of the Alliance’s Military Instrument of Power.

The Allied Chiefs exchanged views on the Alliance’s first large test of its adapted Command Structure, Exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 21. This is the the flagship collective defence exercise for NATO in 2021, bringing together more than 20 NATO Allies and Partners from North America and Europe to test NATO’s readiness and military mobility; it is a collective defence exercise based on an Article 5 scenario. The exercise will enhance Alliance security by maintaining NATO’s broad range of interoperability and military capabilities to assure Allies of NATO’s ability to defend them. The geographical locations of the exercise, the scale of deployment across sea, land, air, and the range of military capabilities involved reflect NATO’s resolve to deter, and where necessary, to confront and defeat, potential aggressors. The exercise involves three parts and several linked exercises, including a maritime live exercise, supported by air units, and the land-heavy live-fire annual exercise NOBLE JUMP, scheduled to start in late May.

In a meeting with the Ukrainian Commander in Chief, General Khomchak, the Allied Chiefs welcomed Ukraine’s continued progress on defence reforms and stressed their continued support. The Alliance is supporting Ukraine in areas such as command and control, countering explosive devices and medical rehabilitation. The Allied Chiefs also met with their Georgian counterpart, Chief of Defence General Giorgi Matiashvili. Discussions centered on the updated Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, which is a set of measures and initiatives aimed at strengthening Georgia’s defense capabilities and developing closer security cooperation and interoperability with NATO. It covers 13 areas of defense and security-related sectors in Georgia.