NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

Pandemic, NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept among Chiefs of Defence Priorities

January 27, 2021


“Our armed forces have ensured that this health crisis has not become a security crisis, but COVID-19 has not made other challenges go away. Our democracy, our values, and the rules-based order are being challenged. So we must remain fit to face any challenge the future may bring,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during the first Military Committee meeting of 2021 – in Chiefs of Defence Session – on January 27th.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Military Committee, presided over the sessions supported by General André Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and General Tod Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

The Allied Chiefs discussed NATO’s operations, missions and activities as well as met with their operational partners in Resolute Support, NATO Mission Iraq and Kosovo Force format. They reviewed the progress of the Alignment of the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic area concept as well as finalised their advice on NATO’s Warfighting Capstone Concept. The group then considered current and future threats alongside a discussion on lessons drawn from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secretary General urged Allies to continue to increase defence spending, invest in modern capabilities and boost the readiness of armed forces to cope with global challenges such as Russia’s aggressive actions, terrorism and China’s rise. Mr Stoltenberg said he is looking forward to working with the new US Administration, as the US and Europe are safer standing together.

On the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, General Lanata said “its ambition is about thinking, organising, and acting differently. This is the critical condition for our success in the future.”

The Military Committee meets twice a year at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, at the level of Chiefs of Defence, to provide the North Atlantic Council with consensus-based military advice on how the Alliance can best meet global security challenges. Once a year they meet in an Allied member country. On a day-to-day basis, their work is carried out by the permanent Military Representatives at NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

The Military Committee is the senior military authority in NATO and the oldest permanent body in NATO after the North Atlantic Council, both having been formed only months after the Alliance came into being. It is the primary source of military advice to the North Atlantic Council and the Nuclear Planning Group, and gives direction to the two Strategic Commanders.