NATO Defence Ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday (15-16 June 2022) to address how to make NATO stronger and further support partner nations.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Allies are committed to continue providing the military equipment that Ukraine needs to prevail, including heavy weapons and long-range systems.” Mr. Stoltenberg said he expected Allies will agree a comprehensive assistance package for Ukraine at the Madrid Summit.
NATO Defence Ministers addressed the need to significantly strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the number of NATO battlegroups has doubled to eight and more than 40,000 troops are now under direct NATO command. Mr. Stoltenberg said: “We will now take decisions on the scale and design of our posture for the longer term. To ensure that we can defend every inch of Allied territory. From the first moment, at all times, and against any threat. This will mean more presence, capabilities and readiness.”
The scale and design of NATO’s future posture will encompass more NATO forward deployed combat formations, to strengthen battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance; more air, sea and cyber defences, as well as pre-positioned equipment and weapon stockpiles, and a new force model, with more forces at higher readiness, and specific forces pre-assigned to the defence of specific Allies, to enable much faster reinforcement.
The Secretary General said the Summit would address key areas including strengthened deterrence and defence; support for Ukraine and other partners at risk; a new NATO Strategic Concept; better burden-sharing and resourcing; and Finland and Sweden’s historic applications for membership.
Ministers had also discussed the importance of resourcing. There had been seven consecutive years of rising defence investment across European Allies and Canada, and Allies have continued to contribute to NATO deployments, and invest more in high-end capabilities. Mr Stoltenberg said: “Now is the time to keep up the momentum. So we can continue to preserve peace, prevent conflict, and protect our people.”