NATO's Allied Chiefs of Defence gathered for their annual conference in Tallinn, Estonia, September 16th to 18th 2022. For the first time, Finland and Sweden attended the Military Committee Conference as NATO Invitees. The agenda reflected the changed security environment as well as the implementation of the decisions taken at the NATO Summit in Madrid, last June.
Admiral Rob Bauer, the Chair of NATO's Military Committee, laid out the agenda and expectations for the conference: “Without a doubt: a new era for global security has begun. The entire international rules-based order is under attack. And it is up to the free, democratic nations of the world to protect it. Winter is coming, but our support for Ukraine shall remain unwavering”. He also underscored the essential role played by Estonia, especially in the digital domain and supporting NATO’s digital transformation.
The NATO Chiefs of Defence discussed military strategic developments within the Alliance; they addressed the implementation of decisions taken during the NATO Summit in Madrid on the Alliance’ deterrence and defence posture, as well as the operationalisation of NATO’s deter and defend strategy. “This strategy makes sure that national plans are more closely interlinked with Alliance plans; military leaders have a common frame of reference for both Alliance wide threats and regional threats; and that we enhance the speed and effectiveness of our rapid deployable forces”, underlined Admiral Bauer.
Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher Cavoli, provided his strategic considerations on NATO’s current and future posture on the Eastern flank and across the whole spectrum of the Alliance’s 360-degree approach to security. In a session dedicated to the future of Armed Forces, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Philippe Lavigne provided the Chiefs of Defence his insights in promoting cooperation across domains and service branches and enabling digital transformation. "We need to keep developing and adapting; that is why General Lavigne provided us with his insights on how we can promote cooperation across domains and service branches and how we can transform our armed forces in the digital era," Admiral Bauer explained during the media briefing after the conference.
In a session dedicated to promoting diversity in the Armed Forces, the Chiefs of Defence exchanged ideas on how to create a more diverse talent pool in their workforce. Admiral Bauer: “This is important in order to increase our effectiveness on the battlefield. And because creating a culture of inclusion is fundamental for the trust between men and women in uniform. Without trust, we cannot function”, underscored the Admiral.
Admiral Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee and Lieutenant General Martin Herem, Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces, concluded the conference by briefing the media on the outcomes of the meetings.
The Military Committee meets, in Chiefs of Defence Session, twice a year at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, and once a year a Conference is held by an Allied member state. The Military Committee convenes to discuss NATO operations, missions and activities and to provide the North Atlantic Council with unfettered, consensus-based military advice on how the Alliance can best address global security challenges. On a day-to-day basis, its work is carried out by the permanent Military Representatives at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.