18 September 2020 - The Allied Chiefs of Defence gathered virtually for their final Military Committee Conference of 2020. Discussions focused on Operations, missions and activities, Deterrence and Defence of the Euro Atlantic Area Alignment, NATO's Warfighting Capstone Concept and Russia – Capabilities and Response.

The Military Committee's advice will frame discussions in the North Atlantic Council ahead of this year's Defence and Foreign Ministerials. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Military Committee, led the day's meeting assisted by NATO's Strategic Commanders, General Andre Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and General Tod Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

The Conference began with introductory remarks by Air Chief Marshal Peach. He began by noting the fortitude of the Allies and the strength of unity during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Chairman then focused his attention on Italy, one of the founding members of the Alliance. The Military Conference was due to be held in Rome this year but owing to the virus, was held virtually instead.

The Chiefs of Defence welcomed the progress made on the two concepts - Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and NATO's Warfighting Capstone Concept. They emphasized the need for the Alliance to maintain flexibility with its response plans and ways of working.

In General Lanata's words, "As a NATO's decision making facilitator, Allied Command Transformation screens the security horizon widely and takes into account the strategic paths of any relevant actor or trend. Rapid advances in technology create new opportunities but also new risks".

Air Chief Marshal stated, "The concepts bring together current military thinking as we face a more unpredictable world and deal with the consequences of a changed security environment. They will fuel NATO's strategic thinking, and provides unfettered military advice through several options".

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg addressed the Chiefs of Defence; discussing burden sharing, operations, NATO 2030 as well as preparations for next month's Defence Ministerial. NATO 2030 is an opportunity to look at how the Alliance will be ten years from now. It is about making the Alliance stronger politically and more global; from a strong military base.

The Secretary General spoke about the reflection process for NATO 2030, "the objective is to strengthen our Alliance further at a time when our security, our values and the rules-based international system are being challenged and undermined. To tackle these challenges, we need a strong NATO and a united transatlantic community. Only an Alliance that is militarily strong can be a politically strong Alliance".

"The Chiefs of Defence stressed the need to remain vigilant and to keep in mind our core task - to ensure peace and stability for our people", said Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach during his online press statement.