NATO’s leading military body, the Military Committee conducted a virtual visit to Allied Command Transformation on March 15th, 2021.

The visit, organized by General André Lanata, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, had the overarching aim of engaging the NATO Military Committee on Allied Command Transformation’s Warfare Development Agenda. The Alliance is expected to face challenges that will be increasingly persistent, boundless, and simultaneous. State and non-state actors will exploit multiple instruments of power to compete for advantage and seek to impose cognitive, virtual and physical effects against the Alliance. The challenges demand in-depth understanding of the strategic paths of relevant actors and the trends that influence the dynamic character of warfare.

Panel discussions, videos, demonstrations and presentations were focused on how to prepare for these challenges through a Warfare Development Agenda. NATO’s military instrument must be prepared and agile to support NATO’s core tasks. The Alliance is focused on five warfare development imperatives: cognitive superiority, layered resilience, influence and power projection, cross-domain command, and integrated multi-domain defence. They provide an organisational framework to guide and align Alliance and Allied warfare development efforts. The imperatives are underpinned by a set of proposals and a realistically organized path for their delivery. The ambition is to focus on thinking, organising, and acting differently, to create advantage and success in the future operating environment. These will create conditions, over time, to fully underpin the Alliance’s military advantage in shaping, contesting and fighting for the foreseeable future. Leaders discussed this approach as well as NATO’s innovation and possible jump-starters like Audacious Wargaming and harnessing Emerging and Disruptive Technologies.

General Lanata set the tone of the discussions by explaining NATO’s refinement of the military instrument of power is, “an opportunity to shift our mindsets from a reactive mode to a proactive mode, and to pull the future into the present, in order to anticipate the right strategy for NATO.”

Allied Command Transformation, as NATO’s Warfare Development Command, leads the military adaptation of the Alliance, contributing to the orientation of nations’ efforts, ensuring coherence, assuring interoperability and delivering the connecting tissue that makes the Alliance’s capability greater than the sum of its individual parts.