Admiral Joachim Rühle visited NATO's Allied Command Transformation on June 28th, 2021, welcomed by Vice Admiral Paul Bennett, Chief of Staff Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.
Admiral Rühle’s visit to Hampton Roads and to Allied Command Transformation is part of a key leader engagement in the United States of America as Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters' Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE); the primary objective of the visit was to foster a closer relationship between the two strategic commands, as well as discussing the NATO Defence Planning Process which enables Allies to provide the required forces and capabilities to NATO operations in the most effective way. Support to exercises and NATO's Warfighting Capstone Concept were also a part of discussions.

The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept, or NWCC, is an ambitious “North Star” vision detailing how NATO Allies must develop their militaries to maintain advantage for the next twenty years: in light of the dynamic strategic environment, the Alliance Chiefs and Heads of Defence agreed to NATO’s Military Strategy in May 2019; a renewed approach setting out Alliance military-strategic objectives and the ways and means to implement them. The Chiefs and Heads of Defence directed strategy implementation through two high-level concepts: one concept framing the employment of the Alliance’s military instrument of power to deter and defend against known threats and another concept setting a 20-year vision to develop the military instrument.

Together, the NATO Military Strategy and its two implementing concepts aim to set the direction for NATO’s ongoing adaptation. The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept provides the long-term guidance as part of the coherent package of NATO Military Authorities’ best military advice. The 2019 NATO Military Strategy, the 2020 Concept for Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the 2021 NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept together provide NATO Military Authorities with a new baseline on which to guide the development of the NATO military instrument of power and to provide military advice.

The NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept outlines an informed vision based on current and emerging threats NATO faces, the military instrument Allies need to protect its almost one billion citizens, and a realistic path to get there by pulling forward and continuously refining the most important warfare development work towards five essential Warfare Development Imperatives.

It aims to address a simple, but important concern: if NATO does not think, organise and act differently than it does today, the Military Instrument of Power will face an eroding advantage. In other words, the future success of the Alliance depends on Allied ability to continually transform to meet tomorrow’s challenges. This transformation goes beyond linear questions about the type or quantity of equipment NATO Allies should procure, or which specific capabilities must be developed. While these are important questions, the NWCC posits that in a world where military victory does not equate to strategic victory, the Alliance must be more proactive and anticipatory in the way it prepares for tomorrow in order to maintain its military advantage.

As an innovative concept to develop the Allied military instrument of power, the NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept embodies Allied Command Transformation’s core tasks as NATO’s Warfare Development command: the Command builds upon the current Alliance strengths while also looking toward the future to identify and explore potential opportunities for NATO and its partners.