NAVO Deputy Sec Gen opent de CIOR MWM




Op 8 februari begon op de zetel van de NAVO in Brussel de Mid-Winter Meeting (MWM) van de CIOR. Naar aanleiding van deze gelegenheid hield Mevrouw Rose Gottemoeller, Deputy Secretary General van de NAVO, de volgende openingsspeech:


It is a real pleasure to be here to open the winter meeting of the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers and Medical Reserve Officers.


The role that you play and have played as reserve officers is absolutely critical to the ability of each of our nations – and of the NATO Alliance – to safeguard peace and provide mutual security.


Thank you for your service.


As reservists, you continually train and ensure that you have the right capacities to do the jobs you might be called upon to do.


NATO is also continually adapting to ensure that we have the right capacities to fulfill our core tasks.


Today we are adapting to a changed security environment.


NATO Allies have responded with strength and determination. At our summit in Brussels in July, NATO leaders will agree the next steps for our Alliance.


The five themes of the Brussels Summit will be:


Let me run through them each in turn. Deterrence and defence: Since 2014, NATO has transformed its ability to respond to crisis from any direction, on land, at sea, in the air and also from cyberspace. Our forces have increased their ability to move quickly to where they are needed and we have deployed multinational troops and equipment in the East of our Alliance, to deter any aggression.


I just returned from visiting two of these battlegroup deployments – which are very impressive – at Adazi in Latvia and at Rukla in Lithuania. It is wonderful to see the tremendous work that the men and women of our Allied forces are doing – many very far from home.


The fact that NATO was able to get these and the other battlegroups in Estonia and Poland certified in such a short period of time – from July 2016 to July 2017 – is a very strong statement of the solidarity and commitment on which this Alliance is built.


We stand together in collective defence. And it is important to remember that our actions are defensive, proportionate and in line with our international law. Our aim is to prevent conflict, not to provoke it. NATO does not want a new Cold War, nor do we want a new arms race. That is why we maintain a dual-track approach towards Russia: strong deterrence and defence and dialogue. This remains the right approach.


The second Summit theme will be projecting stability, including the fight against terrorism. We must do all we can to maintain and increase stability in our neighbourhood, because when our neighbours are more stable, we are more secure, and training and advising local forces is one of the best tools we have.


In Iraq, NATO has already started a wide range of support and training for the armed forces. In Afghanistan, our Resolute Support Mission remains a high priority, providing support to the government and enabling the armed forces to bring stability to their country.


I know that many reservists have served in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission as well as in other operations around the world. Again, the roles that you play as reservists are critical and we are grateful for your service.


Countering terrorism is important for all NATO Allies. We are stepping up our efforts to help our partners build a counter-terrorism capacity, as part of the global coalition to defeat ISIS and to support Allies in need. NATO can bring its unique expertise, but terrorism is a foe that must be fought on many fronts. It requires a diverse toolset. That means working with others, especially with the European Union.


And this brings me to our third summit theme: NATO-EU cooperation. More than 90% of EU citizens are protected by NATO, meaning that more than 90% of the citizens in European countries live in NATO countries. So, it's only natural that we should be close partners.


In 2016, in Warsaw, the Secretary General, President Juncker, and President Tusk and signed a joint declaration. Progress since then has been remarkable and the partnership between NATO and the EU is now stronger than ever before. We cooperate on a range of issues, including on cyber exercises, terrorism, military and mobility, and we have been working hard to implement the issues we agreed to work together on last year.


NATO also supports EU efforts on defence. It means more spending, more European capabilities, and fairer sharing of the transatlantic burden. It has the potential to be a win-win for the EU, for NATO and for the transatlantic relationship. But to realise this potential, we need coherence between NATO and EU efforts on capability development. Nations should not be presented with conflicting requirements and priorities. We must also ensure that forces and capabilities generated through NATO initiatives are available for NATO commitments. So, we need complementarity, not competition between NATO and the European Union.


The fourth theme of the Summit will be continuous modernisation of the Alliance. To underpin everything I have spoken about, our policies, our processes and our use of resources, we must be as effective and as efficient as possible.


A fundamental element is the adaptation of the NATO command structure. The command structure is the backbone of our Alliance. It is what allows all our nations to plan, prepare and, if necessary, to fight together as one.


After the Cold War, the command structure was dramatically reduced. Tensions had eased, so that was the right thing to do. But today’s security environment demands that we adapt again. The new command structure must be able to support all Allies all the time, now and in the future. Among other things, we are looking to establish a new command for the Atlantic, to ensure that sea lines of communication between Europe and North America, remain free and secure. We are planning to establish a new command to improve the movement of military forces across Europe, and we are planning to set up a new cyber operation centre.


Finally, the fifth theme of the Brussels Summit, which is essential to all of the others, is burden sharing. At our meeting of Defence Ministers next week, Allies will report on their specific defence investment plans, covering cash, capabilities and contributions. In other words, how they intend to move towards investing 2% of GDP on defence, how they will invest additional funding in key military capabilities, and how they are contributing to NATO missions and operations.


This will set the scene for the summit in Brussels in July, where we will review the progress we have made in implementing the most substantial increase in our collective defence in a generation.


As we head towards the Brussels Summit, there is still much to do and there will be more yet in the years ahead. But when we look back to what we have achieved together, to the unity and the solidarity we have demonstrated, then I am absolutely confident that the NATO Alliance – thanks in part to reserve officers like you – will continue to protect the almost one billion citizens who rely on it for their security.


Thank you very much.