Updated: 13-Sep-2008 IMS News Release

13 Sep. 2008


NATO’s Chiefs of Defence conclude their conference in Sofia

The Military Committee
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
9 Sep. 2008
NATO’s Military Committee visits Bulgaria, for meetings with NATO Chiefs of Defence Staff

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- Chiefs of Defence from the 26 NATO member nations, along with Albania and Croatia on their way to full membership, and the two NATO Strategic Commanders, wrapped up two days of discussions and seminars here today.

“It was definitely a productive meeting,“ said Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, NATO’s top officer, at the end of his first Military Committee Conference as Chairman. “In the frank, trusted atmosphere that is typical of our meetings, we had a chance to make great steps forward in our common agenda and achieve consensus on many issues,” Di Paola said.

The meetings opened focusing on NATO ongoing operations and how to enhance the related strategic approaches.

Concerning Afghanistan, the Committee welcomed the distinguished attendance of General Bizmullah Khan, the Afghan Chief of Defence, whose intervention, along with the one of Major General Bob Cone, the Commander of Combined Security Transition Command (Afghanistan), helped frame the strategic reflection on the situation and the overall direction in the military campaign. The Committee underlined the extremely valuable briefing given by Khan, which contributed to shedding significant light on the situation of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and the encouraging progress that the Afghan National Army (ANA) in particular is making.

In support of political directives, NATO’s military continues the strong commitment in Afghanistan with ISAF, which is supporting, also through training, the ANA to improve safety and security across the country. Acknowledging the essential role of self-sustaining ANSF in assuring long-term security, the Committee confirmed the clear and common understanding of the requirements to ensure that objectives are reached as soon as possible, but also noted that NATO’s mission in Afghanistan, as an international commitment, requires a better coordination effort among all the actors involved.

The current situation in Kosovo was also examined. Progress was assessed, from an operational point of view, also in the light of the new realities that are developing on the ground in Kosovo.

The members of the Committee, during discussions, underlined the devotion, the commitment and the sacrifice of NATO’s soldiers in their daily effort to contribute in establishing better conditions for peace and security.

On the basis of the NATO partnership with Georgia, recent events in the Caucasus region were discussed taking into account the military implications for NATO, in anticipation of the outcome of the recently established NATO-Georgia Commission.

The Committee then focused on the analysis of Multiple Futures. General Jim Mattis, the Commander of the Allied Command for Transformation (Norfolk, USA), discussed his work in developing future scenarios with the implications for the Alliance in terms of transforming, adapting structures, doctrine, and policy to gain the highest level in agility, flexibility and adaptability needed for today’s and tomorrow’s comprehensive approach to operations.

Considering this and all the mentioned challenges, the Military Committee embraced the task of enabling itself to take a far more strategic, forward-looking role, aiming to offer the best and most timely support to the North Atlantic Council for all strategic and military matters, with the imperative to better contribute to success in operational and transformational endeavours.

Admiral Di Paola, on behalf of the Committee, closed the working session of the Conference, expressing satisfaction for the results of the meetings and gratitude to Bulgaria and General Zslatan Stoykov for the great hospitality.

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