A NATO Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence – CMDR COE was officially opened in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia yesterday, FOCUS News Agency reported.
The ceremony was attended by President Rosen Plevneliev and interim Minister of Defence Velizar Shalamanov, as well as other officials. Minister Shalamanov said that the experience gained allowed this centre to be a serious instrument for improvement of the cooperation between NATO and the EU.
“The issue is not topical only because of the recent year and the recent months. The initiative for better cooperation between the civilian and the military is topical since 1999 when the engineering purpose forces were established. It is important for us, as Bulgarians and hosts of this centre, to demonstrate the increasing experience and expert’s potential between the different institutions and organisations, including the non-government ones,” Minister Shalamanov remarked.
The accreditation of NATO Centre, the first of its kind in Bulgaria, was a priority for the Ministry of Defence in 2014.
Crisis management is one of three core NATO tasks set out in the Alliance's 2010 Strategic Concept. At the Chicago Summit in 2012, Allies agreed to establish “an appropriate but modest” civilian crisis-management capability at NATO HQ in Brussels and within Allied Command Operations (SHAPE).The NATO Readiness Action Plan agreed at the Wales Summit was primarily designed to strengthen NATO's collective defence although officials argue that it also reinforces the Alliance's crisis management capability. NATO takes the view that a comprehensive political, civilian, and military approach is essential in crisis management and cooperative security.
However, in seeking to realise this 'comprehensive approach' NATO still has a long way to go in developing internally coherent operational concepts and in achieving a functioning culture of cooperation, especially with non-governmental organisations. The relationship between humanitarian agencies and foreign military forces in conflict zones is particularly problematic.