NATO confirms two new military commands and agrees a new training mission to Iraq, but burden sharing review fails transparency test

A review of the NATO Defence Ministers meeting, Brussels, 14-15 February 2018

By Dr Ian Davis, NATO Watch

Key decisions taken:

  • A final decision was taken to adapt the NATO Command Structure, with two new commands: a Joint Force Command for the Atlantic, to help protect sea lines of communication between North America and Europe; and a Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) for logistics, reinforcement and military mobility (outline decisions to these ends were taken at the November 2017 ministerial).
  • It was also agreed to create a new Cyber Operations Centre as part of the adapted NATO Command Structure (again, this was provisionally agreed in November).
  • NATO will begin planning for a new training mission in Iraq at the request of both the Iraqi Government and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
  • Canada and Poland joined an ongoing multinational effort to develop a new generation of maritime multi-mission aircraft capabilities, while Belgium joined an ongoing multinational effort to acquire multirole tanker-transport aircraft.
  • The first national annual reports on NATO’s defence investment pledge were reviewed by ministers, but apparently not all member states submitted plans and none were made public.

The two-day Meeting agenda was focused on five main issues: an update on NATO’s nuclear weapons policy (as part of a regular discussion held under the Nuclear Planning Group); further discussions on adapting NATO’s Command Structure and cyber defences; burden-sharing within the alliance, including a review of the first set of annual national plans for increasing resources, capabilities and mission contributions; NATO-EU cooperation; and NATO’s role in projecting stability and fighting terrorism. All of these discussions took place in the context of ongoing preparations for the next NATO Summit in July.

Read the attached pdf briefing to find out more.