NATO’s military leadership planning to face ‘any threat, from any direction’ with enhanced gobbledygook

A review of the NATO Military Committee meeting, 18-19 January 2023

On 18 and 19 January 2023, the NATO Military Committee met in Chiefs of Defence format (including those from “invitees”, Finland and Sweden) in Brussels to discuss the strengthening of NATO’s Defence and Deterrence posture. Over the two days this involved nine specific sessions, none of which were open to the public or media:  

Session with NATO Deputy Secretary General, Mircea Geoană

Session 1 - Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) Strategic Considerations

Session 2 - Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Strategic Considerations

Session 3 - Readiness and Sustainment: Risks and Mitigations

Session 4 – KFOR

Session 5 - NATO Mission Iraq

Session 6 - Ukraine

Sessions 7-8 – Plenary

Apart from a brief report by Reuters, there was no media coverage of the Military Committee meeting. The lack of transparency, coupled with the wordy and generally unintelligible military jargon from some of the participating military leaders, makes the Military Committee one of the opaquest processes within NATO. Such military conceptual decision-making needs to be open and visible, with the reasons for outcomes clearly outlined. This would enable greater accountability of the military decision-making within civilian parliaments of member states.

The lack of information on the impact of the NATO missions in Kosovo and Iraq is particularly worrying. Given the complex security situations in both countries, the level of disclosure is clearly inadequate. NATO should be required, at a minimum, to provide an annual report on the progress of its various missions, including overviews of recent developments and the risks and challenges that they face. In addition, the missions should be required to provide regular open briefings, as is the case with the UN Security Council missions and OSCE missions.

For further details, see the attached pdf.