From 16 to 18 September 2022, the Allied Chiefs of Defence gathered for their annual conference, in Tallinn, Estonia. For the first time, Finland and Sweden attended the Military Committee Conference as NATO Invitees. The agenda reflected the changed security environment as well as the implementation of the decisions taken at the NATO Summit in Madrid, last June.
The NATO Military Committee was welcomed to Tallinn during an official opening ceremony by the President of the Republic of Estonia, His Excellency Alar Karis. In his welcome address, the President highlighting the drastic change in the security environment since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the invaluable reinforcement Allies has provided to NATO’s Eastern flank. The Chair of the NATO Military Committee underscored the essential role played by Estonia, especially in the digital domain and when it comes to supporting NATO’s digital transformation.
On the morning of the 17th of September, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia Kaja Kallas set the scene for the day’s meetings. She stressed the importance of broad international support for Ukraine. In his opening remarks, the Chair laid out the agenda and expectations for the conference: “Without a doubt: a new era for global security has begun. The entire international rules-based order is under attack. And it is up to the free, democratic nations of the world to protect it. Winter is coming, but our support for Ukraine shall remain unwavering”.
The first session allowed the NATO Chiefs of Defence to discuss the implementation the far-reaching decisions on NATO’s deterrence and defence posture taken, by the political leadership at NATO’s Summit in Madrid as well as the operationalisation of NATO’s deter and defend strategy. “This strategy makes sure that national plans are more closely interlinked with Alliance plans; military leaders have a common frame of reference for both Alliance wide threats and regional threats; and that we enhance the speed and effectiveness of our rapid deployable forces”, underlined Admiral Bauer.
The next meeting was led by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher Cavoli, who provided his strategic considerations on NATO’s current and future posture on the Eastern flank and across the whole spectrum of the Alliance’s 360-degree approach to security. In a session dedicated to the future of Armed Forces, the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Philippe Lavigne provided the Chiefs of Defence his insights in promoting cooperation across domains and service branches and enabling digital transformation.
In a session dedicated to promoting diversity in the Armed Forces, the Chiefs of Defence exchanged ideas on how to create a more diverse talent pool in their workforce. Admiral Bauer: “This is important in order to increase our effectiveness on the battlefield. And because creating a culture of inclusion is fundamental for the trust between men and women in uniform. Without trust, we cannot function”, underscored the Admiral.
Admiral Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee and Lieutenant General Martin Herem, Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces, concluded the conference by briefing the media on the outcomes of the meetings.