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Keynote Address - CEPA Forum 2021



From the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, good morning to all in North America and good afternoon here in Europe.

Doctor Polyakova, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges...thanks for the opportunity to address this diverse group of leaders from both sides of the Atlantic who are committed to promoting a strong and enduring Trans-Atlantic Alliance...and our shared values.  

On behalf of the dedicated women and men sustaining peace across the Euro-Atlantic, we're honoured to discuss how NATO continues to evolve the approach to generating peace, together.

As we navigate through year two of the pandemic, we offer condolences to those impacted by COVID 19. Across the Alliance, we continue working diligently alongside our Allies and Partners to ensure this health crisis never becomes a security crisis.  In the face of new variants, we must remain vigilant. 

We live in an increasingly complex and contested world.  Faced by a range of new threat...from disinformation and disruptive technologies, to energy competition and clement change, to health crises and political uncertainty...all are stressing the established rules-based, international order.  These threats and challengers seek to take advantage of conditions through aggressive action using all instruments of national power.  These challengers are backed by increasingly capable military forces.

Countries and continents can best address these challenges together. Trans-Atlantic unity and solidarity are vital to ensure the defence and security of NATO Allies.  We must always strive to strengthen the bond between Europe and North America, and prepare the Alliance for the future. 

The Euro-Atlantic area serves as an exporter of Global Peace and Security.  Home to more than one billion citizens, this is the cradle of democratic values.  The Trans-Atlantic bond between our two continents remains the cornerstone of Global Security in the 21st Century. 

Through our strategy of comprehensive defence and shared response, the Alliance continues to improve readiness and apply resources in innovative ways to better compete. All of this has further enhanced NATO's ability to deter and defend against any potential adversary, improving the Alliance's readiness, responsiveness and ability to sustain peace in the Euro-Atlantic area. 

As NATO's digital connectivity improves, we enhance our speed and posture to adapt our strategy to preserve Trans-Atlantic security. NATO counters disinformation through transparency, improves command and control by alignment, exercises in a more dynamic manner across all domains, and through a 360 degree approach to mission command, prepares for the challenges to come. 

In 2020, all thirty NATO Defence Ministers approved NATO's concept for the deterrent and defence of the Euro-Atlantic area....which we call "DDA." This concept develops Alliance planning, and in concert with SACT'S NATO Warfighter Capstone Concept, develops Alliance capability to achieve the strategic and operational intent of the NATO Military Strategy. 

DDA unites national, regional and theatre-wide military efforts to a common purpose.  In uniting the three components of AOR security...geography, domains and readiness....this structure helps preserve peace, prevent a transition to crisis or conflict, conduct Alliance operations against terror groups, and address diverse forms of instability inside and outside the Area of Responsibility.

This architecture provides maximum military coherence at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels, across all domains.

In peacetime, we implement this architecture through operations, activities and investments.

Over this past summer, the Alliance along with its Partners, executed another iteration of DEFENDER series exercises....Allies demonstrated their ability to deploy considerable size forces, stage at respective ports, integrate with Allies, and onward move to numerous training areas across the continent.  The speed and scale of these operations demonstrate a well trained, committed Alliance ready to respond collectively to threats from 360 degrees at the time of our choosing.

Success in 21st Century warfare demands that we evolve to compete in new domains....expanding cyber threats require us to enhance cyber defences and impose costs against malicious disinformation and behaviour.  To support these efforts, NATO's Cyberspace Operations Centre is located here at SHAPE Headquarters in Mons, Belgium, and our Space Centre is fully integrated into Allied Air Command at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.  Maintaining stability with responsible space and cyber activities are vital to NATO.

Resilient, adaptable, and combat-credible forces are fundamental to the Alliance's security.  Our military-to-military relationships across the Euro-Atlantic area remain strong, signalling the resilience of our collective defence.

Our Alliance remains the foundation of a democratic, rules-based, international order.  Maintaining a capable and ready force across the AOR strengthens our collective security by encouraging peace, unity and cohesion between the Alliance's individual nations, as well as a need to continually invest in the Trans-Atlantic Alliance.  Our Alliance's service members continue to generate peace alongside our partners, effectively competing, deterring attacks from potential aggressors, and preparing our Allies and Partners to respond decisively if required. 

Even though the Alliance of today is considerably different from the one established in 1949, it remains anchored in its founding principle that a world with NATO is safer and more prosperous for all. 

Keep doing what you do....it matters to the Alliance, our nations, and the one billion citizens in the Euro-Atlantic area.  We are stronger...together.


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