The Way Ahead
General Curtis M. Scaparrotti (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), General Petr Pavel (Chairman of the NATO Military Committee) and General Denis Mercier (Supreme Allied Commander Transformation) during the 178th Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence session Jan. 16 -17, 2018 - Photo by NATO HQ
At the Warsaw Summit in 2016, the heads of state and government announced the need to assess NATO’s Command Structure in recognition of the changing security environment. The decision allowed NATO to remain robust and agile, and able to undertake effective command and control of simultaneous challenges across the full spectrum of missions. Emerging threats such as regional instability, terrorism, mass migration, a more assertive Russia, as well as hybrid and cyber activities required greater operational capability.
Most recently, at the February 2018 Defence Ministerial Conference, the leaders agreed to bolster maritime security, logistics and military mobility, and cyber defence. A new joint force command for the Atlantic will aid the protection of sea lines of communication between North America and Europe. The establishment of a new command to support logistics, reinforcement and military mobility will facilitate the movement of troops and equipment for NATO’s collective deterrence and defence. New elements within each of the commands including a new cyber operations centre at Supreme Headquarters Allied Forces Europe (SHAPE) are aimed at adapting and further strengthening NATO’s defences for today’s dynamic security environment. These reforms will also improve NATO’s ability to integrate the NATO Force Structure (NFS), a group of Allied national and multinational forces as well as headquarters at the NATO’s disposal.
This adaptation directly supports the three core Alliance tasks: collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security. While a large scale and complex effort, the reformed NATO Command Structure will maximise the deterrent effects of NATO forces and ensure realignment to today’s geopolitical context in time of peace, crisis and conflict.