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NATO’s Military Committee (MC) will meet in a Chiefs of Defence (CHODs) session on 14-15 January at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The CHODs will discuss the outcomes of the NATO Summit Meeting held in London last December and will provide guidance for development of the means necessary to implement the measures agreed by the Heads of State and Government.

A joint meeting with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, will provide the political context to frame subsequent discussions. The following session will set the strategic scene as the CHODs discuss NATO’s ongoing operational commitments, force generation and future requirements. The military commanders will then meet with operational partners from the Resolute Support Mission, the NATO Mission Iraq and the KFOR Mission.

The afternoon will be devoted to the Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and theNATO Warfighting Capstone Concept. These two concepts flow from the Alliance’s military strategy, which sets out its military priorities and its approach to current and future threats, enabling NATO Commanders to deal with the changing security environment.

On day two, the CHODs will turn their attention to NATO’s southern flank, discussing ongoing work strands and enhancing cooperation with partners and institutions with common interests in the region, such as the African Union, the EU and the UN.  In the next session, they will review the different elements relating to the <I>Enablement of SACEUR’s Area of Responsibility<P>, including Joint Forces Command Norfolk and Joint Support and Enabling Command. In the final session with partner Georgia, the CHODs will be updated on the current security situation and recent developments, moving on to discuss future cooperation.

Political observers believe that the MC meeting will also analyse the latest developments in Iran – more likely than not in light of President Trump’s recent statement that he had a call with Mr Stoltenberg on 8 January to discuss his suggestion that the Alliance should become more involved in the Middle East as tensions in the region increase, proposing to call the new mission NATOME, for NATO Middle East. According to the Bloomberg newswire, Trump said NATO should be helping the US in the Middle East to continue the fight against Islamic terrorism. The scope of NATO should be enhanced while the United States would help, “but right now the burden is on us and it's not fair." – Due to the extremely fragile situation in the region, NATO is already running a training mission in Iraq, aimed at supporting Iraqi forces in preventing a re-emergence of the Islamic State: it is also involved in Afghanistan with the Resolute Support mission.

Dr Theodor Benien

Subsequent to Mr Stoltenberg’s meeting with President Trump at the NATO Summit in London last month, they had a call on 8 January to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East. (Photo: NATO)

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