Regular NATO Defence Ministers Meeting, 17 -18 February 2021
Regular NATO Defence Ministers Meeting took place on 17th and 18th February 2021 in virtual form. It was attended for the first time by newly appointed US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin. Main topics were NATO Vision 2030, burden sharing, further adaptation of NATO deterrence and defence posture, operations and mission with focus on Afghanistan and Iraq, and cooperation with partners, including strengthening Transatlantic relations.
The first Formal Session was dedicated to NATO Vision 2030, burden sharing and further adaptation of NATO deterrence and defence posture. Secretary General Stoltenberg revealed to Defence Ministers the proactive package of proposals, which will serve as a basis for further consultations inside the Alliance and at the Leaders Meeting later this year. Due to development of new military concepts and strategies, additional attention is attached to cutting-edge technologies. For this reason the Ministers endorsed Comprehensive Implementation Strategy on Emerging and Disruptive Technologies (EDTs) and NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept.
Regarding the 3 C’s (Cash, Capabilities & Commitments), new US Administration will continue to call on European Allies and Canada to assume fairer burden-sharing. It is of utmost importance to implement the Wales pledge also in the form of modern capabilities, increased readiness and credible deterrence and defence.
The discussion concluded with short Informal Session, participated by EU High Representative Borrell and the Defence Ministers of Finland and Sweden. The Allies, together with closest partners, addressed the strengthening of Transatlantic relations.
The Formal Session on Thursday was dedicated to NATO operations and missions, with focus on Afghanistan and Iraq. Ministers consulted about the future of the Resolute Support Mission (RSM). Furthermore, as the security situation in Iraq remains fragile, following the arrangement with local government, the Ministers took decision to launch expanded NATO Mission in Iraq.