In Madrid, this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had the opportunity to preview the alliance’s latest summit. Driven largely by the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Stoltenberg says NATO’s initiative began a while back but the incident has reinvigorated the transformation.
Supporting Ukraine is, of course, just the near-term goal for NATO and the allied heads of state government will certainly discuss it. The far-reaching goal, though, is to develop a new, strategic concept they can implement to guide the unified nations “in an era of strategic competition,” according to Stoltenberg.
He goes on to say, “I expect [the summit] will make clear that allies consider Russia as the most significant and direct threat to our security.”
While the motivation should be quite apparent, Stoltenberg also notes that the new strategic development will also focus on China. This means that, for the first time, the US will attempt to address the many challenges that Beijing poses to US national security as well as the USA’s values and financial interests.
In addition, the concept will analyze NATO’s progress towards combating other global threats. This includes common concerns like terrorism and cyber attacks. Hybrid warfare issues are also on the docket.
When all is said and done the final deliberations at this week’s summit could result in base changes or alterations to tours of duty and other shifts to US service member assignments. For example, the US Secretary General made sure to note that this alliance will quickly affect the NATO Response Force. It will also bring the number of high-readiness forces up to more than 300,000. This is a big jump from the 40,000 high-readiness personnel currently available.
Stoltenberg comments how these troops will be housed together and train together along with home defense forces. Also, he says, “they will become familiar with local terrain, facilities, and our new pre-positioned stocks so that they can respond smoothly and swiftly to any emergency.”