NATO Weekly Roundup - Week of April 12th

Arctic Littoral Strike: Marines, Norwegian Military Conduct Exercise in Northern Norway

https://www.marines.mil/News/News-Display/Article/2565220/arctic-littoral-strike-marines-norwegian-military-conduct-exercise-in-northern/

As a testament to NATO’s military interoperability and collective defense in contested maritime areas, U.S. Marines and Sailors of the Marine Rotational Force-Europe 21.1 completed military exercises in “Arctic Littoral Strike,” above the Arctic Circle, including exercises in joint naval integration, live-fire attack simulations, and more. 


NATO Military Committee Chairman visits Ukraine

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_182947.htm?selectedLocale=en

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee and senior military advisor to the Secretary General paid a visit to Kyiv, Ukraine to reaffirm NATO’s strategic partnership with Ukraine and support for its territorial integrity and sovereignty against Russian aggression.


SNMG1 and SNMCMG1 exercises together in the Baltic Sea

http://navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2021/april/9949-snmg1-and-snmcmg1-exercises-together-in-the-baltic-sea.html

NATO’s Standing NATO Military Group One (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) conducted joint military exercises in the Baltic Sea for three days, off the coast of Latvia and Estonia; both SNMG1 and SNMCMG1 compose part of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces (SNFs) that perform continuous active duty measures to promote NATO’s collective defense and high readiness operability. 


B-2 Spirit integrates with NATO ally at Lajes Field

https://syvnews.com/news/local/military/b-2-spirit-integrates-with-nato-ally-at-lajes-field/article_77b0b68c-a7ad-592b-92b9-97fa7c764c3b.html

Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, along with more than 100 airmen and other personnel, arrived in Lajes Field, Portugal, to conduct joint military exercises in Northern Europe as a continuation of a long history of military interoperability between the United States and its NATO ally. 


Austin announces increase to US military presence in Germany

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/13/politics/lloyd-austin-increase-us-troops-germany-nato/index.html

The US has committed an increase in military personnel to its NATO ally Germany, an act largely indicative of the Biden Administration’s reversal of previous policies towards transatlantic relations. 


Ukraine says joint NATO military exercises to begin soon

https://www.axios.com/ukraine-joint-nato-military-exercises-russia-076aa349-12d5-4eb4-926e-40bcf9cbb762.html

Sources from within Ukraine claim that joint military exercises with NATO may begin in just a few months, as Russia seeks to deter Ukrainian collaboration with NATO and has increased its troop presence on the Ukrainian border in retaliation. 


Border guards to take part in Ukrainian-British Cossack Mace 2021 exercise in summer

https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/general/735091.html

Joint Ukrainian-British military exercises are to take place in summer 2021 with the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and British military forces, strengthening the cohesion and interoperability of NATO and Ukraine. 


Royal Air Force, US and Dutch Jets train together in large scale Air exercise over the North Sea

https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles/royal-air-force-us-and-dutch-jets-train-together-in-large-scale-air-exercise-over-the-north-sea/?fbclid=IwAR0BpFhJL14hOrKMRyGtWvaboEaP0DjVadFQmMDGOZnfq4pYwQ6gJ7fnGAU

The Royal Air Force in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force in Europe and Air Forces in Africa facilitated and carried out the Point Blank over the North Sea exercise. This event is important for interoperability and to the NATO deterrence mechanisms for potential adversaries. 


Steadfast Armour 2021 - Why is it Important to Spend Resources and Energy on Europe’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense? 

https://sfn.nato.int/newsroom/2021/steadfast-armour-2021-why-is-it-important-to-spend-resources-and-energy-on-europes-integrated-air-and-missile-defense.aspx

Steadfast Armour 2021 is a part of the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD). The second phase of this was completed between the weeks of March 14-26th 2021 by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and the U.S. Sixth Fleet (SIXTHFL). The link expresses the latest developments and its importance.


Estonia’s cyber defence centre holds largest NATO exercise thus far

https://bnn-news.com/estonias-cyber-defence-centre-holds-largest-nato-exercise-this-far-223825

NATO joint exercise Locked Shields 2021 will take place in Estonia on April 13th, 2021, marking the largest international cyber defense exercise thus far, according to NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence. 


NATO jets intercept Russian warplanes during unusual level of air activity

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_182897.htm

In response to an unusual peak of Russian aircraft activity over the North Atlantic, North Sea, Black Sea, and Baltic Sea, NATO jets scrambled ten times to intercept Russian aircraft, a trend that has been steadily increasing in the last year. 



Political Elements of NATO 


Blinken Is Set to Return to Brussels for More NATO Meetings

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-09/blinken-is-set-to-return-to-brussels-for-more-nato-meetings

In light of recent Russian aggression on the country’s border with Ukraine, including mass troop buildup and military drills, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to return to Brussels in the coming week(s) for more NATO meetings with NATO and European officials.


Russian military buildup in the Arctic has northern NATO members uneasy

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/frozen-pathways/2021/04/12/russian-military-buildup-in-the-arctic-has-northern-nato-members-uneasy/

Northern NATO allies such as Norway are growing uneasy at the increased presence of Russia in the Arctic region as evidenced by Russian long-range missiles, increased naval exercises, and more; as the region begins heating up, resource-rich areas that so far have remained relatively untouched are now becoming visible and attractive to multiple foreign actors. 


Secretary Blinken’s Call with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg

https://www.state.gov/secretary-blinkens-call-with-nato-secretary-general-stoltenberg-2/

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg the immediate need of Russia to cease its aggressive military buildup along Ukraine’s borders and in occupied Crimea among other topics.


NATO Military Committee Chairman visits Ukraine https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_182947.htm?selectedLocale=en 

In a two day visit (April 6-7th), Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach met with Ukranian President Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak in Kyiv, Ukraine.


Ukraine urges Nato to hasten membership as Russian troops gather

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/06/ukraine-pressures-nato-for-membership-as-russia-amasses-troops-at-border

Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asks for an acceleration of a timeline to integrate Ukraine into NATO, both as a means to gain support in the domestic conflict within the country and in response to a recent Russian military buildup on the Ukranian border.


U.S., NATO discuss need for Russia to cease military buildup near Ukraine: State Department 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nato-ukraine/u-s-nato-discuss-need-for-russia-to-cease-military-buildup-near-ukraine-state-department-idUSKBN2BZ20R?il=0

Before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s return visit to Brussels for more NATO talks, Blinken and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discuss their agreement that Russia must cease its military buildup near Ukraine and in occupied Crimea 


NATO-Ukraine Commission addresses security situation in and around Ukraine

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_183015.htm?selectedLocale=en

On Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as chairman of the meeting and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba discussed the military/security concern of Russia in and around Ukraine.


Raisina Dialogue: NATO Secy Gen flags China coercion of neighbors, hampering freedom of navigation

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/raisina-dialogue-nato-secy-gen-flags-china-coercion-of-neighbours-hampering-freedom-of-navigation-238635

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg virtually addresses the Indo-Pacific region at the Raisina Dialogue on April 13th, 2021. He talks about the key role of India, calls out the actions of China amidst rising concerns of global issues and asserts the importance of the Alliance’s military platform to approach security concerns. 


Deputy Secretary General highlights young people’s stake in NATO’s future at the Atlantic Forum Spring Conference 

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_182991.htm?selectedLocale=en

At the Atlantic Forum’s online Spring Conference 2021, Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană spoke on the Alliance’s goals/mission regarding youth involvement with NATO in the light of NATO 2030 initiative and touched on the future of security. 


NATO delivers IT equipment to the Republic of Moldova

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_182913.htm?selectedLocale=en

Moldova’s Ministry of Defence received a delivery of IT equipment from NATO in a contributory effort of the joint Defence and related security Capacity Building (DCB) Initiative. This occurred on March 29, 2021. 


NATO Secretary General joins meeting of Foreign Ministers in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_182894.htm?selectedLocale=en 

Tuesday March 30th, 2021, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attended a virtual meeting hosted by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Belgium’s Deputy Prime minister and Foriegn Minister Sophie Wilmès. The meeting’s conversation was centered on the Iraq government, ISIS and the Allies commitment to defeat ISIS.