NATO Weekly Roundup - Week of May 10th

NATO’s Military Exercises and Operations 

“Coronavirus response: NATO and Poland support to Bosnia and Herzegovina”

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Poland sent medical supplies such as face masks and protective clothing to Bosnia and Herzegovina, coordinated by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC); these efforts are a continuation of NATO’s overall COVID-19 assistance package for Bosnia and Herzegovina that Allies agreed to take part in under NATO’s Pandemic Response Trust Fund. 

“NATO successfully tests Rapid Air Mobility procedures”

  • In a crisis simulation, NATO successfully tested operability of the rapid air mobility initiative (RAM) to airlift troops and equipment swiftly and efficiently across borders; the exercises were conducted in coordination with Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, NATO’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) Force, as well as 12 Allies. 

“Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 to test NATO readiness and military mobility”

  • NATO’s Exercise Steadfast Defender 2021 will begin this month--marking the first large-scale test of NATO’s new Command Structure--including a live exercise of rapid reinforcement of NATO’s European Allies by their North American counterparts, led by Joint Force Command Norfolk, and a table-top exercise to test NATO’s Joint Support and Enabling Command’s ability to rapidly coordinate the movement of troops and equipment across borders.

“Denmark reaffirms its commitment to command NATO Mission Iraq”

  • Lieutenant-General Michael Lollesgaard of Denmark assumed command of the NATO Mission Iraq, succeeding Lieutenant-General Per Olsen, also of Denmark; NATO Mission Iraq began in Brussels in 2018 as a non-combat mission to advise, train, and capacity-build with the Iraqi government to establish more sustainable and effective security institutions in Iraq. 

“Turkish soldiers head to Romania to participate in NATO exercise”

  • Turkish soldiers from the 66th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Command mobilized towards Romania to participate in NATO’s Steadfast Defender 2021 exercise, aimed at training and testing the NATO Command Structure, the NATO Force Structure, and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force Deterrence Operations occurring in Southern Europe. 

“With An Eye on Russia, EU Opens ‘Military Mobility’ Project To NATO Allies”

  • The European Union has approved the United States, Norway, and Canada to participate in a military mobility project part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact, created to increase defense ties and strengthen European security; this is the first time that such an initiative has been opened to outsiders of the bloc, and comes at a time when Russian aggression (such as troop movement, invasion of airspace, and more) is seemingly unabated towards Eastern European countries. 

“Russian MiG-31 Fighter Jet Intercepts U.S. Aircraft as Moscow Eyes NATO Drills”

  • A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet was recently scrambled to escort a U.S. Air Force (USAF) RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft over the Chukchi Sea in order to prevent violation of Russian airspace; this is the latest of a multiple instances of Russian aircraft scrambling to escort Western aircraft near Russian territory in the past several months. 

“Head of NATO’s Multinational Division North visits Estonia’s infantry brigades”

  • The Commander of NATO’s Multinational Division North, Maj. Gen. Flemming Mathiasen, visited two infantry brigades in Estonia to understand the activities of the brigade units, the local terrain, training plans, and future developments in order to best assist in securing the defense of Estonia; Maj. Gen. Mathiasen also discussed the recent conclusion of the Exercise Knight Lavard 21, an exercise of the Multinational Division North. 

“Romanian president says more NATO presence needed in Eastern Europe”

  • During the summit of the Bucharest Nine, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that an increased NATO presence is needed in the eastern flank of Europe in light of Russian military buildup in the Black Sea region and in Ukraine; the United States also voiced its support for enhancing NATO’s deterrence and defense, increasing resilience, and cooperating with the Bucharest Nine on matters of climate change, energy security, and more during the summit. 

Political Elements of NATO

“NATO and Austria sign agreement on liaison office in Vienna”

  • Secretary Jens Stoltenberg met with Alexander Schallenberg, the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, at NATO HQ to discuss the strong partnership between NATO and Austra, Austria’s commitment to Afghanistan as well as the NATO troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, NATO’s commitment to the Western Balkans, and the signing of the agreement between NATO and Austria on the legal status of NATO’s Liaison Office in Vienna. 

“NATO Deputy Secretary General stresses the importance of strengthening transatlantic ties at the Delphi Economic Forum”

  • At the sixth installment of the Delphi Economic Forum, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană advocated for increased commitment to collective defense and an affirmation of the themes of the NATO 2030 agenda, including unity, a broadened security approach, and a strengthening of global partnerships; Deputy Secretary General Geoană also thanked Greece and Turkey for their contributions to NATO, highlighting their resumption of exploratory talks. 

“NATO Secretary General discusses military mobility, Russia, Afghanistan with EU Defence Ministers”

  • Secretary General Stoltenberg, during a meeting with European Union Defence Ministers, praised the EU’s announcement of including Canada, Norway, and the United States in PESCO projects to increase cross-border military mobility, while also discussing Russia’s troop movement near Ukraine, NATO’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and NATO’s continued support of Afghan stability. 

“Deputy Secretary General discusses NATO-EU cooperation at military mobility symposium”

  • At the Military Mobility Symposium, co-organized by the European Defence Agency and the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana stressed the importance of military mobility and rapid deployable capabilities for deterrence and defense measures within NATO, as well as the necessity cross-sector collaboration and EU-NATO cooperation to maintain coherence and cohesion in NATO missions and operability. 

“NATO Secretary General and the Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister discuss NATO’s forward looking agenda ahead of NATO summit”

  • Slovenia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Matej Tonin was welcomed to NATO HQ for a meeting with Secretary General Stoltenberg to discuss the upcoming NATO Summit, Slovenia’s continued commitment to Euro-Atlantic Security (especially through its troop contributions in Latvia, Afghanistan, and Kosov), and EU-NATO cooperation. 

“NATO Secretary General speaks with the leaders of the Bucharest 9 Initiative ahead of NATO summit”

  • Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with the Heads of State and Government of the Bucharest 9 Initiative (comprised of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, and more) to discuss the upcoming NATO Summit’s themes, including unity between Europe and North America, a forward-looking agenda, strengthening defense, and safeguarding a rules-based international order. 

“Ukraine’s Kuleba Says Some NATO Members Worried About Provoking Russia”

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba claims there are some NATO Allies hesitant to support Ukraine’s membership into the Alliance due to fears of further provoking Russia; Ukraine is doubtful that the upcoming NATO Summit will produce a Membership Action Plan (MAP), an action plan of guidance and recommendations from NATO to those nations seeking membership, despite Russia’s massive buildup of troops and military hardware near the eastern border of Ukraine and in Crimea earlier this year. 

“Trouble Erupts Between NATO Allies UK & France; Both London & Paris Deploy Naval Vessels”

  • In light of tensions over Brexit and the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), disputes over technical details in trade and fishing rights on the English Channel, especially surround the Jersey Island, have continued to increase with both nations sending patrol vessels to the English Channel and threatening to take other precautionary measures if an agreement cannot be reached. 

“NATO Secretary General hails long-standing partnership with Jordan”

  • Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed King Abdullah II of Jordan to NATO HQ, reaffirming NATO’s strong partnership with Jordan, recalling several instances of cooperation in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Libya, and Jordanian contribution to the NATO Response Force; further discussed were issues of international terrorism, support for improving border security, and more. 

“Chairman of the Military Committee affirms NATO solidarity with Czech Republic during visit to Prague”

  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Military Committee, met with several Czech government officials during his recent visit to Prague, including Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar, and more; during his visit, the Chairman held a call with Prime Minister Babis to affirm NATO’s solidarity with the Czech Republic in light of the recent expulsion of several Czech diplomats from their embassy in Moscow.