NATO Weekly Roundup - Week of May 17th

NATO’s Military Exercises and Operations

“NATO warships start major air and missile defence exercise”

  • NATO exercise “At-Sea-Demo/Formidable Shield,” Europe’s largest air and missile defence exercise, began off of Scotland and Norway and involved over a dozen ships and dozens of aircraft from several NATO allies; the exercise will entail ships detecting and tracking a missile flying at high speeds such as 20,000 km/h, defending against anti-ship and other sub/supersonic missiles, and more. 

“NATO attempts to appease Serbian concerns over Croatian troops in Kosovo”

  • As additional Croatian troops are deployed to Kosovo as part of NATO’s KFOR mission, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reassured Serbian officials that all NATO troops from allied countries and partners operate under the same framework as stipulated under UN Resolution 1244, reaffirming NATO’s commitment to the KFOR mission. 

“15 NATO Ships Meet Up in the North Atlantic Ocean”

  • A concurrence of the Royal Navy’s Strike Warrior Exercise and the U.S. Ragnar Viking Exercise brought together 15 ships from four NATO allies, including the U.K. Carrier Strike Group and the U.S. IWO Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), each composed of a variety of different warships and aircrafts from contributing NATO allies such as France, Poland, and more; this concurrence further demonstrates NATO’s readiness and interoperability capabilities. 

“US to Turn Romanian Airbase into NATO Black Sea Hub”

  • The U.S. Air Force will soon begin awarding construction contracts to update a former Soviet base, Campia Turzii, in Romania to better accommodate heavy cargo aircraft and fighter jets, which will boost NATO capabilities in the Black Sea region in light of Russian aggression in Crimea and, more recently, in Ukraine. 

“Four NATO Allies and one partner boost Special Operations Forces capabilities”

  • The Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC), composed of Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia, reached operational capacity last week, providing a temporary deployable command element to lead special operations in the aforementioned participating nations; the R-SOCC will increase the ability to quickly deploy special operations forces and is expected to be available for the NATO Response Force in 2025. 

“NATO exercises sweep Europe amid Russian escalation, rising tensions between Moscow and US”

  • A series of military exercises between NATO Allies and non-NATO partners, named “Trojan Footprint,” are taking place in tandem with the Defender-Europe 21 NATO Exercises, consisting of special operations exercises between a team of U.S. Navy SEALs, Romanian special forces, Spanish special forces, Ukraine, Georgia, and more; these exercises commenced soon after Russian forces began to build-up near Ukraine in recent months. 

“Sea Breeze 2021 - Ukraine, 29 NATO Allies to conduct joint exercise”

  • Sea Breeze 2021, a U.S.-Ukraine-led NATO joint exercise, will commence in the Black Sea region in the summer of 2021 and will include joint naval forces, national guard forces, and more; these exercises will increase compatibility of Ukraine’s forces with NATO forces, further improving interoperability between NATO and Ukraine. 

“Russian Admiral Frets over ‘Provocative’ NATO Drills”

  • Russian Admiral Alexander Moiseyev voiced his concern of NATO’s presence in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea that have reached unprecedented levels since World War II, as well as military exercises inching closer to Russia’s borders and increasingly frequent flights near Russian airspace. 

Political Elements of NATO

“Secretary General stresses NATO’s commitment to stability in the Western Balkans”

  • Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with President Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia at the NATO HQ in Brussels to discuss the importance of a NATO-Serbia partnership, NATO’s commitment to peace and stability in the Western Balkans (as evidenced by NATO’s ongoing UN-mandated KFOR mission), and the importance of the normalization process between Belgrade and Pristina. 

“NATO Deputy Secretary General marks 10th anniversary of key missile defence agreement”

  • Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană noted the 10th anniversary of a U.S.-Romanian agreement to establish NATO’s land-based ballistic missile defense system named “Aegis Ashore” in southern Romania, which forms part of a larger NATO missile defense system in Europe that is solely deterrence and defense-based. 

“Secretary General underscores Montenegro’s contributions to NATO”

  • Secretary General Stoltenberg met with President Milo Đukanović of Montenegro, affirming Montenegro’s important contributions to Euro-Atlantic security, the Afghan security forces, NATO’s peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, stability measures in the Western Balkans, as well as NATO’s commitment to support Montenegro with supplies in light of the Covid-19 pandemic; also discussed was the NATO 2030 agenda for the upcoming Brussels summit in June. 

“NATO and Algeria strengthen scientific cooperation against terrorism”

  • As part of NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS), NATO, Algeria, France, and Sweden have developed terahertz imaging technology in North Africa that will allow for the scanning and detection of dangerous materials and explosives, marking an important stride in the fight against terrorism as well as scientific cooperation between NATO and partner nations. 

“Pentagon, NATO Demonstrate Transparency Officials Want Russia to Emulate”

  • Pentagon and NATO officials demonstrate how transparent and open military defense exercises should be with the public, as evidenced by Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby’s media briefs on U.S. worldwide military exercises, such as NATO exercise Defender-Europe 21 and Astral Knight 2021, a stark contrast to the closed system of communication regarding military exercises recently demonstrated by Russia. 

“Deputy Secretary General discusses NATO 2030 initiative at NATO Parliamentary Assembly”

  • Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană discussed the NATO 2030 agenda during his address to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly as NATO prepares for the upcoming summit in June; the Deputy Secretary General further outlined the importance of the NATO 2030 initiative as an ambitious agenda with the objectives of strengthening collective defense and resilience, broadening NATO’s security in key areas such as climate change, technology, and more, and reaffirming NATO’s values and safeguarding a rules-based international order. 

“NATO Secretary General highlights the Atlantic Alliance’s values and contributions to global peace and security at the German ecumenical church days”

  • At the third German ecumenical church days, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted the historical unification of Germany and Europe’s united approach to threats such as Russia, cyberattacks, and more, emphasizing the importance of investing in security and the pursuit of peace for all Allies and reaffirming Germany’s strength and contribution to NATO. 

“NATO Secretary General: Summit to future-proof Alliance”

  • In a meeting with the allied defence chiefs, Secretary General Stoltenberg emphasized that the NATO summit in June will be an opportunity to future-proof the Alliance, strengthen the transatlantic bond, and further commitment to transatlantic solidarity; the Secretary General has submitted eight core proposals to the North Atlantic Council for approval for the summit, focusing on reinforcing European-North American unity, renewed collective defence, improving resilience to address challenges such as climate change, cybersecurity, and more, and safeguarding a rules-based international order.