Speaking at a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels on 15 February, Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has outlined an ambition for a modern NATO that delivers on its commitments.
British commitment to NATO is to include an uplift of about 100 personnel in the nation’s contribution to NATO’s modernised command structure, helping to ensure the Alliance is able to meet current and future security challenges. The proposed structure, which has been influenced by senior British staff, represents a key aspect of the UK’s priority to modernise and strengthen NATO so it remains able to command and control its missions and operations wherever they are required.
Among proposals the assembled Defence Ministers will consider are structures that include a new command for the Atlantic and one to improve the movement of military forces across Europe.
Britain’s Armed Forces have taken a leading role in NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence, providing the framework battlegroup in Estonia and contributing to the US-led enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup in Poland. The Defence Secretary welcomed the arrival of Danish forces in Estonia and the announcement that France will return in 2019. He also welcomed progress made by NATO in the fight against terrorism.
“NATO is the cornerstone of our defence but we live in an uncertain world, with the confrontation and conflict we face shifting and evolving. NATO must modernise at the same pace, so we can respond better and faster to deter those that threaten our safety and way of life,” Williamson stated.