NATO Secretary General press conference, Defence Minister Meetings, 14 JUN 2016, 1/2

September 13, 2019 posted by

Good evening. We have just agreed on a number of important
measures to strengthen NATO’s defence and deterrence. Defending our territory and protecting our
citizens is NATO’s core mission. And our decisions today will ensure that we
continue to do that in a more dangerous world. NATO is an Alliance that delivers. We have now fully implemented the Readiness
Action Plan adopted at the Wales Summit two years ago. The NATO Response Force has been tripled in
size and can be deployed to all parts of the Alliance. Its new very high readiness Spearhead Force
can be deployed in a few days, to provide a first response to an emerging crisis. Its land component, this year led by Spain,
has been successfully tested in an exercise in Poland just a few weeks ago. And eight new small headquarters now operate
on the eastern territory of our Alliance. This is significant progress. And a significant boost to NATO’s ability
to reinforce, if needed. Today we are taking the next steps. To build on what we have achieved. We decided to enhance our forward presence
in the eastern part of our Alliance. NATO will deploy by rotation four robust multinational
battalions to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. And we will take tailored measures to enhance
our defence and deterrence in the Black Sea region. There will also be more pre-positioned equipment
and supplies. This sends a clear message. If any of our Allies is attacked, the whole
Alliance will respond as one. NATO does not seek confrontation. Indeed, we seek a constructive dialogue with
Russia. But we will defend our Allies against any
threats. We also discussed the freedom of movement
of NATO forces across Europe in our meeting today. It is vital that our troops and equipment
can move without delay. For exercises in peacetime, and for reinforcements
in an emerging crisis, time is of the essence. After the end of the Cold War, this was not
on our agenda. But the challenges in our neighbourhood have
made it a priority. Many of our procedures have had to be refreshed
and simplified. Last autumn, we looked at a map of Europe
which showed how difficult it was to move troops from one country to another at short
notice. We used a traffic-light analogy. And we saw that large parts of the map were
red. We have worked very hard since then, and made
significant progress. NATO Allies have cut red tape, and updated
complex procedures, with the support of ministries and parliaments. And today, the whole map has turned green. This is a huge improvement for our ability
to deploy our forces at speed. We are now looking at what more needs to be
done. For instance regarding railways, airfields,
and seaports. There is still work to do. But we have shown that where there’s a will,
there’s a way. Our defence and deterrence posture is full-spectrum. From resilience and national defence, to conventional
capabilities and ballistic missile defence, to the nuclear dimension. So today we also met in the Nuclear Planning
Group. To consider the safety, security and effectiveness
of NATO’s nuclear deterrent. We also turned our attention to cyberspace. We agreed that we will recognise cyberspace
as an operational domain. Just like air, sea and land. Cyber defence is part of collective defence. Most crises and conflicts today have a cyber
dimension. So treating cyber as an operational domain
would enable us to better protect our missions and operations. All our efforts to strengthen defence and
deterrence depend on the right capabilities and the right resources. We pledged two years ago to stop the cuts in our defence spending; to start increasing; and to move towards our benchmark of 2 % of
GDP over a decade. We still have a long way to go. But in the first year since we made that pledge,
we have made progress. In 2015 we saw a small increase in defence
spending across Europe and Canada. And our estimates indicate a further increase
in defence spending in 2016. So, after many years of constant cuts in our
defence spending we are now back on the right track. Clearly, this is not the end of the road. We need to keep up the momentum and sustain
our efforts over the long term. We will return to this at the Warsaw Summit.
To ensure that we are doing what is necessary to keep our nations safe. So with that, I am ready for your questions.

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