Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford joins with 28 other alliance chiefs of defense for the meeting. While there, he will also hold meetings with individual defense chiefs, including Turkish army Gen. Yasar Guler, chief of the Turkish armed forces.
Defense officials said the chiefs will examine all the operations in which alliance forces are participating, including those in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. They will discuss alliance assurance and deterrence missions aimed at demonstrating alliance unity in the face of Russian adventurism, officials added.
But NATO is more than just Europe. “We, as an alliance, have troops deployed all over the globe, serving away from home and in difficult and arduous conditions to provide security, peace and stability to over one billion citizens of our world,” said British Royal Air Force Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, the chairman of the alliance’s Military Committee, at the opening of the meeting.
Defense officials said the chiefs will discuss strategic developments and then will discuss the forthcoming NATO military strategy. They will also discuss progress in alliance command structure changes and the NATO readiness initiative.
Afghanistan is high on NATO’s agenda, and the chiefs will engage over the efforts in that nation. “Our commitment to Afghanistan is unwavering,” Peach stressed. “The security situation remains challenging. Nevertheless, the Afghan national defense and security forces are working very hard to secure their country and deny a safe haven to terrorists.”
The chiefs also will engage with Pakistani officials, defense officials said, to discuss the regional security situation and potential future cooperation.