The Alliance’s 28 leaders at their Wales Summit on Friday (5 September 2014) agreed on a Readiness Action Plan to strengthen NATO’s collective defence and to ensure the Alliance is ready to deal with any challenge. “This is a demonstration of our solidarity and resolve,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The Secretary General said that Allies face a security environment which is more unpredictable than ever, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, violent extremism in the Middle East and instability in North Africa. “In these turbulent times NATO must be prepared to undertake the full range of missions and to defend Allies against the full range of threats,” he said.
NATO leaders at their meeting agreed to maintain a continuous presence and activity in the air, on land and at sea in the eastern part of the Alliance, on a rotational basis. They also agreed to create a spearhead unit within the NATO Response Force which would be a very high readiness force able to deploy at very short notice. “This spearhead will include several thousand land troops ready to deploy within a few days with air, sea and Special Forces support,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen.
To facilitate reinforcements, NATO will set up an appropriate command and control presence, reception facilities and will pre-position equipment, supplies and planners. NATO will step up intelligence sharing, upgrade defence plans and hold more short-notice exercises as well.
NATO leaders also endorsed a package of other measures to ensure the Alliance remains robust and ready, including an enhanced cyber defence policy and strengthening cooperation with partners, launching a Defence Capacity Building Initiative to help the Alliance project stability without deploying large combat forces. Georgia, Jordan and Moldova are expected to participate.
On NATO’s Open Door policy, NATO leaders agreed to offer Georgia an extensive package of measures to help it advance in its preparations toward membership. They also agreed to open intensified talks on Montenegro’s candidacy and will assess by the end of 2015 at the latest, whether to invite Montenegro to join the Alliance.
“So with the Readiness Action Plan, improved capability and our unique set of partners, NATO is able to act swiftly, decisively and in concert with others,” said the Secretary General.
The Secretary General also welcomed the announcement by Poland that it would host the next NATO Summit which he said was “a strong signal of Poland’s leadership in NATO and NATO’s more visible presence in the eastern part of our our Alliance.”