NATO defence ministers have approved plans to form two new alliance commands, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today in Brussels.
The secretary general spoke at a news conference at the end of the first day of the NATO defence ministerial.
The ministers approved plans to modernise the NATO command structure. The alliance command structure allows the 29 member nations to operate in sync and perform missions and operations as an alliance.
“At the end of the Cold War, NATO had 22,000 staff working in 33 commands,” Stoltenberg said. “Today, the command structure is reduced to fewer than 7,000 staff in seven commands.”
The threat emanating from Russia, out-of-area operations and concerns about the alliance’s southern flank mean NATO must respond, the secretary general said. The changes will place greater focus on maritime security; logistics and military mobility; and cyber defence.
“We will establish a new joint force command for the Atlantic, to help protect sea lines of communication between North America and Europe,” Stoltenberg said.
“We will establish a new support command for logistics, reinforcement and military mobility — improving the movement of troops and equipment is essential to our collective deterrence and defence.”
The alliance will designate some additional land component commands in Europe. “We will also set up a new cyber operations centre at our military headquarters … to further strengthen our defences,” the secretary general said.
The next move is for defence ministers to decide on the timelines, locations and staffing for the headquarters. Stoltenberg expects those decisions in June.