NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed a meeting of NATO Chiefs of Defence on Thursday (14 May 2020) by videoconference. He stressed that security challenges have not diminished because of COVID-19 and NATO must continue to ensure that the health crisis does not turn into a security crisis.
NATO armed forces have been heavily involved in the response to the pandemic, including by deploying field hospitals, airlifting medical supplies and disinfecting public spaces. Thousands of Allied military medical personnel have been deployed in support of civilian efforts.
The Secretary General also emphasized that NATO must continue to deliver credible and effective deterrence and defence, stressing the need to continue delivering on NATO’s Readiness Initiative, modernizing the Alliance’s Command Structure, and sustaining operations.
Cohesion and unity among Allies are crucial in these troubled times, the Secretary General said, thanking defence chiefs for their efforts and solidarity during the coronavirus crisis and commitment to ongoing operations.
Mr. Stoltenberg underlined that NATO is preparing for the long-term effects of COVID-19 and working to help Allies bolster their resilience, including with updated baseline requirements for civil preparedness.
Thursday’s meeting was the first ever online gathering of NATO Defence chiefs in NATO’s 71-year history. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the Military Committee presided over the sessions. The Alliance’s response to the coronavirus crisis and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq dominated the talks.