01/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/27/2021 07:27
'Our armed forces have ensured that this health crisis has not become a security crisis, but COVID-19 has not made other challenges go away', the Secretary General said, 'Our democracy, our values, and the rules-based order are being challenged. So we must remain fit to face any challenge the future may bring,' he said.
The Secretary General urged Allies to continue to increase defence spending, invest in modern capabilities and boost the readiness of armed forces to cope with global challenges such as Russia's aggressive actions, terrorism and China's rise. Mr Stoltenberg said he is looking forward to working with US President Joe Biden, as the US and Europe are safer standing together.
Looking out a decade, the Secretary General said that he will present his recommendations how to equip NATO for the future when allied leaders meet in Brussels this year. He underlined that he wants NATO to take on a more global approach and work closely with democracies in the Asia-Pacific region. On Afghanistan, Mr Stoltenberg said that peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are an historic opportunity and that any adjustments of NATO troop levels in the country must be taken by Allies in a coordinated way.
During the one-day meeting, Allied Chiefs of Defence will focus on NATO operations, the response to the coronavirus crisis and strategic military planning documents. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of NATO's Military Committee, presides over the sessions.