Defense ministers attending NATO’s North Atlantic Council meeting on Wednesday agreed on the creation of a new command for the Atlantic which would ensure better cooperation between Europe and the US and Canada.
This command would coordinate the protection of sea lines of communication between Europe and North America.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, NATO secretary Jens Stoltenberg said the military commanders would now start working out the details while the results of their work are to be presented to defense ministers next February.
Stoltenberg further said that the ministers agreed on an outline design for an adapted NATO command structure which will improve NATO’s ability to reinforce Allies quickly and effectively.
The focus of the adaptions will be on developing the right transport means and the right infrastructure.
“Since 2014, we have made good progress in improving national legislation. Removing many bureaucratic hurdles to allow us to move forces across Allied territory,” Stoltenberg said. “But much more needs to be done. We need to ensure that national legislation facilitating border crossing is fully implemented. We need enough transport capacity at our disposal, which largely comes from the private sector. And we need to improve infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railways, runways and ports.”
During the meeting ministers also agreed on the creation of a new cyber operations centre as part of the outline design for the adapted NATO Command Structure.
“This will strengthen our cyber defences, and help integrate cyber into NATO planning and operations at all levels. We also agreed that we will be able to integrate Allies’ national cyber capabilities into NATO missions and operations. While nations maintain full ownership of those capabilities. Just as Allies own the tanks, the ships and aircraft in NATO missions,” Stoltenberg said.