By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2013 – Training and partnership will be among the top priorities as NATO’s mission in Afghanistan ends, the alliance’s supreme allied commander for transformation said in Brussels today.
Gen. Jean-Paul Paloméros of the French air force, who assumed his command three months ago, said at a news conference at NATO headquarters that he is charged to ensure allied armed forces are prepared to face the challenges NATO could encounter once the International Security Assistance Forces mission concludes.
“NATO needs to continue preparing for future challenges, and that is my remit,” Paloméros said. “Today’s environment is marked by very important … changes in the strategic and political landscape and the economic environment.”
The general noted that NATO has fostered allied interoperability, capabilities and partner cooperation, with steady transformation from the Cold War to missions in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya.
The current economic environment also mandates a coordinated response, Paloméros said, and the alliance’s efforts must give member nations’ chiefs of defense staff, ambassadors and defense ministers the capabilities necessary for collective defense and NATO’s other various responsibilities.
Allied Command Operations has been responsible for training since December, the general said, and training will remain a critical thread in maintaining the interoperability, availability and efficiency of NATO’s military forces within the transformation.
Paloméros said the connective forces initiative, a new training concept, will ensure collaboration among NATO members and will be complemented by individual training. Allied Command Transformation will propose various e-learning tools.
“We want to be able to train … our men, our women and their commanders in the new environment, to better prepare them and to be able to gain savings,” the general said.
Multinational defense projects such as the NATO Response Force, ground surveillance and the defense planning process have built on ideas germinated at alliance’s Chicago summit in May, NATO officials said, noting that each project better enables rapid responses to modern challenges in missile defense, cyber defense and in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance through coordinated, efficient and visible planning.
“[We plan] at the political level so that all countries can participate … in the search for a transatlantic balance,” Paloméros said. “It allows us to ensure consistency in development of alliance capabilities.”
Since 21 alliance countries also are members of the European Union, the general said, NATO will continue to develop and refine capability development goals with the EU to avoid duplication and maximize benefit.
“History never stands still,” he added. “ACT … is here to stay, [and] I’m ready to continue this reflection with you.”
The alliance’s chiefs of defense staff will meet this week, and its defense ministers will meet in February to develop a plan to reinforce capabilities and training priorities.