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Keith Webster met with US personnel in Brussels regarding last week’s NATO meeting (Communique linked here). Here are some key insights:
Afghanistan: NATO SecGen reiterated NATO common funding support for training and limited support to Afghan forces post troop withdrawal. However the details of the what are not decided nor the level of funding. What I was told that is clear at this point, is no additional equipment transfers to Afghan forces post 11 Sept 2021. So not sure or clear on what the financial support would be for or how that would be spent but the expectation would be to sustain and repair the equipment currently in Afghan Forces inventory. The mission confirmed that Turkey has volunteered to secure the international airport as previously reported in the press. This is not at the moment a multinational force lead by Turkey. Turkey has said they will need assistance to do so. Turkey has the action to develop a plan this summer. So NATO is waiting for that plan.
Reporting over night stated there is a recent official report that states Afghan Forces will fail and the current government will fall within six months of the withdrawal of US and NATO forces.
NATO 2030: What was agreed to:
Common Funding Increase: SecGen proposed to double common funds from roughly $2B annually to $4B. France intervened to kill this proposal but what was agreed to was a case by case consideration of increasing common funds for specific capability.
Updating the NATO strategic document: This document underpins the operations and focus of NATO. Last updated in 2016, this update once complete will for the first time identify China as a threat to NATO. Russia will remain a “challenge” and will not be elevated to a threat status.
Space and Cyber: are now recognized as a warfighting domain and as the official comunique states, nations agreed to consider an article 5 response if an attack is conducted in either domain which could be viewed as an act of war.
NATO CIO: NATO cyber policy has been revised and the first ever NATO CIO has been hired (an American) who reports the first of this September. Functioning much like the OSD CIO, at a top level policy position, the CIO position is the first in NATO to have direct authority from the SecGen.
New Deputy DFAD US Mission to NATO: David Helvey reports as Jim Hursch’s replacement as the Dep DFAD end of this month. Dave and Jim will have a four month overlap as Jim will remain in place for the defense ministerial later this summer/early Fall. Jim’s new assignment in OUSDP has not been announced. The DFAD position at the US Mission remains unfilled with no insights as to who might be nominated.