NATO top brass agree to recommend changes in alliance

AP News
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Posted: Jan 21, 2016 2:55 PM
NATO top brass agree to recommend changes in alliance

BRUSSELS (AP) — Top NATO brass on Thursday agreed on changes to recommend in the alliance's force posture and decision-making procedures to better deal with a more aggressive Russia and other evolving security threats.

"We'll continue to work on those readiness and responsiveness issues that bring our force to a better position to be able to react to all challenges," from the Arctic to the Middle East and North Africa, said U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO's supreme commander in Europe.

Breedlove told a news conference that the 28-nation alliance is also considering fine-tuning how it takes military and political decisions so "these new capabilities that we are developing can be brought to bear at speed."

The closed-door meeting at alliance headquarters in Brussels brought Breedlove and other top NATO commanders together with the military chiefs of staff of NATO member countries. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford attended for the first time in his role as chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs.

Czech Army Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO's Military Committee, said the session was designed to generate advice for member governments in the run-up to the NATO summit in July in Warsaw, and to help the alliance "steer a clear course through these rough seas." The military leaders' recommendations will be given to ambassadors from NATO countries to discuss before a meeting of defense ministers on Feb. 11, Pavel said.

"We must remain focused on our strategic goal: preserving our system of security in the face of those who would wish to overwhelm it, and those who wish to undermine it," Breedlove said.

In response to a reporter's question, Pavel said that since assuming leadership of NATO's Military Committee last June, he had tried several times to speak to top Russian generals, but found "a lack of will on the Russian side to have that communication."