From 30 to 31 March 2023, the NATO Military Committee visited Joint Force Command (JFC) Naples in Italy. The Allied and Invitee Military Representatives were briefed on JFC Naples’ current and future priorities alongside the main deliverables ahead of the Vilnius Summit. The visit is part of the adoption of the Concept for the Deterrence and Defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area and the development of the Regional Plans.
During his introductory remarks to the Military Committee, Commander of JFC Naples, Admiral Stuart Munsch stated, “In order to Deter and Defend we are advancing war-fighting advantage through interoperability built upon trust. This visit provides another opportunity to advance understanding and collaboration, hallmarks of the trust that exists within our Alliance in defending all territory within NATO.”
The Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer stressed in his remarks, “JFC Naples has been playing an essential role within the NATO Command Structure for nearly two decades. Based on a 360-degree approach across its Area of Responsibility, it assists in ensuring our collective defence, by preparing, planning and conducting military operations to preserve the peace and security of Allied citizens and territory”.
The Chair added that JFC Naples’ work supporting NATO’s ongoing missions, multinational battlegroups, liaison offices in the Western Balkans region, enhanced air policing, regional Partner Nations, alongside its support to the Relief Efforts in Türkiye, following the devastating earthquake, demonstrates just how vital its role is within the Alliance.
Complementary to the work undertaken by JFC Naples, NATO’s Strategic Direction-South Hub works to increase NATO’s understanding of the regional dynamics of North Africa, the Middle East, the Sahel, Sub-Sahara as well as adjacent areas, water and airspace. It looks at transnational trends, which influence the Southern region, and horizon scans to identify challenges and opportunities that could influence security and stability. The Hub engages with regional organisations, stakeholders, scientists, academics, think tanks and research institutes to increase the Alliance’s situational awareness and understanding.
As NATO enters a new era of collective defence, it plans with the knowledge that the global security environment has changed for the long-term.
Admiral Bauer: “The Regional Plans are integral to NATO’s move from an era of crisis management back to an era where the focus is on collective defence. The Regional Plans are geographically specific and describe how we will defend key and relevant places in the Alliance against both Russia and Terror Groups, the two named threats in our Strategic Concept. These plans will drive the military adaptation needed to ensure the Alliance’s ability to deter and defend against any threat, from any direction. NATO and national military planning will be more closely linked than ever before”.
The visit to JFC Naples is the last leg of a tour the NATO Military Committee is conducting to all three of NATO’s Joint Force Commands. The goal is to assess the ongoing work strands, which are to be delivered ahead of the NATO Summit in Vilnius.