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NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting
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On Thursday 21 and Friday 22 February 2013, NATO Defence Ministers met at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The meeting was focused on the NATO transformation agenda, including discussions on forces, capabilities, and funding, and was an opportunities for meetings of the NATO–Ukraine Commission (NUC), and of contributing members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Defence Ministers agreed concrete goals for more ambitious training, and exercises to implement the lessons learned and level of interoperability achieved from a decade of counter insurgency operations in Afghanistan. The Connected Forces Initiative (CFI) will focus on expanding the education and training of NATO forces, as well as enhancing the quality and challenge of NATO exercises. In line with this initiative ministers agreed that the Alliance should hold a major live exercise in 2015, and draw up a comprehensive programme of training and exercises for the period of 2015-2020. They also agreed that the NATO Response Force (NRF), together with an annual NRF live exercise, will be at the core of the initiative.
The Secretary General and Ukrainian Defence Minister Pavlo Lebedev exchanged letters confirming Ukraine’s intent to contribute a frigate and helicopter to NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield. The exchange of letters serves to confirm Ukraine’s offer, and NATO’s readiness to accept the frigate into the current Counter Piracy operation. Additionally, Ministers also agreed to a set of priorities to guide NATO-Ukraine cooperation over the next five years, including in training and exercising.
At the ISAF meeting troop contributing nations and the Afghan Defence Minister, were briefed by the new Commander of ISAF, General Joseph Dunford. He stressed that significant progress had been made since the transition to Afghan security responsibility began two years ago. Ministers also reinforced the commitment to the post-2014 NATO-led mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces.