BRUSSELS ― Thursday’s meeting of NATO defense ministers has concluded, with a number of decisions finalized. The officials have agreed to:

  • Strengthen NATO’s new command structure by more than 1,200 personnel.
  • Launch a NATO Readiness Initiative, the so-called Four Thirties.
  • Set up a Cyber Operations Centre, as part of the new Command Structure, and integrate sovereign cyber effects into alliance operations and missions.

Defense ministers also agreed that the new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic will be based at Norfolk, Virginia, in the United States and that a new Enabling Command will be based in Ulm, Germany.

“The decisions we have taken today pave the way for a successful summit in July, with more investment, more equitable burden-sharing and a strengthened defense posture,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference Thursday evening.

“Allies have also stepped up their contributions to NATO missions and operations. But of course, we still have more work to do. Burden-sharing will be a key theme of our summit next month, and I expect all allies to continue their efforts,” he added.

Martin Banks covered the European Union, NATO and affairs in Belgium for Defense News.

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