Praise Ukraine and pass the ammunition

NATO reviews arms stockpiles and agrees new secret political guidance for future military planning

Analysis of the NATO Defence Ministers meeting, 14-15 February 2023

The two-day NATO Defence Ministerial meeting in Brussels discussed three main issues: (a)Stepping up support to Ukraine – this included a meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group; Progress on strengthening NATO’s defence and deterrence, including discussions on increasing military production and the protection of critical undersea infrastructure; and NATO’s commitments to “other partners at risk”, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova. The key activities and decisions taken were as follows:

  • NATO member states agreed to step up support for Ukraine, including through more heavy weapons and military training. The Ministers also agreed to step up support to “other partners at risk”, Bosnia and Herzogovina, Georgia and Moldova.
  • New Political Guidance for Defence Planning was agreed. The guidance document was not made publicly available, despite setting out NATO’s overall aims and objectives that will largely determine capability requirements in the next four years.
  • Ministers addressed ways to boost industrial capacity and replenish stockpiles of armaments and munitions, and agreed to work “hand-in-hand” with the defence industry to increase industrial capacity. NATO capability targets for munition stockpiles are already under review.
  • The NATO Secretary General announced the establishment of a Critical Undersea Infrastructure Coordination Cell at NATO Headquarters.
  • Ministers also discussed the importance of increasing military spending and building on the existing ‘defence investment pledge’ and future commitments beyond 2024.
  • Twenty-five member states, plus Finland and Sweden, agreed six new major commitments to jointly develop and procure systems securing NATO’s access to cutting edge technology (including Ground-based Air Defence, Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence, and Mobility/ Counter Mobility).
  • Sixteen member states, plus Finland and Sweden, launched the “largest space project in NATO’s history”: a new initiative called ‘Alliance Persistent Surveillance from Space’ - a virtual constellation of both national and commercial satellites providing data collection, sharing and analysis within NATO.
  • Denmark and Sweden joined the European Sky Shield Initiative, now a 17-member initiative to strengthen NATO's European Integrated Air and Missile Defence.

Read more in the attached pdf.