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Chief of Defence Attends NATO Strategic Direction South Conference

Szöveg: General Staff |  2016. október 13. 15:06

The Allied Joint Force Command Naples hosted the NATO Strategic Direction South Conference on 11–12 October.

At the meeting, the chiefs of defence of the relevant countries discussed security challenges affecting the southern flank of the Alliance. Hungary was represented at the discussions by Chief of Defence Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő.

The NATO member states are facing challenges and threats simultaneously from two strategic directions, the east and the south. The most obvious ways to address the threats arising in the east are to strengthen collective defence and to demonstrate strength, with a strategic concept of deterring state actors in crisis zones. At the same time, besides the growing number of NATO exercises, another remarkable change is the setting up of NATO Force Integration Units (NFIU) in the area of eight eastern member countries and the deployment of rotating units of the NATO Very High Readiness Task Force (VJTF) in the Baltics and Poland as of 2017.

Characteristically, the challenges the Alliance is facing from the southern direction arise in the area of failed states. Hungary, due to its geographic location, lies in the point of intersection of two threats presenting challenges, as a neighbor of Ukraine and a transit country for migration. It is important for our country to find the proper balance in addressing challenges from the eastern and the southern directions. This goal is served by, among others, the Defence Capacity Building program launched at the 2014 Wales NATO Summit. This program helps increase stability in countries situated in crisis zones, and at the same time provides a good opportunity to deal with the causes of the migration and refugee crisis hitting Europe.

Strategic Direction South is aimed at enabling NATO to prevent, mitigate and counter the threats arising from the south. Hungary is directly affected by the strategic threat from the south, and consequently, since 2015 it has been participating with significant forces in handling the migration crisis.

Hungary’s position on the issue is that the conflict must be handled at its root. In the interest of this strategic goal, decisions were made about the engagement of the Hungarian Defence Forces in Afghanistan (2002), in Africa (2013) and in Iraq (2015) as part of the international Counter-ISIL coalition. The top military leadership expects that as a result of the consolidation of states in the Middle East and North Africa, the migration pressure on Europe will fall to a manageable level.