Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer attends 10th edition of the Warsaw Security Forum in Poland
On 3-4 October 2023, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer attended the 10th edition of the Warsaw Security Forum (WSF) in Poland. While at the WSF, the Chair received the Knight of Freedom on behalf of NATO. He also met with a number of high-level political and military officials. Among the leading European platforms devoted to transatlantic cooperation, the forum serves as a timely platform to deepen discussions on shared responses to today’s common security challenges.
On 3 October 2023, Admiral Bauer spoke at the first event of the day, titled “Europe at War: Beefing Up of NATO’s Collective Defence”. Moderated by (Retired) Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, Former Commander of US Army Europe, the panel also featured the Minister of Defence of North Macedonia, Mrs Slavjanka Petrovska; the Minister of State (Minister for Armed Forces) of the United Kingdom, Mr James Heappey; and the Minister of Defence of Slovenia, Mr Marajan Šarec.
The panellists discussed the implications of Russia’s war against Ukraine for Europe as well as for NATO’s biggest overhaul of its defensive shield since the Cold War. Elaborating on how decades of defence underinvestment have now left NATO countries with their ammunition warehouses either half-full or even emptier, Admiral Bauer stated: “The next steps in collective defence will need close and proactive cooperation between the public and the private sector. There is so much more we can achieve together. NATO is stronger and readier than ever.”
On the sidelines of the event, Admiral Bauer also had the opportunity to sit with Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mrs Olha Stefanishyna to exchange views on the current developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The Chair reiterated that Ukrainian people, military and civilian alike, are “steadily taking back what’s theirs”, adding that “they have our full and unwavering support. Ukraine will prevail and we will help them every step of the way”.
Later that day, Admiral Bauer accepted the Knight of Freedom Award on behalf of the Alliance. One of Poland’s most important foreign policy and human rights award, the Casimir Pulaski Foundation chose to bestow it on NATO in recognition for its role in promoting peace and security in Europe; its strong Collective Defence; and its efforts in cooperative security, especially with regards to the relentless support to Ukraine. Receiving the award, the Chair of the NATO Committee highlighted the work done by the 3.2 million men and women in uniform across the Alliance, commending their sense of duty and devotion to putting “the We before the Me”.
On the second day of the forum, Admiral Bauer sat on a panel with Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Rajmund Andrzejcazk and Member of the Finnish Parliament, Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, Mrs Tytti Tuppurainen. Speakers debated the implications of the Vilnius Summit for the Alliance and for Central and Eastern Europe, with a specific focus on the strengthening of NATO’s Eastern Flank.
Commenting on NATO’s priorities as we look at the Washington Summit, Admiral Bauer highlighted the importance of ensuring full executability of the Regional Plans – through more troops on higher readiness; capability building and development; adaptation of NATO’s command and control structures; more enablement; and more collective defence training and exercises. “These plans are all part of the new era of collective defence for the Alliance. In a more dangerous and competitive world, we must continue to invest more and invest more together in NATO,” stated the Admiral relaunching a strong message of unity. “Our resolve to protect the one billion citizens that live on Allied soil remains unwavering. Every day, we build on the strong ties between Allies and harvest the centuries of military expertise that we all possess,” he added.
At the margins of the Warsaw Security Forum, Admiral Bauer also held bilateral meetings with General Andrzejczak; Poland’s Deputy Minister of Defence and Secretary of State, Mr Marcin Ociepa; as well as with Mrs Kajsa Ollongren, Mr Angel Tîlvăr and Mr Pål Jonson, respectively Ministers of Defence of The Netherlands, Romania and Sweden. During his exchange with General Andrzejczak, Admiral Bauer praised Poland’s steadfast commitment to the Alliance since 1999. Among other things, Poland is home to two NATO Force Structure headquarters – the Multinational Corps Northeast in Szczecin and the Multinational Division North East in Elblag –; and additionally, in 2024 it will host Steadfast Defender 24, NATO’s largest collective defence exercise in recent years. “Poland makes valuable contributions to our shared security to ensure our Alliance remains strong and ready to deter and defend as required. A strong national security is an essential pillar of our collective security,” noted the Chair, commending the country’s substantial ramp up in military and defence spending.
Organised since 2014 by the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, in strategic partnership with NATO and the National Security Bureau to the President of the Republic of Poland, the Warsaw Security Forum gathers annually over 1500 high representatives of governments, international organisations, industry, think tanks and civil society from over 90 countries.