From 31 August to 1 September 2022, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer, visited Sweden at the invitation of its Supreme Commander, General Micael Bydén. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the cooperation between Sweden and NATO during the accession process and to gain more insights into Sweden’s military capabilities. The Chair of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Rob Bauer started his official visit by meeting the State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Robert Rydberg, and the State Secretary of Defence, Mr Jan-Olof Lind. The discussions focused on the current security environment and the respective plans implemented to safeguard Allied and national territory as well as ongoing contributions to shared security. Sweden and Finland’s membership in NATO will enable closer Baltic and Nordic defence cooperation; strengthen the Alliance’s presence in the High North and boost transatlantic security. Accompanied by General Bydén and the Deputy Chief Joint Operations, Major General Wikman, Admiral Bauer travelled to Northern Finland, where he was able to observe exercise Vigilant Knife.
Upon arrival, the Admiral was greeted by General Timo Kivinen, the Finnish Chief of Defence. On just a few days’ notice, hundreds of Swedish troops journeyed to Northern Finland where they were placed under Finnish command and trained with Finnish and British troops. The goal was to sustain immediate readiness and capability for combined operating on demanding missions. All troops showed that they are highly capable of working together under the conditions prevalent in Northern Finland. On the second day, Admiral Bauer met the Commander of the Norrbotten Air Force Wing, Colonel Edström, who briefed him on ongoing air activities, including rapid response units and the monitoring and protection of Swedish airspace. Admiral Bauer then discussed the accession process with the Head of the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters Strategic Planning Group NATO, Major General Thomas Nilsson, and the Head of Policy and Plans Department, Major General Lena Persson Herlitz.
Admiral Bauer said : “Never before have Sweden and Finland exercised together at such extremely short notice. What impressed me most is the vigour, passion, professionalism and effectiveness of their armed forces. NATO Allies are proud to have Finland and Sweden as their closest operational partners. And we hope to welcome them soon to our Alliance. The Swedish Air Force has participated in NATO quick reaction alert exercises for over a decade. On a weekly basis, Swedish fighters fly defensive air drills with NATO fighters to contribute to the security and stability over Europe, the Baltic Sea Region and the High North. Sweden is one of NATO’s closest partners. We have been working together to strengthen our shared security, we share the same values and we have high interoperability. In parallel to the accession and ratification process, the preparations military integration process have also started.”
The Chair of the NATO Military Committee (CMC) is the head of the NATO Military Committee, which advises the North Atlantic Council (NAC) on military policy and strategy. The CMC is the senior military spokesperson of the 30-nation alliance and principal advisor to the Secretary General. The Chair is one of the foremost officials of NATO, next to the Secretary General and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe. The CMC is assisted by the Deputy Chair, who advises the Deputy Secretary General and serves as the principal agent for coordination of nuclear, biological, and chemical matters for the Military Committee. Originally titled the Chairman, the post was redesignated in 2021 to reflect the gender-neutrality of the post. The current Chair of the NATO Military Committee is lieutenant admiral Rob Bauer, former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, who took office on 25 June 2021. The Chair of the Military Committee is elected from among the NATO Chiefs of Defence and appointed for a three-year term of office. The Chair of the Military Committee chairs all meetings and acts in an international capacity.