Washington [US], June 8 (ANI): NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday (local time) said that NATO is not just a military alliance, but a political-military alliance.
"NATO is not just a military alliance, but a political-military alliance, and even when we may not take military action, our political unity matters," he said.
Stoltenberg met US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III at the Pentagon before the NATO Summit slated to be held next week in Brussels. The NATO chief is presenting the alliance leaders with NATO 2030 -- an ambitious plan to chart the alliance's way forward through the decade.
"At its heart, NATO 2030 calls for the alliance to be the unique and indispensable forum for transatlantic consultations on all issues that affect transatlantic security including, for instance, on Syria, Iran, or the South China Sea," the Secretary-General said.
The plan calls for a boost in funding for collective defense against all threats on land, sea, air, cyberspace or space. "The alliance is well on its way to this goal," he said.
"We will rapidly and fully implement our plans to strengthen our military posture, continuing to increase the readiness of our forces, modernize our capabilities and invest more in our collective defense," Stoltenberg said.
"Strong militaries are important. But strong societies are our first line of defense. So, we must raise the level of ambition when it comes to resilience," he added.
NATO 2030 looks to boost transatlantic innovation to maintain the technological edge and fill innovation gaps among the allies.
"NATO also must play a role in upholding the rules-based international order," Stoltenberg said. This includes speaking with one voice to defend values and interests and ensuring freedom of navigation.
President Joe Biden and Austin will attend the meeting of the North Atlantic alliance stressing America's commitment to collective defense and the need to shape the most successful alliance in history for the needs of the future.
This goes to the core of the Biden administration's push to repair America's greatest asymmetric advantage -- its unparalleled network of allies and partners around the world.
"We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday's challenges, but today's and tomorrow's," Biden said at the State Department soon after taking office in January.
"American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy."
In announcing the president's European trip, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden "will affirm the United States' commitment to NATO, transatlantic security and collective defense. The leaders from the 30 NATO nations will discuss how to reorient the alliance and ensure effective burden-sharing," she said.
At the Pentagon meeting, Austin stressed his support for the NATO 2030 initiative, and "its goal of keeping the alliance strong militarily, and making it ... stronger politically and giving it a more global view," he said.
Austin praised Stoltenberg for his efforts to ensure allies share equitably in the defense burden. "As a result of your leadership, Secretary General, this is a seventh consecutive year of increased defense spending," Austin said.
"I think that's extraordinary. And I appreciate the emphasis that you placed on this issue." (ANI)