As of 1 January 2021, the Republic of Croatia took over the chairmanship of the U. S. – Adriatic Charter from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, which imposed itself as an unprecedented global security challenge and which itself is a source of strong political and security turbulences, in addition to the public health hazards.
The priorities of the Croatian chairmanship of the American-Adriatic Charter in 2021 encompass:
- Implementation of the conclusions of the Zagreb Summit in May 2020: co-operation in combating hybrid activities and co-operation aimed at increasing the resilience and cyber security
- Development and upgrade of interoperability as a key prerequisite for future joint contribution to NATO operations and missions
- Support to the building of the A- 5 member coutnries cyber response capabilities and capacities
During the Zagreb Summit held on 6 May 2020, the leaders of the EU Member States and of the Western Balkans underlined the importance of co-operation in combating misinformation and other hybrid activities, as well as co-operation focussed on strengthening the resilience and cyber security.
In terms of prevention and countering cyber threats within the framework of the US-Adriatic Charter, the Republic of Croatia intends to develop partnerships with southeast European countries to engineer effective response to cyber threats. Along with the concrete support to the development of cyber defence capabilities through the co-operation of the armed forces, encouraging dialogue on cyber security at political and expert levels discussion, the Republic of Croatia will contribute to the upgrade of the regional expertise in all aspects of cyber security.
The return of the 12th HRVCON from NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan in September 2020 concluded the joint participation of the U.S. – Adriatic Charter member countries in the Mission, which was an extension of their cooperation in ISAF, which consisted in the deployment of the medical team (ROLE-2 hospital) in 2005 and in engagement in the operation of the Afghan National Army Military Police School during 2011.
The Croatian chairmanship will feature activities aimed at maintaining and enhancing the achieved level of interoperability through a series of training and exercise activities, complemented by discussions at the strategic cooperation level.
The main training event during the Croatian chairmanship will be the international military exercise “Laufer 21”. The Exercise will engage military intelligence forces of the A-5 member countries and partners, and will be conducted in support to the Exercise “Immediate Response 21” hosted by Croatia.
The Exercise “Immediate Response 21” is a part of the Exercise “Defender Europe 21”, conducted by the USAREUR-AF in Europe. The “Immediate Response 21” will make the central event of the cycle of exercises and activities titled “Hrvatski bedem 1991-2021” marking the 30th anniversary of the Croatian Armed Forces.