The Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, Gen. Knud Bartels (DEN) delivered a lecture today, 30 April 2013 at the Croatian Defence Academy “Petar Zrinski”, within his three-day official visit to the Republic of Croatia.
The lecture, titled “Smart Defence and the Connected Forces Initiative” was attended by the students of the various schools of the Academy and the members of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Croatia, among whom the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Drago Lovrić, Permanent Military Representative to NATO and the EU, Maj. Gen. Mirko Šundov and the Director of the Defence Academy, Lt. Gen. Slavko Barić.
Speaking for the media following the lecture Lt. Gen. Lovrić extended his appreciation to Gen. Bartels for visiting Croatia and for successful chairing the NATO Military Committee. “We discussed the ISAF and KFOR Operations, and on Resolute Support to ensue in Afghanistan in the post-2014 period. We also exchanged views on the situation in the region and the possibilities for co-operation of Croatia with the neighbouring countries in NATO-led operations, and, in addition, considered the Smart Defence concept and enhancement of the operation pre-deployment system”, said Lt. Gen. Lovrić.
General Bartels commended Croatia’s participation in NATO-led operations, particularly in ISAF and KFOR. Speaking of KFOR, Gen. Bartels welcomed the recent Agreement reached between Serbia and Kosovo and stated that NATO would wholeheartedly support its implementation. On the subject of the international assistance to stability in Afghanistan Gen. Bartels said that it was going to rest on training at the national and institutional level, and that the respective planning was underway and stressed that security of the territory and population of the NATO nations remains the key mission of the Alliance, which is to open a new stage following the year 2014, with the Connected Forces Initiative and Smart Defence playing a prominent part, and Croatia is going to have a leading role in the region in the latter one.
The topics discussed with the Defence Minister Ante Kotromanović included regional security and the necessity of enhanced defence co-operation with the neighbouring countries, as well as modalities of development of the Smart Defence concept, and the projects whose development could be supported by participation of the Croatian Armed Forces.