NATO Heeds Gen. Kroesen’s Advice

AS NATO marks its 70th anniversary, NATO Allied Land Command greatly appreciates retired Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen’s recent commentaries in ARMY magazine.

His timely insights and lessons on strategy, deterrence, planning, training and readiness are particularly informative for the land domain in today’s dynamic, complex and uncertain security environment.

NATO has served EURO-Atlantic security well for the past seven decades, but the rapidly changing character of war in an era of great-power competition mandates adaptation to ensure continued alliance success.

From the land domain perspective, NATO Command Structure Adaption (NCS-A) serves as the driving force behind our 2019 to 2023 Campaign Plan: Leading Change-Fit for Purpose. While NCS-A increases structure and personnel across the NATO command structure for the first time in decades, more importantly, it is about changing our culture.  This entails promoting a culture of strategy to deal with today’s strategic challenges and revitalizing warfighting readiness to compete, deter and, if needed, fight and win.

Kroesen’s advice and experiences are helpful as we renew emphasis on readiness, reinforcement and enablement.

This includes review, refinement and development of joint warfighting concepts and doctrine for command and control, targeting, theater sustainment and multi-domain operations in addition to realistic and rigorous training exercises.  It also requires strong linkage between the NATO command structure and the NATO force structure to foster cohesion, standardization and interoperability.

Accordingly, Allied Land Command has instituted a teaming approach with the nine corps headquarters in the high-readiness forces pool to jointly advance these initiatives. Though the teaming effort is nascent, it shows early promise of providing coherence to our efforts and ensuring lessons are shared and learned. Its focus is on capable and credible NATO land forces, ready to conduct decisive combined arms operations in support of alliance objectives.

Sir, please keep sending your thoughts. The military members and partners of the alliance welcome your wisdom and find your candor refreshing. We are listening and heeding, and the NATO land domain is benefiting.


Lt. Gen. J. T. Thomsom
NATO Allied Land Command
Izmir, Turkey

Published in Army Magazine – Letters to the editor

April 2019 – Vol. 69, nº 4

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