NATO MC Chairman in Hungary
Heading a delegation, NATO Military Committee Chairman Admiral Giampaolo di Paola recently paid an official visit to Hungary at Hungarian CHOD LTG Tibor Benkő’s invitation. The high-ranking guest was received with military honors on June 25. The Admiral met with the Chairman of the National Assembly Defence and Law Enforcement Committee and Defence Minister Dr. Csaba Hende. At the plenary talks following the courtesy call on the Defence Minister, the two delegations discussed some topical issues concerning the Hungarian Defence Forces with special regard to the HDF troops’ participation in peace support operations. In the afternoon the MC Chairman delivered a lecture entitled ‘Key issues in the Alliance ahead of the Lisbon Summit’ to senior political and military leaders and the representatives of NGOs and military science working groups.
At the joint press conference both the NATO MC Chairman and the Hungarian CHOD agreed that their talks were fruitful and constructive. The items on the agenda included NATO’s new Strategic Concept with the related structural transformation in the Alliance and the ongoing NATO-led operations, some further opportunities for developing the Hungarian Defence Forces and their involvement in peacekeeping missions abroad. The Admiral highly appreciated Hungary’s role in these missions, praising in particular our troops’ outstanding performance in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Speaking about NATO’s top mission in Afghanistan the Admiral said 2010 is a decisive year for the Central Asian country where the ISAF operation is being conducted.
High on the agenda of the talks were issues concerning future developments. Admiral Giampaolo di Paola noted that NATO’s new Strategic Concept will have been completed by the end of this year, to be discussed and agreed by the member countries’ heads of state and government at the Lisbon Summit in November. Basically, the SC is going to be a political document, a core mission statement that will fundamentally shape the Alliance’s future for the coming decades.
The Admiral said Hungary had pledged to construct a NATO radar station and the Alliance relies on this commitment. LTG Tibor Benkő added that Hungary also needs the 3D radar systems because these facilities are used in civil air traffic control in peacetime as well. Moreover, considering the security aspects, the construction of the radar station would be in line with Hungary’s national interests as well.
Admiral Giampaolo di Paola, who was previously CHOD of the Italian Armed Forces, has been Chairman of the NATO MC at the Brussels HQ since June 2008. The NATO Military Committee is responsible for providing direction and advice on military policy and strategy for the principal policy and decision-making institutions, the NAC, the DPC and the NPG, for the overall conduct of the military affairs of the Alliance and for assisting with the development of overall strategic concepts.