Senior leaders from across NATO, along with invited partner organizations, attended the NATO Strategic Direction South Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece, on 11 and 12 July, in order to further develop the idea of a NATO Hub for the southern flank.
The NATO Hub was a concept agreed upon by Defense ministers in February of this year and it is to be based at NATO's Joint Force Command in Naples. The Hub is one part of the Alliance's response to threats stemming from the Middle East and North Africa.
Hosted by NATO Rapid Deployable Corp Greece and organized by Allied Land Command for Joint Force Command Naples, the leaders of the three NATO headquarters brought together a wide range of military and civilian experts, both inside and outside of NATO, for a conference in order to further examine in greater detail what the Hub might be, how it will operate and help refine the Hub's areas on interest.
"I'm very encouraged by the ideas we've collectively generated and strongly believe that the last two days that we've spent here is going to result in a better, more defined way ahead for the NATO Hub," said Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, Commander of Allied Land Command.
In addition to representatives from Allied Land Command, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps-Greece, Joint Force Command Naples and other NATO headquarters, a number of experts representing organizations such as the European Union, African Union, USAID, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees attended the conference.
"The wide range of organizations represented and the variety of perspectives that they brought to the table was extremely helpful, "said Lt. Gen. Dimitrios Bikos, Commander of NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Greece.
Academia was also represented through presenters that came from the German Development Institute, European Institute for Security Studies and the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan to present their perspective on the challenges of the regions.
"This conference is a great example of what the LANDCOM Headquarters does everyday,"said Williams. "We are enablers and advocates for NATO land forces, bringing together the various NATO commands, nations, and partners in order to address the challenges that are out there and help find solutions."