FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. Embassy, Rome – Admiral Michelle Howard, commander Allied Joint Force Command Naples, discussed the soon-to-be-established NATO Strategic Direction South Hub in an informal briefing with ambassadors from multiple NATO Allies today, after a courtesy call with Chargé d' Affaires Kelly Degnan at U.S. Embassy facilities in Rome.
NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the decision to create the Hub at JFC Naples on February 15, 2017. This was followed by a formal directive from the Commander of the Supreme Allied Command Europe to "establish a Hub, within the NATO Command Structure, that collects, collates, analyses and disseminates information in order to contribute to NATO comprehensive understanding, situational awareness, decision making and information sharing for the South during peacetime, crisis and conflict.”
Since then, JFC Naples has been further defining the Hub’s mission, roles, responsibilities and resources. JFC Naples will declare the Hub at initial capability in September, and full capability near the start of 2018.The geographic focal areas of NATO Strategic Direction South include North Africa, the Sahel and the Middle East.
"Our goal with the Hub is to provide NATO a central point to collect and share information, better understand the environment and be as predictive as we can to best inform decisions,” Howard said. "We are working to connect a variety of entities, to include non-governmental organizations and academia.”
"Of note, the Hub will not have any command and control authorities,” Howard added. "It will be an information gathering and analytical cell. In addition to these activities, the Hub will also help to synchronize allied efforts across the region; optimizing the scarce training and advising resources of the alliance.”
In her dialogue with the ambassadors, Howard addressed the Hub’s functional areas:
Function 1 – Contribution to information collection, management and sharing
Function 2 – Contribution to understanding, monitoring and assessment
Function 3 – Contribute to coordination of NATO’s activity in the South
Function 4 – Contribute to implementation/assessment of the Framework for the South
The Hub will focus initially on five countries – Libya, Syria, Iraq, Tunisia and Jordan.
"There are many institutions already assessing the challenges to NATO’s southern flank,” Howard said. "Our goal is to fuse the best information into useful knowledge in order for NATO and partner organizations to collaborate and better address those challenges.”
Howard said the Hub fits into NATO’s overarching mission through Article 2 of the Washington Treaty, which states,
"The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well being…”
Howard also serves as commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa.
More information about the NATO Strategic Direction South Hub along with its initial and full operating capability milestones will be available in coming weeks.
For more information, contact Allied Joint Force Command Public Affairs at +39-081-721-2263. Photos available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/jfcnapleshq/albums/72157683766677724