2020 - THE ROLE OF NATO’S ARMED FORCES IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Attila MESTERHAZY (Hungary)

22 June 2020


The Alliance reacted swiftly and effectively to do its part to mitigate the impact of the spreading coronavirus early in 2020. It continues to contribute to the fight that will lead to its ultimate defeat. To date, NATO has coordinated well over 350 missions to transport medical personnel and supplies, construct field hospitals, and furnish tens of thousands of treatment beds. Demonstrating their essential role in crisis response, Allied military forces are helping to save lives and stem the spread and impact of the deadliest pandemic in a century.

Over the past months the Alliance has been taking stock of valuable lessons learned in an effort to manage not only a potential second wave of the virus across Allied and partner populations, but also to increase broader Allied readiness to counter future pandemics. Success will require a whole of Alliance effort, wherein Allies must do their part to increase their own resilience, as well as that of partners. Cooperative efforts with other international institutions are also proving essential to help mitigate the devastating and widespread impact of the pandemic.

NATO’s COVID-19 pandemic crisis response effort, however, is not detracting from the Alliance’s ability to deliver credible and effective deterrence. NATO forces remain ready. Critical missions and operations are fully manned and focused on their objectives. As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said succinctly: “Security challenges have not diminished because of COVID-19;” as such, maintaining force readiness has been a key priority.