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American Hour with Gordon B. (Skip) Davis, NATO

15 Jun 2020
All Committees
Security, Defence & Space Committee
Transatlantic Task Force
On Thursday, 11 June, AmCham EU hosted a security, defence and space edition of the American Hour and welcomed Gordon B. (Skip) Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment at NATO. The fireside chat was moderated by Rudy Priem (Raytheon Technologies), Chair, Security, Defence and Space Committee.
Key points of discussion:
  • Gordon B. (Skip) Davis gave an overview of NATO's efforts to combatt COVID-19 and actions put in place to prevent the health crisis did not become a security crisis as well as ensure that NATO can continue to provide effective deterrence and defence.
  • According to the guest speaker, some of the support that NATO has provided to civil authorities includes: setting up a crisis response team (Crisis Management Task Force) to coordinate and respond to requests from allies and partners, supporting regular information sharing, collection of best practices, building hospitals and providing strategic airlift for logistic support and for transporting critical medical equipment, personnel and patients.
  • NATO has also worked together with the EU and the EU’s European Response Coordination Center to exchange information, provide logistic support and coordinate efforts, as well as on communication efforts to address the spread of disinformation which has targeted both NATO and the EU.
  • Davis noted that NATO has not previously worked as closely on support for civil authorities and as such this exercise has provided a number of lessons for future scenarios ie ones involving the use of biological or chemicals weapons, or in the case of a terrorist attack. The exercise has also shown the importance of civil-military cooperation in maintaining resilience.
  • According to him, it is unclear how the COVID-19 emergency will impact allies defence spending. GDP is expected to decrease as a result of the crisis, and as such, what has been planned in defence programmes is also likely to be affected.
  • David stressed that the crisis highlights that the production of critical supplies, such as low-cost medical supplies, have been outsourced to China. This has led to discussion in the EU as well as in NATO on what necessary supplies – medical, civilian, security and defence – are produced elsewhere, and what implications it may have for security and defence.