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Challenges from the south in focus

Deputy State Secretary visits Allied Joint Force Command Naples

16:46 September 30, 2021

A delegation headed by MoD Deputy State Secretary for Defence Policy Dr. Gergely Németh paid a professional visit to Allied Joint Force Command Naples on 23–24 September.

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During the visit, Dr. Gergely Németh held closed-door conversations with Admiral Robert Burke, the American commander of JFC Naples, and the chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ignazio Gamba.

The two-day visit provided an excellent opportunity to discuss issues related to NATO’s current operational structure and deterrence posture, as well as the dynamics of the Western Balkans and, within it, the KFOR area of operations from an operational perspective. Besides the above, Brigadier General Davide Re, Director of the NATO Strategic Direction – South Hub (NSD-S Hub) – an element in the JFC Naples structure to address security challenges from the south – introduced the workings of the organization in detail. The program continued with a briefing on the security situation of the Sahel region.

The professional visit was occasioned, among others, by an upcoming change of command in the NATO-led KFOR operation, where a Hungarian general is to assume command for a year as of this October. This operation belongs to the JFC Naples’ area of responsibility, so the KFOR command staff and Naples were in close and continuous contact with each other throughout the pre-deployment training.

During the conversation with Admiral Burke, Dr. Gergely Németh emphasized that the challenges from the south and the stability of the Western Balkans are strategic priorities for Hungary.

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In light of the fact that Hungary considers the tackling and deeper understanding of challenges emanating from the south – including threats from the direction of Africa which exert substantial impact on Europe’s security – a key task, the visit provided excellent opportunity to map out the ways for enhancing cooperation with the NSD-S Hub as well.

Two Hungarian experts have already been supporting the work of the organization, but due to the increasing challenges from the south, Brigadier General Davide Re and Deputy State Secretary Dr. Gergely Németh have set the goal of enhancing professional cooperation.