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Defence planning at the level of the Alliance

Text: Márton Mészáros Navarrai, HDF General Staff | Photo: Kinga Szováthy |  13:54 December 7, 2023

In late November, a delegation from the NATO Allied Joint Force Command – Brunssum paid a visit to Hungary with the main theme of synchronizing NATO regional and Hungarian national defence plans.


In the interest of the parallel implementation of allied regional and national defence objectives, in accordance with, and as part of NATO’s operations planning process, a delegation from NATO Allied Joint Force Command – Brunssum paid an on-site professional and plan-coordinating visit to Hungary and Slovakia between 27–30 November. The participants of the event included the nations involved in planning as well as the experts of allied commands directing the planning process. At the session chaired by British Major General Mark Pullan, Deputy Chief of Staff Plans, the Hungarian Defence Forces were represented by Deputy Director of Staff of the HDF General Staff Brigadier General János Somogyi, the head of the delegation comprising specialist officers and by Brigadier General Csaba Ugrik, Chief of the HDF General Staff Operations Directorate.


The primary aim of the visit was to achieve that the guests can learn about Hungary in detail and discuss topics that are important for joint force planning. The British major general and his team of experts paid special attention to the deputy director of staff’s report about the observations and lessons identified concerning Exercise Adaptive Hussars 2023. He spoke highly of the whole-of-government participation, as well as the practical testing of the integration of NATO and national capabilities. He welcomed the preparation of the civil administration and its involvement in the integrated exercise, holding it up as an example to follow, because this enabled him to get a much more comprehensive picture of the current level of the national defence preparedness and its further directions.

The Brunssum headquarters of the NATO Joint Force Command – as one of the three operational level commands directly subordinated to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) – is responsible for the security of the Western European NATO member states. In the spirit of deterrence and collective defence, NATO is preparing defence plans as part of the possible responses to conventional threats and those posed by terrorism that affect the Allies.

One element of the concept is a joint-force-level regional plan, the planning tasks of which are coordinated by HQ JFC Brunssum – among others, Hungary and Slovakia also belong to this area of operations. In the Hungarian phase of the visit, the working group had a session in Tata, where Colonel István Tóth, the commander of the Tata-based unit introduced its members to the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer simulators installed in the Cupola building as well as to the modern, combat-worthy artillery, armor and armored pieces of the Hungarian armed forces – the latter also form an important part of the Hungarian Defence Forces’ engagement in NATO.