NATO Defense Ministers Agree on First AI Strategy

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The Western bloc is wrapping up a two-day defence minister-level conference at its headquarters in Brussels, with the talks constituting the first in-person discussions since the collapse of the US and NATO-backed government and security forces of Afghanistan in mid-August.
NATO has agreed on the creation of the bloc's first-ever AI strategy, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has announced.

"Allies have agreed our first Artificial Intelligence Strategy. It will set standards for responsible use of artificial intelligence in accordance with international law, outline how we will accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence in what we do, set out how we will protect this technology and address the threats posed by the use of artificial intelligence by adversaries," the NATO chief said, speaking to reporters at a briefing Friday after the ministerial meeting.

Stoltenberg also outlined the creation of a one billion euro "NATO innovation fund" to assist "innovators across the alliance working on emerging and disruptive technologies".
"New technologies are reshaping our world and our security. NATO's new innovation fund will ensure allies do not miss out on the latest technology and capabilities that will be critical to our security," the secretary general said.
Stoltenberg clarified that the innovation fund will be part of the bloc's new 'Defence Innovation Accelorator for the North Atlantic' (DIANA), which will include the creation of a network of technology test centres and "accelorator cites" meant "to better harness civilian innovation for our security and strengthen the technological bond between Europe and North America".
Turning to other issues, the secretary general boasted about high level of cooperation between NATO and partners including Finland, Sweden and the European Union, and said he looked forward to a joint declaration with the EU on even closer ties.
"I welcome the EU's increased efforts on defence. NATO has been calling on European allies to invest more and provide more high-end capabilities for many years. But these efforts should not duplicate NATO. What is needed is more capabilities, not new structures," Stoltenberg said.
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Asked to comment on US President Joe Biden's comments Thursday reiterating America's commitment to Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion of the island, Stoltenberg said he would "not speculate about a hypothetical situation," and suggested that "what is important now is to reduce tensions in the area."
Commenting on Russian Vladimir Putin's remarks Thursday characterizing Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin's recent visit to Kiev as something factually constituting "opening the doors for Ukraine to NATO," Stoltenberg suggested that Putin should not be worried about Kiev's prospects for joining the Western bloc.

"Partly because NATO is a defensive alliance, and partly because it is for Ukraine and 30 NATO allies to decide when Ukraine is ready to join the alliance. No other country has any right to intervene or to have any say in that process, because Ukraine is a sovereign independent nation, and sovereign independent nations have the right to choose their own path," he said.

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Stoltenberg claimed that NATO's 30 year enlargement has contributed to "peace and stability throughout Europe," and that there is "now way that Russia should be afraid of or have any right to try to veto or to stop any sovereign nation from joining the alliance."
The alliance chief also repeated previously uttered criticism of Turkey over its purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems, saying the equipment is not interoperable with alliance air defences.
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Earlier Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry indicated that maintaining normal diplomatic relations with the bloc has become impossible thanks to hostile measures taken by the alliance against Russia, and warned of growing alliance activity, including the prospective deployment of a strategic weapons component near Russia's borders, creates dangerous new military realities.
This week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the suspension of the work of NATO's information office in Moscow, and the work of Russia's own permanent mission to the alliance, over the bloc's decision to revoke the accreditation of eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO.
Despite promises to Moscow in the early 1990s not to expand eastward beyond a reunified Germany, NATO has since incorporated every single member of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact alliance, plus the three former Baltic republics of the former Soviet Union itself, and four republics of Yugoslavia, whose collapse the Western bloc helped to accelerate through a series of military campaigns in the 1990s.
Along with the deployment of troops and an increase in drills, NATO's presence near Russia's borders has increased the danger of a preemptive decapitation strike against Russian military infrastructure and civilian leadership thanks to the construction of Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania. Moscow claims these sites could easily be converted to fire conventional or nuclear-tipped Tomahawk missiles.
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