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The 28 NATO chiefs of defense met in Brussels, Belgium, last week, to discuss challenges the Alliance faces in the coming months regarding crisis both to its East and to the South. Danish Army Gen. Knud Bartels, chairman of the military committee, said in his press conference during the two-day meeting that the chiefs have made progress in improving situational awareness capabilities and intelligence gathering, and are “speeding up our decision making [and] exploring new ways of working with our international partners.” Bartels said the Alliance also is well under way with implementing its “biggest reinforcement” of its collective defense since the end of the Cold War, by implementing its Readiness Action Plan and ensuring the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is on a path to become fully operational by 2016. The event also included meetings with Ukrainian officials to reiterate support for the nation’s sovereignty, and to emphasize the Alliance’s concern over the steady increase in ceasefire violations by Russian-backed rebels and the continued use of heavy weapons. The military leaders also reaffirmed commitments to the current NATO mission in Kosovo, as well as the challenges ahead for Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan.