Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended a meeting of NATO’s defense chiefs on Wednesday, where leaders from the alliance are slated to discuss concerns ranging from Afghanistan to Russia.

The 177th Military Committee meeting took place in Brussels and was chaired by Czech Army Gen. Petr Pavel.  According to his statement made prior to the onset of the day’s events, the intent of the gathering was simple: to translate “political objectives into military reality; to deliver tangible, coherent and sustainable effects that influence the strategic environment to make it more safe and more secure.”

“We will discuss two issues that are high on the political agenda: projecting stability to strengthen security beyond our borders and how to enhance NATO’s role in fighting terrorism,” Pavel said.

The first issue on the docket was a strategic assessment of the Middle East and North Africa, with an eye toward determining what the next steps are for the international organization in terms of training and the “capacity building effort in Iraq.”  It is expected that Defense Chiefs will discuss how to better incorporate assistance from the European Union and other international organizations in the ongoing war effort in the Middle East.