April 1 (UPI) -- A remark from French President Emmanuel Macron months ago has led NATO to create a 10-member panel tasked with beginning a "reflection process" to determine the future of the 71-year-old military alliance.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg named the panel members and said the process will "further strengthen NATO's political dimension."
The panel will be chaired by Thomas de Maiziere of Germany and Wess Mitchell of the United States. The two will report directly to Stoltenberg.
"Leaders agreed to a forward-looking reflection process under the auspices of the Secretary-General," NATO said. "It will offer recommendations to reinforce alliance unity, increase political consultation and coordination between allies, and strengthen NATO's political role."
Other members of the new panel include Greta Bossenmaier of Canada, Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen of Denmark, Hubert Vedrine of France, Marta Dassu of Italy, Herna Verhagen of the Netherlands, Anna Fotyga of Poland, Tacan Ildem of Turkey and John Bew of Britain.
NATO members agreed in December to initiate the process after Macron said the coalition was experiencing "brain death." The alliance, which includes 30 North American and European countries, was formed in 1949 after World War II as a military collective to safeguard all member nations.
U.S. President Donald Trump has also been critical of the alliance, particularly member states that do not meet guidelines that request they spend 2 percent of their annual gross domestic product on defense.