NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says defense ministers of member countries are set to agree on a new plan to improve the way the alliance commands and deploys its forces.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday the alliance needs a command structure to ensure "we have the right forces, in the right place, with the right equipment at the right time."

NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels will endorse the plan to create two new commands: one to protect sea lanes ferrying troops and equipment across the Atlantic, the other for land forces in Europe.

It's the first time NATO is expanding its command structure since the Cold War. At that time 22,000 personnel were working at 33 commands, but numbers have been slashed to fewer than 7,000 people and seven commands.