NATO News & Updates

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More nations on track to meet NATO's 2% spending goal
By Allen Cone
Feb. 13, 2018

More-nations-on-track-to-meet-NATOs-2-spending-goal.jpg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the media at alliance headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, one day before the two-day NATO Defense Ministers Council. Photo by Olivier Hoslet/EPA


Feb. 13 (UPI) -- More than half of NATO members will reach a goal of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2025, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday in Brussels.

Stoltenberg said 15 of the 29 NATO allies are projected to pay their goal as determined at NATO's 2014 summit in Wales and urged last year by President Donald Trump. All members have increased their spending, he said.

Stoltenberg told reporters defense ministers aren examining NATO's Command Structure, cooperation with the European Union and the NATO's role in projecting stability and fighting terrorism.

"Fair burden-sharing is also crucial for our shared security," Stoltenberg said. "After years of decline, since 2014 we have seen three years of increasing defense spending across European allies and Canada."

In 2014, the United States, Greece and Britain were the only three allies spending 2 percent or more on defense.

"This year, we expect eight allies to meet the target," Stoltenberg said. "And by 2024, we expect at least 15 allies will spend 2 percent of GDP or more on defense. This is substantial progress and a good start."

The additional countries since 2014 are Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Lithuania.

The allies also agreed to invest more in major capabilities. "The European allies and Canada invested $19 billion more on major equipment over the last three years," the secretary general said. "By 2024, 22 allies are expected to invest 20 percent or more of their defense budgets on major capabilities, which is NATO's guideline. This should lead to significant improvements to our forces and their readiness."

"Clearly NATO has reversed what was a downward trend, and so now we're well into the second year I believe, where the nations are spending more on defense," U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Sunday traveling with him to Europe. "That's not to say that everyone's where they need to be or has plans for where they're going, and we'll discuss that. We're all sovereign nations, and these are sovereign decisions. So we've got to discuss it, so that's everyone carrying their share."

The United States, which has the largest GDP of all member states, accounts for three-quarters of all NATO defense spending. The U.S. level was 3.61 percent of GDP, followed by Greece at 2.38 percent, Britain at 2.21 percent, Estonia at 2.16 percent and Poland at 2 percent in 2017.

Canada's spending was at 1.2 percent in 2017 but defense minister Harjit Sajjan said last year his nation plans to boost spending by 73 percent to $24.2 billion in 2026.
Trump has been adamant all nations pay their fair share.

"Members of the alliance must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations," Trump said while visiting NATO headquarters in Brussels last May. "This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States."

He said that "2 percent is the bare minimum for confronting today's very real and very vicious threats. If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, then NATO would be even stronger than it is today."

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/02/13/More-nations-on-track-to-meet-NATOs-2-spending-goal/3581518541366/?nll=1
 

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US warns against ‘protectionism’ with new EU defense agreement
By: Aaron Mehta
14.02.2018

BRUSSELS ― A top American diplomat is concerned that a new European Union defense agreement could lead to “protectionism” that could ice American firms out of sales in Europe.

Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. permanent representative to NATO, on Tuesday issued a preemptive warning about the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) on security and defense, an EU initiative launched late last year which could potentially lead to joint procurement of European defense products.

“Certainly, we do not want this to be a protectionist vehicle for EU. And we’re going to watch carefully because if that becomes the case, then it could splinter the strong security alliance that we have” Hutchison said.

There have been concerns from the U.S. about PESCO, as the new agreement excludes several NATO nations, including the U.S., U.K. and Canada, and includes several non-alliance nations in Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland and Sweden. U.S. officials are concerned the group could become a competitor to NATO for military resources.
Hutchison specifically called out the idea that nations outside PESCO could find themselves cut off from sales among the European nations.

“We want to have a fair process. We want the Europeans to have capabilities and strength, but not to fence off American products, of course. Or Norwegian products. Or potentially U.K. products,” she said. “I think it’s very important that there be transparency and openness in all of those areas where PESCO would be in a bidding process.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis will be attending a NATO-hosted event Wednesday evening with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, as well as officials from Sweden and Finland, two non-NATO nations who have embraced PESCO.

According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, that meeting will include discussions on how best to align PESCO and NATO.

“Done in the right way, these efforts can make a contribution to fairer burden-sharing between Europe and North America,” Stoltenberg said Wednesday.
Jim Townsend, who spent eight years as deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy and is now with the think tank Center for a New American Security, thinks such discussions will ultimately show that PESCO is “no threat to NATO and in fact may result in a more efficient and helpful European contribution to a NATO operation.”

Based on early public comments and planning, PESCO will be largely focused on big issues, such as mobility. In terms of industrial output, it is possible PESCO will help research and development funds for certain projects that in theory could become challengers to American firms, but Townsend is skeptical they would find much success.

“Experience has shown that those coordinated projects end up being too expensive and are delivered too late and with usually outdated capability, so I would doubt U.S. industry or even European industry has to worry about PESCO launching any big hardware-related projects that would be successful in keeping U.S. competitors out or give European industry an unfair advantage,” he said.

“PESCO’s level of ambition is much more modest, is not hardware-oriented, is not focused on competing with U.S. industry or establishing a fortress Europe, nor can they practically do that even if they wanted to,” Townsend asserted.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/munich-security-forum/2018/02/14/us-warns-against-protectionism-with-new-eu-defense-agreement/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DFN DNR 2.14.18&utm_term=Editorial - Daily News Roundup
 

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NATO’s tanker, AWACS programs see membership increase
By: David Pugliese
15.02.2018


BRUSSELS — Canada has decided to rejoin NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control Systems program, while Belgium has agreed to buy into the alliance’s tanker program — a pair of moves expected to strengthen NATO’s indigenous air capability.

The two announcements both came Wednesday at a NATO defense ministerial conference in Brussels.

NATO owns few pieces of equipment itself, with 16-strong fleet of E-3A AWACS surveillance aircraft the crown jewel.

Those planes operate primarily out of NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, but can also operate out of component forward-operating bases in Aktion, Greece; Trapani, Italy; Konya, Turkey; and Oerland, Norway.

Canada was one of the 12 original nations that funded the NATO AWACS program, but announced it was withdrawing support in 2011, with operational standdown coming in 2014. Wednesday’s decision to reverse that stand represents Canada’s renewed commitment to the alliance, said Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

“NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s international security policy, and is one of our most important multilateral relationships. In that spirit, Canada has decided to rejoin NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System,” Sajjan announced at the ministerial event.

The decision to pull out of the AWACS program saved about CA$50 million (U.S. $40 million) a year, according to the Canadian Armed Forces.

The move had angered NATO allies, but Canadian government officials insisted it was necessary. The ruling Conservative Party government defended its position by noting that Canadian military personnel still served on U.S. Air Force AWACS.

The current Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau re-evaluated the decision in light of Canada’s increasing commitment in Europe. Over the last several years, NATO has significantly increased the use of its AWACS, including in areas like Central and Eastern Europe where Canada is leading a multinational NATO battlegroup based in Latvia.

Sajjan said Canada would be supporting the capability through “contributing to its operations and support budget.” Follow-up requests for confirmation that Canada would be contributing only money — and not training pilots or maintainers on the aircraft — were not returned by press time.

NATO nations hope to add another airborne capability through a new fleet of A330 multirole air-to-air refueling aircraft through a joint cost-sharing program. As with the AWACS fleet, the idea for the tanker aircraft is to pool resources to procure a high-end capability for NATO members who otherwise would not be able to afford refueling aircraft.

Wednesday’s signing makes Belgium the fifth members of the coalition, joining the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Norway. The first two tankers, which can also be used for transporting materiel or troops, were purchased by the Netherlands and Luxembourg in 2016. Belgium’s inclusion means the fleet will now be a planned eight aircraft, with scheduled deployment between 2020 and 2024.

Notably, the NATO announcement about the agreement highlights how the five-nation team will “reduce the over-reliance on the United States” in the area of transport and refueling. U.S. President Donald Trump has been vocal in his criticisms that NATO countries are not doing enough in the area of burden-sharing.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/munich-security-forum/2018/02/14/natos-tanker-awacs-programs-see-membership-increase/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DFN DNR 2.14.18&utm_term=Editorial - Daily News Roundup
 

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Canada rejoins NATO Airborne Warning and Control System program
News Release
From National Defence


February 14, 2018, Brussels, Belgium — National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

The Government is committed to both the security and safety of Canadians and the protection of their rights and freedoms. Canada is playing a strong and constructive role in the world by making concrete contributions to international peace and security – including at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s international security policy and today the Government announced its intention to rejoin to the Alliance’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) program.

Programs such as AWACS, and the joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance it provides, are increasingly relevant in today’s security environment. In response to the challenges posed by that environment, NATO has significantly increased the use of its AWACS operations, including in areas like Central and Eastern Europe where Canada is leading a multinational NATO battlegroup based in Latvia.

Canada decided to withdraw from the AWACS program in 2011 following the Department of National Defence’s 2010 Strategic Review.

Quotes
“NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s international security policy, and is one of our most important multilateral relationships. In that spirit, Canada has decided to rejoin NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System. AWACS is a key NATO capability that we will support by contributing to its operations and support budget. We have committed to keeping Canada engaged in the world, and continuing to commit ourselves to NATO and its missions are important steps toward that goal.”
Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister​
Quick Facts
  • The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) was established in 1978 and consists of a fleet of NATO-owned aircraft giving the Alliance abilities to conduct long-range aerial surveillance, and to command and control forces from the air.
  • Part of Canada’s commitment to NATO, as outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged, includes:
    • Leading and/or contributing forces to NATO and coalition efforts to deter and defeat potential adversaries, including terrorists, to support global stability;
    • Leading and/or contributing to international peace operations and stabilization missions with the United Nations, NATO, and other multilateral partners.
  • The NATO Airborne Warning and Control System has sixteen E-3A aircraft. These modified Boeing 707s are easily identifiable from the distinctive radar dome mounted on the fuselage. The E-3A usually operates at an altitude of around 10 km. From this altitude a single E-3A can constantly monitor the airspace within a radius of more than 400 km and can exchange information – via digital data links – with ground-based, sea-based and airborne commanders. By using pulse Doppler radar, an E-3A flying within NATO airspace can distinguish between targets and ground reflections and is therefore able to give early warning of low- or high-flying aircraft operating over the territory of a potential aggressor.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2018/02/canada_rejoins_natoairbornewarningandcontrolsystemprogram.html
 

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NATO Defence Ministers take decisions to strengthen the Alliance
  • 15 Feb. 2018

NATO Defence Ministers wrapped up two days of talks in Brussels on Thursday (15 February 2018), focused on the NATO Command Structure, fair burden-sharing and the Alliance’s efforts to project stability beyond its borders.

20180215_180215-nac-mod.jpg


On Wednesday, ministers took decisions to modernise the NATO Command Structure, in response to a changed security environment. The adapted Command Structure will place a greater focus on maritime security, logistics and military mobility, and cyber defence. Ministers agreed to establish a new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic, to help protect sea lines of communication between North America and Europe, as well as a new support Command for logistics, reinforcement and military mobility. In June, Defence Ministers will decide on the required timelines, locations and increased staff levels.

Burden-sharing was also a key topic of discussion. Ministers took stock of progress in implementing NATO’s Defence Investment Pledge. By 2024, 15 Allies are expected to spend 2% of their GDP or more on defence. “We are moving in the right direction, and I look forward to even more progress in the years ahead,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Later, Ministers were joined by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and representatives from Finland and Sweden for a discussion on NATO-EU cooperation. “We are committed to stepping up our cooperation on military mobility, cyber defence and in countering terrorist threats,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. Allies also addressed recent EU decisions on defence and how to ensure their complementary with NATO’s efforts.

On Thursday, Ministers discussed NATO’s role in projecting stability and fighting terrorism. Allies agreed to start planning for a NATO training mission in Iraq, at the request of the Iraqi government and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. A mission will make current training efforts more sustainable, with better resourcing and a well-established process for Allies to contribute forces. “We will also plan to help the Iraqi forces become increasingly professional by establishing specialist military academies and schools,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. As part of their discussions, Allies also considered NATO’s other priorities in the South. “We agreed that we need to improve our ability to react to future crises in the region, including with enhanced planning and exercises,” said the Secretary General.

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_152125.htm
 

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Mattis: NATO on 'Right Trajectory' to Protect Nations, Values
By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2018 – NATO defense ministers agreed to continue projecting stability beyond its borders and will continue to build capabilities within the alliance, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said in Brussels today.

"In a world awash in change, NATO stands firm as an island of stability in a turbulent sea," Mattis said during a news conference at the conclusion of the meeting.

Projecting stability requires the alliance's political stance to be backed by military forces that are fit to fight, the secretary said. This will reduce the chance of miscalculation by any adversary.

Adapting to Changing Times

NATO, he added, must continue to adapt to the changing times and changing capabilities of any adversaries.

During the ministerial, the defense leaders discussed the recently published U.S. Nuclear Posture Review. Mattis said that many allies had been consulted on the study.

"The review was very well received across the alliance, the secretary said. "The U.S. approach to nuclear deterrence embraces two co-equal principles: First, ensuring a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent, and second, working wherever possible for nuclear non-proliferation and arms control."

Mattis was pleased on discussions about burden-sharing in the alliance. He noted that alliance nations have increased defense spending and are working on improving "the culture of readiness." This will provide ready forces that will be responsive to NATO's political direction.

The alliance must make political decisions faster, adapt the command structure and accelerate military mobility in conjunction with the European Union, the secretary said.

NATO Spending Increases

A total of eight NATO nations will meet the target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense and 15 nations will hit that mark by 2024. Mattis noted that France is forecasting hitting that level in 2025.

"Year-on-year across the alliance, 2017 saw the largest growth … as a percentage of GDP, and the largest real growth in a quarter century," he said. This has added $46 billion to defense across the alliance.

NATO is a member of the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and defense ministers agreed to remain committed to the immediate and longer-term missions in Iraq.

"NATO will sustain its investment in Iraq to project stability into the geopolitical heart of the Middle East," Mattis said. "America supports NATO's initiative for a NATO training mission in Iraq."

NATO is also a stalwart part of the mission to Afghanistan and the ministers committed to filling critical shortfalls in the staffs.

"It is the collective dedication of the 29 nations, and working together creates the collective strength as we fight the threats from the east and the south to defend our values," he said. "There is much that needs to be done, but NATO is on the right trajectory."

https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1442654/mattis-nato-on-right-trajectory-to-protect-nations-values/
 

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UK steps up commitment to a modernised NATO
Speaking at a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson set out his ambition for a modern NATO that delivers on its commitments.

15 February 2018

Mr Williamson signalled that the UK will meet its commitments, including an uplift of around one hundred personnel in our contribution to NATO's modernised Command Structure - the precise numbers will be determined through further work between now and the Summit. This will help to ensure that NATO can meet the security challenges of today and tomorrow.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

"NATO is the cornerstone of our defence but we live in an uncertain world, with the confrontation and conflict we face shifting and evolving. NATO must modernise at the same pace, so we can respond better and faster to deter those that threaten our safety and way of life."

NATO will today discuss a range of issues including burden sharing, cooperation with the European Union, and efforts to modernise the Alliance. A key element of modernising NATO will be the adaptation of the Alliance's Command Structure. Defence Ministers will decide whether to implement a design which includes proposals for a new Command for the Atlantic and a Command to improve the movement of military forces across Europe.

The proposed Command Structure, which has been influenced by senior British staff, represents a key aspect of the UK's priority to modernise and strengthen NATO so it remains able to command and control its missions and operations wherever they are required.

Over the two-day Ministerial, Defence leaders will discuss efforts to strengthen NATO's deterrence and defence posture. Britain's Armed Forces have taken a leading role in NATO's enhanced Forward Presence, providing the Framework battlegroup in Estonia and a providing a company to the US-led enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup in Poland. The Defence Secretary welcomed the arrival of Danish forces in Estonia and the announcement that France will return in 2019 to support the UK-led force. NATO's role in the fight against terrorism was also discussed with the Defence Secretary welcoming the progress that has been made.

NATO remains the cornerstone of UK defence and, as one of the largest contributors, is one of only a few NATO countries pledging at least 2% of their GDP to defence.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-steps-up-commitment-to-a-modernised-nato


 

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German defense chief denounces Trump-era focus on militarism
By: Sebastian Sprenger  
17.02.2018

MUNICH – German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen opened the Munich Security conference here today admonishing the United States, without mentioning Washington by name, for dialing back its spending on foreign development.

Her comments attempt to turn the tables somewhat on the Trump administration’s argumentthat European countries are freeloading on security by spending way less than the Pentagon. While von der Leyen acknowledged that Germany must increase its military expenditures, she made the case that Berlin’s budget for non-military assistance programs is an important calculus in the country’s security-policy mix.

“Germany stands by the agreement it has with NATO,” von der Leyen said, referring to the alliance’s goal that all members spend 2 percent on the military by 2025. Berlin is still far away from that objective, however, currently spending 1.25 percent.

The German defense chief warned against creating a two-tiered, transatlantic security environment in which the United States brings the guns and Europe brings soft power to resolve future conflicts. All NATO members must have a similar balance in those capabilities, she urged.

Washington, von der Leyen said, has a “precious obligation” that goes beyond military prowess alone.

Her comments come as President Trump has proposed a federal budget for fiscal year 2019 that cuts key foreign development and diplomacy accounts. For the State Department and USAID, for example, the White House is requesting $37.8 billion, down from the $53.1 billion enacted for FY17. And although there is no enacted figure for FY18, that request slashed State and USAID to the point where the Republican-controlled Senate worked to put funding back in for the two agencies.

Meanwhile, the State Department remains understaffed, with key ambassadorial positions such as those in South Korea, Turkey and Saudi Arabia unfilled.

In her speech,, von der Leyen walked the fine line of talking up recent efforts by the European Union to bolster its defense capabilities while stressing the continent’s bond with the United States.

Her French counterpart, Defense Minister Florence Parly, argued similarly against the perception that developments toward a EU military would weaken NATO.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/munich-security-forum/2018/02/16/german-defense-chief-denounces-trump-era-focus-on-militarism/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Munich DSD&utm_term=Editorial - Digital Show Daily
 

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McMaster to allies: Track your investments and stop funding Iran’s proxy militias
By: Jill Aitoro  
17.02.2018

MUNICH — National Security Advisor H.R.McMaster made an appeal to NATO members and allies at the Munich Security Conference to look hard at who they’re doing business with overseas and cut off funding that indirectly funds Hezbollahand other proxy militias that weaken Middle East nations to bolster Iranian influence.

The Iranian regime continues to get support from commercial entities, affiliated with the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – “including Mahan Air, a company that lands right here in Munich airport,” said McMaster, referring to a report released at the end of 2017 by the National Council of Resistance of Iran that stated the Iran’s largest commercial airline in fact works as a tool for Iran’s expansionist policies.

In October 2017, President Donald Trump called for tougher sanctions against the IRGC, and the Treasury Department announced it was designating the IRGC as a terrorist entity under a White House Executive Order, for support of a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, as well as to the Taliban. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the time said the IRGC has played “a central role to Iran becoming the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror,” urging the private sector to recognize that the IRGC permeates much of the Iranian economy.

“What Iran is actually doing is applying the Hezbollah model to the greater Middle East,” McMaster said. “They want the Arab world perpetually weak, and [they want] weak governments in power that are dependent on Iran for support, while they grow terrorist organizations, militias, illegal arms groups outside that government’s control that can turn against government if that government acts against Iranian interests.”

Beyond Syria, this approach is happening in Iraq, where IRGC has grown Popular Mobilization Forces, as well as in Yemen. That network of proxies becomes and more capable as Iran seeds to them more destructive weapons, McMaster said, nd that is funded through commercial means.

“When you invest in Iran, you’re investing in the IRGC. You might as well cut the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a check and say, ‘please use this to commit more murder across the Middle East,’” McMaster said. “And when we look at the biggest trading partners with Iran, we of course see Russia, we see China. But we also see Japan, South Korea and Germany. It’s time to focus business intelligence efforts to figure out who we are really doing business with, and cut off funding.”

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/munich-security-forum/2018/02/17/mcmaster-to-allies-track-your-investments-and-stop-funding-irans-proxy-militias/
 

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NATO launches defence capacity building project for Jordan

19 Feb. 2018

NATO launched a Defence Capacity Building Project on "Enhancing Jordan's capacity for Crisis Management, Continuity of Government and Exercises" on Monday (19 February 2018). The three-year project will assist the Jordanian National Centre for Security and Crisis Management in achieving full operational capability, and will enhance Jordan's capacity in national resilience, continuity of government and crisis management.

At the project initiation signing ceremony, Brigadier General Adnan Al-Abbadi, Vice Chairman of the Jordanian National Center for Security and Crisis Management, and NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General Dr. John Manza, stressed the importance of NATO's cooperation with Jordan in its efforts towards institutionalizing national crisis management capabilities.

Contributions by four Allies ? the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, and Turkey ? to the NATO Defence Capacity Building Trust Fund made this flagship project possible.

Initiation of this project represents an important milestone for the NATO-Jordan Defence Capacity Building Package and in the strategic partnership between NATO and Jordan.

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_152308.htm
 

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Germany Fails to Fulfill NATO Rapid Response Force Requirements - Reports

19.02.2018

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The German Armed Forces lack bulletproof vests, winter uniforms, and tents to fulfill their NATO duties in establishing a rapid response force group, the Rheinische Post newspaper reported, citing a German Defense Ministry document.

The Rheinische Post newspaper reported that the military would not be able to fulfill its promise of mobile deployment at least until 2021. Explaining this delay, the Defense Ministry said that between 2018 and 2020, a total of 10,282 housing units will be needed compared to the only 2,500 units the armed forces have now. The Bundeswehr also needs winter uniforms and bulletproof vests.

In early 2019, the Bundeswehr is set to get on board with a role in creating the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force Spearhead. The project classifies the increased combat readiness of 5,000 troops on standby for deployment wherever needed within 48-72 hours.

Earlier in February, German media also reported that the army did not have enough battle tanks for Spearhead.

NATO has urged the new government in Germany to increase defense spendings in order to achieve the alliance's 2 percent of the GDP goal. Fifteen of NATO's 29 members have achieved plans of spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense in order to meet the alliance's defense spending goal by 2024, overall increasing spending by $46 billion.

Expectations of the Bundeswehr's readiness to invest in NATO are growing, yet there are equipment shortages that forced the German military use alternative materials instead of machine guns during NATO exercises. The reason for the shortage is a lack of spare details and high maintenance costs. The German army will try to cover the "existing deficit of capabilities with elements from other strategic units," according to local media.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201802191061800628-germany-nato-rapid-response-force/
 

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NATO rejects Putin's 'unacceptable' threats to target allies
By: The Associated Press  
02 March 2018

BRUSSELS — NATO says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to target its members are unacceptable and that the military alliance will continue using its armed forces to deter aggression.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said Friday that “Russian statements threatening to target allies are unacceptable and counterproductive.”

Putin said Thursday that Moscow has tested an array of new strategic nuclear weapons that can’t be intercepted, telling the West: “You have failed to contain Russia.”
Lungescu said NATO’s missile defense system is built to respond to attacks from outside Europe and North America and not directed against Russia.

Noting Russia’s “aggressive actions” in Ukraine and military buildup around Europe, she said: “NATO is pursuing a twin-track approach to Russia: strong deterrence and defense, combined with meaningful dialogue.”

https://www.defensenews.com/flashpoints/2018/03/02/nato-rejects-putins-unacceptable-threats-to-target-allies/
 

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NATO sets up new surface command
April 5, 2019


zoom
Rear Admiral Jens Nemeyer, Commander Surface Forces NATO receives the formal activation order from Sir Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone KBE CB, Commander Allied Maritime Command, during the ceremony. Photo: NATO

NATO’s Allied Maritime Command hosted a ceremony on the 70th anniversary of the alliance to ceremonially activate a new command called Commander Surface Forces NATO (COMSURFNATO).

This April 4 activation is part of NATO’s Command Structure Adaptation (NCS-A) remarking new NATO at its birthday.

One of the milestones of the adopted HQ MARCOM, endorsed by Nations, is the introduction of the COMSURFNATO whom will assume responsibility of surface forces delegated by Commander MARCOM, including the four Standing Naval Forces and units under NATO operational control for operation Sea Guardian.

The Deputy Chief of Staff Operations (DCOS OPS) will perform the role of COMSURFNATO as a twinned position alongside his current duty.

With NATO’s Command Structure Adaptation, MARCOM is growing in numbers while keeping agile and flexible with the new structure.

This growth will enable the development of a new Theatre Maritime Component Command role which will oversee the many maritime challenges which cover the full spectrum of missions.

Along with COMSUBNATO and COM MARAIR, who are responsible for submarines and maritime air patrol aircraft respectively under NATO operational command, COMSURFNATO will be the third commander subordinate to COM MARCOM.

The newly established Theatre Maritime Operation Centre (TMOC) will facilitate the command and control function of the three commanders and support COM MARCOM in his role as Theatre Component Commander in the maritime domain. The TMOC will ensure a 360 degree overview by compiling a recognized picture which will be co-ordinated and shared with other NATO Joint and Maritime Operation Centres.

“Today marks an important milestone and a huge step on the journey to further operationalize MARCOM. Together with the TMOC and its Director, COMSURFNATO will greatly contribute to streamlining MARCOM’s Command and Control processes and help to make the decision making much leaner and faster, Rear Admiral Jens Nemeyer, Commander Surface Forces NATO, said.

At the Warsaw Summit in 2016, the heads of state and government announced the need to assess NATO’s Command Structure in recognition of the changing security environment. Most recently, at the February 2018 Defence Ministerial Conference, the leaders agreed to bolster maritime security, logistics, military mobility, and cyber defense.

NATO sets up new surface command
 

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