US-NATO ability to deter Russia jeopardised12/10/17Defence
The effectiveness of the US and its NATO allies to act as deterrents against Russia is at risk, owing to shortfalls in capability, according to the commander of US Army Europe.
As a result, there is an urgent need for NATO allies to share intelligence, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges told an audience panel on Tuesday at the Association of the US Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.
“I have been walking the halls here and looking at exhibits and seeing the incredible products the defence industry produces, but I continue to be disappointed because everything is made for US forces only … and that’s not how we’re going to fight.
“We’ve got to continue to put the demand on industry, but also get the policies right to allow us to share information and intelligence. We are taking great risk at our ability to be an effective deterrent.”
US presence in Europe is enhanced by a rotational heel-to-toe presence of brigade combat teams.
Following Russia’s Zapad exercise in September, Hodges said that there were three main take-aways: NATO offered its best capabilities for intelligence sharing; the confidence in the Enhanced Forward Presence concept, with battle groups fielded in less than a year; and the fact that “nobody believes anything the Russian’s say anymore. Everyone knows there were more than 12,700 troops”.
In response to an audience question which surrounded the sufficiency of the number of troops which could operate in Europe effectively, Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of Allied Land Command, NATO, said: “There are response plans … forces ready to go, corps standing by right now, ready to go.”