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Thread: NATO: debating and defending Europe

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    Default This Week at War: Moral Hazard at NATO

    This Week at War: Moral Hazard at NATO

    Entry Excerpt:

    Europe may not be able to rely on America's free security guarantee forever.

    Here is the latest edition of my column at Foreign Policy:

    Topics include:

    1) In blasting NATO, Gates explains what moral hazard feels like

    2) The U.S. government sends its civilians to fight in Yemen

    In blasting NATO, Gates explains what moral hazard feels like

    In what he termed his "last policy speech as U.S. defense secretary," Robert Gates ripped into his policymaking peers at NATO headquarters in Brussels last week for allowing "significant shortcomings in NATO in military capabilities, and in political will" to occur. Gates noted that although the non-U.S. alliance members have more than 2 million troops in uniform, these countries struggle to deploy 40,000 soldiers into an effective military campaign. Gates also pointed to NATO's embarrassing performance in Libya, noting that European members, despite having a multitude of officers collecting paychecks at frivolous staff billets, have failed to generate the intelligence support and command capabilities needed to wage an effective air campaign. Gates warned of a "dismal future for the transatlantic alliance."

    Gates's frustration was no doubt sparked by the realization that his department has become the victim of moral hazard. The United States provides a free security guarantee to Europe. Europeans, meanwhile, have responded in an economically rational way by taking greater risk with their external defense. With the collapse of the Soviet Union removing the last plausible military threat, it was logical for European policymakers to avoid spending on expensive space, communications, and intelligence systems that the United States was largely providing for free. Gates and many other U.S. policymakers see an alliance with too many free riders; Gates noted that only five of the 28 allies spend more than the agreed target of 2 percent of GDP on defense.

    In the short term, Gates fears that the United States will have to bail out the Libya operation. This week, Adm. Mark Stanhope, Britain's top naval officer, warned that budget limits and unit rotation requirements could force NATO combatants over Libya to soon have to choose between Libya and Afghanistan. Should a shortfall of European forces in either campaign result, Gates undoubtedly fears that the United States will have to make up the gap.

    Over the longer term, the moral hazard issue extends beyond NATO into the Western Pacific, the South China Sea, and soon the Persian Gulf.

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    Default A New Kind of NATO

    A New Kind of NATO

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    Default This Week at War: What is NATO Good For?

    This Week at War: What is NATO Good For?

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    Default NATO: ‘Victory Has Defeated You’

    NATO: ‘Victory Has Defeated You’

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    Default NATO Archives: First Ten Years Now Online

    NATO Archives: First Ten Years Now Online

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    Default Needed: A New NATO for the 21st Century

    Needed: A New NATO for the 21st Century

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    Default NATO Needs to Move Now on Crimea

    NATO Needs to Move Now on Crimea

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    Default NATO: debating and defending Europe

    There have been a considerable number of base closures in Germany. The 8th I.D., (Mech), 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Armored Divisions are no longer there. The only combat units left are the 12th CAB, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, and the 173rd Airborne BCT in Caserma Ederle, Italy. Is this a sufficient state of U.S. readiness? Consider the facts that: (1) Putin is ex-KGB with a strong desire to reestablish the Soviet Union,the fall of which he has called the worst political tragedy of the 20th Century; (2) Putin was strongly opposed to the deployment of an ABM system in Poland; and (3) Putin's support of Russian Separatists in the Ukraine has to do with Ukraine having gravitated toward NATO. The Warsaw Pact was established to create a buffer between East & West Europe. It is fair to say that Putin and Russian general officers consider Ukraine' s gravitation toward NATO as an encroachment on the former Soviet Bloc. Although a Russian motor rifle regiment/division is not the same organizationally as it was in 1980, Russia still has over 90 active divisions. The U.S. has only has 10 infantry divisions, an armored division, and an armored cavalry division. Can the U.S. depend on other NATO allies to pick up our slack in manpower and material? Russia controls gas and electric power used by Western Europe, and countries like Germany aren't willing to challenge Putin. With the current state of affairs in the Ukraine, and Putin's continued support for the Separatists coupled with sanctions to be imposed on the Russian economy, will this lead to open conflict? If it does, what is the state of readiness of U.S. 7th Army? Can that Army face down 90 Russian divisions without an expansion of the U.S. Armed Forces to World War II proportions? In its current state, U.S. 7th Army, quite frankly, doesn't have the combat power to close with the enemy by land, sea, air, or air assault to capture, kill, repel, or destroy him by means of sustained fire and maneuver. If the balloon goes up, how reliable will the NATO allies be if Putin turns off their gas and electricity as a means of economic warfare? Will they continue to fight with us, or will they turn against us??? Where would that leave us? The military fiction novel entitled "The Ten Thousand" by Harold Coyle comes to mind, without the atomic weapons possessed by a unified Germany.
    Last edited by novelist; 07-28-2014 at 04:45 AM.

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    -The U.S. has only has 10 infantry divisions, an armored division, and an armored cavalry division.-

    Your math is suspect, and your understanding of the modular Army is out of date. The Army has 10 total divisions, and there is no difference between the heavy brigades in 1AD, 1CD and 1ID (if they still have any). Further, the division construct is not as relevant, as there is a light and a Stryker brigade in 1AD.

    Further, I don't think it is a point of readiness - this usually refers to the condition of forces - but rather, the type and amount of forces present. I do agree that we don't have the force structure and proper forces forward deployed to have a deterrent effect. Why do you need a Stryker or airborne BCT forward deployed? Wasn't their whole point being how easily deployed they would be? I get the Operational deployability of the Strykers, and the utility of the airborne IBCT. But for deterrent effect, 2 HBCTs (not in Germany - the Germans have shown how painful they can make our lives - maybe Poland and Romania) forward deployed, with additional prepositioned brigade sets, would bring back some ability to speak from a position of power.

    Now, I also think you are being a bit dramatic in asking if NATO allies will 'turn against us'. However, their ability to be cowed by economic threats is significant and substantial.

    So your comment is that we don't have the forces we need (agreed) and we have a Russian threat acting with relative impunity (agreed) then what is our position to negotiate from? Well, maybe we need to ask the Europeans. It is their butts on the line.

    Tankersteve

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    Agree with tankersteve. The Europeans have been getting a free ride for much too long.

    Look to Japan for taking responsibility for its defense.

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    Then if the previous comments are correct then simply pull the remaining logistics, 12CAB, 173rd and 2ACR completely out of Europe and let the Europeans go it alone---so all the Americans, their families and children who are enjoying it here are what to pack up as well?

    Try floating that question---meaning are you ready to go back completely and never serve a tour in Europe---to the troops.

    Good luck with that one.

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    I would also like to point out that the instruments of national power are four, not one: D (diplomatic), I (information), M (military), and E (economic). We cannot maintain the force you are talking about without destroying our economy. You have a myopic view of how to influence others, which in this case, should be easy enough to see. It is the economic power that Russia holds over Western Europe via the sale of cheap Natural Gas that will keep Russia safe, not their tank divisions.

    Right now as we speak Zimbabweans are learning Mandarin, not English. Any guess why? So while we put our national budget into defense in order to keep the shipping ways free for world trade, those involved in world trade (like the Chinese) take advantage of our funding. We are losing not because we have a weaker military, but because we have no real economic influence to wield in comparison to others like Russia or China.

    You need to update your thinking
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
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    The Russians don't have 90 active full strength divisions to drive for the Atlantic coast. They don't even have 90 active full strength divisions. What they have are a lot of paper divisions to be filled up with reservists. Remember that the Russians have one heck of a long border. They may be friendly with the PRC, but that border isn't like the US-Canada border.

    On top of that, just how up to date is the Russian equipment? Not very.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    By Article 5, all NATO members are required to respond to any armed attack to any member state. If the European members do not feel obliged to uphold the treaty, then there is a need to reassess the rationale of having NATO in the first place (or for the matter, any international treaty). It is one thing for members to strive to prevent any direct confrontation with Russia, it is another to not to live up to your treaty obligations.
    Last edited by Maeda Toshiie; 07-28-2014 at 06:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tankersteve View Post
    -The U.S. has only has 10 infantry divisions, an armored division, and an armored cavalry division.-

    Your math is suspect, and your understanding of the modular Army is out of date. The Army has 10 total divisions, and there is no difference between the heavy brigades in 1AD, 1CD and 1ID (if they still have any). Further, the division construct is not as relevant, as there is a light and a Stryker brigade in 1AD.

    Further, I don't think it is a point of readiness - this usually refers to the condition of forces - but rather, the type and amount of forces present. I do agree that we don't have the force structure and proper forces forward deployed to have a deterrent effect. Why do you need a Stryker or airborne BCT forward deployed? Wasn't their whole point being how easily deployed they would be? I get the Operational deployability of the Strykers, and the utility of the airborne IBCT. But for deterrent effect, 2 HBCTs (not in Germany - the Germans have shown how painful they can make our lives - maybe Poland and Romania) forward deployed, with additional prepositioned brigade sets, would bring back some ability to speak from a position of power.

    Now, I also think you are being a bit dramatic in asking if NATO allies will 'turn against us'. However, their ability to be cowed by economic threats is significant and substantial.

    So your comment is that we don't have the forces we need (agreed) and we have a Russian threat acting with relative impunity (agreed) then what is our position to negotiate from? Well, maybe we need to ask the Europeans. It is their butts on the line.

    Tankersteve
    My division count was wrong. You're right. I was thinking that the count was back up to twelve (12) because I'd heard that the 7th I.D. was reactivated at Fort Lewis, or Joint Base Lewis-Mc Cord I think is what they call it now. If it has been reactivated, that puts the count at eleven (11).

    If something does go down in Europe with Russia, I hope Lieutenant General H.R. Mc Master is the Corps (UEx) commander. IMHO he is the best military mind The Pentagon has right now. For the most part, we are in agreement. I think that HBCT' s were converted to Armored BCT' s. But with the drawdown due to the Budget Control Act that came out of OSD' s Strategic Choices and Management Review that has the Army cutting ten (10) BCT' s I don't know what the future force structure is really going to be like, and that worries me.
    Last edited by novelist; 07-29-2014 at 12:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    I would also like to point out that the instruments of national power are four, not one: D (diplomatic), I (information), M (military), and E (economic). We cannot maintain the force you are talking about without destroying our economy. You have a myopic view of how to influence others, which in this case, should be easy enough to see. It is the economic power that Russia holds over Western Europe via the sale of cheap Natural Gas that will keep Russia safe, not their tank divisions.

    Right now as we speak Zimbabweans are learning Mandarin, not English. Any guess why? So while we put our national budget into defense in order to keep the shipping ways free for world trade, those involved in world trade (like the Chinese) take advantage of our funding. We are losing not because we have a weaker military, but because we have no real economic influence to wield in comparison to others like Russia or China.

    You need to update your thinking
    The fact that Zimbabweans are learning Mandarin is interesting. It is something of a testament to the rise of Communist Chinese economic and military power. But I think America's economic woes come from the facts that: (1) Colombia and North Korea have been counterfeiting U.S. curreny for many decades now; (2) We owe the ChiComs over a trillion dollars in foreign debt, and; (3) U.S. corporations taking their manufacturing abroad hurts the national GDP. These problems significantly contribute to the drawdown of the Armed Forces and adversely affects the National Defense. This carries over to U.S. 7th Army. That is my explanation on economic. As for "information," I see that in terms of National Intelligence. In terms of Diplomatic and Military, it was Carl Von Clausewitz who stated that "military force is an extension of political policy." My point is simply this... Our government is imposing economic sanctions on Russia yet, Putin continues to support Separatist aggression in the Ukraine. Do you think it illogical that the "policy of sanctions" would carry over to military confrontation with Russia if those sanctions do not deter Putin from his current course of action? This is why I made mention of the state of readiness of U.S. 7th Army and the number of Russian divisions.

    Thank you for your input...
    Last edited by novelist; 07-29-2014 at 01:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maeda Toshiie View Post
    The Russians don't have 90 active full strength divisions to drive for the Atlantic coast. They don't even have 90 active full strength divisions. What they have are a lot of paper divisions to be filled up with reservists. Remember that the Russians have one heck of a long border. They may be friendly with the PRC, but that border isn't like the US-Canada border.

    On top of that, just how up to date is the Russian equipment? Not very.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    By Article 5, all NATO members are required to respond to any armed attack to any member state. If the European members do not feel obliged to uphold the treaty, then there is a need to reassess the rationale of having NATO in the first place (or for the matter, any international treaty). It is one thing for members to strive to prevent any direct confrontation with Russia, it is another to not to live up to your treaty obligations.
    Paper divisions make me feel a little more at ease. And Russian reservists aren't as well trained as U.S. troops going through the NTC. I think the last Russian tank manufactured was the T-90. The problem I see is that they have more than we do, reservists or not.

    I'm somewhat familiar with Article 5, and I don't discount what you've said about it. My worry is that the NATO allies might not uphold their obligation if Putin turns their gas off.

    I put the following under a thread entitled "The Russian Military: Declining or Better...

    I think you have to look at the former Red Army in the context of its organization prior to 1989. A Motor Rifle Regiment carried 5 battalions: There were two BTR equipped light motor rifle battalions, a BMP equipped heavy motor rifle battalion, a T-54/55 equipped tank battalion, and a Sp. 122mm howitzer battalion. In all, the regiment carried 27 companies/batteries, 70% of which were fire capable. The Motor Rifle Division carried 5 regiments: two light motor rifle regiments, (assault forces) a heavy motor rifle regiment, (exploitation force), a T-62/64 equipped tank regiment, (exploitation force) and an Sp. 152mm howitzer regiment. The division carried 58 battalions to include a T-72 equipped independent tank battalion. The motor rifle battalion of the exploitation forces carried a Battalion HQ, three motor rifle squads for HQ security, three (3) motor rifle companies, an 82mm mortar battery, and a technical services company comprised of a repair platoon, a medical platoon, a transportation platoon, and a communications platoon. The assault force had the immediate task of breaching the enemy line. The battalion making the most progress received regimental arty support. A battalion not making good progress was left to its own devices. NCO' s were not allowed to carry maps, and could not call for arty or air support. If the platoon leader was killed in action, the senior NCO could not take command of the platoon. Having said all of this, I think you have to look at the current organizational structure of a motor rifle regiment and its current doctrinal TTP. You'd also have to look at leadership and whether or not platoon leaders, company commanders, etc. are now permitted to exercise initiative. This seems the only logical way to determine whether or not the Russian army of today is Declining or Better. The Russian army now has about 90 active divisions.

    This is how I recall the former Red Army and, this is why I have cause for concern about the shape that U.S. 7th Army is in right now...

    Thank you for your comments.
    Last edited by novelist; 07-29-2014 at 02:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    Then if the previous comments are correct then simply pull the remaining logistics, 12CAB, 173rd and 2ACR completely out of Europe and let the Europeans go it alone---so all the Americans, their families and children who are enjoying it here are what to pack up as well?

    Try floating that question---meaning are you ready to go back completely and never serve a tour in Europe---to the troops.

    Good luck with that one.
    Did not not know DoD made assignments by polling the troops. In my day I got orders and went where the Army told me. Is that something from Obama's West Point speech, along with the mission of combatting global warming?

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    What preparations does DoD or U.S. 7th Army need to make for the potential eventuality of conflict with Russia???

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    Quote Originally Posted by novelist View Post
    What preparations does DoD or U.S. 7th Army need to make for the potential eventuality of conflict with Russia???
    Back in 2010, there were leaks on the contingency plans for the defense of the Baltic states. Apparently 9 divisions are earmarked, including US, German, and Polish formations. I'm sure there are already plans for Poland, which should be regularly updated if the G3 branch isn't sleeping.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...e-guardian.htm

    http://www.lithuaniatribune.com/4465...land-20104465/
    Last edited by Maeda Toshiie; 07-30-2014 at 04:19 PM.

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    Default NATO Chiefs Outline Plan for Dangerous World

    NATO Chiefs Outline Plan for Dangerous World

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