By Dow Jones Business News, March 06, 2015, 01:05:00 PM EDT
BRUSSELS–The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is seeking to speed up decision making on military deployments as part of the alliance’s response to threats posed by Russia and Islamic State, the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday.
Speaking to a group of journalists here, Mr. Stoltenberg said that NATO is currently implementing “the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”
NATO has already beefed up its presence in its eastern member states, with four times more aircraft deployed in the Baltic states, more warships in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea and more troops on the ground undertaking training and exercises.
NATO is currently working out plans to double its so-called rapid response force to 30,000 troops and have a ” spearhead force” of a few thousand soldiers able to move within 48 hours.
In addition, the military alliance is setting up command units in the Baltic states, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria of up to 40 staff each, to coordinate between national and NATO military structures, help organize exercises and facilitate the deployment of troops “if needed.”
The rapid response force would also be deployable to the south, with Mr. Stoltenberg noting that the continuing threat posed by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is “on the borders of NATO,” given Turkey’s membership to the alliance. Conflicts in Libya and other North African countries are “very close to Italy,” he added.
But Mr. Stoltenberg said NATO is also looking at ways to ensure that political disagreements won’t delay troop deployments. “It doesn’t help to have a force which is ready to move within 48 hours if we need 48 days to take a decision to make it move,” he said.
Deployment decisions must be approved by consensus among political representatives of the 28 allies.
Mr. Stoltenberg mentioned the Libya war of 2011, however, when the alliance was able to deploy planes within seven days after starting discussions over the possibility of a NATO mission.
See more here:
NATO Seeks to Speed Up Deployment Decisions