NATO Developing New Logistics Concept
A C-17 Globemaster III (Air Force)
Amid heightened tensions with Russia, NATO is working to enhance its ability to move troops and equipment across Europe, a top alliance official said Oct. 25.
“Mobility is an issue that is being discussed widely,” Czech army Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, said during a meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C.
Observers in the West have voiced concerns that Russian forces could rapidly overrun the Baltic States or other parts of Eastern Europe before NATO would be able to mount an effective response.
Alliance forces must "be responsive to a situation that may arise quickly," Pavel said. "It’s fair to say that we were in a situation where . . . procedures . . . were too slow," he added.
There has been significant improvement over the past year, he said, but more work remains to be done. To that end, NATO is developing a new logistics concept to enable greater mobility on the continent, he told reporters.
For many years after the 9/11 attacks, NATO was focused on conducting missions abroad in places like Afghanistan. But Russian military activities in Ukraine and elsewhere have refocused the alliance's attention on its eastern flank.
“The same way that we developed overseas procedures in other areas, the whole logistical concept for enabling [movement in the] European theater is being now developed,” Pavel said. He did not say when that effort is expected to be completed, or identify equipment needs that might be associated with it.
Asked if NATO would benefit from owning more of its equipment rather than relying on member-nations' contributions, Pavel said he didn't see a need for that. Alliance members are working to address acquisition deficiencies, he said.
In addition to improving its logistics capabilities, NATO plans to replace its aging E-3 airborne warning and control system, or AWACS, fleet, he noted.
The alliance is also beefing up its ballistic missile defense capabilities. The Aegis Ashore system in Europe is moving toward full operational capability, he added.
Moscow officials have said they believe the Aegis Ashore system is directed against Russia. Western officials insist that it is intended to thwart limited ballistic missile attacks from other countries such as Iran.
NATO is “open to dialogue” with Russia, but there are no plans to resume military cooperation, Pavel said.
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