The change of military posture in NATO and its challenges | Opinion

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has been anticipating some of the measures that will change the military posture of the organization to face the direct military threat from Russia in Eastern Europe. After the first Russian invasion of Ukraine, NATO’s strategy combined the rotational deployment of forces in the threatened countries (Forward Defense Presence) with the strengthening of the Rapid Response Force necessary to ensure its reinforcement. The decision was consistent with the commitment in the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 to maintain the reinforcement strategy instead of permanently deploying large units in the new members. Deployed multinational battalions and their command and control elements have so far maintained a light structure, below 2,000 soldiers, and the Response Force increased theirs from 13,000 to 40,000, of which one brigade would have to be ready (enlisted). ) to respond within a few days.

After the second invasion, NATO has to decide whether to reinforce the entity of the deployed units, going from battalion to brigade and reserve forces, going from 40,000 to 300,000 soldiers, if the figures pointed out by the secretary general are finally confirmed. Some allies, especially the Baltics, are wary of the reinforcement strategy followed so far because they could cede their territory to Russian forces before regaining it, for which they wish to change the reinforcement strategy to one of denial of access, deploying permanent large units and infrastructures that defend their borders.

Regardless of the final decision on the reinforcement strategy or the denial strategy at the Madrid summit, the Armed Forces of the allies are facing a transformation of their operational concepts, capabilities and force structure (military posture) of great strategic importance. and budget. The Armed Forces will have to restructure their expeditionary units dedicated to international crisis management so that they can assume the collective defense functions that they had abandoned. More units will be needed, larger in size, with a higher level of readiness, mobility and sustainment, so budgets will have to be increased to meet the new personnel and equipment capacities.

Until now, some allied countries, including Spain, have cut spending on unit maintenance in order to guarantee the enlistment of units going abroad. The increase in units to be deployed, reinforced or rotated, together with the need to comply with NATO operational certification standards, will have to put an end to this bad practice because, otherwise, the figures that are handled will only appear on paper .

The restructuring of NATO’s military posture and that of its member states, to be 360 ​​degrees, has to cover all flanks: the East immediately, the South shortly after and the Arctic in the medium term. It also has to cover all domains, traditional and new, of space and cyberspace. To preserve its military advantage over Russia, NATO needs to apply innovation and new technology to its current equipment. Spend on operating concepts and future capabilities to spend better and not just more as will be announced at the summit.

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