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NATO accelerating deployment of up to 300,000 soldiers along the Eastern border
NATO is racing to arm its Russian borders. Can it find the weapons?
Allies are worrying about dwindling war chests just as NATO seeks commitments for new stockpiles and troops along the eastern flank.
BY LILI BAYER MARCH 18, 2023 2:19 AM CET Politico
BRUSSELS — Add NATO’s military planners to the list of those concerned about having enough shells.
In the coming months, the alliance will accelerate efforts to stockpile equipment along the alliance’s eastern edge and designate tens of thousands of forces that can rush to allies’ aid on short notice — a move meant to stop Russia from expanding its war beyond Ukraine.
To make that happen, though, NATO must convince individual countries to contribute various elements: Soldiers, training, better infrastructure — and, most notably, extensive amounts of pricey weapons, equipment and ammunition.
With countries already worried about their own munitions stockpiles and Ukraine in acute need of more shells and weapons from allies, there is a risk that not all NATO allies will live up to their promises to contribute to the alliance’s new plans.
“If there’s not somebody hosting the potluck and telling everybody what to bring, then everyone would bring potato chips because potato chips are cheap, easy to get,” said James J. Townsend Jr., a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO policy.
“Nations,” he added, “would rather bring potato chips.”
It’s a challenge NATO has faced in the past, and one that experts fear could become a persistent problem for the Western alliance as Russia’s war drags into a second year. While the U.S. and EU are making plans to source more weapons — fast — the restocking process will inevitably take time.
That could run into NATO’s aspirations. Military leaders this spring will submit updated regional defense plans intended to help redefine how the alliance protects its 1 billion citizens.
The numbers will be large, with officials floating the idea of up to 300,000 NATO forces needed to help make the new model work. That means lots of coordinating and cajoling.
“I think you need forces to counter a realistic Russia,” said one senior NATO military official, underscoring the need for significantly “more troops” and especially more forces at “readiness.”
A push for ‘readiness’
There are several tiers of “readiness.”
The first tier — which may consist of about 100,000 soldiers prepared to move within 10 days — could be drawn from Poland, Norway and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), said Heinrich Brauß, a former NATO assistant secretary general for defense policy and force planning. It may also include multinational battlegroups the alliance has already set up in the eastern flank.
A second tier of troops would then back up those soldiers, ready to deploy from countries like Germany in between 10 to 30 days.
But the process could get tricky. Why? Because moving so quickly, even given a month, requires lots of people, equipment and training — and lots of money.
Some militaries will have to up their recruitment efforts. Many allies will have to increase defense spending. And everyone will have to buy more weapons, ammunition and equipment.
Ben Hodges, former commander of U.S. Army Europe, said that “readiness” is “basically, do you have all the stuff you’re supposed to have to do the mission assigned to a unit of a particular size?”
“An artillery battalion needs to shoot X number of rounds per year for planning purposes in order to maintain its level of proficiency,” he said. A tank battalion needs to hit targets, react to different situations and “demonstrate proficiency on the move, day and night, hitting targets that are moving.”
“It’s all very challenging,” he said, pointing to the need for training ranges and ammunition, as well as maintaining proficiency as personnel changes over time. “This obviously takes time and it’s also expensive.”
And that’s if countries can even find companies to produce quality bullets quickly.
“We have tended to try to stockpile munitions on the cheap … it’s just grossly inadequate,” said Stacie Pettyjohn, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security. “I think the problems that our allies have in NATO are even more acute because many of them often rely on the U.S. as sort of the backstop.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that allies have stepped up work on production in recent months — and that the alliance is working on new requirements for ammunition stockpiles.
But he has also acknowledged the problem.
“The current rate of consumption compared to the current rate of production of ammunition,” he said in early March, “is not sustainable.”
The big test
Once NATO’s military plans are done, capitals will be asked to weigh in — and eventually make available troops, planes, ships and tanks for different parts of the blueprints.
A test for NATO will come this summer when leaders of the alliance’s 30 member countries meet in Lithuania.
“We are asking the nations — based on the findings we have out of our three regional plans — what we need to make these plans … executable,” said the senior NATO military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive planning.
“I think the most difficult thing,” the official added, “is the procurement.”
Some allies have already acknowledged that meeting NATO’s needs will take far more investment.
“More speed is needed, whether in terms of material, personnel or infrastructure,” German Colonel André Wüstner, head of the independent Armed Forces Association, told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
The German military, for instance, is carrying out its assigned missions, he said, “but that is nothing compared to what we will have to contribute to NATO in the future.”
And while Berlin now has a much-touted €100 billion modernization fund for upgrading Germany’s military, not a single cent of the money has been spent so far, German Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces Eva Högl said earlier this week.
Underpinning the readiness issue is a contentious debate over defense investments.
In 2014, NATO leaders pledged to aim to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense within a decade. At the Vilnius summit in July, the leaders will have to decide on a new target.
“Two percent as floor” seems to be the “center of gravity” in the debate at the moment, said one senior NATO official, while cautioning that “2 percent would not be enough for everybody.”
A second issue is the contribution balance. Officials and experts expect the majority of high-readiness troops to come from European allies. But that means European capitals will need to step up as Washington contemplates how to address challenges from China.
The response will show whether NATO is serious about matching its ambitions.
“It’s hard to make sure you remain at the top of your military game during peace when there’s not a threat,” said Townsend, the former U.S. official. NATO, he said, is “in the middle” of a stress test.
“We’re all saying the right things,” he added. “But will we come through at the end of the day and do the right thing? Or are we going to try to get away with bringing potato chips to the potluck? The jury’s out.”
But how can they call on him (Jesus Christ) to save them unless they believe in him (Jesus Christ)? And how can they believe in him (Jesus Christ) if they have never heard about him (Jesus Christ)? And how can they hear about him (Jesus Christ) unless someone tells them?” —Romans 10:14
In His Service,
Night Watchman Ministries
Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!
Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:
The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)
A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.
. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).
B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.
. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).
. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).
. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).
. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).
. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).
. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).
. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).
. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).
True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:
Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
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