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Category Archives: NATO

Trump administration to cut its financial contribution to NATO

Posted: May 11, 2020 at 11:45 am

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"},{"title":"Last Nazi message decoded by Britain revealed on VE Day anniversary","duration":"01:16","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/world/2020/05/09/nazi-message-decoded-victory-in-europe-day-ebof-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"world/2020/05/09/nazi-message-decoded-victory-in-europe-day-ebof-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200508210633-nazi-message-decoded-victory-in-europe-day-ebof-vpx-00000000-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/world/2020/05/09/nazi-message-decoded-victory-in-europe-day-ebof-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/","description":"The last recorded u003ca href="/2020/05/08/europe/nazi-message-ve-day-intl-scli-gbr/index.html" target="_blank">Nazi message intercepted and decoded by Britain in World War IIu003c/a> has been revealed for the first time to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.","descriptionText":"The last recorded u003ca href="/2020/05/08/europe/nazi-message-ve-day-intl-scli-gbr/index.html" target="_blank">Nazi message intercepted and decoded by Britain in World War IIu003c/a> has been revealed for the first time to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day."},{"title":"Several people dead after gas leak at chemical plant in India","duration":"02:39","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/world/2020/05/07/india-toxic-gas-leak-chemical-plant-kiley-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"world/2020/05/07/india-toxic-gas-leak-chemical-plant-kiley-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507143953-07-india-gas-leak-0507-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/world/2020/05/07/india-toxic-gas-leak-chemical-plant-kiley-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/","description":"At least 11 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds more have been hospitalized after a suffocating toxic gas rose from a chemical plant in southern India.","descriptionText":"At least 11 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds more have been hospitalized after a suffocating toxic gas rose from a chemical plant in southern India."},{"title":"China launches new rocket into space","duration":"00:47","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/world/2020/05/06/china-rocket-launch-lon-orig-tp.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"world/2020/05/06/china-rocket-launch-lon-orig-tp.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200506074946-01-long-march-5b-rocket-launch-0505-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/world/2020/05/06/china-rocket-launch-lon-orig-tp.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/","description":"China's latest carrier rocket has successfully launched, marking an important step in the nation's plan to build a space station, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.","descriptionText":"China's latest carrier rocket has successfully launched, marking an important step in the nation's plan to build a space station, according to state-run news agency Xinhua."},{"title":"Venezuela's Maduro says two Americans captured in failed coup","duration":"01:59","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/world/2020/05/05/venezuela-president-nicolas-maduro-americans-captured-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"world/2020/05/05/venezuela-president-nicolas-maduro-americans-captured-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200505110508-nicols-maduro-tweet-0505-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/world/2020/05/05/venezuela-president-nicolas-maduro-americans-captured-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/","description":"Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a live address on state television that two American "mercenaries" were apprehended after a failed coup attempt launched over the weekend.","descriptionText":"Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a live address on state television that two American "mercenaries" were apprehended after a failed coup attempt launched over the weekend."},{"title":"Lufthansa seeks government aid amidst pandemic","duration":"02:07","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/business/2020/05/05/lufthansa-airline-coronavirus-pleitgen-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"business/2020/05/05/lufthansa-airline-coronavirus-pleitgen-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200505134254-lufthansa-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/business/2020/05/05/lufthansa-airline-coronavirus-pleitgen-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/","description":"Europe's largest airline group, Lufthansa, is asking the government for financial aid as most of its passenger planes are standing idle. Meanwhile, the need for cargo shipment is up. u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/frederik-pleitgen" target="_blank">CNN's Fred Pleitgenu003c/a> reports. ","descriptionText":"Europe's largest airline group, Lufthansa, is asking the government for financial aid as most of its passenger planes are standing idle. Meanwhile, the need for cargo shipment is up. u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/frederik-pleitgen" target="_blank">CNN's Fred Pleitgenu003c/a> reports. "},{"title":"Greek PM: I empowered experts to fight Covid-19","duration":"07:21","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/world/2020/05/05/greece-coronavirus-covid-19-nic-robertson-kyriakos-mitsotakis-long.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"world/2020/05/05/greece-coronavirus-covid-19-nic-robertson-kyriakos-mitsotakis-long.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200505100334-greece-kyriakos-mitsotakis-nic-robertson-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/world/2020/05/05/greece-coronavirus-covid-19-nic-robertson-kyriakos-mitsotakis-long.cnn/video/playlists/around-the-world/","description":"Everyone is fighting Covid-19 "their own way," Kyriakos Mitsotakis tells Nic Robertson in an exclusive interview. "Until now, I think we've done it the right way."","descriptionText":"Everyone is fighting Covid-19 "their own way," Kyriakos Mitsotakis tells Nic Robertson in an exclusive interview. 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Trump administration to cut its financial contribution to NATO

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New Innovation Advisory Board to boost NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems initiative – NATO HQ

Posted: at 11:45 am

Participants of the NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems (MUS) initiative decided to create a new Innovation Advisory Board to address multiple challenges for developing unmanned solutions operating below, above and on the water. The NATO MUS initiative was originally launched in October 2018 by 13 Allied Defence Ministers with an ambitious agenda.

The goal of NATOs Maritime Unmanned Systems initiative is to accelerate the introduction of innovative unmanned solutions in the maritime domain to help maintain NATOs technological edge stressed the NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment Skip Davis.

Members of the Innovation Advisory Board will bring together a diverse set of backgrounds and areas of expertise from the public and private sectors, adding an important element to the MUS initiatives work. The newly created MUS Innovation Advisory Board is a highly promising contribution to the NATO effort, meant to leverage fresh perspectives and creative thinking from outside the defence establishment. This is a very exciting and practical example of NATO innovation in practice. adds Skip Davis in his role as the NATO representative on the Innovation Advisory Board. The first meeting of the Innovation Advisory Board in early June will focus on how unmanned systems can most effectively be integrated across the entire spectrum of the maritime domain.

At the Brussels Summit in 2018 NATO leaders reaffirmed the strategic importance of the maritime domain and the criticality of investing in new unmanned capabilities. They can complement conventional ships and serve as a force multiplier to expand the area of coverage and number of tasks Allied navies can address. Equally they offer the ability to remove military personnel from dangerous tasks such as mine clearing.

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New Innovation Advisory Board to boost NATO Maritime Unmanned Systems initiative - NATO HQ

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Ambassador declares USA ready to defend Poland and NATO – The First News

Posted: at 11:45 am

Georgette Mosbacher/Twitter

US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher declared on Monday that the USA was ready to defend Poland and NATO. She made the statement referring to the Polish MoD's tweet regarding the flight of a US bomber being escorted by Polish fighter jets.

"Minister @mblaszczak, our commitment to Poland's security is ironclad, and that will never change. Polish and U.S. forces train together regardless of obstacles - we are always ready, if the need arises, to defend Poland and NATO," Ambassador Mosbacher wrote on Twitter.

Earlier, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter about the flight, stating: "We are once again escorting the American B-1B bomber as part of the Bomber Task Force mission. This proves that the US is serious about its commitments to support allies in the event of an emergency. The Polish Army is carrying out its tasks despite #covid."

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Ambassador declares USA ready to defend Poland and NATO - The First News

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Are NATO warships about to start World War III in the Arctic? – Military Times

Posted: at 11:45 am

In early July 2000, President Vladimir Putin and Russias naval brass paced nervously in front of ocean maps and war plans. An armada of unprecedented size had left port and was now headed toward the Barents Sea in preparation for the largest naval exercise since the end of the Cold War. Putin had been in office only a few months, and these war games represented more than just random tests of the latest technology and platforms. With the nation still suffering from a severe economic decline, success was paramount. Failure could tarnish Putins reputation and his ability to push agendas forward.

Thousands of miles away, the nuclear fast-attack submarines USS Memphis and USS Toledo sped toward the Russian armada amassing in the Barents. As Americas premier espionage platforms, the commanding officers on both subs had orders to inch in close to the Russian submarine Kursk and collect sonar acoustic and periscope photographic intelligence. The National Security Agency had determined that the Kursk was planning to test fire a new rocket torpedo called the Shkval. This new underwater weapon was reportedly four times faster than a U.S. MK 48 torpedo, and previous efforts to gain intel on its capabilities had failed.

On Aug. 12, 2000, the Kursk received orders from its command ship, the Peter the Great, to test fire the Shkval torpedo. Several thousand yards away, aboard the Toledo, Cmdr. James Nault studied the naval chart atop the quartermasters table in the control room. Nault knew the USS Memphis and HMS Splendid were also on station nearby, but the Toledo had been given the most important assignment: to capture critical intel on the Kursks firing of the new Shkval.

Sonar reported that the Kursk had just opened an outer torpedo tube door. Naults adrenaline surged. If the Russians were about to fire the Shkval, he wanted to be near enough to record every nuance of the event. At the risk of being heard, but motivated by scant time before the Kursk fired, Nault increased speed.

Sonar maintained a constant stream of reports from the shack. The tinted voice of a petty officer piped in every few seconds with bearing, range, and speed information. In the control room, Nault peered over the shoulder of a petty officer. A color monitor on a fire control system panel displayed the Toledos relative position to the Kursk, indicated by a small triangle inching its way toward the target. Nault had no intention of firing at the Oscar, but he knew there were digital recorders in the sonar shack that were collecting every noise the Russian submarine made. Still, he wasnt quite close enough to grab the important launch sounds.

An agitated voice from the sonar shack reported a sudden course change by Master Two. The Kursk was now headed right at the Toledo. Nault had seconds to react. He could not order a deep dive as the ocean was too shallow. All he could do was order a slight downward angle and a hard-right turn to avoid the impending collision. The diving officer quickly relayed the order. The helmsman and planesman struggled to obey. Their hands gripped two half-circle steering wheels. One cranked to the right and the other pushed slightly downward. The boat angled toward the bottom. A coffee cup crashed to the deck.

Commander Nault ordered all-ahead full and a course change away from Master Two. Once at a safe distance, he decided to bring the boat to periscope depth to assess the situation. The Toledo angled upward. Seconds before it reached periscope depth, a muffled clap rocked the boat from side to side. Nault called sonar for an explanation. A petty officer reported an explosion from the direction of the Kursk, now less than 1,000 yards away.

Two minutes after the initial explosion, a sonarman in the shack heard the Kursk slam into the ocean floor. He clicked his comm to inform Nault, but before he could speak, he was forced to rip off his headphones.

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An earsplitting explosion, hundreds of times louder than the first, shattered the silence in the control room. The Toledo rocked from side to side, like a bottle tossed about on a rough sea. Nault ordered a shallow dive and all-ahead full. As a trained submarine commander, he could not feel anything but shock and dismay. The strong smell of Navy coffee in the control room served as a morbid reminder that he was still alive, and the crew of the Kursk might not be.

Ten days later, British and Norwegian divers assisting Russian rescue forces confirmed that all 118 sailors aboard the Kursk had perished. To this day, submariners aboard the Toledo still have nightmares about the most terrifying incident in submarine naval history.

The Barents Sea is one of the most dangerous ocean areas in the world. It spans 540,000 square miles and skirts the coastlines of Russia and Norway. During the Middle Ages, the Russians called it the Murman Sea, but the formal name came from Dutch navigator Willem Barentsz. From a geopolitical standpoint, the Barents is also one of the most strategic ocean areas as it borders Murmansk, which is one of Russias most important naval bases. In recent years, with Arctic ice melting at a rapid pace, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) has become easier to navigate. This important route runs from northern Europe, past Russia, and down past the Bering Strait near Alaska.

A decade ago, only a few dozen cargo ships traversed the NSR. Today, given less ice, thousands of ships carry tons of goods along the route as its 40 percent faster and less costly than other sea routes. Putin clearly understands the importance of this region, and has spent billions in recent years to fortify a dozen NSR naval bases, build more ice breakers and nuclear submarines to patrol the area, and has ordered the construction of a new type of warship, appropriately called the Ice-class. These 374-foot-long polar Corvettes are a cross between an ice breaker and a back breaker frigate armed with deck guns and missile launchers. They can break through 5 feet of ice or break an enemy combatant in half with cannon fire. The U.S. Navy has no answer against these opponents, and having taken their eye off the ball in the Arctic, can only bring a knife to a gunfight.

The Russian navy boasts over 40 ice breakers, some nuclear powered, while the U.S. only has one medium-duty Coast Guard breaker. Russia has dozens of submarines patrolling the Barents and other Arctic waters while the U.S. has a small handful. Only three Seawolf-class subs are capable of surfacing through thick ice. Recently, several government officials voiced concerns about this imbalance and called for a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) to show Putin that he does not have uncontested control of the NSR or the Arctic.

In early May 2020, NATO forces were called upon to implement the FONOP. Three U.S. destroyers from the Sixth Fleet and one UK warship ventured into the Barents Sea. Under the waves, a few U.S. submarines escorted the ships. Russia responded by sending forces to monitor the exercise, which some military experts believe played into their hands by allowing them to test surveillance and warning systems. This FONOP represents the first potential confrontation between the superpowers since the Kursk incident 20 years ago. Back then, the clash resulted in the loss of 118 lives, but it also almost resulted in a conflict that could have escalated into a war.

In August 2000, Russian naval forces claimed to have recovered evidence of a collision between the USS Toledo and the Kursk, which they believed caused the initial torpedo explosion. When military and government officials on Putins staff clamored for a response, up to an including an all-out war, Putin met with President Bill Clinton in New York in September 2000. According to inside sources, including Clintons Russian affairs adviser, Mark Medish, the two presidents discussed the Kursk incident in detail. These sources concur that Putin and Clinton agreed to squelch the Russian collision claims to avoid a potential conflict. Putin later fired or demoted a dozen of the most vociferous officials who had been calling for retaliation.

The FONOP in the Barents Sea represents the first time in 40 years that NATO warships have stepped into Russias front yard. Its also the first time in 20 years that U.S. spy subs have been given a mission of this importance in the region, with the potential to start a shooting war should anything go wrong. Hopefully history will not repeat, and no ships or submarines will be lost in this head to head challenge. More importantly, if another tragedy should occur, we can only hope that it will not escalate into World War III.

William Craig Reed is the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning book RED NOVEMBER and the upcoming Spies of the Deep: The Untold Truth About the Most Terrifying Incident in Submarine Naval History and How Putin Used The Tragedy To Ignite a New Cold War. Reed is a former U.S. Navy submariner and diver and co-founder of Us4Warriors.org, an award-winning veterans non-profit.

Editors note: This is an Op-Ed and as such, the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own you would like to submit, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, haltman@militarytimes.com.

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Are NATO warships about to start World War III in the Arctic? - Military Times

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Coronavirus response: NATO supports practical scientific cooperation with Allies and partners to enhance COVID-19 diagnosis – NATO HQ

Posted: at 11:45 am

NATO is launching a practical scientific project to develop new tools for a rapid and accurate diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

This multi-year project is launched within the framework of NATOs Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, and is led by scientists on the frontline of COVID-19 research from Italys Istituto Superiore di Sanit (National Health Institute) and Tor Vergata University Hospital together with the University Hospital of Basel University in Switzerland. This 24-month initiative aims to enhance the speed and efficiency of COVID-19 diagnosis through a multidisciplinary approach, by bringing together experts in the field of immunology, virology and molecular biology.

This project supports NATOs efforts to enhance resilience and civil preparedness of Allied and partner nations, and highlights the Alliances commitment to further enhance research and development efforts to combat COVID-19. This SPS project is an excellent example of the research communitys global effort to fight against COVID-19. said Dr. Antonio Missiroli, NATOs Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. This project also stresses the dedication of Allies to support each other, as well as partners, in times of crisis; and while the expected results of this project are extremely relevant to the situation the world currently finds itself in, we look forward to the long-term impact it will have on the international response to naturally occurring and man-made viruses and pathogens, he added.

Italy has been actively engaged in the SPS Programme since the beginning; not only by laying its very foundations with the contribution of Gaetano Martino, one of the three wise men, but also by steadily contributing to streamlining its decision-making, and by promoting more sophisticated projects through the active involvement of Italys scientific and academic community, said Ambassador Francesco M. Tal, Italian Permanent Representative to NATO. The launch of this project is yet another brilliant example of the political nature of this Alliance, he highlighted.

The speed and the scale of the COVID-19 virus is unprecedented and all types of disruptions it has caused are unparalleled. As daunting as it may seem, we will get back to some sort of normality only when effective means to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be identified, said Ambassador Philippe Brandt, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kingdom of Belgium and Head of the Swiss Mission to NATO. For Switzerland, being associated to NATO Partnership for Peace means sharing capacities to improve security in a multilateral framework. With several top-ranked universities and programmes, scientific academies and moreover a strong relationship between private sector and scientific research, Switzerland is well positioned to join the international community efforts to combat COVID-19. Academics and researchers working within Swiss institutions have been associated to various projects conducted by NATO through the Science for Peace and Security programme (SPS), he pointed out.

Professor Silvio Brusaferro, President of the National Health Institute and Professor of General and Applied Hygiene at the University of Udine (Italy) remarked on the role played by the National Health Institute. "The National Health Institute is fully committed to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. This project is very important, especially in the context of new indispensable tools that we will have to deal with the second phase of the health emergency, he added.

The results foreseen from this project are extremely relevant to the current pandemic, and they are expected to have a long-term impact on the international response to the spread of viruses on a large scale. The contributions to the improvement of risk management and public health measures will be significant. This project will also represent a model for quick measures to counteract epidemics.

The NATO SPS Programme supports security-relevant civil science and technology addressing a set of Allied-approved priorities. In addition to this innovative project, several other SPS activities are also supporting the development of new technologies and capabilities relevant to the fight against COVID-19. These are mainly in the fields of telemedicine, emergency response coordination, and the detection of biological threats.

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Air Force B-1B strategic bombers arrive in the Baltics for NATO training – Stars and Stripes

Posted: at 11:45 am

Two B-1B Lancers arrived in the Baltics to work with NATO allies this week, marking the heavy bombers first flights to Europe in about 18 months.

After crossing the Atlantic, the Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.-based bombers flew with Danish F-16s over Bornholm Island, east of mainland Denmark, and worked with Estonian ground forces to provide close air support training, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Forces Africa said in a statement Wednesday.

The training also included overflights of Lithuania and Latvia.

Integrating bomber missions with our NATO allies and partners build enduring relationships that are capable of confronting a broad range of global challenges, said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, USAFE-AFAFRICA commander.

The strategic bombers participated in the Spring Storm military exercise, the Estonian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

It is important that our allies understand that security cannot be put on pause for the duration of the pandemic, Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik said Tuesday, the Baltic Times newspaper reported.

The Lancers were last in Europe in November 2018 supporting NATOs Trident Juncture exercise.

Strategic bomber deployments to Europe have become more frequent in recent years, amid U.S. and European concerns about potential Russian aggression. In March, a flight of B-2 stealth bombers participated in a series of training operations on the Continent. And last August, the Air Force deployed a similar B-2 bomber task force to Europe.

The Air Force did not say how long the Lancers would remain in Europe.

The Europe mission for the variable-wing Rockwell jets came just after B-1B bombers from Texas flew to the Western Pacific region.

Four B-1Bs from Dyess Air Force Base arrived in Guam on Friday to conduct training and operations with allies and partners, the Air Force said.

svan.jennifer@stripes.comTwitter: @stripesktown

A B-1B Lancer from the 28th Bomb Wing out of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, May 5, 2020.KELLY O'CONNOR/U.S. AIR FORCE

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Greek General to NATO: "There will be an accident if Turkey continues its actions" – Greek City Times

Posted: at 11:45 am

Greek General Konstantinos Floros held two teleconferences with NATO officials in which he made it clear that Turkeys provocations in the Aegean and at Evros on the Greek-Turkish land border, will lead with mathematical precision to an accident with unforeseen consequences.

Turkeys daily aggression against Greece are obviously well known in NATO, which systematically covers it up and protects them from international scrutiny.

The danger of an accident caused by the Turkish violations in the Aegean and more broadly by Ankaras attitude towards Greece, was pointed out by Floros when he said the risk of an accident and the serious consequences that such a thing will bring is real.

More specifically, Floros held two teleconferences on Thursday.

One was at the request of the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Sir Stuart Peach, as part of the forthcoming meeting of the NATO Military Committee to be held on May 14, 2020.

The other was with the Deputy Commander of the Allied Powers in Europe, General Tim Radford, at his request and in the context of his recent assumption of office.

A number of issues were raised, such as the coronavirus and military issues.

Floros referred to the recent escalation caused by the immigration crisis in Evros and in the Aegean, that was orchestrated by Turkey.

He also discussed with the two NATO heads about Turkeys delinquent behaviour in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, as seen by the daily air traffic violations of Greeces national airspace, including overflights at Evros and on the islands, as well as the illegal marine surveys and drilling in Greeces maritime space, and the violation of the UN-imposed arms embargo on Libya, in addition to other provocative actions.

Floros also referred to the harassment of a Greek helicopter by Turkey, which was transporting him and Minister of Defence, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, as reported by Greek City Times.

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PREMIUM: C-SOCC begins training to support NATO Response Force – Special Operations – Shephard Media

Posted: at 11:45 am

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 coronaviruspandemic, SOF elements from across the Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC) have initiated joint training as they build up to support the NATO ResponseForce (NRF) in 2021.

Speaking to Shephard, service officialswithin Netherlands Special Operations Command (NLD SOCOM) confirmed SOFelements from across the organisation, which includes the armys KCT and navysNL-MARSOF, will continue to conduct national requirements in addition to C-SOCCtraining demands over the remainder of the year with the Belgian SpecialOperations Regiment and the Danish SOCOM.

However, NLD SOCOM sources confirmed to Shephardthat training and readiness exercises in support of NRF 2021 were likelyto be affected by the COVID-19 situation.

In Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium, it iscurrently unknown what the extent of this influence [of COVID-19] is. Whenthere is more clarity an update will follow. It goes without saying that NLD SOCOM takes its national and NATOresponsibilities. We will participate in all training and exercise events thatare possible to enhance our readiness level, the NLS SOCOM spokespersonexplained.

In 2021, personnel will be dedicated for the standbyphase of NRF 2021 and ready to deploy for C-SOCC should it be necessary, thespokesperson added.

The C-SOCC dates back to June 2018 when an MoU was signedbetween the participating nations to develop the concept- something which hassince been mimicked with the Regional Special Operations Component Command(R-SOCC) in Central Europe.

The move, NLD SOCOM sources explained, has actedas a catalyst to enable Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands to reach theirNATO special operations capability targets at the SOCC joint operations level.

'This catalyst generates a critical command andcontrol capability to NATO in the short to mid-term, in order for the threenations to reach higher levels of capability in the long term, the NLDspokesperson confirmed to Shephard.

All threenations reach higher levels of capabilities individually and as a collectivethat serve long term positive results extending beyond 2020 and 2021. Afterfinishing training as a C-SOCC in 2020, this special operations headquarters[will be] ready and deployable to meet NATO responsibilities as a NRF in 2021,it was added.

According to the spokesperson, the NLD SOCOM continues towitness an increased demand for SOF operations with special forces increasinglyworking in an international context.

These SOF operations are demanded in differenttype of conflicts with a common trait: operating effectively in conflictsrequires a SOF network through a SOF community. The tri-nation cooperation inthe C-SOCC serves as an example of how to achieve this.

Together they build their own and each otherscapacities during the C-SOCC period in 2020, the NRF standby period in 2021 andbeyond that. With the C-SOCC and NRF, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium areextending needed NATOs capacities, the spokesperson concluded.

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Yes, Russia Could Have Beaten NATO in a War (Until This Happened) – The National Interest

Posted: May 4, 2020 at 4:07 am

Key point:Moscow long had the advantage of proximity and of being a massive landpower. Here is how technological investments began to improve Washington's chances if the Cold War went hot.

Arecent RANDwargameon a potential Russian offensive into theBalticsbrought talk of a new Cold War into sharp focus. The game made clear that NATO would struggle to prevent Russian forces from occupying theBalticsif it relied on the conventional forces now available.

This first appeared earlier in 2017 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

Recommended:Russia'sBattlecruisersCould Be a Super Weapon

Thesewargameshave great value in demonstrating tactical and operational reality, which then informs broader strategic thinking. In this case, however,the headlines generatedby the game have obscured more about the NATO-Russian relationship than they have revealed. In short, the NATO deterrent promise has never revolved around a commitment to defeat Soviet/Russian forces on NATOs borders. Instead, NATO has backed its political commitment with the threat to broaden any conflict beyond the war that the Soviets wanted to fight. Today, as in 1949, NATO offers deterrence through the promise of escalation.

Recommended:A Hypersonic Arms Race is Coming.

The Early Years

Lets be utterly clear on this point; from the creation of NATO until the1970s, Western military planners expected the Warsaw Pact to easily win a conventional war in Europe. Conventionalwarfightingplans by the major NATO powers often amounted, almost literally, to efforts to reach the English Channel just ahead of the tanks of the Red Army. NATO expected to liberally use tactical nuclear weapons to slow the Soviet advance, an action which would inevitably invite Soviet response (the Soviets also prepared for this dynamic).

Recommended:Report - U.S. Army is Now "Weak"

The belief that NATO would lose a conventional conflict did nothing to contradict the notion that NATO could play a valuable role in deterring war. For one, NATO could certainly make things more difficult for the Soviet Union; overwhelming combined British-German-American forces would prove far more costly than defeating a West Germany that stood alone. Moreover, by triggering an expansion of the war NATO could create costs for the Soviets in other parts of the world. Overwhelming NATO superiority at sea and in long-rangeairpowerwould prove devastating for Soviet interests outside of Eurasia, even if the Soviets prevailed on the Central Front.

Most importantly, the threat that France, Britain and the United States would launch strategic nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union in response to a successful conventional assault was supposed to give Moscow pause. Even if an American President refused to exchange Berlin for New York, the Soviets would have to worry about the rest of NATOs nuclear deterrent.

Active Defense/AirLandBattle

Theexpectation that NATO could defeatthe Warsaw Pact in battle only emerged after the Yom Kippur War. In that conflict, precision-guided conventional munitions exacted such a toll on advancing forces (both in theGolanand in Sinai) that American military planners began to believe that they could stop a Soviet attack. Drawn up in defensive positions that would channel oncoming Red Army armor into large kill zones, NATO forces could sufficiently blunt and disrupt a Soviet advance, and prevent the collapse of positions within Germany. The defense would buy time for NATO to transit additional forces and equipment from the United States to Europe, to carry out in depth attacks against Warsaw Pact logistical and communications centers in Eastern Europe, and to attack Soviet interests in the rest of the world.

After 1982,AirLandBattle would return maneuver to the battlefield, as American commanders grew more confident of their ability to defeat the Red Army in a fluid engagement. Cooperation between the Army and the Air Force would allow attacks all along the depth of the Soviet position, turning the formidable Red Army (and its Eastern European allies) into a chaotic mess. At the same time, the U.S. Navy prepared to attack directly into the Soviet periphery withairstrikesand amphibious assaults, as well as into the cherished bastions of the Soviet boomer fleet. None of this depended on the protection of any given piece of NATO territory; planners accepted that the Soviets could make at least some gains at the beginning of any plausible war scenario.

In this context, news that Russia could win a localized conventional conflict against small NATO nations on its border becomes rather less alarming than it sounds at first blush. Apart from (perhaps) a brief window of vulnerability in the1990s, Russia has always had the capacity to threaten NATO with conventional force. Indeed, NATO did not even begin to plan for the conventional defense of theBalticsuntil well after their accession, on the belief that the faith and credit of the alliance, and in particular its ability to retaliate against Soviet interests in the rest of Europe, would prove a sufficient deterrent.

The RANDwargamesuggests that Russia could take theBaltics, and perhaps hold them, for a while. Moscow would begin to pay costs very early in any conflict, however, as NATO forces moved againstKaliningrad,Transnistriaand other Russian holdings. The Russian Navy would likely come under severe attack from NATO submarines and aircraft. Long range strikes would debilitate much of the rest of Russias air force and air defense network. In short, Russia could grab theBaltics, but only at a cost vastly in excess of the value of holding onto them. This is how NATO conducted deterrence in 1949, and its how NATO does deterrence today.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to theNational Interest, is author ofThe Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky.

This first appeared earlier in 2017 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters

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NATO prepares operation to respond to second wave of Covid-19, – Stoltenberg – 112 International

Posted: at 4:07 am

NATO begins preparations for an operation to respond to the second wave of Covid-19 coronavirus that is expected this fall. The respective decision was made by the Alliance ambassadors last week, as they convened for a secret conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Spiegel wrote that, quoting the official.

"A most coordinated response to the second wave of coronavirus is a litmus paper for trust and unity in the Alliance", Stoltenberg said.

The operation plan is supposed to be developed under the supervision of Ted Walters, the US Air Force General and the NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. It foresees improved personal protection for the Alliance staff, as well as more effective assistance for NATO partner countries. The Alliance is also supposed to develop the long-term Action Plan to respond to the pandemic.

The first document on the NATO response to a new spell of Covid-19 should be reealed during the next sessions of Defense Ministers of Alliance member states in late June.

Earlier, Stoltenberg claimed that the Alliance considered additional support for Ukraine within the comlpex assistance package.

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