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Why NATO Should Adopt a Tactical Readiness Initiative – War on the Rocks

In January 2018, the German news site Deutsche Welle released a bombshell report. It exposed, in excruciating detail, the degraded readiness of the German military. One year before assuming command of the NATO Very High Readiness Task Force, the alliances multinational immediate response force, the Bundeswehr was forced to admit it lacked basic equipment needed to fulfil its role: spare parts for armored vehicles, night-vision devices, body armor, and even winter clothes and tents. Subsequent investigations revealed similar readiness problems in the nations air and naval forces. In short, NATOs most important European member was not ready for war.

In many ways, the NATO Readiness Initiative, first announced in June 2018 at a NATO defense ministers conference in Brussels, was a response to these issues of readiness across Europes national militaries. Often referred to as the Four Thirties, the initiative calls for NATO member states to collectively maintain 30 mechanized battalions, 30 naval ships, and 30 air squadrons ready for employment by NATO within 30 days of activation. This agreement was part of a package of U.S.-sponsored initiatives which aimed to further increase NATOs ability to rapidly respond to crises by improving military mobility across Europe and expedite the organizations political and military decision-making process. These changes signaled a much-needed realignment towards preparedness for high-intensity conflict against Russia.

Its adoption was hailed as a transformational moment in the alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg proposed that the initiative would create a culture of readiness. Others welcomed an initiative that measured readiness beyond spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, a metric that has become, at times, an unhelpful obsession in transatlantic defense.

However, two years after its adoption, it is still unclear if the NATO Readiness Initiative has had any effect. Despite its promise and potential, it may unfortunately remain more an expression of political will than an operational plan to rebuild readiness in the militaries of NATO member states.

To date, apart from a handful of nations announcing their contributions to the initiative, NATO has offered few additional details on this transformative effort. The alliance has not identified which nations are contributing forces which it does for other high-readiness battlegroups nor has it published any details on exactly how the readiness initiative works. Even the announcement of the success of the initiative, defined as contributing nations allocating all required forces to the initiative, was buried on an infographic in the 2019 NATO Secretary Generals report.

When first introduced two years ago, the readiness initiative lacked a clear definition of readiness, a means to evaluate individual units allocated to the initiative, and a routine mechanism to test the responsiveness of these forces. Since NATO defense ministers are still discussing the details of the initiative, it is likely that these fundamental gaps still exist. The initiative still has not been formally tested. Exercise Defender 2020, slated for June of this year, should have been an excellent opportunity to do so. However, the exercise was greatly reduced due to COVID-19, and it would have most likely been an inauspicious start for the alliances latest initiative. NATOs next opportunity will be Exercise Steadfast Defender in 2021, which gives NATO and states contributing forces to the initiative a little under a year to address these deficiencies and ensure the success of this important initiative.

As a first step, NATO should establish oversight on the readiness of national forces allocated to the Four Thirties. Then, the alliance should adopt additional strategies that support tactical readiness for these forces by standardizing training methodologies and establishing their wartime task organization before a crisis starts, not after. Given the challenges associated with NATOs land component, the alliance should start with member states armies rather than the other services.

Mind the Gaps

The NATO Readiness Initiative builds upon NATOs previous efforts to prepare the alliance to defend Europe against threats from Russia to the east and instability and terrorism to the south. However, the initiative differs from previous efforts in two ways: First, the readiness initiative focuses on the readiness of national forces, not those controlled by NATO. In the event of a crisis, NATO will need these forces to reinforce high-readiness spearhead units, with deployment timelines of less than a week, prior to the arrival of the larger, but slower to deploy, NATO Response Force. This multinational formation of nearly 40,000 troops drawn from across NATO member states packs a punch, but could take as long as 90 days before it can be employed. National forces will fill the gap between the two. Second, while past initiatives focused on deterrence through a forward-deployed defense posture to reassure Baltic allies most threatened by Moscow, the readiness initiative complements NATOs shift to a strategy of deterrence through military mobility. Investing in more mobile forces that can respond quickly to a crisis in Eastern Europe, rather than maintaining a large deployment of troops on NATOs eastern flank, lowers costs for member states and creates flexibility to respond to other threats to the alliance (e.g., terrorism).

Since the 2018 Brussels Summit, NATO member states have made great strides towards improving military mobility. Likewise, military mobility has become an important political objective in the European Union. Moving NATO forces in a time of crisis from bases across Europe to potential hot-spots in the east and south is a monumental task that requires detailed planning, something NATO has learned from large-scale exercises such as Exercise Trident Juncture 2018. Since then, NATO and the EU have diligently put these lessons into practice, include reducing border controls and improving infrastructure such as ports, bridges and railways, often at significant cost to individual member states.

Mobility Is Important, but So Is Availability

However, NATO may be putting its proverbial cart before the horse. Military mobility is just one component to ensure collective defense. NATO should first ensure the availability of forces to mobilize. In a crisis, NATOs member states may not be able to generate these forces in the first place. Regrettably, nearly two years after the adoption of the readiness initiative, NATO still lacks operational oversight of forces who, at this very moment, are ostensibly available to NATO within thirty days. Without oversight on the process of force generation within contributing nations, these forces might not uphold their standards of readiness and, as a result, fail to meet the mission assigned to them. In peacetime, failing to meet NATOs readiness standards ends careers. In a crisis, it could make the difference between winning and losing a conflict with Russia. Just as NATO is addressing military mobility now, so too must it address in the lack of oversight and evaluation under the readiness initiative.

Not everyone agrees that NATO should have more oversight of national forces. After all, the alliances strategic framework states that tactical readiness is the purview of individual member states, not NATO. While true, this framework was a result of post-Cold War force generation policies that focused on making global stability operations sustainable for member states. While it functioned well for counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan or the Balkans, it is insufficient for maintaining readiness for high-intensity conflict.

In a way, NATO has needed to repurpose defense concepts that guided the alliance from the past. Under the Cold War strategy of flexible response, national forces held in a high state of readiness were essential to the security of the European continent. Because the threat of Soviet invasion was ever-present, these forces were closely monitored and evaluated frequently to ensure their preparedness. While individual member states were still responsible for the training of their national militaries, NATO ensured compliance through formal exercises and no-notice readiness evaluations, ensuring each nation was accountable for their contributions to the collective defense of Europe.

A Tactical Readiness Initiative for NATOs Ground Forces

To support the NATO Readiness Initiative, the alliance should establish a tactical readiness initiative for European ground forces that supports the alliances broader goal of strategic readiness. There are several reasons to begin with armies. In addition to the sheer size of the land component allocated under the NATO Readiness Initiative potentially up to 15,000 troops ground force readiness presents a unique challenge for NATO. First, while years of insufficient defense spending has affected all of Europes military components, cuts in funding for personnel, equipment acquisition, and maintenance have hit ground forces especially hard. Despite pressure from the United States to increase defense spending and modernization efforts, many European armies still face significant gaps in their conventional capabilities. These problems could limit the quality of forces assigned to the NATO Readiness Initiative. Second, there are issues of interoperability at the tactical level that challenge the ability of these forces to quickly integrate into a single fighting force during a crisis. Member states use different command and control systems, communications devices, and specialty equipment. Workarounds can be found, typically from ground-level soldier ingenuity, but it takes time.

European ground forces each employ their own individual tactics and techniques. Sometimes they are synchronized with their NATO allies, and sometimes they are not. While this may be a minor detail from a strategic perspective, interoperable procedures (e.g., how to mark friendly vehicles during conditions of low visibility) are incredibly important for a multinational forces, especially when a portion of the alliance still employs Russian-made vehicles.

A tactical readiness initiative for NATOs land forces can address these issues of readiness and interoperability by doing two things: First, it needs to establish a standardized system of training and evaluation for each battalion allocated by contributing nations to the NATO Readiness Initiative. NATO should require that they train to NATO standards and use NATO procedures during their nationally mandated training cycle. Similarly, the readiness of these battalions should be evaluated using NATO Land Forces Commands long-standing readiness criteria. This assures that all battalions are better prepared to integrate into multinational formations once their readiness is validated. National land forces already synchronize their major training events at the annual NATO Land Forces Command Combined Training Conference. Were NATO to adopt a tactical readiness initiative for land forces, this venue could be easily adapted to integrate discussions of fully standardizing training and evaluation for battalions allocated to the NATO Readiness Initiative.

Second, NATO should establish the wartime task organization for NATO Readiness Initiative forces in peacetime in other words, before a crisis starts assigning battalions to existing multinational headquarters under the NATO Command Structure. Though divisions will be largely administrative until they are activated, the early integration of these forces provide them the time to form important relationships and address challenges to technical and procedural interoperability. This can take the form of collaborative planning events, or even combined training exercises. Many of the national land force training centers used by NATO member states benefit from advancements in live-virtual training, so even geographically dispersed battalions and NATO division headquarters can train together without expensive deployments to a shared training area. These combined events have the added benefit of serving as routine touchpoints to ensure that battalions are maintaining their readiness.

Looking Ahead

NATO should establish a clear definition of readiness for forces allocated under the NATO Readiness Initiative and adopt organizational structures that allow these units to plan and train together regularly in peacetime doing this during a crisis would be too late. In doing so, NATO can ensure that when needed, the alliance has an interoperable force capable of unified action instead of thirty individual battalions struggling to integrate into the NATO Command Structure under fire.

The alliance should also consider what needs to be added to the NATO Readiness Initiative to fully address tactical readiness in the air and maritime domains. Similarly, additional initiatives may also be required for space and cyber, and for individual warfighting functions like intelligence. NATOs many centers of excellence could be an important asset in determining the details of these domain-specific tactical readiness initiatives before disseminating these standards across national militaries.

Steadfast Defender 2021, a continent-spanning exercise scheduled for next summer featuring tens of thousands of thousands of troops deploying to several different training areas, will be a critical moment for the NATO Readiness Initiative . It will provide the alliance an opportunity to properly test its strategic readiness. But NATO should first ensure a solid foundation of tactical readiness is in place.

Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Tom Goffus put it, NATOs strategic readiness requires, two things together, on the front end is having NATO command and control capability to move the chess pieces around the board, the second is having chess pieces that are ready to be moved. The alliances efforts towards improving military mobility have largely achieved the first objective; now NATO should focus on the second. Adopting a supporting initiative to the NATO Readiness Initiative that directly address the tactical readiness of national forces is the best way to ensure that, if the time comes, NATO will have all of its pieces on the board.

Josh Campbell is an active-duty U.S. Army officer currently enrolled at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University. The views expressed in this article are his alone and do not represent the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense.

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Why NATO Should Adopt a Tactical Readiness Initiative - War on the Rocks

Fresh warning to NATO over rising Russian military, biological and cyber threats – Mirror Online

NATO was today urged to ramp up its defences against mounting Russian aggression.

Smart, speedy, collective action and deterrence is needed to confront Kremlin threats, the western military alliance was warned.

A policy paper called on the organisation to ensure it has the necessary resources to counter Russian aggression in the form of cyber attacks, biological weapons and disinformation campaigns.

The alert comes two years after Russian agents were accused over the Novichok poisoning of former MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wilts, and amid increasing fears over Moscow-backed interference in foreign elections.

NATO was also told to draw up plans for conflict avoidance and de-escalation with China, after Beijing imposed a strict new security law on Hong Kong and bids to spread its power and influence across the West.

The calls came in a paper by the Policy Institute at King's College London, written by a host of respected senior figures.

They include former Defence Secretary and ex-NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson, former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, and Britain's former ambassador to NATO Lord Peter Ricketts, the UK's first national security adviser.

Lord Robertson said: Since it was established in 1949, NATO has played a vital role in preserving a way of life based on freedom and liberal values.

As new threats emerge from an increasingly aggressive China and Russia, the alliance must step up to meet them and demonstrate its enduring importance in a more uncertain world.

Failure to do so risks imperilling global security and undermining the prosperity and stability that NATO has helped to create for more than 70 years.

Russia has been the alliance's traditional enemy since NATO was formed in 1949.

But the rise of Beijing and its increasing military might has triggered new concerns in the 21st Century.

Chinas military spending has increased this year by 6.6%, says the paper.

It is clear President Xi Jinping remains committed to the modernisation of the Peoples Liberation Army by 2035 and its transformation into a 'world-class' military by 2049.

Recent events demonstrate the determination China has to bring Hong Kong under its firm grip, raising grave concerns for its future as well as that of Taiwan.

Chinas argument with India, and ongoing disputes with Japan, demonstrate preparedness to press territorial claims from the Himalayas to the South China Seas.

The authors, who also included former Lib Dem leader Lord Menzies Campbell, the EU's ex-high representative for foreign affairs, Baroness Cathy Ashton Policy, and policy Institute research director Benedict Wilkinson urged NATO to trigger a frank debate about freedom, democracy and human rights principles they say the alliance was founded on.

Critics have accused some members of drifting from the ideals and the paper suggests some countries could even be kicked out.

We are deeply concerned that the policies of a number of NATO governments are moving away from these fundamental values, says the six-page paper, 'The future strategic direction of NATO'.

If this is allowed to continue without consequences, it will weaken the solidarity between allies.

NATO leaders should hold a frank debate on this issue at their next meeting and should be willing to consider suspension of a member state as an ultimate step.

They also urged the 30 countries that make-up the organisation not to cut defence funding despite budgets coming under pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Fresh warning to NATO over rising Russian military, biological and cyber threats - Mirror Online

An Islamic Republic of Turkey would be a threat to NATO – The Jerusalem Post

I remember an enjoyable evening several years ago in Tel Aviv with former Turkish foreign minister Yasar Yakis and one of the 70 or so founding members of the AKP, President Recep Erdogans ruling party. Yakis, who has had a long and distinguished political career in Turkish diplomacy, described how the AKP was formed, handpicking the founders, only a small percentage of whom were observant Muslims, let alone Islamist extremists. (The AKP become the Muslim Brotherhoods flagship ruling party.) Eight years later, Yakis would openly criticize Erdogans interventions in Syria and Libya which, for all intents and purposes, are shoring up extremist Islamist forces. Earlier this year, Yakis spoke about the Turkish intervention in the Mediterranean. Addressing the European Parliament, he drew parallels between Ankaras intervention in the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus, and its military intervention in Libya. Yakis described the Libyan government as being controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and militias linked to terrorist organizations. Less than four months later, a Libyan asylum-seeker in the UK killed three innocent men in the English town of Reading. It just so happens that all the victims were gay. It also happens as the Washington-based media monitoring think tank MEMRI reported that an Istanbul-based Muslim Brotherhood television channel called for the murder of homosexuals. There is no evidence showing a link between the Turkish TV channel and the Reading terrorist, but this demonstrates what sort of a country Turkey has become under Erdogan. Turkey has moved from being the secular, enlightened NATO member to being the Islamic Republic of Turkey. It is the Sunni equivalent of Iran, with identical expansionist ambitions.Erdogan has learned from both the mistakes of other Islamists in Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran. While founding the AKP, he also learned from the mistakes of its predecessor, the Virtue Party, which was dissolved by Turkeys Constitutional Court due to its violation of the secular constitution of Turkey. ERDOGAN CHOSE non-Islamist founding members like Yakis and others and gradually spread the Islamist tentacles in sectors of the Turkish states. He effectively neutralized the Turkish state and ultimately, via the AKP, made it a vehicle for the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has now subsumed the ruling party of Turkey. The expansionist Turkish policies in Libya are an implementation of the global blueprint of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, namely, to establish a pan-national Islamist caliphate. Erdogan used the traditional relations the secular Turkish state had with the West, especially with NATO, to legitimate his expansionist moves in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. While Ruhollah Khomeinis revolutionaries stormed the American Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, Erdogan very patiently waited, making his interests seem almost aligned with those of NATO. His intervention in Libya is a major step in which his interests and those of the West irreconcilably diverge. France has already spoken out unequivocally against Turkeys moves in Libya, and other key states in the Mediterranean including Greece, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus are uneasy about it. It is now shaping up to be a battle between two forces: an expansionist Islamist movement with cells all over the world, including Europe, and nation-states.The Turkish takeover of Libya will pose a major threat to Europe on long-term economic and security fronts. Turkey is reportedly transporting Syrian fighters to Libya, and Yakis has warned that Turkeys intervention in Libya would create a new Syria. Erdogan previously threatened to flood Europe with refugees. By turning Libya into a new Syria, the Turkish president can carry out his threat not only from Europes eastern borders, but across the Mediterranean into France, Italy and Spain, and onto the United Kingdom and the rest of Western Europe. The gradual Islamization of Turkey now poses a direct threat to the West as a whole, as well as to the moderate states of the Middle East. The West, led by NATO, needs to adopt a united stance against Turkey, which no longer is the secular, pro-Western state that Erdogan inherited. Turkey under Erdogan is the wolf, and most of Europe is still acting like Little Red Riding Hood. The writer chairs Muslims against Antisemitism, and is the founder of Cornerstone Global Associates. Twitter@gnuseibeh.

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An Islamic Republic of Turkey would be a threat to NATO - The Jerusalem Post

NATO Forces return to Black Sea for the second time this year – defence-blog.com

NATO Maritime Command has announced that standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) units have entered the Black Sea for the second time this year to conduct further routine operations, and to participate in two regional exercises organised by the Bulgarian and Ukrainian navies.

SNMG2 arrived to the Black Sea on 9 July, and is composed of three frigates from Spain, Romania and Turkey, led by Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre of the Spanish Navy, with the Spanish frigate lvaro de Bazn (F-101) as the flagship.

SNMCMG2 vessels HS Aliakmon (flagship), ESPS Tambre, TCG Amasra and ITS Gaeta, led by Commander Dimitrios Katsouras of the Hellenic Navy, entered the Black Sea on 7 July, where it was joined by ROS Lupu Dinescu and sailed towards Burgas (BUL) where they arrived on 10 July.

With three Allied nations, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, and two regional partners, Ukraine and Georgia bordering the Black Sea, Standing Naval Group presence in the region is a regular occurrence. Apart from conducting maritime security patrols in international waters, the two exercises will help enhance interoperability between Allies and regional partners.

With visits planned to Bulgaria and Ukraine in the coming days, all activities of the Standing NATO Forces ashore will continue to abide by COVID-19 restrictions, designed to protect their operational capabilities. However, as national regulations are eased, opportunities for key engagements will help reaffirm and build these regional relationships.

SNMG2 and SNMCMG2 are two of our four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

NATO warships also will take part in Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise that held in the Black Sea and is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security and peace within the region.

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NATO Forces return to Black Sea for the second time this year - defence-blog.com

Georgian Foreign Minister held a meeting with NATO and EU Officials – The FINANCIAL

The Georgian Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani met with the Deputy NATO Secretary General Mircea Geoan and EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi. Discussing the irreversible process of Georgias integration with NATO, the Alliances support and Georgias successful steps on this path, the sides highlighted Georgias important role in ensuring regional and global security, including through its active engagement in projects aiming at enhancing Black Sea security and in the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Meeting of Davit Zalklaiani with the EU and NATO officials was held in Brussels on July 13-14, making it his first foreign visit amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the NATO Headquarters on Tuesday, Georgias top diplomat met with the Deputy Secretary-General of the Alliance for an exchange of views on cooperation between NATO and Georgia and on Georgias Euro-Atlantic integration and reform efforts, local media civil.ge reported.

The sides welcomed the steps taken by the Georgian Government towards strengthening democracy, including by adopting constitutional amendments, and electoral system reforms.

Special attention was focused on the difficult security situation in Georgias occupied territories, which was particularly exacerbated over the recent period due to the fact that occupation forces, even amid the pandemic, increased their illegal activities and provocations. The sides expressed their concern over the incident on 11 July when the occupation forces wounded and detained a citizen of Georgia. The NATO delegation reaffirmed its strong support for Georgias sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Georgian Governments fight against the pandemic was appraised as one of the most effective both in Europe and globally. During the meeting, David Zalkaliani introduced Victor Dolidze, Georgias new Ambassador to NATO, who presented his credentials to Mircea Geoan.

"Highly appreciate our partners commitment at NATO-Georgian Commission to continue supporting Georgias aspiration to NATO. Allies recognize the progress on reforms Georgia has made and condemn Russias occupation of, and continued pattern of illegal activities in, our regions," David Zalkaniani wrote on Twitter.

The Deputy Secretary General and the Georgian delegation expressed their readiness to continue active cooperation leading to Georgias membership of NATO, both by strengthening practical instruments and enhancing political support.

Earlier this month, The European Union Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar and Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani discussed the security and humanitarian situation in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. Minister Zalkaliani referred to increasing number of Russia-orchestrated provocations, the so-called borderisation process, closure of the occupation line and restrictions imposed on free movement amid the coronavirus pandemic, local news website agenda.ge wrote.

Also,The Chair of the EU Integration Committee, David Songulashvili held the online meeting with the First Vice-President of the European Parliament from the Fine Gael (Ireland) Party, Mairead McGuinness to discuss the political processes in the country and the economic challenges. D. Songulashvili stressed the ongoing democratic reforms in Georgia, including the adopted Constitutional Changes and the new Election Code, which were positively estimated by the parties. He informed Mme. McGuinness about the pandemic preventive measures by the Georgian Government. The parties touched upon the EUAA implementation by Georgia, the Committee activity and the future plans, and underlined even more intensive representation of Georgian business to the EU market.

European Parliament salutes the strengthening of EU-Georgia relations

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Georgian Foreign Minister held a meeting with NATO and EU Officials - The FINANCIAL

China threat: Beijing plotting massive territorial gains – with warning issued for Taiwan – Express.co.uk

And territorial disputes from the South China Sea to the Himalayas, not to mention Beijing's ambitions in the Arctic, have all been highlighted as threats to world security. Meanwhile, the UK has been tipped to play a major role after the end of the year in accordance with the "Global Britain" strategy referred to by among others Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The report, which emphasises the importance of all member states paying their fair share of two percent of GDP into the alliance, is published by the Policy Institute think tank, based at Kings College London, and authored by among others George Robertson, former NATO Secretary General, Michael Fallon, former UK Defence Secretary, and former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell.

With reference to China, the report entitled The future strategic direction of NATO, highlights the fact that China's military spending has increased by 6.6 percent this year, irrespective of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The authors said: "It is clear President Xi Jinping remains committed to the modernisation of the Peoples Liberation Army by 2035 and its transformation into a 'world-class' military by 2049.

Recent events demonstrate the determination China has to bring Hong Kong under its firm grip, raising grave concerns for its future as well as that of Taiwan

Policy Institute report

"Recent events demonstrate the determination China has to bring Hong Kong under its firm grip, raising grave concerns for its future as well as that of Taiwan."

The report adds: "Chinas argument with India, and ongoing disputes with Japan, demonstrate preparedness to press territorial claims from the Himalayas to the South China Seas.

"In addition, China is increasing its activity in the Arctic, creating a 'polar silk road' and a 5+1 group with Nordic nations, similar to the 17+1 group that guides Chinas cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries."

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The onset of coronavirus would inevitably take its toll on the economy, the report acknowledged, with a knock-on impact on defence spending.

The report warns: "Whatever the reason, NATO may see less spent on defence in the next few years.

"This argues for a push on economies of scale, sensible procurement and greater collaboration."

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Nevertheless COVID-19 should not be an excuse for NATO member states to renege on spending commitments made at the Wales Summit in 2014.

The authors said: "All members pledged to move towards two percent by 2024.

"At the time, only three countries met the target; nine now do.

"NATO should continue to push for the pledge to be fulfilled."

As for the role of post-Brexit Britain, the report says: "We want the UK to play a central and leading role in the strategic direction of NATO, in full collaboration with other members.

"Global Britain should have at its core a determination that collective action on defence and security is where the country will make a major contribution.

"We anticipate the UK taking the lead where its expertise and experience can drive ideas, develop new thinking and promote action."

Assessing the future of NATO, Mr Robertson said: "Since it was established in 1949, Nato has played a vital role in preserving a way of life based on freedom and liberal values.

"As new threats emerge from an increasingly aggressive China and Russia, the alliance must step up to meet them and demonstrate its enduring importance in a more uncertain world.

"Failure to do so risks imperilling global security and undermining the prosperity and stability that Nato has helped to create for more than 70 years.

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China threat: Beijing plotting massive territorial gains - with warning issued for Taiwan - Express.co.uk

Spy planes in north-east take part in first Nato exercise – Press and Journal

The north-easts new fleet of spy planes have taken part in their first Nato exercise hunting submarines submerged beneath the waves.

Nine P-8A Poseidons will eventually operate from RAF Lossiemouth with two already flying from nearby Kinloss Barracks.

The aircraft have now participated in their first multi-national training drill as crews continue to build their experience.

The Nato exercise Dynamic Mongoose involved six nations honing anti-submarine skills in the challenging North Atlantic.

Crews from RAF Lossiemouths 120 Squadron will be tasked with monitoring the area due to increasing levels of Russian activity detected under the surface with 201 Squadron due to arrive at the base next year.

During the drill personnel were tasked with locating and tracking a simulated submarine across an area of 200 square nautical miles with coordination between ships and aircraft to speed up the time taken to locate, identify and track targets.

On one sortie an RAF Poseidon launched a simulated attack within 10 minutes of taking over contact from a US aircraft also involved in the exercise.

Wing Commander James Hanson, officer commanding 120 Squadron, said: Participation in Dynamic Mongoose offers the trained crews a chance to hone their skills cooperating with ships, submarines and aircraft from a number of Nato partner nations, as well as the Royal Navy.

The exercise offers my crews a great opportunity to be tested against highly professional opposition in the exercise environment, and I know that the crews have relished the chance to show what they can do with our extremely capable aircraft.

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Spy planes in north-east take part in first Nato exercise - Press and Journal

University lecturer who part of the NATO Peacekeeping after the Srebrenica genocide reflects on the 25th anniversary – The Northern Echo

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, who was part of the NATO Peacekeeping force in Bosnia after the Srebrenica genocide, and student Admir Meskovic talk about their experiences on this years anniversary

The atrocities committed in the Bosnian War were truly frightening and I witnessed first-hand the suffering of the victims as we helped them rebuild their lives.

My time in Bosnia taught me that we must always remain vigilant to the threat of those who incite intolerance, hate and discrimination.

So says Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, reflecting on the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

In July 1995, over 8,000 people mostly Bosniaks in and around the town of Srebrenica, part of modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina, were killed by units of the Bosnian Serb army under the command of Ratko Mladic.

The graves at Srebrenica Picture: AMRA MUJKANOVIC

The United Nations had declared Srebrenica a safe area under its protection, but failed to prevent the towns capture or the subsequent massacre.

Prior to joining Durham University, Mr Cook served with the British Army and in 1995 he was part of the NATO Peacekeeping force in Bosnia a few months after the Srebrenica genocide.

Last week was the UKs Srebrenica Memorial Week for 2020, with remembrance activities taking place across the region. In Durham, Srebrenica genocide flags were flown from Durham Cathedral; Durham Castle, home to University College, Durham; and County Hall, headquarters of Durham County Council.

Flying the flag in Durham Picture: GAVIN WORT

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, encouraged people to pray for continuing peace. Cllr Angela Surtees, Durham County Councils Cabinet member for social inclusion, said the lesson of Srebrenica was that hatred and intolerance can flourish if left unchallenged.

Admir Meskovic was only a child when the Bosnian War started. Fearful of what was to come, his family relocated to live with relatives. It proved to be a wise choice: not a single bomb exploded in their new home town during the four-year conflict.

Nevertheless, the young Admir was close enough to hear explosions and the movement of hostile tanks. He recalls his family turning out the lights to avoid hostile attention, sleeping in jeans in case you had to move quickly during the night and child refugees from the region around Srebrenica living in his home.

Now studying for an MBA at Durham University Business School, Admir reflects: There are frightening stories of those people who survived that hell. Not many, because few have survived. These kind of stories cannot be paraphrased, you have to hear directly from a person witnessing the horror.

Admir Meskovic

This includes my peer, a then-seven-year-old boy Fahrudin who survived the mass executions of civilians from his village, including his father. Fahrudin was wounded in his arm and leg, and was saved by the Red Cross driver who noticed that something was moving in the mass of dead bodies that was waiting to be transported to the mass grave.

The driver who saved the young boy was not considered a hero, however. He suffered the consequences because of his betrayal during his life, and his funeral later was attended by only the closest relatives.

If we say that it is important to remember the Srebrenica genocide, we talk about something that happened in the past and finished. It is incomparably more tragic to see that the ideology which led to genocide is still live and active.

The annual Memorial Week is co-ordinated by the Remembering Srebrenica charity and this years theme was Every Action Matters. Lucy Adams, chair of the charitys North East board, said she was delighted to see Durhams University, Cathedral and County Council marking the anniversary.

Just some of the names of the people who died

County Durham has long-standing links with Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the 1984-5 Miners Strike, miners from Tuzla sent aid to striking miners in the North-East. Then during the war, Durham miners reciprocated, sending aid to Tuzla.

Durham University also has links with the area through its School of Government and International Affairs and the Durham Global Security Institute. Dr Stefanie Kappler, an Associate Professor in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding, has conducted extensive fieldwork in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

With Dr Lydia Cole and the University of Manchester, she is currently working on a project exploring how art can be part of peace processes, with Bosnia-Herzegovina as one of four case studies. She has also researched how the ways past atrocities are remembered can impact the quality of peace in the present.

In April 2018, Dr Kappler organised for the interreligious choir Pontamina, from Sarajevo, to perform at Durham Cathedral. The event featured Nedzad Avdic, a Srebrenica survivor, telling his story and Dave Temple, from the Durham Miners Association, speaking about the historic links between Durham and Tuzla.

Srebrenica graves Picture: Rooful Ali

Speaking about this years Memorial Week, Smajo Beso, a former Bosnian refugee who is now an architect and lecturer at Newcastle University, said: We were warmly welcomed to the North-East more than 25 years ago and supported by the incredible people of this region. I dont think you will find anyone in our community that hasnt lost a loved one or that isnt still suffering with the traumatic effects from the war.

But now to have our pain and suffering acknowledged in such a visible way is incredibly powerful and cathartic. Were a small community but we all proudly call the North-East our home. Thank you to all those that have supported us and continue to do so.

For more information, please visit: srebrenica.org.uk

Originally posted here:

University lecturer who part of the NATO Peacekeeping after the Srebrenica genocide reflects on the 25th anniversary - The Northern Echo

Why NATO Should Adopt a Tactical Readiness Initiative – War on the Rocks

In January 2018, the German news site Deutsche Welle released a bombshell report. It exposed, in excruciating detail, the degraded readiness of the German military. One year before assuming command of the NATO Very High Readiness Task Force, the alliances multinational immediate response force, the Bundeswehr was forced to admit it lacked basic equipment needed to fulfil its role: spare parts for armored vehicles, night-vision devices, body armor, and even winter clothes and tents. Subsequent investigations revealed similar readiness problems in the nations air and naval forces. In short, NATOs most important European member was not ready for war.

In many ways, the NATO Readiness Initiative, first announced in June 2018 at a NATO defense ministers conference in Brussels, was a response to these issues of readiness across Europes national militaries. Often referred to as the Four Thirties, the initiative calls for NATO member states to collectively maintain 30 mechanized battalions, 30 naval ships, and 30 air squadrons ready for employment by NATO within 30 days of activation. This agreement was part of a package of U.S.-sponsored initiatives which aimed to further increase NATOs ability to rapidly respond to crises by improving military mobility across Europe and expedite the organizations political and military decision-making process. These changes signaled a much-needed realignment towards preparedness for high-intensity conflict against Russia.

Its adoption was hailed as a transformational moment in the alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg proposed that the initiative would create a culture of readiness. Others welcomed an initiative that measured readiness beyond spending 2 percent of GDP on defense, a metric that has become, at times, an unhelpful obsession in transatlantic defense.

However, two years after its adoption, it is still unclear if the NATO Readiness Initiative has had any effect. Despite its promise and potential, it may unfortunately remain more an expression of political will than an operational plan to rebuild readiness in the militaries of NATO member states.

To date, apart from a handful of nations announcing their contributions to the initiative, NATO has offered few additional details on this transformative effort. The alliance has not identified which nations are contributing forces which it does for other high-readiness battlegroups nor has it published any details on exactly how the readiness initiative works. Even the announcement of the success of the initiative, defined as contributing nations allocating all required forces to the initiative, was buried on an infographic in the 2019 NATO Secretary Generals report.

When first introduced two years ago, the readiness initiative lacked a clear definition of readiness, a means to evaluate individual units allocated to the initiative, and a routine mechanism to test the responsiveness of these forces. Since NATO defense ministers are still discussing the details of the initiative, it is likely that these fundamental gaps still exist. The initiative still has not been formally tested. Exercise Defender 2020, slated for June of this year, should have been an excellent opportunity to do so. However, the exercise was greatly reduced due to COVID-19, and it would have most likely been an inauspicious start for the alliances latest initiative. NATOs next opportunity will be Exercise Steadfast Defender in 2021, which gives NATO and states contributing forces to the initiative a little under a year to address these deficiencies and ensure the success of this important initiative.

As a first step, NATO should establish oversight on the readiness of national forces allocated to the Four Thirties. Then, the alliance should adopt additional strategies that support tactical readiness for these forces by standardizing training methodologies and establishing their wartime task organization before a crisis starts, not after. Given the challenges associated with NATOs land component, the alliance should start with member states armies rather than the other services.

Mind the Gaps

The NATO Readiness Initiative builds upon NATOs previous efforts to prepare the alliance to defend Europe against threats from Russia to the east and instability and terrorism to the south. However, the initiative differs from previous efforts in two ways: First, the readiness initiative focuses on the readiness of national forces, not those controlled by NATO. In the event of a crisis, NATO will need these forces to reinforce high-readiness spearhead units, with deployment timelines of less than a week, prior to the arrival of the larger, but slower to deploy, NATO Response Force. This multinational formation of nearly 40,000 troops drawn from across NATO member states packs a punch, but could take as long as 90 days before it can be employed. National forces will fill the gap between the two. Second, while past initiatives focused on deterrence through a forward-deployed defense posture to reassure Baltic allies most threatened by Moscow, the readiness initiative complements NATOs shift to a strategy of deterrence through military mobility. Investing in more mobile forces that can respond quickly to a crisis in Eastern Europe, rather than maintaining a large deployment of troops on NATOs eastern flank, lowers costs for member states and creates flexibility to respond to other threats to the alliance (e.g., terrorism).

Since the 2018 Brussels Summit, NATO member states have made great strides towards improving military mobility. Likewise, military mobility has become an important political objective in the European Union. Moving NATO forces in a time of crisis from bases across Europe to potential hot-spots in the east and south is a monumental task that requires detailed planning, something NATO has learned from large-scale exercises such as Exercise Trident Juncture 2018. Since then, NATO and the EU have diligently put these lessons into practice, include reducing border controls and improving infrastructure such as ports, bridges and railways, often at significant cost to individual member states.

Mobility Is Important, but So Is Availability

However, NATO may be putting its proverbial cart before the horse. Military mobility is just one component to ensure collective defense. NATO should first ensure the availability of forces to mobilize. In a crisis, NATOs member states may not be able to generate these forces in the first place. Regrettably, nearly two years after the adoption of the readiness initiative, NATO still lacks operational oversight of forces who, at this very moment, are ostensibly available to NATO within thirty days. Without oversight on the process of force generation within contributing nations, these forces might not uphold their standards of readiness and, as a result, fail to meet the mission assigned to them. In peacetime, failing to meet NATOs readiness standards ends careers. In a crisis, it could make the difference between winning and losing a conflict with Russia. Just as NATO is addressing military mobility now, so too must it address in the lack of oversight and evaluation under the readiness initiative.

Not everyone agrees that NATO should have more oversight of national forces. After all, the alliances strategic framework states that tactical readiness is the purview of individual member states, not NATO. While true, this framework was a result of post-Cold War force generation policies that focused on making global stability operations sustainable for member states. While it functioned well for counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan or the Balkans, it is insufficient for maintaining readiness for high-intensity conflict.

In a way, NATO has needed to repurpose defense concepts that guided the alliance from the past. Under the Cold War strategy of flexible response, national forces held in a high state of readiness were essential to the security of the European continent. Because the threat of Soviet invasion was ever-present, these forces were closely monitored and evaluated frequently to ensure their preparedness. While individual member states were still responsible for the training of their national militaries, NATO ensured compliance through formal exercises and no-notice readiness evaluations, ensuring each nation was accountable for their contributions to the collective defense of Europe.

A Tactical Readiness Initiative for NATOs Ground Forces

To support the NATO Readiness Initiative, the alliance should establish a tactical readiness initiative for European ground forces that supports the alliances broader goal of strategic readiness. There are several reasons to begin with armies. In addition to the sheer size of the land component allocated under the NATO Readiness Initiative potentially up to 15,000 troops ground force readiness presents a unique challenge for NATO. First, while years of insufficient defense spending has affected all of Europes military components, cuts in funding for personnel, equipment acquisition, and maintenance have hit ground forces especially hard. Despite pressure from the United States to increase defense spending and modernization efforts, many European armies still face significant gaps in their conventional capabilities. These problems could limit the quality of forces assigned to the NATO Readiness Initiative. Second, there are issues of interoperability at the tactical level that challenge the ability of these forces to quickly integrate into a single fighting force during a crisis. Member states use different command and control systems, communications devices, and specialty equipment. Workarounds can be found, typically from ground-level soldier ingenuity, but it takes time.

European ground forces each employ their own individual tactics and techniques. Sometimes they are synchronized with their NATO allies, and sometimes they are not. While this may be a minor detail from a strategic perspective, interoperable procedures (e.g., how to mark friendly vehicles during conditions of low visibility) are incredibly important for a multinational forces, especially when a portion of the alliance still employs Russian-made vehicles.

A tactical readiness initiative for NATOs land forces can address these issues of readiness and interoperability by doing two things: First, it needs to establish a standardized system of training and evaluation for each battalion allocated by contributing nations to the NATO Readiness Initiative. NATO should require that they train to NATO standards and use NATO procedures during their nationally mandated training cycle. Similarly, the readiness of these battalions should be evaluated using NATO Land Forces Commands long-standing readiness criteria. This assures that all battalions are better prepared to integrate into multinational formations once their readiness is validated. National land forces already synchronize their major training events at the annual NATO Land Forces Command Combined Training Conference. Were NATO to adopt a tactical readiness initiative for land forces, this venue could be easily adapted to integrate discussions of fully standardizing training and evaluation for battalions allocated to the NATO Readiness Initiative.

Second, NATO should establish the wartime task organization for NATO Readiness Initiative forces in peacetime in other words, before a crisis starts assigning battalions to existing multinational headquarters under the NATO Command Structure. Though divisions will be largely administrative until they are activated, the early integration of these forces provide them the time to form important relationships and address challenges to technical and procedural interoperability. This can take the form of collaborative planning events, or even combined training exercises. Many of the national land force training centers used by NATO member states benefit from advancements in live-virtual training, so even geographically dispersed battalions and NATO division headquarters can train together without expensive deployments to a shared training area. These combined events have the added benefit of serving as routine touchpoints to ensure that battalions are maintaining their readiness.

Looking Ahead

NATO should establish a clear definition of readiness for forces allocated under the NATO Readiness Initiative and adopt organizational structures that allow these units to plan and train together regularly in peacetime doing this during a crisis would be too late. In doing so, NATO can ensure that when needed, the alliance has an interoperable force capable of unified action instead of thirty individual battalions struggling to integrate into the NATO Command Structure under fire.

The alliance should also consider what needs to be added to the NATO Readiness Initiative to fully address tactical readiness in the air and maritime domains. Similarly, additional initiatives may also be required for space and cyber, and for individual warfighting functions like intelligence. NATOs many centers of excellence could be an important asset in determining the details of these domain-specific tactical readiness initiatives before disseminating these standards across national militaries.

Steadfast Defender 2021, a continent-spanning exercise scheduled for next summer featuring tens of thousands of thousands of troops deploying to several different training areas, will be a critical moment for the NATO Readiness Initiative . It will provide the alliance an opportunity to properly test its strategic readiness. But NATO should first ensure a solid foundation of tactical readiness is in place.

Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Tom Goffus put it, NATOs strategic readiness requires, two things together, on the front end is having NATO command and control capability to move the chess pieces around the board, the second is having chess pieces that are ready to be moved. The alliances efforts towards improving military mobility have largely achieved the first objective; now NATO should focus on the second. Adopting a supporting initiative to the NATO Readiness Initiative that directly address the tactical readiness of national forces is the best way to ensure that, if the time comes, NATO will have all of its pieces on the board.

Josh Campbell is an active-duty U.S. Army officer currently enrolled at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University. The views expressed in this article are his alone and do not represent the U.S. Army or the Department of Defense.

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Why NATO Should Adopt a Tactical Readiness Initiative - War on the Rocks

Fresh warning to NATO over rising Russian military, biological and cyber threats – Mirror Online

NATO was today urged to ramp up its defences against mounting Russian aggression.

Smart, speedy, collective action and deterrence is needed to confront Kremlin threats, the western military alliance was warned.

A policy paper called on the organisation to ensure it has the necessary resources to counter Russian aggression in the form of cyber attacks, biological weapons and disinformation campaigns.

The alert comes two years after Russian agents were accused over the Novichok poisoning of former MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wilts, and amid increasing fears over Moscow-backed interference in foreign elections.

NATO was also told to draw up plans for conflict avoidance and de-escalation with China, after Beijing imposed a strict new security law on Hong Kong and bids to spread its power and influence across the West.

The calls came in a paper by the Policy Institute at King's College London, written by a host of respected senior figures.

They include former Defence Secretary and ex-NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson, former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, and Britain's former ambassador to NATO Lord Peter Ricketts, the UK's first national security adviser.

Lord Robertson said: Since it was established in 1949, NATO has played a vital role in preserving a way of life based on freedom and liberal values.

As new threats emerge from an increasingly aggressive China and Russia, the alliance must step up to meet them and demonstrate its enduring importance in a more uncertain world.

Failure to do so risks imperilling global security and undermining the prosperity and stability that NATO has helped to create for more than 70 years.

Russia has been the alliance's traditional enemy since NATO was formed in 1949.

But the rise of Beijing and its increasing military might has triggered new concerns in the 21st Century.

Chinas military spending has increased this year by 6.6%, says the paper.

It is clear President Xi Jinping remains committed to the modernisation of the Peoples Liberation Army by 2035 and its transformation into a 'world-class' military by 2049.

Recent events demonstrate the determination China has to bring Hong Kong under its firm grip, raising grave concerns for its future as well as that of Taiwan.

Chinas argument with India, and ongoing disputes with Japan, demonstrate preparedness to press territorial claims from the Himalayas to the South China Seas.

The authors, who also included former Lib Dem leader Lord Menzies Campbell, the EU's ex-high representative for foreign affairs, Baroness Cathy Ashton Policy, and policy Institute research director Benedict Wilkinson urged NATO to trigger a frank debate about freedom, democracy and human rights principles they say the alliance was founded on.

Critics have accused some members of drifting from the ideals and the paper suggests some countries could even be kicked out.

We are deeply concerned that the policies of a number of NATO governments are moving away from these fundamental values, says the six-page paper, 'The future strategic direction of NATO'.

If this is allowed to continue without consequences, it will weaken the solidarity between allies.

NATO leaders should hold a frank debate on this issue at their next meeting and should be willing to consider suspension of a member state as an ultimate step.

They also urged the 30 countries that make-up the organisation not to cut defence funding despite budgets coming under pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Fresh warning to NATO over rising Russian military, biological and cyber threats - Mirror Online

An Islamic Republic of Turkey would be a threat to NATO – The Jerusalem Post

I remember an enjoyable evening several years ago in Tel Aviv with former Turkish foreign minister Yasar Yakis and one of the 70 or so founding members of the AKP, President Recep Erdogans ruling party. Yakis, who has had a long and distinguished political career in Turkish diplomacy, described how the AKP was formed, handpicking the founders, only a small percentage of whom were observant Muslims, let alone Islamist extremists. (The AKP become the Muslim Brotherhoods flagship ruling party.) Eight years later, Yakis would openly criticize Erdogans interventions in Syria and Libya which, for all intents and purposes, are shoring up extremist Islamist forces. Earlier this year, Yakis spoke about the Turkish intervention in the Mediterranean. Addressing the European Parliament, he drew parallels between Ankaras intervention in the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus, and its military intervention in Libya. Yakis described the Libyan government as being controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and militias linked to terrorist organizations. Less than four months later, a Libyan asylum-seeker in the UK killed three innocent men in the English town of Reading. It just so happens that all the victims were gay. It also happens as the Washington-based media monitoring think tank MEMRI reported that an Istanbul-based Muslim Brotherhood television channel called for the murder of homosexuals. There is no evidence showing a link between the Turkish TV channel and the Reading terrorist, but this demonstrates what sort of a country Turkey has become under Erdogan. Turkey has moved from being the secular, enlightened NATO member to being the Islamic Republic of Turkey. It is the Sunni equivalent of Iran, with identical expansionist ambitions.Erdogan has learned from both the mistakes of other Islamists in Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran. While founding the AKP, he also learned from the mistakes of its predecessor, the Virtue Party, which was dissolved by Turkeys Constitutional Court due to its violation of the secular constitution of Turkey. ERDOGAN CHOSE non-Islamist founding members like Yakis and others and gradually spread the Islamist tentacles in sectors of the Turkish states. He effectively neutralized the Turkish state and ultimately, via the AKP, made it a vehicle for the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has now subsumed the ruling party of Turkey. The expansionist Turkish policies in Libya are an implementation of the global blueprint of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, namely, to establish a pan-national Islamist caliphate. Erdogan used the traditional relations the secular Turkish state had with the West, especially with NATO, to legitimate his expansionist moves in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. While Ruhollah Khomeinis revolutionaries stormed the American Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, Erdogan very patiently waited, making his interests seem almost aligned with those of NATO. His intervention in Libya is a major step in which his interests and those of the West irreconcilably diverge. France has already spoken out unequivocally against Turkeys moves in Libya, and other key states in the Mediterranean including Greece, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus are uneasy about it. It is now shaping up to be a battle between two forces: an expansionist Islamist movement with cells all over the world, including Europe, and nation-states.The Turkish takeover of Libya will pose a major threat to Europe on long-term economic and security fronts. Turkey is reportedly transporting Syrian fighters to Libya, and Yakis has warned that Turkeys intervention in Libya would create a new Syria. Erdogan previously threatened to flood Europe with refugees. By turning Libya into a new Syria, the Turkish president can carry out his threat not only from Europes eastern borders, but across the Mediterranean into France, Italy and Spain, and onto the United Kingdom and the rest of Western Europe. The gradual Islamization of Turkey now poses a direct threat to the West as a whole, as well as to the moderate states of the Middle East. The West, led by NATO, needs to adopt a united stance against Turkey, which no longer is the secular, pro-Western state that Erdogan inherited. Turkey under Erdogan is the wolf, and most of Europe is still acting like Little Red Riding Hood. The writer chairs Muslims against Antisemitism, and is the founder of Cornerstone Global Associates. Twitter@gnuseibeh.

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An Islamic Republic of Turkey would be a threat to NATO - The Jerusalem Post

NATO Forces return to Black Sea for the second time this year – defence-blog.com

NATO Maritime Command has announced that standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) units have entered the Black Sea for the second time this year to conduct further routine operations, and to participate in two regional exercises organised by the Bulgarian and Ukrainian navies.

SNMG2 arrived to the Black Sea on 9 July, and is composed of three frigates from Spain, Romania and Turkey, led by Rear Admiral Manuel Aguirre of the Spanish Navy, with the Spanish frigate lvaro de Bazn (F-101) as the flagship.

SNMCMG2 vessels HS Aliakmon (flagship), ESPS Tambre, TCG Amasra and ITS Gaeta, led by Commander Dimitrios Katsouras of the Hellenic Navy, entered the Black Sea on 7 July, where it was joined by ROS Lupu Dinescu and sailed towards Burgas (BUL) where they arrived on 10 July.

With three Allied nations, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, and two regional partners, Ukraine and Georgia bordering the Black Sea, Standing Naval Group presence in the region is a regular occurrence. Apart from conducting maritime security patrols in international waters, the two exercises will help enhance interoperability between Allies and regional partners.

With visits planned to Bulgaria and Ukraine in the coming days, all activities of the Standing NATO Forces ashore will continue to abide by COVID-19 restrictions, designed to protect their operational capabilities. However, as national regulations are eased, opportunities for key engagements will help reaffirm and build these regional relationships.

SNMG2 and SNMCMG2 are two of our four standing forces that comprise the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF). To respond to contingency situations additional forces can be added to these groups, with the NATO command staff onboard and the ships of the group as the nucleus, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

NATO warships also will take part in Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise that held in the Black Sea and is designed to enhance interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security and peace within the region.

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NATO Forces return to Black Sea for the second time this year - defence-blog.com

China threat: Beijing plotting massive territorial gains – with warning issued for Taiwan – Express.co.uk

And territorial disputes from the South China Sea to the Himalayas, not to mention Beijing's ambitions in the Arctic, have all been highlighted as threats to world security. Meanwhile, the UK has been tipped to play a major role after the end of the year in accordance with the "Global Britain" strategy referred to by among others Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The report, which emphasises the importance of all member states paying their fair share of two percent of GDP into the alliance, is published by the Policy Institute think tank, based at Kings College London, and authored by among others George Robertson, former NATO Secretary General, Michael Fallon, former UK Defence Secretary, and former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell.

With reference to China, the report entitled The future strategic direction of NATO, highlights the fact that China's military spending has increased by 6.6 percent this year, irrespective of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The authors said: "It is clear President Xi Jinping remains committed to the modernisation of the Peoples Liberation Army by 2035 and its transformation into a 'world-class' military by 2049.

Recent events demonstrate the determination China has to bring Hong Kong under its firm grip, raising grave concerns for its future as well as that of Taiwan

Policy Institute report

"Recent events demonstrate the determination China has to bring Hong Kong under its firm grip, raising grave concerns for its future as well as that of Taiwan."

The report adds: "Chinas argument with India, and ongoing disputes with Japan, demonstrate preparedness to press territorial claims from the Himalayas to the South China Seas.

"In addition, China is increasing its activity in the Arctic, creating a 'polar silk road' and a 5+1 group with Nordic nations, similar to the 17+1 group that guides Chinas cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries."

JUST IN:South China Sea crisis: US attacks Beijings claims to region

The onset of coronavirus would inevitably take its toll on the economy, the report acknowledged, with a knock-on impact on defence spending.

The report warns: "Whatever the reason, NATO may see less spent on defence in the next few years.

"This argues for a push on economies of scale, sensible procurement and greater collaboration."

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Nevertheless COVID-19 should not be an excuse for NATO member states to renege on spending commitments made at the Wales Summit in 2014.

The authors said: "All members pledged to move towards two percent by 2024.

"At the time, only three countries met the target; nine now do.

"NATO should continue to push for the pledge to be fulfilled."

As for the role of post-Brexit Britain, the report says: "We want the UK to play a central and leading role in the strategic direction of NATO, in full collaboration with other members.

"Global Britain should have at its core a determination that collective action on defence and security is where the country will make a major contribution.

"We anticipate the UK taking the lead where its expertise and experience can drive ideas, develop new thinking and promote action."

Assessing the future of NATO, Mr Robertson said: "Since it was established in 1949, Nato has played a vital role in preserving a way of life based on freedom and liberal values.

"As new threats emerge from an increasingly aggressive China and Russia, the alliance must step up to meet them and demonstrate its enduring importance in a more uncertain world.

"Failure to do so risks imperilling global security and undermining the prosperity and stability that Nato has helped to create for more than 70 years.

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China threat: Beijing plotting massive territorial gains - with warning issued for Taiwan - Express.co.uk

Spy planes in north-east take part in first Nato exercise – Press and Journal

The north-easts new fleet of spy planes have taken part in their first Nato exercise hunting submarines submerged beneath the waves.

Nine P-8A Poseidons will eventually operate from RAF Lossiemouth with two already flying from nearby Kinloss Barracks.

The aircraft have now participated in their first multi-national training drill as crews continue to build their experience.

The Nato exercise Dynamic Mongoose involved six nations honing anti-submarine skills in the challenging North Atlantic.

Crews from RAF Lossiemouths 120 Squadron will be tasked with monitoring the area due to increasing levels of Russian activity detected under the surface with 201 Squadron due to arrive at the base next year.

During the drill personnel were tasked with locating and tracking a simulated submarine across an area of 200 square nautical miles with coordination between ships and aircraft to speed up the time taken to locate, identify and track targets.

On one sortie an RAF Poseidon launched a simulated attack within 10 minutes of taking over contact from a US aircraft also involved in the exercise.

Wing Commander James Hanson, officer commanding 120 Squadron, said: Participation in Dynamic Mongoose offers the trained crews a chance to hone their skills cooperating with ships, submarines and aircraft from a number of Nato partner nations, as well as the Royal Navy.

The exercise offers my crews a great opportunity to be tested against highly professional opposition in the exercise environment, and I know that the crews have relished the chance to show what they can do with our extremely capable aircraft.

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Spy planes in north-east take part in first Nato exercise - Press and Journal

University lecturer who part of the NATO Peacekeeping after the Srebrenica genocide reflects on the 25th anniversary – The Northern Echo

Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, who was part of the NATO Peacekeeping force in Bosnia after the Srebrenica genocide, and student Admir Meskovic talk about their experiences on this years anniversary

The atrocities committed in the Bosnian War were truly frightening and I witnessed first-hand the suffering of the victims as we helped them rebuild their lives.

My time in Bosnia taught me that we must always remain vigilant to the threat of those who incite intolerance, hate and discrimination.

So says Jeremy Cook, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) at Durham University, reflecting on the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.

In July 1995, over 8,000 people mostly Bosniaks in and around the town of Srebrenica, part of modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina, were killed by units of the Bosnian Serb army under the command of Ratko Mladic.

The graves at Srebrenica Picture: AMRA MUJKANOVIC

The United Nations had declared Srebrenica a safe area under its protection, but failed to prevent the towns capture or the subsequent massacre.

Prior to joining Durham University, Mr Cook served with the British Army and in 1995 he was part of the NATO Peacekeeping force in Bosnia a few months after the Srebrenica genocide.

Last week was the UKs Srebrenica Memorial Week for 2020, with remembrance activities taking place across the region. In Durham, Srebrenica genocide flags were flown from Durham Cathedral; Durham Castle, home to University College, Durham; and County Hall, headquarters of Durham County Council.

Flying the flag in Durham Picture: GAVIN WORT

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, encouraged people to pray for continuing peace. Cllr Angela Surtees, Durham County Councils Cabinet member for social inclusion, said the lesson of Srebrenica was that hatred and intolerance can flourish if left unchallenged.

Admir Meskovic was only a child when the Bosnian War started. Fearful of what was to come, his family relocated to live with relatives. It proved to be a wise choice: not a single bomb exploded in their new home town during the four-year conflict.

Nevertheless, the young Admir was close enough to hear explosions and the movement of hostile tanks. He recalls his family turning out the lights to avoid hostile attention, sleeping in jeans in case you had to move quickly during the night and child refugees from the region around Srebrenica living in his home.

Now studying for an MBA at Durham University Business School, Admir reflects: There are frightening stories of those people who survived that hell. Not many, because few have survived. These kind of stories cannot be paraphrased, you have to hear directly from a person witnessing the horror.

Admir Meskovic

This includes my peer, a then-seven-year-old boy Fahrudin who survived the mass executions of civilians from his village, including his father. Fahrudin was wounded in his arm and leg, and was saved by the Red Cross driver who noticed that something was moving in the mass of dead bodies that was waiting to be transported to the mass grave.

The driver who saved the young boy was not considered a hero, however. He suffered the consequences because of his betrayal during his life, and his funeral later was attended by only the closest relatives.

If we say that it is important to remember the Srebrenica genocide, we talk about something that happened in the past and finished. It is incomparably more tragic to see that the ideology which led to genocide is still live and active.

The annual Memorial Week is co-ordinated by the Remembering Srebrenica charity and this years theme was Every Action Matters. Lucy Adams, chair of the charitys North East board, said she was delighted to see Durhams University, Cathedral and County Council marking the anniversary.

Just some of the names of the people who died

County Durham has long-standing links with Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the 1984-5 Miners Strike, miners from Tuzla sent aid to striking miners in the North-East. Then during the war, Durham miners reciprocated, sending aid to Tuzla.

Durham University also has links with the area through its School of Government and International Affairs and the Durham Global Security Institute. Dr Stefanie Kappler, an Associate Professor in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding, has conducted extensive fieldwork in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

With Dr Lydia Cole and the University of Manchester, she is currently working on a project exploring how art can be part of peace processes, with Bosnia-Herzegovina as one of four case studies. She has also researched how the ways past atrocities are remembered can impact the quality of peace in the present.

In April 2018, Dr Kappler organised for the interreligious choir Pontamina, from Sarajevo, to perform at Durham Cathedral. The event featured Nedzad Avdic, a Srebrenica survivor, telling his story and Dave Temple, from the Durham Miners Association, speaking about the historic links between Durham and Tuzla.

Srebrenica graves Picture: Rooful Ali

Speaking about this years Memorial Week, Smajo Beso, a former Bosnian refugee who is now an architect and lecturer at Newcastle University, said: We were warmly welcomed to the North-East more than 25 years ago and supported by the incredible people of this region. I dont think you will find anyone in our community that hasnt lost a loved one or that isnt still suffering with the traumatic effects from the war.

But now to have our pain and suffering acknowledged in such a visible way is incredibly powerful and cathartic. Were a small community but we all proudly call the North-East our home. Thank you to all those that have supported us and continue to do so.

For more information, please visit: srebrenica.org.uk

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University lecturer who part of the NATO Peacekeeping after the Srebrenica genocide reflects on the 25th anniversary - The Northern Echo

The US on the Way to Strategic Invulnerability – Modern Diplomacy

For Russia, the military developments and strategies of the United States recreate those challenges and threats that the USSR associated with President Ronald Reagans Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Adopted in 1984, the SDI programme involved deploying several echelons of space strike weapons that would intercept and destroy ballistic missiles and their re-entry vehicles in all flight segments. The purpose of the SDI was to ensure that the whole of North America was protected by an anti-missile shield.

American developments today are aimed at ensuring the global military dominance and strategic invulnerability of the United States and include strategic non-nuclear weapons, missile defence, high-precision weapons, SM-6 universal anti-air and strike missiles, space strike systems (space interceptors), laser weapons, autonomous air, surface and undersea vehicles and means of conducting cyber warfare.

Essentially, the United States is systematically moving towards re-creating the state of affairs of 1945, when it was the only country that had nuclear weapons, could impose its will on the entire world, and remained beyond the reach of the armed forces of other countries. The processes that are taking place today, which could be termed a revolution in warfare, give the U.S. administration grounds to believe that cutting-edge weapons can neutralize or devalue Russias nuclear weapons.

The structure of U.S. military spending shows that the country is stepping up its investment in military R&D. Military spending increased by 3 per cent in 2020 to USD 750 billion. Meanwhile, the military R&D budget grew by nearly 10 per cent to USD 104.3 billion.

The SDI programme was scrapped in 1993. There were several reasons for this, including political and financial motivations. However, the programme was mostly abandoned because the projects were not technically feasible. Back in 1987, the American Physical Society published a paper concluding it would take at least 10 years to understand which of the technologies being developed could have a future [1]. Even though the SDI was officially closed, some projects were continued as part of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, which was renamed the Missile Defense Agency in 2002, and led to the creation of anti-missile systems such as Patriot PAC-3, Aegis BMD, THAAD and the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system.

Work continues on a number of projects that use active weapons based on new physical principles such as beam, electromagnetic, kinetic and super-high-frequency weapons, chemical lasers, railguns and neutral particle beams, and traditional missile weapons such as new-generation surface-to-space and air-to-space missiles, kinetic energy missiles and kinetic energy interceptors.

Current U.S. views of the prospects of the national defence rest on several fundamental doctrines that are being adjusted or detailed in new concepts as new technologies emerge.

The concept of a weapons system of systems was first put forward in an article written by Admiral William Owens and published by the Institute for National Security Studies in 1996. In 1998, the idea was transformed into a separate concept of network-centric warfare in a paper by Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski and John J. Garstka. The concept envisaged integrating intelligence systems, command and control systems, and high-precision weapons systems in order to ensure rapid situational awareness, identify targets and assign combat missions. The concept was intended to free military leaders of the famous fog of war problem, when commanding officers have to make decisions based on incomplete or unreliable data.

The development of information technologies and computer networks in the 1990s provided the tools for increasing combat capabilities by achieving information and communication superiority, combining combatants into a single network. In addition to information systems, the network-centric warfare concept also came to rely on developing cutting-edge reconnaissance systems, military command and control systems and high-precision weapons. By effectively connecting units and detachments in a battlespace, the system translated information superiority into combat power. In 2019, the United States Army held war games demonstrating that the combat power of an infantry platoon enhanced with artificial intelligence capabilities increases tenfold. That is, AI renders the old formula that claims the attacking side can only achieve victory if it outguns the opponent by at least three times obsolete.

It would appear that the network-centric warfare strategy performed poorly in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where the military methods failed to produce the expected results. However, we should keep in mind that this strategy is not intended to fight guerrilla units but was rather conceived as a way to achieve a quick victory over a relatively equal military opponent. Additionally, some important components of the newly created architecture such as the military internet of things and military cloud storage are only now being created.

The internet of things is closely tied to 5G data transmission technology. The American version of 5G is currently being tested on four military bases. 5G technology has been the subject of a major dispute between the United States and its NATO allies, who decided to use available technology from Chinas Huawei.

New technologies allow frontline units to track and identify a far larger number of targets on a larger territory within shorter periods of time and to strike these targets with previously impossible precision.

A number of military operations in the 1990s the 1991 Gulf War, Operation Desert Strike in Iraq in 1996, Operation Infinite Reach in 1998 that delivered strikes against targets in Sudan and Afghanistan, and NATOs 1999 operation in Yugoslavia demonstrated that the United States and its allies were right to turn their attention to the development of remote (non-contact) warfare tactics.

Non-contact warfare is a trend that will last for decades. It is the path that all the resource-rich militaries around the world are following. However, the United States is virtually the only country that has the necessary funds, research base and scientific potential (including that of private companies) to pull it off.

In 1996, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff used the idea of network-centric warfare to develop and publish the Joint Vision 2010 concept, which introduced the military Full-Spectrum Dominance strategy. Once again, the strategy envisaged achieving combat superiority in everything from peace-making operations to the direct use of military force through information superiority.

The same objectives are reflected in the Joint Vision 2020 concept published in 2000, which subsequently formed the basis of the U.S. military doctrine: full-range dominance; information superiority; innovations; interoperability; multinational operations; interagency operations; dominant manoeuvre; precision engagement; focused logistics; full dimensional protection; information operations; joint command and control.

For a decade, U.S. experts debated the future military information architecture. One key issue was where to store and process the information obtained: on-board a combat platform, in a command centre, or in cloud storage. In recent years, the architecture has begun to take a definite shape. In October 2019, Microsoft signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop cloud technologies worth USD 10 billion.

Various U.S. military branches are testing pilot projects that connect platforms into a single command and control network. For instance, in October 2018, the U.S. Navy established the Information Warfare Research Project to develop technologies for cyber warfare, cloud computing and reconnaissance.

In 2019, the U.S. Navy experimented with transferring the Navys Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which had previously been stored in governmental data processing centres, to cloud storage. The flexible command and information architecture produced three positive effects: it ensured reliable command, increased battlespace awareness, and allowed various units to conduct integrated fire. Sixty-four per cent of U.S. Navy ships are equipped with this tool. The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) is being installed on ships to protect the system from cyber threats.

The U.S. Air Force is developing similar software called Kessel Run to provide information exchange and data analysis. In particular, software for refuelling aerial tankers was developed as part of the project. The software is being constantly improved and features new platforms and functions.

The U.S. Air Force actively uses Link 16 terminals to provide communication between U.S. fighter jets and a number of of allied countries as part of the MIDS programme that is being jointly developed by the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. By using Link 16, military aircraft, ships, and ground forces can exchange tactical images almost in real time.

As part of Project Missouri, the U.S. Air Force has set up an information link between fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 fighters. The additional Project Iguana, made it possible to input data from U2 reconnaissance aircraft and space satellites into the system. In 2019, the Air Force experimented with connecting military transport aircraft and maritime and ground military equipment to the project. Currently, the Valkyrie unmanned combat aerial vehicle is being integrated in the network.

Another NATO states are implementing similar information integration projects for their militaries; Germany, in particular, finances the Glass Battlefield (glsernes Gefechtsfeld) project.

Network-centric warfare rests on several basic principles: distribution, connectedness, separation of functions, remote command, use of artificial intelligence and use of high-precision weapons.

The information component of the network-centric warfare includes the following tools:

The network-centric warfare concept pays particular attention to reconnaissance and collecting and analysing information by using autonomous systems. To deliver high-precision long-distance strikes, the Pentagon considers it necessary to have reconnaissance capabilities for a range of up to 1000 miles.

For that purpose, the United States is currently developing three sets of reconnaissance systems that make it possible to discover, identify and locate the adversarys radars and communication systems. These systems can be installed on the MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone. Optical and radio intelligence data is supported by cyber space reconnaissance capabilities.

In April 2017, Lieutenant General John N.T. Jack Shanahan, Director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, developed the algorithmic warfare strategy that envisaged using artificial intelligence to analyse the information collected. Google was involved in implementing the project, codenamed MAVEN. As part of the project, AI-based algorithms process gigantic arrays of photographic and video information collected by drones in Iraq and Afghanistan. The projects impressive results led to dozens of new projects being established. In 2018, under public pressure, Google withdrew from Project MAVEN, but the Pentagon contracted Booz Allen for the job, after which the projects budget grew almost tenfold.

For 50 years, American military strategists have been searching for a solution to the A2/AD (anti-access/area-denial) problem. By area, the Pentagon means the territory where the U.S. military is within reach of the adversarys weapons and cannot operate in full force. The A2/AD problem forced the Pentagon to conduct remote warfare from areas beyond the reach of the adversarys air defence systems, tactical ballistic missile systems and anti-ship ballistic missile systems. For decades, high-precision weapons were used to handle the A2/AD problem.

In 2014, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel approved the Defense Innovation Initiative (also called the Third Offset Strategy) developed by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). The strategy included creating a new long-term R&D planning programme that emphasized robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, big data and cutting-edge manufacturing, including 3D printing. The programme focused on drone operations, which entailed the development low-observable forward-looking long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (including sea-based UAVs), and a family of various unmanned combat aerial systems.

The current U.S. military strategy envisages increasing the significance of operations involving strike drones and surface and undersea drones.

Autonomous refuelling aircraft make it possible to double the safe distance for U.S. aircraft carriers to deliver strikes against enemy territory. According to the U.S. Naval Air Forces MQ-25 Stingray programme, by the mid-2020s, unmanned refuelling aircraft will have assumed the functions of aerial refuelling for the aircraft carriers air wing.

Another area for developing unmanned aerial vehicles is wingman drones. As part of the Low Cost Attritable Aviation Technologies (LCAAT) project, a U.S. Air Force laboratory is developing the XQ-58 Valkyrie drone as a wingman for F-22 or F-35 fighter jets. In combat, the drone will carry the surveillance, electronic warfare (EW) and communications systems, as well as weapons. Partner drones are intended to become the expendables in warfare, taking on some of the functions of the pilots and, if necessary, bearing the brunt of an attack.

Another projected, called Gremlins, developed under the auspices of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), focuses on developing the technology for using a transport aircraft to deliver a drone swarm to an area where they will perform a series of strike, reconnaissance or other missions. Upon completion of the mission in question, the drones will be brought back aboard the aircraft and prepared for another mission within 24 hours. A fighter, bomber or even an unmanned mother aircraft can be used to deliver Gremlins to the combat area. Like many other unmanned aerial vehicles, Gremlins will be deployed as part of a unit or swarm and will independently distribute functions for optimal mission performance.

However, the most significant reforms have been saved for the U.S. Navy. In 2017, the Ghost Fleet concept, a continuation of the network-centric warfare concept, was adopted. Under this concept, ground, aerial and underwater unmanned vehicles will interact simultaneously and perform a wide range of combat missions without risking the lives of ship crews and marines. To further develop the concept, the U.S. Navy has ordered a group of experts to submit the Concept for the organization, manning, training, equipping, sustaining, and the introduction and operational integration of the Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicle and Large Unmanned Surface Vessel with individual afloat units as well as with Carrier Strike Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, and Surface Action Groups to Congress by September 2020.

The adoption of this concept will signify major changes in the plans for building the fleet and in its operational strategies, where autonomous underwater and surface vehicles will be integrated with carrier and expeditionary strike groups.

According to preliminary reports, the U.S. Navy will receive robotic surface ships of four different classes: large unmanned surface vehicles that can distribute large sensors and fires; medium-sized unmanned surface vehicles with smaller sensors and electronic warfare equipment; small unmanned surface vehicles that can tow mine-hunting equipment and work to relay communications; and even smaller unmanned surface vehicles.

Over the next decade or two, the U.S. Navy may change its architecture in favour of unmanned vessels spread over a larger area and combined into a global network operated from remote and mobile control centres. According to the report on the Navys large unmanned surface and underwater vehicles that has been submitted to Congress, the wartime tactic of using large unmanned vehicles may include spreading the fleet, letting the unmanned vehicles bear the brunt of the attack, and then delivering rapid retaliatory strikes.

The first component of the system is the Sea Hunter, an autonomous unmanned surface vessel that has already entered service. The ship was built as part of the DARPA Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel programme. The unmanned vessel is designed to operate as part of a swarm searching for and hunting submarines. Testing has showed the vessels high efficiency: travelling at a speed of 12 knots, the ship can cover 19,000 kilometres in 70 days of autonomous sailing.

The Navy is also developing another project for secret undersea operations, called CLAWS. According to the U.S. Navys recently adopted R&D budget, the Orca XLUUV, a 50-tonne, 25-metre-long undersea vehicle developed by the Boeing Corporation, will carry 12 torpedoes and have both strike and anti-surface warfare capabilities. The autonomous submarine with AI and weapons is designed to operate partially without human control. The Orca XLUUV will enter service in 2023 and, together with the Sea Hunter, will pose a threat to the naval component of Russias nuclear triad since it puts a question mark over its principal advantage: stealth.

To communicate with unmanned vessels and command autonomous missions, the U.S. Navy created the CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing) command architecture that allows drones to analyse dynamic operational situations when on a search mission, or when protecting harbours, carrying out surveillance, conducting EW or landing missions, and even when attacking as a swarm.

The most significant manifestations of the revolution in warfare may take place in the U.S. space sector. On February 20, 2019, President of the United States Donald Trump signed a law establishing the U.S. Space Force, with approximately USD 72 million earmarked for the purpose. The objectives of the Space Force include protecting U.S. interests in space, deterring aggression and protecting the country, as well as projecting military power in space, from space and into space.

A total of USD 11.9 billion was allocated in 2020 for R&D in space systems, which is USD 2.6 billion more than in 2019.

The Missile Defense Agency will receive USD 10.4 billion, including USD 108 million for the creation of a space sensor system to track hypersonic and ballistic missiles and the development of a sensor array to counteract the hypersonic missile systems of Russia and China.

The spending on militarized space will total USD 14.1 billion, which is 15 per cent more than in 2019. The Pentagons space programmes are classified, which creates additional risks for strategic stability. It is known that projects are under way in the United States to develop reusable space hypersonic systems and micro spacecraft, intercept spacecraft with inspector satellites, and carry out kinetic and non-kinetic attacks on satellites. Projects for directed-energy impact on nuclear weapons command systems are particularly dangerous. There is a trend for ensuring the interoperability of anti-missile and anti-satellite weapons. American assets in space are becoming more integrated and more interoperable.

One of the ways that the United States plans on winning the arms race is by involving its allies in joint projects to pool resources and technologies. Aligning weapons and combining data feeds should save funds. For example, in addition to the so-called Five Eyes states, Japans operations centre is also joining the space projects.

In the foreseeable future, space-, air- and ground-based lasers are seen as the most promising means of neutralizing ballistic and hypersonic missiles. The Pentagon and American industry are working on a technology that could reach the necessary level in a few years. The Pentagon is considering deploying combat lasers in orbit, as well as on UAVs patrolling the upper boundaries of the atmosphere, on ships and on anti-missile defence platforms. The Indirect Fires Protection Capability-High Energy Laser (IFPC-HEL) which can reach up to 300 kilowatts in power, will presumably have entered the Pentagons service by 2024. It will be powerful enough to intercept not only UAVs, but also incoming cruise missiles.

Other NATO states are conducting similar R&D. For instance, France has officially admitted it is making laser-armed satellites that it intends to use against enemy satellites that threaten the countrys space forces.

Forward-looking American military technologies are intended to devalue Russias nuclear weapons:

Today, the United States is withdrawing from arms control agreements that might tie its hands and undermine its technological leadership. This confirms that Washington hopes to ride the wave of the revolution in warfare to ensure its global military dominance and protect its national security from virtually any threat.

1. APS Study Group Participants; Bloembergen, N.; Patel, C. K. N.; Avizonis, P.; Clem, R. G.; Hertzberg, A.; Johnson, T. H.; Marshall, T.; Miller, R. B.; Morrow, W. E.; Salpeter, E. E.; Sessler, A. M.; Sullivan, J. D.; Wyant, J. C.; Yariv, A.; Zare, R. N.; Glass, A. J.; Hebel, L. C.; APS Council Review Committee; Pake, G. E.; May, M. M.; Panofsky, W. K.; Schawlow, A. L.; Townes, C. H.; York, H. (July 1, 1987). Report to The American Physical Society of the Study Group on Science and Technology of Directed Energy Weapons. Reviews of Modern Physics. 59 (3): S1S201. Bibcode:1987RvMP59.1B. doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.59.S1.

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The US on the Way to Strategic Invulnerability - Modern Diplomacy

NATO Deputy Secretary General meets the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross at NATO Headquarters – NATO HQ

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana met with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Ambassador Peter Maurer at NATO Headquarters on Wednesday (8 July 2020) for an exchange of views on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and on the activities of both organisations. Mr. Geoana noted that during the COVID-19 crisis there have been regular contacts between NATO and the ICRC at multiple levels.

He said that NATO Allies are preparing for a possible second wave of COVID-19 and highlighted that in June NATO defence ministers approved an Operation Plan to assist, if necessary, Allies and partners in the distribution of critical medical items and equipment. He said that NATO defence ministers also agreed to establish a stockpile of medical items and a pandemic response trust fund to enable NATO Allies to acquire medical supplies and services.

The Deputy Secretary General also stressed that NATO appreciates the ICRCs support on the implementation of NATOs Policy on the Protection of Civilians and that this is an essential topic for NATO operations and missions.

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NATO Deputy Secretary General meets the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross at NATO Headquarters - NATO HQ

Latvia wants to begin talks with US on possible deployment of a military contingent in the country, with Latvia covering the costs – Pabriks | News -…

RIGA, July 11 (LETA) - Latvia wants to start negotiations with the United States on the possible deployment of a military contingent in Latvia and to cover the related costs, Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks (For Development) told the Latvian defense portal Sargs.lv.

Latvia wants to start negotiations with the United States on the possible deployment of a contingent of forces in Latvia after US President Donald Trump announced the partial withdrawal of troops from Germany. As Pabriks emphasizes, it is important to maintain a significant presence of US forces near NATO's eastern border, so Latvia is ready to host a part of the US contingent's troops, and also cover the related costs.

He says that in view of changes within global politics and ensuring that the Baltic region and the rest of Europe remains secure, it is important to strengthen the transatlantic link within both NATO and the European Union.

"The White House's announcement of a certain reduction in US troops in Germany is not very positive from my personal point of view. If we, as a NATO border country, look to the Northern European region, we understand that an even greater US presence is needed in Europe," he said.

However, the minister acknowledges that the US line of thought is understandable, because it wants each country to strengthen its own national defense capabilities, rather than just relying on allied support. For several years now, Latvia has been among the countries mentioned as a good example with 2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) being spent on the defense budget.

If a part of the US troops is withdrawn from Germany, it is in Latvia's interest that this transfer takes place in accordance with the current security challenges, ie US soldiers are deployed closer to the eastern border - in Poland and the Baltic States.

"Poland has already received the green light, it will see an increase in the presence of the US troops, so it is important that the US public and politicians understand that the Baltic States and Latvia are ready to host US troops as well, as it will provide additional security for the region and the alliance as a whole. We are also prepared to pay for this, firstly by showing that we are devoting at least 2 percent of GDP to defense, and secondly, by developing the necessary infrastructure as a host country. In addition, about 1,500 soldiers from nine different NATO countries are already stationed in Latvia as party of the the NATO battle groups," Pabriks points out.

By transferring a part of the US troops in Germany to Latvia, it would also demonstrate the US support for those countries that are seriously thinking about strengthening their national defense capabilities, Pabriks points out.

Asked what kind of US presence Latvia would be ready for, Pabriks said that it is open to various models - both rotational of for a permanent presence of US military forces in the country.

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Latvia wants to begin talks with US on possible deployment of a military contingent in the country, with Latvia covering the costs - Pabriks | News -...


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