Carter Details “Strong and Balanced” Support for NATO

Brussels Defense Secretary Ash Carter laid out the United States’ contributions to NATO’s new rapid reaction forces during a meeting with reporters at the Alliance’s headquarters Thursday. The US will provide a host of intra theater and strategic airlift assets, airborne intelligence, ISR tools, air refueling, air expeditionary forces, “precision joint fires,” deployable command and control, special operations forces, and other maritime forces, said Carter, who called it a “strong and balanced” commitment to support readiness and responsiveness activities. The ministerial decisions represent a “pivot” to the Alliance’s future, as decisions made during the meetings will affect how NATO will operate, deploy, and maintain its presence in Europe, while also confronting instability in North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. Carter reiterated the importance of the defense funding pledge, first set out at the Wales Summit, and with reassurance and reform efforts now under way, “every ally has a responsibility” to ensure the pledge is honored to keep the Alliance’s capabilities strong,” he said. On his first day at NATO, Carter met bilaterally with his counterparts from Italy and Canada, to speak about these topics. Italy has contributed air forces to the NATO air policing mission in the Baltics, and Canada has promised its own bilateral contributions to the VJTF if needed, such as support personnel and ISR forces, a spokesperson for the Canadian Ministry of Defense told Air Force Magazine. (Carter transcript.)