Keeping NATO’s Commitment to Members

Facing increasing challenges from Russia, NATO leaders at the recent Warsaw summit reaffirmed the alliance’s commitment to defend member nations, and “we have the capacity to make good on that commitment,” US Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said Wednesday at a forum hosted by US Strategic Command. Scaparrotti noted the increases in US ground forces sent to Europe to bolster alliance strength in the Baltics and Poland, and the prepositioning of the armored vehicles and equipment for another brigade. He also cited the rotational deployment of Air Force aircraft to enhance the air policing effort in the Baltics and of A-10s to exercise with Polish airmen. Those were part of NATO’s shift from assurance to deterrence in response to Russia’s seizure of Crimea, and threats to alliance nations on its borders. But, the general cautioned, the alliance must do “everything we can to prevent deterrence from becoming provocation” that could draw a Russian reaction. NATO also faces threats “from a number of actors” across a wide area, he said, apparently referring to the proliferation of terrorist organizations in North Africa and elsewhere. “This is a pivotal time for NATO,” and the alliance must remain ready and united, Scaparrotti said. (See also Bolstering Europe from the April 2015 issue of Air Force Magazine.)