Retooling NATO

NATO’s militaries must fundamentally retool, rearm, and become more responsive in order to reassure its members and partners in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis, NATO’s military committee chief said Thursday. Echoing comments from Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove, the head of NATO’s Military Committee, Danish Army Gen. Knud Bartels, told reporters Wednesday the Wales Communiqué, which was issued after NATO’s Wales Summit last month, “requires the re-posture of the Alliance at the military level.” That means the readiness action plan must be put into place alongside the “connected forces initiative,” an effort to capitalize on the improvements in command and control and interoperability the Alliance has gleaned from its experiences in Afghanistan. One of the lessons NATO must now take away from its experience with the Ukraine crisis is how important the speed of decision making and C2 is in military strategy, particularly how it was used by Russia in Ukraine. This aspect of Russia’s strategy is a challenge for an Alliance, which bases its actions on the consensus of its members. With actions and information now taking place faster than ever before, Bartels said NATO’s rapid military transformation becomes even more urgent.