The US has lost track of Russia’s operational and tactical capabilities at a time where the country has shown that the use of its military to impact change in the region is on the table, the former head of US European Command and NATO said Monday. Retired Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who retired earlier this year after leading EUCOM, said at ASC16 that the US rightfully shifted its intelligence focus away from Russia to “tough campaigns” in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and in doing so the US took its eyes off a possible opponent in Europe. The intelligence and military communities need to develop an understanding of Russia’s state of operations, to be able to “understand what the norm is and can see when something is abnormal.” Russia, in its invasion of Ukraine, has shown to be a “kleptocratic” government and the US needs to keep NATO strong to keep Russia in check, Breedlove said.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.