US Offers NATO Quick-Reaction Enablers

The US military will provide “many enabling capabilities” for the NATO Response Force’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, revealed Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday. “Our support will include [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance], strategic and inter-theater lift, command and control, special-operations capabilities, logistical expertise and assets, and precision joint-fire capabilities, among others,” he said during a joint press conference with the defense ministers of Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway in Berlin. Those three nations already are supplying personnel and material to the task force, which is now operatonal and is expected to be fully capable next year. “We’re making this commitment to the VJTF because the United States is deeply committed to the collective defense of Europe, as we’ve been for decades and always will be,” said Carter, who said he’d be discussing US plans in detail at NATO’s defense ministerial in Brussels later this week. The new VJTF will comprise 5,000 special operations troops held at 48-hour alert readiness. It’s creation is one way that NATO is adapting to “deter, and be prepared to respond to, Russian aggression” and other threats, Carter told reporters while en route to Berlin on June 21 for the first stop of his meetings with allied defense officials in Belgium, Estonia, and Germany.