Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, said he is asking the Pentagon for more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to better keep track of Russia. The decision comes as the US intelligence community reverses a decades-long trend in which attention shifted away from Russia toward counterterrorism operations. “We are gently turning the nose of the ship to get back to what we need to be looking at,” Breedlove told reporters at the Pentagon on Oct. 30. For the past 20 years, the US has tried to partner with Russia, but recent actions, such as air strikes supporting Syrian President Bashar al Assad and the incursion into Ukraine, has made that difficult. While the US is able to track Russia’s broader strategic ambitions, it has not been good at predicting smaller-level activities or tactical moves. (See also Russian Roulette in Syria.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.