Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Thursday, June 25, 2015, Ashar 11, 1422 BS, Ramadan 7, 1436 Hijr

NATO retools for long-haul standoff with Russia
Published : Thursday, 25 June, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 12

BRUSSELS, June 24 : From top-level decisions like how NATO orders its troops into action to the very granular, like repainting an airfield near the Baltic Sea coast, the U.S.-led alliance is retooling for what it fears could be years of confrontation with a resurgent and unpredictable Russia.
"After decades of peace, that peaceful period after the Cold War is now over," Poland's defense minister and deputy premier Tomasz Siemoniak said recently. "Because there are more and more crises erupting around Europe, and we have to make sure that the public understands it."
On Wednesday, Siemoniak, U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter and counterparts from throughout NATO will open a two-day meeting in Brussels expected to continue reshaping an organization originally founded in 1949 to deter the Stalin-era Soviet Union from overrunning Western Europe with its tanks and troops.
Today's security challenges come once again from Moscow - but also from surging radical Muslim extremists like the Islamic State group and on battlefields unheard of by NATO's founders, like cyberspace.
"NATO is adapting to this new environment, to the new conditions on its periphery," Douglas Lute, U.S. ambassador to NATO, said.
To continue the adaptation, alliance defence ministers are expected to order a further increase in the strength and capabilities of the NATO Response Force, from 30,000 to as many as 40,000 troops, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
In February, at their last meeting in Brussels, defence ministers agreed to create a rapidly deployable multinational task force of 5,000 ground troops that could come to the aid within 48 hours of any NATO member menaced by Russia or other external threats.
On Wednesday, the ministers are expected to decide on the air, sea and special forces units needed to complement this so-called "spearhead force," and Lute predicted Carter will offer a sizeable U.S. contribution, including strategic airlift capability.
On Tuesday, Carter announced during a visit to Estonia that the U.S. will also spread about 250 tanks, armoured vehicles and other military equipment across a half-dozen of NATO's easternmost members that feel most at risk from Russia.    ?AP

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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