NATO to position more troops and armoury in the Baltics

The United States has come up with plans to position more US troops, tanks and other armoured vehicles full time along NATO’s eastern borders to defend the allies from a potential Russian aggression, the Wall Street Journal reported today, adding this would be the first such deployment since the end of the Cold War.

The US deputy defence secretary, Robert Work, said that the plan should calm the allies’ worries about the depth of the US commitment to their defence. According to the plan, the US would position more of the US army’s “best and most-modern equipment” in the area, while rotating in a brigade’s worth of army troops, the Wall Street Journal said.

“The new gear includes 250 tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Paladin self-propelled howitzers as well as more than 1,700 additional wheeled vehicles and trucks,” according to the newspaper.

Combined with the equipment already in Europe, there will be a division’s worth of stuff to fight if something happens, Work told the Wall Street Journal. “If push came to shove, they’d be able to come together as a cohesive unit that has trained together, with all their organic equipment, and fight. That’s a lot better than what we have right now,” he said.

The White House approved the broad contours of the plan, designed to start in February 2017, when it signed off on the USD3.4 billion European Reassurance Initiative budget last month, the newspaper added.

The US is planning to rotate in an army armoured brigade each year and divide the rotational force of 4,200 among Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, the WSJ noted.

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Cover: US’ Bradley Fighting Vehicles on exercise in Estonia.

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