Mathieur Boulègue, leading analyst for CAPE's Program Sogdiane
Originally published on Registan, 16/08/2016
Defense, deterrence, dialogue. This motto sums up the NATO Summit in Warsaw rather well. On July 8 and 9, NATO members gathered in Poland to confirm and flesh out the plans unveiled during the 2014 Wales Summit in terms of reassurance to the Allies and increase in the Alliance’s defenses on its Eastern flank.
Multinational troop deployment in the Baltic region and Poland
The most significant increment of the Warsaw Summit was the decision to greenlight the creation of four multinational battalions in the 3 Baltic States and Poland. Starting January 2017, up to 4,000 troops will be deployed on a rotational basis in the 4 countries. This forward presence will be staffed by about 1,000 United States soldiers in Poland, 450 Canadians in Latvia, 600 Germans in Lithuania, and 500 British troops in Estonia (supplemented by other Allied troops). The new Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, will supervise the creation of the force. It is supposed to act as a deterrent against Russia’s actions on NATO’s Eastern flank and recall that the Kremlin can no longer do as it pleases. The exact location of the forward bases remains unknown but is already subject to debate in Poland. Polish authorities want the force to be posted in the Suwalki gap, a strategic stretch of land located between Kaliningrad and Belarus.
Considered a “historic deal” by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, NATO and the European Union (Commission and European Council) signed a cooperation agreement on security issues, including on terrorism, cyber-defense, and “hybrid threats” and disinformation campaigns stemming from the South and the East (read Russia). The agreement aims at boosting cooperation, information sharing, analysis, prevention, and early detection of both physical and cyber threats. The first implementation plan should be presented at the NATO Council in December 2016.
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