Source: The Strategic Culture Foundation, by Alex Gorka
A group of about 50 combat engineers based at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown were deployed to Latvia on April 29 as part of Operation Reassurance. The mission is to build a town for 500 soldiers. According to commanding officer Lt.-Col. Chris Cotton, the installation will have «everything you would expect in a small town, from its kitchen to its quarters, its electrical distribution system, water distribution system, internet, gym facilities that would allow people to survive over the long term in Latvia». Obviously, this is an element of vast infrastructure to provide for a long-term commitment.
In early April, a US-led battle group of 1,350 soldiers for NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe arrived at its base near Orzysz in northeastern Poland. It took place just a few days after a NATO-Russia Council meeting took place on March 30. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the talks with Moscow «frank» and «constructive». Then the usual song and dance followed under the slogan of Russian threat.
British RAF fighters are scheduled to be stationed to Romania this May. In March the first of 800 UK troops arrived in Estonia supported by around 300 armed vehicles. Along with French and Danish forces they’ll be stationed there on what NATO leadership calls «rotational basis». In January, German and Belgian forces arrived in Lithuania near the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The UK leads the Estonia Battlegroup while other NATO members are deploying forces to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as part of the bloc’s Enhanced Forward Presence battalion. All in all, 4,000 NATO troops with tanks, armored vehicles, air support, and high-tech intelligence centers deployed to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
In accordance with the fiscal year 2017 European Reassurance Initiative budget proposal, the US Army is reopening or creating five equipment-storage sites in the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium and two locations in Germany.
Last September, the service began to assemble more Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) for permanent storage in Europe. Those stocks will be sufficient for another armored brigade to fall in on. The rotating brigade will bring its own equipment. The move will add hundreds of the Army’s most advanced weapons systems to beef up the US European Command’s combat capability. It will also free up an entire brigade’s worth of weapons currently being used by US forces training on the continent to enable more American troops to be rushed in on short notice.
An armored brigade combat team comprises about 4,200 troops and includes approximately 250 tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Paladin self-propelled howitzers, plus 1,750 wheeled vehicles. The proposed budget increase includes a $1.8bn outlay on 45,000 GPS-guided smart bombs and laser-guided rockets to boost the precision strike capability.
Categories: World at WAR