NATO summit: Alliance moves eastwards

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1 NATO summit: Alliance moves eastwards

2 Executive summary On July 8-9, the North Atlantic Council will assemble in Warsaw. For the first time since the end of the Cold War NATO will deploy combat troops alongside the border with Russia - fearing its aggression, but also to calm the moods with the Alliance s eastern members. Russian invasion on Ukraine triggered a decisive response from NATO. Following the annexation of Crimea and the breakout of the conflict in the east of Ukraine in the spring of 2014 the countries of the eastern flank began to demand permanent presence of the Alliance s troops on their soil. Eventually NATO will not build full-scale bases alongside the Russian border, but will set up multinational troops consisting of around 4,000 soldiers, which will rotate on the eastern flank - the most powerful of them, the battalion combat groups, will begin their service in 2017 and will be deployed to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Alliance withdraws from partnership with Russia. A direct political consequence to the Ukrainian crisis is the change of the dominant paradigm in NATO-Russia relations. Moscow, which has been the crucial partner for the Alliance since 2002, is now being treated as a potential aggressor. Despite that fact, however, the West did not dismiss the NATO-Russia council, and also did not decide to invalidate the 1997 Founding Act, which limits the freedom to deploy major military forces and nuclear weapons in the vicinity of the Russian border, but assumes also the military strengthening of the areas most exposed to a potential aggression on behalf of Moscow. Confirming the solidarity among allies. NATO made all efforts possible to deliver a coherent response to the Russian actions. In order to do that, new military formations have been established with the aim to deter and counter a potential aggression - they are limited in numbers, but multinational. The latter feature highlights the involvement of different members of the Alliance. Although military commanders requested well-coordinated and well-trained troops, the political criterion of the participation of as many countries as possible turned out to be more important. It might bring about complications in combat, but will increase the international reaction capacity in the event of a real conflict. A financial challenge ahead for the West. The Americans have refused to take full responsibility for the creation of new troops and demanded other allied countries to single out formations from their respective national armies. The US will be in charge of one of the four battalion groups, the remaining three will be provided by Canada, Great Britain and Germany. During the Warsaw summit the American delegation will demand Western European countries to increase their defense spendings and raise the combat capacity of their respective armed forces. It will force many of the Alliance s members to change their national budgets. NATO will put enlargements on hold. Following the acceptance of Montenegro as its 29th member, the Alliance will not gear up accession talks with any other country. The accession of Ukraine or Georgia is currently out of question, even though the open door policy will still be the dominant paradigm. NATO is currently going through a period of internal strengthening and begins to focus more on the protection of its own territory. Accepting new members would imply enlarging the area that needs to be defended, while the military potential will not see a significant increase. A new approach to the Middle East. NATO will indirectly get involved in the fight with the Islamic State, but will not send major troops onto the front-lines. The Alliance will offer training support to Iraq and Jordan, as well as to Libya, should a national unity government be established there. It will also send AWACS aircraft to support the coalition s actions in Syria and Iraq and monitor migration on the Aegean Sea. The creation of a new anti-terrorism strategy will be one of the main tasks for NATO after the summit. AUTHOR Marek Świerczyński Senior Security Affairs Analyst (+48)

3 Table of contents How the summit will proceed 4 Politicians and soldiers, or what NATO consists of 5 What are the practicalities of the NATO summit 6 How NATO has evolved since the Newport summit 7 Four battalion groups for the Alliance s eastern members 8 How Russia could respond to NATO moves 9

4 AGENDA How the summit will proceed The whole event will take just over 24 hours. On Friday evening the most im-portant decisions for Poland will be announced concerning the strengthening of the eastern flank. The summit will last 24 hours. On Friday at 10.15, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will wel-come the participants and present a detailed agenda of the summit. It will formally start at 2.30 pm with official speeches by Stoltenberg and president Andrzej Duda. Around 3.30 pm, the first session of the North Atlantic Council at the level of heads of states and governments will begin. The event will be held at the Warsaw National Stadium and will be attended by 28 NATO countries and Montenegro, the representatives of which will be observing the debates. The session will be summarised by Stoltenberg, who will present the decisions on strengthening the eastern flank at a press conference at 6.30 pm. Friday devoted to eastern flank. The key decision of the first session of the Council will be the establishment of the extended reinforced presence of multinational NATO troops in Estonia, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. The core of the four reinforced battalion groups will be provided by the US, Canada, UK and Germany from The other NATO countries will make declarations to participate, in consultation with the hosting states. The details concerning the four battalions will be determined after the summit. Leaders, ministers, generals at separate dinners. The presidents and PMs of the 29 countries, as well as prime ministers of Sweden and Finland, will attend a dinner planned for 8.00 pm at the Presidential Palace. In this way, NATO acknowledged for the first time the regional partners, who became important for the Alliance in the context of the rising threat from Russia. Foreign ministers will meet at a ceremony at Warsaw s Grand Theatre, while defense ministers will meet at the Primate s Palace. Also the Chiefs of Staff will assemble at a working dinner, and Beata Szydło will invite the representatives of the countries cooperating with NATO to the Royal Castle. Saturday dedicated to Alliance s partners. The second day of the summit will begin with a meeting of the member states with President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani. A declaration of cooperation between NATO and the EU will be signed on that day as well. Later, the NATO-Ukraine commission will meet with participation of President Petro Poroshenko, who will announce a new package of the Alliance s support solutions aimed for the Ukrainian armed forces. NATO will also summarise Georgia s accession process. The Visegrad Group leaders will meet separately. Stoltenberg will summarise the whole summit at a press conference at 5.00 pm. Experts outside the stadium. The National Stadium common will host the Experts Summit confer-ence organised by PISM and GLOBSEC, with the support of the Atlantic Council, CSIS and GMF. Stol-tenberg and Duda will open it on Friday morning, and about 300 experts on security, defence and international relations will attend it. The former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was in office while Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary joined NATO in 1999, will be the guest of honour. On Friday, the stadium will also host a bilateral meeting of Duda and US President Barack Obama. The NATO Summit in Warsaw will not mark the completion of work on the new military structure of the Alliance - the extended reinforced presence on the eastern flank. The military will have to further clarify the specific composition of battalion groups and the length of their rotation, as well as the chain of command. In the coming months, a multinational HQ at divisional level is expected to be created in Poland for this purpose. As previously announced, the first troops of the reinforced presence of NATO will arrive to the eastern flank in the first quarter of

5 STRUCTURE Politicians and soldiers, or what NATO consists of The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is a political-military alliance - therefore the use of force requires a political consensus. North Atlantic Council. It consists of 28 ambassadors of the member states who meet in Brussels every week. Special-purpose talks could be organized within two hours from the moment of notification. Heads of foreign and defense ministries also take part in the council, as do heads of state and governments (who meet every two years). The council is headed by secretary general, typically former high-profile official from outside the US. In the last decade, this post was held by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer from the Netherlands and Anders Fogh Rasmussen from Denmark. Currently, the council is headed by Jens Stoltenberg from Norway. Military Committee. This is the Alliance s senior military authority, which includes 27 military representatives and a civilian official from Iceland. It convenes at least once a week. It also runs sessions at the level of chiefs of defense three times a year. Its role is to advise the council, particularly with regard to the use of troops, and to act as supervisory body for strategic commanders. The Military Committee develops strategic plans, doctrines and recommendations, which are then implemented by the International Military Staff. It is chaired by NATO s most senior military officer, typically from outside the US currently the Czech general Petr Pavel. Two strategic commands. These include the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (Mons, Belgium) headed by a US general (Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti) and the Allied Command Transformation (Norfolk, US), typically staffed by a French general (Gen. Denis Mercier). The Supreme Allied Commander Europe controls two joint headquarters (JFHQ): the northern one in Brunssum (the Netherlands) and southern in Naples (Italy). The commanders hold tenure posts, and generals are appointed by a joint decision of NATO member states. Those post are currently held by an Italian general Salvatore Farina (Brunssum) and US admiral Mark Fergusson (Naples). A double role of the operational commander. He is the commander of US forces in Europe and the most senior US officer in NATO, appointed by the US president for (usually) a three-year term. On May 4, gen. Curtis Scaparrotti became US commander in Europe, taking over from gen. Phil Breedlove. He is responsible for current operations, defines the sizes of necessary forces and maintains the level of NATO defense capabilities. He also stays in contact with heads of staff and armed forces of the Alliance member states. In case of aggression, he is responsible for the defense and restoring NATO s territorial integrity, but cannot command troops without a political consensus. National and multi-national corps. There are nine land corps HQs in NATO: Greek, Spanish, British, French, Italian, Turkish, German-Netherlands, multinational in Szczecin as well as Eurocorps in Strasbourg. Each of them consists of specific divisions and brigades, although due to funding cuts some of them remain constantly understaffed. NATO also has five naval headquarters and five joint air components. Rapid response forces include the NATO Response Force (NRF), amounting to 30,000 troops, and the spearhead (VJTF) of some 5,000 soldiers. The armed forces of NATO countries amount to a total of over 3,300,000 soldiers which, given their conventional and nuclear potential, surpass Russian forces. But political consensus of 28 countries is necessary every time they are to be used, which means that prompt decisions are hard to come by and that, once taken, they may not fully satisfy all member states. As a result, it is as important for NATO countries to develop a political consensus and maintain dialogue between governments as is to have well equipped and trained armed forces. 5

6 MECHANISM What are the practicalities of the NATO summit Decisions adopted during the Alliance s conference are prepared and negotiated in advance. Announced earlier The deployment of battalion groups on the eastern flank Selection of framework countries for the groups Allocation of battalion groups to specdific Eastern flank countries Creation of multinational brigade in Romania Announced during the summit or later The composition of groups and command chain Confirmation of framework countries: US, Canada, Great Britain and Germany Specific location and cooperation with the armies of hosting countries Composition and date of the brigade s formation Meeting of the North Atlantic Council. Each session opens with a speech by secretary general, who outlines the meeting s agenda. If the summit is held outside Brussels, participants are also being welcomed by the leader of the host country. The next stage is confidential: leaders of member states make their speeches according to the precedence rule the order depends on the office held and length of time in office. The order of appearance could, however, be altered; usually leaders of the US, Turkey, United Kingdom and France are among the first to speak. During the Warsaw summit, the first session of the Council (July 8) will be devoted to the eastern flank, and secretary general Jens Stoltenberg is to announce its conclusions at a press briefing scheduled for 6.30 pm. Decisions taken earlier. NATO leaders do not negotiate during the summits, only declare support for previously negotiated issues. They are able to actively express such support (by making a statement) or by silent agreement but none of the previously negotiated points is adopted in the event of a single voice of disagreement. If there is an area of dispute, the issue will not be accepted by the Council, which convenes at the highest level. In Warsaw, the postponed decisions will touch upon the chain of command of multi-national rotational battalions. Up to 200 people during the Council meeting. There are both presidents and PMs of member states sitting at the negotiating table. The delegation also includes heads of foreign and defense ministries, head of military staff and permanent military and civilian representatives to NATO. The Polish president will be accompanied by head of BBN Paweł Soloch and minister for international affairs Krzysztof Szczerski. Council members sit at the table in alphabetical order. NATO also provides simultaneous interpreting into French and English, while delegations can also run two additional translations. Formal conclusions are not presented to the leaders. Decisions taken during the summit are announced partially during earlier sessions of foreign, defense ministers and NATO military committee. Civilian and military representatives to NATO play a key role in negotiating the deal, intergovernmental consultations are also important. Leaders of member states are informed about the decisions in advance these are always approved by the Council at the level of heads of state and government, and announced by secretary general. The summit s conclusions consist of 100 points included in one document, published in French and English shortly after the summit. Twice as many delegations as NATO members. Warsaw will play host to delegations from 29 countries, (28 members and Montenegro), 21 partner nations (Partnership for Peace, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and Mediterranean Dialogue) and international organisations. Russia is not going to take part in the summit, despite its involvement in Partnership for Peace. Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz said that there would be 57 various delegations arriving in Warsaw. The North Atlantic Council is the highest decision- -making body during the summit and outside of it. Its makeup is typically altered from summit to summit, but its competences remain unchanged. The council is set to supervise the process of implementing decisions adopted during the summit in Warsaw. In the military sphere the decision will be the responsibility of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and all of the alliance s military structure. The upcoming months will be devoted to establishing the makeup, tasks and command structure of multinational forces on the eastern flank. First rotational units will be deployed in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the first quarter of

7 DECISIONS How has NATO evolved since Newport summit Over the last two years, the Alliance moved from expeditionary tasks to defending its territory. Increased responsiveness. During the summit in Newport, NATO leaders decided to create forces able to react at very short notice (48-72 hours) and deploy the so-called spearhead in the area of conflict. The latter would consist of high readiness units from Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. Later, the spearhead was merged with the NATO Response Force (NRF), provided by its framework country. It needs to allocate high readiness battalion group and a rapid reaction brigade, which would need to maintain constant readiness to be deployed and quickly used in combat zones. The new formation was tested during the spring military exercises Brilliant Jump, held in Poland in the last two years. Extended reaction force. The spearhead is a reinforced light infantry brigade supported by aerial, maritime, logistics and special forces, which, however, does not stand a major chance in a confrontation with larger armoured units. That is why, in reaction to the Russian invasion on Ukraine, NATO enlarged the NRF up to 40,000 soldiers. It includes the spearhead as well as two reinforced mechanised and armoured brigades. Those forces might be combat-ready in days, but NA- TO could also order combat alert and high readiness before a planned mission without political consultations. Forward headquarters set to facilitate deployment of troops. NATO has already appointed 40 officers of the so-called NATO force integration unit in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria; additional ones are planned to be set up in Hungary and Slovakia. They are going to cooperate with local military and authorities and facilitate possible deployment of the spearhead, reaction force and main assault forces to the area of conflict. NATO has also appointed the command of a multi-national division in Bucharest and doubled in size the HQ of a multi-national corps in Szczecin. A return regular large-scale exercises. NATO has held around 300 training and military exercises since 2014, which largely exceeds the number of exercises held before the conflict in Ukraine. In addition, they involve realistic scenarios, namely searching and destroying Russian submarines, retaking the Baltic states or deploying the spearhead to the eastern flank. In the autumn of 2015 NATO began to practise using large formations, for instance a whole corps fearing Russia s reaction, NATO does not hold those exercises on the eastern flank. Stopping a decrease in defense spending. In 2015, defense spending of NATO European member states and Canada increased by 0.6 per cent year on year, and in 2016 it is set to increase even further, by 1.5 per cent. After years of cuts in defense spending only five NATO countries (including Poland) spend at least 2 per cent of their GDP, including a minimum of 20 per cent to modernise weapons. In 2016, twenty NATO member states are set to increase defense spending in real terms, and a majority of them are likely to increase it by 2 per cent by The summit in Warsaw will decide on the division of burdens between the US and other NATO members. The summit in Newport saw some short-term decisions, which after the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, were set to guarantee a minimum level of security of Eastern European countries that felt most threatened. The summit in Warsaw aims to stress the fact that NATO has now adopted a strategy of deterrence on the eastern flank. The presence of multinational troops in countries close to a potential threat will now become a permanent element of NATO security system. But the presence will remain both limited and flexible, which would allow politicians to reduce its size, if they decide that the threat from Russia has decreased. 7

8 EASTERN FLANK Four battalion groups for Alliance s eastern members Their internal diversity will reduce the combat worthiness of four NATO battalions on the eastern flank. Four battalions from Estonia to Poland. Three weeks before the summit in Warsaw, NATO confirmed that it would send four reinforced multi-national battalions to the eastern flank. The framework countries will provide staff officers and a majority of forces, but the troops will also include companies and platoons from 24 NATO member states. Each battalion could consists of up to five companies. Multi-national battalions will be larger than those used in regular armies. Complicated structure against the NATO recommendations. In February, the Alliance s foreign ministers met in Brussels and agreed to reinforce forward presence of NATO forces on the eastern flank. Back then, NATO s Military Committee prepared special recommendations on how to form four battalions that would use a homogenous command system, units and hardware used by their military detachments. Military officials argued that going below the level of a company or platoon would complicate the command and guidance structure as well as logistics of forces that would be used in combat in case of Russian aggression. Still, politicians decided that during the operation in the east, troops from the largest possible number of member states should be used. Unclear US involvement. US ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said that it was still unclear, which countries would provide multi-national NATO battalions under US command. Soldiers could be sent from the US, they could also come from US Army Europe or one of the battalions of the brigade combat team, which the US wants to send to Eastern Europe starting February But only the first option would de facto strengthen NATO. One NATO battalion under US command will be deployed in Poland. Deployment of forces to be discussed after the summit. Exactly where NATO forces would be deployed will be negotiated between host countries, leading NATO nations that would send their battalions as well as countries that would provide additional units. But the key role will be played by SACEUR, which would decide, whether the proposed make-up will be sufficient for the designated operational area. Berlin and Vilnius have already announced that a German battalion will be deployed in Lithuania, the Baltic states are willing to embrace British-Nordic forces, while Poland will host the US, and Latvia - the Canadian battalion. The exact makeup of the forces will be decided apart from politics through taking into account the soldiers experience in cooperation, their equipment and level of training. Battalions under NATO command. There are plans to create a new command in Poland at the level of division, used for the American, NATO and national forces in the east. But the Alliance s forces on the eastern flank will be under political and military NATO control. It means that NATO s first line of defense would have to rely on national armies. Aggression on the territory protected by the treaty will trigger a reaction of NATO forces, but possible delay will amount to more than a dozen hours. After several days, NATO s rapid reaction forces as well as response force will also go into combat. The multi-national character of NATO forces on the eastern flank might mean that the battalions would have more translators within their ranks than riflemen. It also shows that the initiative to send troops to countries potentially threatened by Russian aggression is in nature mainly a political, not military one. The Alliance has stressed that strengthening the eastern flank is taking place according to the NATO-Russia Founding Act from 1997 and does not involve deploying substantial forces forbidden by that agreement. As a result, NATO is sending Russia a clear signal that it about to roll out a warning line, not a real defensive perimeter. 8

9 EASTERN FLANK How Russia could respond to NATO moves The Kremlin warned that it is planning to form new divisions, conduct missile tests and reinforce military units in the west of the country. Strategic missile tests. The R-30 Bulava missiles, with a range of 8,000 km, fired from submarines, as well as the latest land-based RS-24 Yars with a range of 10,000 km, are - according to official statements - going to be used in two tests. In line with US-Russia treaties, they need to be an-nounced in advance in order to avoid a possible nuclear confrontation. In the coming months, Russia wants to conduct a total of 16 strategic missile tests these might be held even during the NATO summit in Warsaw. Iskanders to be deployed in Crimea and the Kaliningrad Oblast. Russia could quickly move short-range ballistic Iskander missiles near NATO borders. Iskanders had been already been deployed there before for purposes of military exercises. If the plan went ahead, the base in Redzikowo and a considerable part of Poland s territory would fall within the missiles range. But even without the Iskanders, NATO bases could be targeted by cruise missiles of the Kalibr system, fired from Iskander-K launchers. Russia s navy adopted the same system also on surface vessels and submarines - it was used during the intervention in Syria. Reinforcing units in the west of the country. NATO s move to deploy four battalions on the Alliance s eastern flank is to be countered by establishing three additional divisions in the socalled Western Military District. Their creation was already announced in 2015 and according to Russia s defense minister Sergey Shoygu, the process of their creation is already underway. It is a part of the plan to increase the size of Russian army up to a million soldiers it currently stands at nearly 800,000 soldiers, and this year it would increase by 10,000. Russia plans to deploy in the western part of the country radars capable of detecting stealth aircraft and helicopters that generate radio- -electronic interference that disrupts the operation of radars. Tanks in every airborne unit. According to the plans of the defense ministry s plans, armoured bat-talions that would form the first wave of assault troops would receive modernised T-72B3M tanks, equipped with a new fire control system, sighting tools, ballistic computer and Relikt explosive reactive armour. The 125 mm guns were also improved and engine output increased by 25 per cent. However, T-72B3M tanks cannot be parachuted. Therefore it is still unclear how they would be used by airborne troops, which are a separate type of armed forces. Further escalation possible. NATO has grown accustomed to aggressive actions of the Russian air force, unannounced large-scale military exercises or missile tests, and includes them as consequences of its own actions. But the Alliance has considerable reservations about the possibility of Russia s unpredictable reaction involving tactical nuclear weapons, including, for instance, the deployment of nuclear warheads or air force units to the Kaliningrad Oblast or Crimea. Mission sorties flown by strategic bombers carrying nuclear weapons, particularly if their route were meant to simulate a cruise missile attack on NATO installations, could be equally alarming. Vladimir Putin could decide to take steps aimed to deepen the internal conflicts within the Alliance. Softening the stance on the Ukrainian crisis, taking a step towards implementing the Minsk agreements or reducing military activity at NATO borders would strengthen the proponents of a political solution to the crisis with Moscow, without the need of taking costly military decisions. After the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko was released, a number of Western experts suggested another round of talks with Russia German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier mentioned the possibility of gradual lifting of sanctions if Moscow decided to implement the provisions of the Minsk agreements. 9

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