NATO Beefs Up Logistics Infrastructure For Offensive Operations

Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Some very important news is kept out of spotlight and undeservedly so. Bits of information pieced together indicate that very quietly the North Atlantic alliance is gearing up for large-scale combat operations. War preparations are not limited to weapon systems deployments and troop movements that hit headlines. No combat can be waged without logistics.

The US Army official website informs that the US European Command (EUCOM) Logistics Directorate (ECJ4), other EUCOM directorates, NATO allies and partners, and the Joint Logistics Enterprise (JLEnt) are effecting an unprecedented security transformation. They are transitioning from being focused on assurance through engagement to being a warfighting command postured for deterrence and defense. Throughout fiscal year 2017, 28 joint and multinational exercises in 40 European countries, the buildup of four NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) multinational battlegroups in the Baltics, and overlapping deployments of rotating armored brigade combat teams and combat aviation brigades will test, validate, and offer proof of principle for these infrastructure and organic capability investments.

NATO Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a US Army Europe-led, multinational exercise, took place in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania on July 11 - 20, 2017 with 25,000 troops and forces from 24 countries. The event demonstrated the increased scope and complexity of war games. The drills were conducted against the background of this year's rotational deployment of more than 4,500 troops in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as Poland. 2nd Cavalry Regiment soldiers are already operating as a deterrent force roughly 100 miles from Poland’s border with the Russian military enclave of Kaliningrad.

Citing the lessons learned from the training event, US Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, emphasized in an interview the importance of NATO logistics. According to him, progress is evident but much remained to be done to ease the movement of military equipment and forces across Europe in the event of a real crisis, and Germany could play a crucial role. Hodges noted that Berlin could ensure guaranteed rail access as part of its bid to boost military spending from around 1.2 percent of gross domestic product to the 2 percent NATO target.

The military leader underscored the importance of creating a military free transit zone modeled on the 1996 Schengen agreement to allow free forces movements across the borders of European NATO members.

Meanwhile, construction works are in full swing to enable Poland to host combat-ready stocks at the 33rd Air Base, operated by the Polish Air Force. Powidz, a village with a population of 1,000, is to become a strategically important NATO hub for the Baltics and all of Northern Europe. The plans include the delivery of more than a brigade’s worth of military vehicles, equipment, artillery and personnel. In April, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges described it as the «center of the center of gravity».

Over the next two years, $70 million will be spent on 77 military infrastructure and improvement projects for both US Army and US Air Force operations. An additional $200 million in NATO funds will be spent for the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct a new storage site and warehouse facility in Powidz. Poland’s increasing importance is the result of a combination of factors, Hodges said, including geography and existing hubs, such as the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence unit in the country’s northeast. «Any contingency we have to deal with, we’ll almost certainly have to come through Poland», he noted.

US European Command Chief Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti is planning for an expanded military presence in Europe to eventually include a full US Army division. If that happens, even on a rotational basis, the Army would likely need more facilities for basing forces.

In May, US Army Europe announced that it had established a new tactical headquarters in Poznan, Poland. The goal is to enhance the mission command of US rotational forces and units assigned to US Army Europe conducting operations where no significant military presence had been previously maintained.

So, Poland is in focus of the infrastructure efforts but the plans go much further. The Estonian town of Tapa, which sits at an important railway junction, is located less than 150km (93 miles) from the Russian border. It has recently become the base for a NATO battle group, in accordance with the Enhanced Forward Presence concept approved at the Warsaw summit in 2016. It envisions multi-national battle groups deployed in each of the three Baltic States and another in Poland.

General Sir Nicholas Patrick «Nick» Carter, the head of the British Army as Chief of the General Staffsaid «We would very much like to test the land line of communication from our mounting bases in Germany, forward into the Baltics, and we would absolutely like to test what it would be like bringing in reinforcing capabilities - the signature equipment that are appropriate to show how you would reinforce and to understand what would happen».

In 2016, Poland and the Baltic States reached an agreement to link Poland, Finland and the Baltic States with the unified Trans-European Transport Network (NRA) that will be crucial to the defense of the Baltic States. A continuous rail link named «Rail Baltica» from Tallinn to Warsaw (Poland), via Kaunas (Lithuania) and Riga (Latvia) will lead to significant logistical implications for the NATO.

Thomas Durell Young, a program manager at Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, and a staff consultant at the RAND Corporation, has recently published a book, titled Anatomy of Post-Communist European Defense Institutions. He believes that the «new» members of the alliance - Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, the three Baltics States, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and some of the republics that emerged out of Yugoslavia - need to radically transform their «ineffectual legacy logistics organizations« with the help of «old» members of the alliance. Professor Young emphasizes the importance of reform as a potential war with Russia would «almost certainly» start in Central or Eastern Europe.

The rapid creation of logistics infrastructure and some other factors, such as militarization of the Scandinavian Peninsula, fit into a bigger picture of NATO war preparations in East Europe and the Baltics. These are not steps of defensive nature. The goal is to acquire the ability to move substantial forces to the areas close to Russia’s borders gearing up for offensive operations in an armed conflict.


JohninMK lakecity55 Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:34 Permalink

No, the problem with all this to the Russians is that a huge build-up could take place openly and it couldn't stop it without it initiating WW3.Russian forces would either have to be upgraded in parallel to match the threat, as mentioned Kaliningrad is the obvious target with NATO forces to its east and in the Baltic to prevent overland or seaborne reinforcement.If NATO believes that this is the target and it is a winnable strategy they are deluding themselves. Forget a Russian Nuclear response, the sky would be black with Russian Iskander short range missiles and Kalibre and other cruise missiles hitting roads/railways/military installations all over Europe, from Gibraltar to Tromso, Naples to Lossiemouth, Scotland, not forgetting Qatar. Then there are the sitting ducks of the Pentagon and US bases in the US!NATO would have to fight with what it had in place as no ship could safely cross the Atlantic and the airfields would be inoperable for heavy transports.The Pentagon, or whoever is in charge of the madhouse, is trying to kill us all.

In reply to by lakecity55

Yen Cross lakecity55 Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:45 Permalink

 I'm not for warmongering, but I would NOT mess with the United States special forces. P.S. THe Russians don't have ny reason to be there, so the idea of their presence is moot. The Russians and Chinese arn't buddies, and Russia stands a lot to gain from a unified Korean peninsula. Just from optics, the Crimea and Ukraine situations would be hard to argue.

In reply to by lakecity55

BandGap Yen Cross Mon, 08/07/2017 - 08:24 Permalink

I agree the US Special Forces are the best in the world, but they can only take things so far.Russia will thrash out and obliterate as much as possible, but probably not enough to "win". BTW, what is "winning" here, people?  If this ever starts, it will be unlike anything I have seen, or read about, in my lifetime. For God's sake, why would anyone start a war without provocation? This is insane.My bet is still on NK. And again, under contrived circumstances.

In reply to by Yen Cross

JohninMK Yen Cross Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:15 Permalink

This looks to me more like the US bolstering its occupying forces in Europe under cover of an imaginary Russian threat. It has new Russian sanctions it needs to impose on an unwilling EU and Germany.Once complete the US will have the strongest army in Europe with the potential to move west as well as east. Once all the gear is in place in the warehouses a few 'on the quiet' planes coming in loaded with troops will see then ready to go in hours. It would all be over before dawn, EU politicians would not know what had happened.There is some doubt over the legal sovereignty of Germany with some believing that it is still ultimately under the control of the Allies so this is just the nail in the coffin. The possible actual Sovereign is just moving its real control in, to give its vassals some 'backbone' or in case it needs to quell any rebellious vassals. 

In reply to by Yen Cross

BritBob Mon, 08/07/2017 - 05:12 Permalink

Don't forget to keep one eye on the Spanish...Ceuta: an unofficial Russian naval ‘base’ in the Strait of Gibraltar?Right-wing groups in the US and UK criticize frequent stopovers in the Spanish enclave(El Pais, March 2016)Spanish Guardia Civil vessel Rio Cedena twice tried to disrupt the visit by ballistic missile sub USS Florida as it was approaching the British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of Spain.According to the Sun, the incident has caused outrage among senior officials in Gibraltar with one 'top source' saying: 'This is not only a very dangerous game for the Spanish to play but it is unbecoming of a NATO ally to treat the US Navy with such contempt.'(Daily Mail 6 May 2016) Looks like Spain will try and play the Gibraltar card  (A worthless sovereignty claim): Gibraltar - Some Relevant International Law: Gibraltar is an important NATO base.

gregga777 Mon, 08/07/2017 - 05:19 Permalink

Surely Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, the three Baltics States, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia won't mind when the Empire of Lies launches a war of aggression from their territories against the Russian Federation? Their citizens will proudly lay down their lives to support the Empire's campaign against Russian energy exports.

mog land_of_the_few Mon, 08/07/2017 - 14:59 Permalink

Nearly 2,000,000 Poles moved in - helped themselves - and are plundering Britain.
We voted BREXIT largely to get rid of these parasites in particular.
The sooner they are sent packing back where they came from - the happier most Brits will be..
They are filling up our prisons.
Even out criminal the islamics and thats saying something.
Breeding like rabbits and its a race between them and the islamics as to who are breeding the fastest at the expense of Britain and the British taxpayer.

In reply to by land_of_the_few

beijing expat Mon, 08/07/2017 - 05:19 Permalink

The new Cold War policy continues apace. Seems kind of stupid to me though. But what do you expect from a bunch of dimwit military assholes. These are the same clowns who went 1.6 billion over budget on their stupid NAZI headquarters.

I think their strategy is to take Kaliningrad on the logic that this defeat would cause Putin to lose face and fall from power.

I think the Russians have been quite honest when they say they will use nukes to defend themselves. I think their strategy will be to nuke the fuck out of Europe so that it's no longer of interest to America.

Think about it: is America going to fight a nuclear war over a pile of glowing gravel?

How fucking stupid are the NATO clown possie? They think they can win this.

gunzeon Mon, 08/07/2017 - 05:22 Permalink

don't want to chip in to something i'm not totally familiar with, but ..."Over the next two years, $70 million will be spent"Isn't that chicken feed, like, only by a few missiles or a few days of flying time or such ?Why all the hullaballoo ?

BritBob Mon, 08/07/2017 - 05:25 Permalink

Spending on NATO – Percentage of GDP 2016 - United States, 3.61%. Greece, 2.38%. Britain, 2.21%. Estonia, 2.16%. Poland, 2%. France, 1.78%. Turkey, 1.56%. Norway, 1.54%. Lithuania, 1.49%. Romania, 1.48%. Latvia, 1.45%. Portugal, 1.38%. Bulgaria, 1.35%. Croatia, 1.23%. Albania, 1.21%. Germany, 1.19%. Denmark, 1.17%. Netherlands, 1.17%. (NATO Stats published by CNN 18 July 2016)

Twee Surgeon dogismycopilot Mon, 08/07/2017 - 05:52 Permalink

Dude. Nobody invades Russia when Winter is coming up. Nobody makes an alliance with Russia and then turns around and pisses up Joseph Stalins leg right after having the Luftwaffe decimated before the USA Is even  in the War in the Battle of Britain.No massive artillery units stand off at Dunkirk so the British expeditionary Force can get back home and the French Navy attempts to blow up North Africa ?The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor because they were being cut out of the Fuel loop or something and President Whathefuck had full knowledge but declined to pre warn a few thousand service men and women.A lot of this shit does not add up. A lot of bad adding in the world today.

In reply to by dogismycopilot

Kaeako Twee Surgeon Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:20 Permalink

First of all, there was no alliance. They had a non-aggression pact. As for why Germans invaded when they did, the war was supposed to be over within months. Hitler himself is on record saying he thought it was impossible to wage war in the winter. They looked at the Soviet preparations in the western districts and became convinced that if the huge forces there are crushed quickly the Soviets have no choice but to sue for peace.

In reply to by Twee Surgeon

Kaeako dogismycopilot Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:00 Permalink

I'd love to read your sources on Soviet material as I've understood that the Soviets far outmatched the Germans in numbers and even quality until well into the war - at which point the German quality wasn't enough to overcome the sheer numerical superiority of the Soviets. During operation Barbarossa alone the Soviets lost 20,000+ aircraft and tanks, a lot of it out-dated but then it shows the massive resources the Soviet Union was pouring into the war machine - and it's not like the German gear was up-to-date either.

As for logistics, I wouldn't call them that advanced. In the very first months of the war the armored divisions were suffering from gas shortages and sometimes had to delay operations by days as they waited for supplies. Vast masses of infantry and artillery followed behind on foot and horse drawn carriages. The Soviet situation wasn't much better but deliveries of western trucks at least made it possible to form strategic reserves which would prove crucial at the decisive stages of the war.

In reply to by dogismycopilot

Lordflin Kaeako Mon, 08/07/2017 - 06:08 Permalink

You are correct. The Russians out gunned and out manned the Germans, but broke down at the level of command. It didn't help that Uncle Joe purged ten thousand of his top officer staff right before the conflict, but Russian war doctrine lagged the Germans and did so throughout the war. It was only by sheer numbers, and of course the proverbial Russian Winter, that the Germans were turned back.

In reply to by Kaeako

Lordflin BlindMonkey Mon, 08/07/2017 - 07:31 Permalink

Both sides were spirited (back then the German men were men... so were the Canadian men actually... you might be interested in reading up on the fighting around Caen between the Canadian 1st armor and the German 12SS... whatever happened to the fellows in those countries... well, we both know the answer to that) ... led to some very ugly fighting... but you are correct to suggest that the Russian people will defend their homeland to the death. They are a grim, determined lot...

In reply to by BlindMonkey

Lordflin Lordflin Mon, 08/07/2017 - 08:31 Permalink

Ahh, well, down flags... I can only assume that you don't like history?  I am sorry folks, these are the facts... not certain why you are blaming me but I can live with it... By the way... for you down flaggers... how many histories have you read concerning the war? How many battle maps have you studied? Seriously... this is hilarious...

In reply to by Lordflin