Science

NATO Must Boost Naval Might to Win against Russia

By | May 09, 2017 09:39 AM EDT
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Ready for Russia

Warships of Standing NATO Maritime Group One. (Photo : NATO)

NATO is paying scant attention to attaining naval superiority over the Russian Navy, an omission that might prove fatal in the coming war against Russia for the control of Eastern Europe.

The alliance is, however, pouring massive resources into strengthening its land armies and air forces, which already enjoy numerical and technological superiority over the Russian Land Forces. To address its inferiority, the Russians are producing more and more tactical nuclear weapons and now seem no longer hesitant to use these weapons against NATO.

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NATO superiority, however, doesn't extend to its navies and a new report, "NATO and the North Atlantic: Revitalizing Collective Defense," argues this inferiority must cease.

"If NATO does not have effective control of the North Atlantic, or at least the ability to deny Russia naval access to this maritime domain, Russia could block or disrupt U.S. reinforcement to Europe," wrote the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in a report issued yesterday.

RUSI is a British defense and security think tank founded in 1831 by Sir Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, and victor over Napoleon Bonaparte.

RUSI admonishes NATO to rethink its maritime strategy so as to defeat Russia's push for naval supremacy in the North Atlantic.

"We must have command of the sea," contends retired U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, the former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations.

"The way forward is to strengthen both capability and sustainability, upgrade contingency plans, and reassess the current command and control structure to meet the challenges of tomorrow. NATO needs first-class intelligence and top-notch weapon systems for all domains: air; land; sea; submarine; cyber; and space."

Breedlove said NATO must put the North Atlantic Ocean back on its agenda while improving its readiness and responsiveness.

NATO must return to North Atlantic waters, said Col. John Andreas, the Norwegian defense attaché in London and the survey's editor.

"The North Atlantic must yet again be recognized as an operational space in its own right as well as a continuous and interdependent transatlantic theater of operation," he said.

NATO maintains two standing maritime Immediate Reaction Forces: Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) deployed to the Atlantic Ocean and Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) deployed to the Mediterranean Sea.

SNMG1 is a component of the NATO Response Force (NRF), which is a high readiness force comprising land, air, sea and Special Forces units capable of being deployed quickly on operations wherever needed.

It consists of 4 to 6 destroyers and frigates, with the Royal Canadian Navy, the German Navy, the Royal Netherlands Navy, and the U.S. Navy each contributing one warship on a permanent basis.


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