A long-term NATO Readiness Action Plan to deal with global upheaval in areas such as Russia, the Middle East and North Africa will be a key focus of NATO’s summit in Wales, an alliance official said.
“Prepositioning military equipment, making elements of the NATO Response Force able to deploy quicker, more intelligence gathering, making changes to infrastructure [e.g. making a runway longer if needed] and more exercises are among the options being considered,” a second NATO official said.
Russian aggression against Ukraine is a major concern for NATO, and the plan would include longer-term reassurance measures for Eastern Europe, such as military exercises and other naval and aerial activity.
“It will give NATO a strategy to be more ready and responsive,” the official said.
Russia’s actions in Ukraine have underlined the need for the ability to respond not just to direct conventional warfare but hybrid warfare involving sophisticated information campaigns across mainstream media and social media, and tactics that included Russian operatives sent to Ukraine covertly to create instability, the official said.
An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 18 authored by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, US European Command commander and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, put it this way: “[T]he dangers of 2014 differ from the threats of the Cold War. They are multiple and more insidious. Instability rages to the south, with an arc of crises spreading from North Africa to the Middle East. And Russia is resorting to a hybrid war, with snap exercises, secret commandos and smuggled missiles.”