Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Avoid Too Little and Avoid Too Late

Should America permanently deploy Army troops in Poland?

The Defense Department could soon be assessing the feasibility of permanently deploying U.S. troops to Poland to counter Russian aggression.

The U.S. Senate last week approved a measure to require the Pentagon to study the need for such a deployment and the political ramifications of it.

I think that America should put a division's worth of equipment in Poland; and permanently deploy air defenses plus improve the logistics capacity of Poland to accept NATO reinforcements from the west.

I'm willing to make compromises to avoid making the Russians even more paranoid than they are. Just as important, I don't believe America could deploy enough troops to Poland and points north to actually defeat the Russians if the Russians invade.

But a REFORPOL type of program in Poland would be prudent:

In addition to maintaining sufficient forces deployed in Europe able to move east to reinforce the eastern European NATO frontline states, we should establish American, British, and German equipment depots for additional heavy brigades in southern Poland. If we can fly in troops to man these forces, in a return of forces to Poland (REFORPOL) concept, we'd enhance deterrence without forward deploying powerful NATO offensive units that would scare the Russians in reality instead of their faux fear of Georgians and Latvians. Those units could swing north or south or stay put once manned and fielded.

So far, counting on a benign Russia that is a strategic partner, we've extended NATO membership east without extending NATO military strength east in any significant fashion. It is time to correct that mistake. Russia has shown they'll strike at gaps in our defenses. Fill those gaps.

So a better course is to refuse to dangle bait that will be defeated because it is too little to win, while increasing the ability to reinforce eastern NATO so we won't be too late.

UPDATE: Strategypage discusses the logistics of eastern NATO. I've mentioned the problem before.

The bigger problem is that despite having superior military power, NATO has to rush that superior power to the east where Russia maintains a short-term advantage in military power over the eastern NATO states.