The retaliation from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should Russia attack a member country has a tendency to be delayed, according to Bloomberg’s James Neuger. The NATO-decision making process involved decision from many political leaders in order for the alliance to respond to aggression from Russia, Neuger noted.
Delay Could Be Substantial
Vladimir Putin’s plan of directly attacking a NATO member country remains a theory at present. However, experts already see weakness with the implementation of NATO orders if Russian attacks happen.
The commander of the alliance “does not have peacetime operational control and would have to wait for allied governments to make a decision,” said John Deni, a professor at the U.S. Army War Colleges Strategic Studies Institute in Carlisle.
The main issue of concern, Deni said, is a possible covert attack by Russia against a NATO member country. He said overt attacks like tanks crossing the border will not be a problem for NATO. But “something less than a very clear attack” is a grave concern. Something “that would require time for the alliance to figure out what’s going to happen. Depending on the nature of the crisis, that delay could be substantial,” Deni highlighted.
On Feb 5, NATO ministers enhanced the Response Force. The ministers agreed to widen the scope of the high readiness force with a land brigade of around 5,000 troops supported by air, sea and Special Forces.
The Spearhead Force will be backed up by two more brigades as rapid reinforcement capability in case of major crisis. “Altogether, the enhanced NATO Response Force will count up to around 30,000 troops,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in his announcement.
NATO defense ministers also agreed to establish six command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. “If a crisis arises, they will ensure that national and NATO forces from across the Alliance are able to act as one from the start. They will make rapid deployment easier. Support planning for collective defense,” Stoltenberg added.
However, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute said that the rapid deployable brigade makes no sense if the alliance cannot make political decisions on a commensurate timeline. Making prompt decision is also an element of the readiness action plan which has not yet been decided, Lute pointed out during a media conference of Feb 11.