Wednesday, December 20, 2017

NATO Secretary General Stresses Change, European Union Integration

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 20, 2017 — NATO is evolving and adapting to changing times, and part of that evolution must involve the European Union, the alliance secretary general said at the French Ecole Militaire yesterday.

Jens Stoltenberg told students at the illustrious university in Paris that NATO has proven its ability to evolve to face changing threats.

“Our history has taught us that our ability to adapt is crucial to our success,” the secretary general said. “Again and again, faced with a changing world, the alliance has evolved.”

The alliance formed to combat the Soviet Union and ensure Western Europe’s freedom and independence. It evolved when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

It evolved again with the al-Qaida attacks on 9/11, with NATO taking a lead role in Afghanistan.

Three years ago, the alliance had to change again when Russia illegally annexed Crimea -- the only time since World War II that a European country has seized part of another by force. And in the Middle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria captured Mosul and Raqqa, and declared those cities as parts of its so-called caliphate.

“As a result, NATO has to both strengthen our collective defense at home and manage crises beyond our borders,” Stoltenberg said.

Deter, Defend

In Europe, NATO allies “have implemented the largest reinforcement of our deterrence and defense since the Cold War,” he said. The NATO Response Force tripled to 40,000 troops, including a high-readiness force, ready to move within days. The alliance also stepped up military exercises and enhanced air policing in the Baltic and Black Sea regions.

“We have deployed almost 5,000 troops in four multinational battle groups to the east of the alliance,” he said. Those battle groups are in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.

And the allies are continuing to increase defense spending, he said.

“NATO’s actions are defensive, proportionate and in line with our international commitments,” the secretary general said. “Our aim is not to provoke conflict, but to prevent conflict. We don’t want a new Cold War, and we don’t want a new arms race.”

Russia is a neighbor and the alliance approach to Russia combines strong defense with meaningful dialogue.

But Russia is only one problem that must be dealt with. “Since 9/11, NATO allies have stood together in solidarity against terrorism,” Stoltenberg said. “In Afghanistan we have transitioned from combat operations, to the training and advising of local Afghan forces. But we are now increasing the number of troops serving in our mission to 16,000 NATO soldiers in the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.”

The alliance is also a full partner of the global coalition to defeat ISIS. NATO assets -- such as the AWACS capability -- and NATO expertise are on display throughout Iraq, the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.

NATO Stronger With EU

“NATO is strengthening its collective defense and, at the same time, projecting stability in its neighborhood,” Stoltenberg said. “Both of those are more effective when NATO and the European Union work together.”

Stoltenberg had one big statistic to back up his claim: About 94 percent of the EU’s population lives in a NATO member nation.

Talks continue and the two alliances have made progress. “We have boosted our cooperation on cyber defense, maritime security, fighting terrorism and countering hybrid warfare, among many other things,” the secretary general said. “Neither NATO nor the European Union have all the tools to tackle the challenges alone, but together we are a formidable force for good.”

He called on France, a founding member of both NATO and the EU, to play a key role to ensure the coherence of these efforts. “I am convinced a strong European defense is good for the European Union, it is good for Europe and it is good for NATO, as long as it respects three key principles,” he said.

Build, Strengthen, Compliment

The first is to build the necessary capabilities: spending more and spending better. That means tackling the fragmentation of the European defense industry. “The U.S. has one type of main battle tank, while Europe has 17 different types,” he said. “The U.S. has four types of frigates and destroyers; Europe has 29. The U.S. has six types of fighter planes; Europe has 20.”

He does not want to eliminate competition, but he does want to see some coherence, interoperability and cost savings in the process.

“Second, a stronger European defense also needs to involve non-EU allies to the fullest possible extent, of course respecting the autonomy and integrity of the European Union,” he said.

Stoltenberg said nations on both sides of the Atlantic continue to be engaged in European security. “For the first time in years, the United States and Canada are increasing their military presence on our continent,” he said. “And, after Brexit, non-EU allies will account for 80 percent of NATO defense spending, and three of the four battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance will be led by non-EU allies.”

There is no way the EU can replace NATO, he said, but it could strengthen the European pillar of the alliance.

Finally, a stronger European defense needs to compliment, not duplicate, NATO’s own efforts.

“On duplications, for instance, NATO already has a well-established defense planning process,” Stoltenberg said. “We’ve had it for decades, and as part of that process, we identify in detail the capabilities that each ally needs to deliver to ensure the alliance has the tools it needs to do its job. It would be a mistake for the EU to duplicate that process. Capitals should not be faced with two conflicting lists for capability requirements.”

“We share 22 members, so to compete would be like competing with ourselves,” he continued. “That makes no sense. Our roles are distinct but mutually reinforcing. We must work together in a coherent way.”

Face of Defense: Marine Springs Into Action to Help Accident Victim

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nathan Reyes, Marine Corps Installations East

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Dec. 20, 2017 — Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Spenser Preston, a quick-thinking Ground Supply School student, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal during a ceremony at Camp Johnson here, Dec. 8, 2017.

Preston was awarded the medal for rescuing a fellow Marine involved in a motorcycle accident on Nov. 29. Camp Johnson is a satellite installation that houses the school.

“I was driving home from GSS class and I was waiting behind an F-150 [truck],” Preston said. “He turned into a gas station and he didn’t see the motorcycle and he smashed into it.”

Preston then exited his vehicle to assess the situation.

“The motorcyclist was ejected from the bike and landed on the pavement,” Preston said. “He was bleeding pretty badly and blood was pooling on the deck. He had broken his left leg, left femur, left tibia and fibula and his foot.”

Due to his training, Preston knew he had to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

“I was in PT gear at the time and I didn’t have my tourniquet on me. So I looked around at the crowd and there was a fellow Marine to my right. I said, ‘Give me your MCMAP belt. I’m going to use it as a tourniquet,’” he said.

Applying a Tourniquet

Preston’s quick thinking and make-shift tourniquet stopped the bleeding until emergency medical services could arrive.

“We were able to keep him out of shock and at the same time I was calling E.M.S. to let them know we had put a tourniquet on,” said Preston.

The injured Marine expressed his gratitude for Preston’s help as the paramedics arrived.

“We stayed with him. And on the way out he said, ‘Thank you for all you’ve done,’” Preston said.

The injured Marine is currently undergoing medical care.

“He is in the hospital receiving the treatment he requires and is working towards recovery,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Taunja M. Menke, commanding officer, GSS, Marine Corps Combat Service Support School.

Menke presented the medal to Preston during the ceremony.
“I am extremely proud of 2nd Lt. Preston and his actions on Nov. 29, 2017,” Menke said. “He used the training he received as a volunteer firefighter and a United States Marine to help a person in need.”

Many U.S. Troops Serving Overseas During the Holidays

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2017 — It’s the holidays, and millions of Americans are making their way to visit family and friends.

And many of those travelers are military personnel returning home from their duty stations.

But hundreds of thousands of military personnel will not be traveling. They will be continuing to protect the United States. And they are based around the globe.

Threats Don’t Take a Holiday

Many American service members must stay at their jobs, because threats don’t take a holiday.

According to the most recent statistics available at the Defense Manpower Data Center, there are about 1.3 million personnel on active duty, with about 476,000 in the Army; 323,000 Navy; 184,000 Marine Corps; 321,600 Air Force and 41,500 in the Coast Guard. There are 810,800 in the selected reserves.

Service members serve on all seven continents -- there is one service member in Antarctica -- and on all the seas. Military personnel are in more than 170 countries.

There are about 13,000 troops from all service branches in Afghanistan. They are working to train and advise Afghan forces and supply the fires needed to help defeat the Taliban and terror groups.

There are 5,200 service members in Iraq and another 2,000 in Syria. They are working with Iraqi forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces to rid the region of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

There are roughly 28,000 service members in South Korea, deterring North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Overall, there are more than 60,000 U.S. service members in the U.S. Central Command area of operations on shore and aboard ships.

There are 710 U.S. troops in Kosovo.

Djibouti -- on the Horn of Africa -- hosts 3,100 American service members, and there are 505 service members in Niger.

There are 34,300 service members in Germany, 8,300 in the United Kingdom and 44,500 in Japan. Those troops’ presence reassures allies and deters competitors.

These are just some of areas where active duty personnel are deployed this holiday season. They are joined by National Guard and Reserve personnel.

There are almost 20,000 National Guardsmen serving alongside their active duty brothers and sisters. They are operating far from their homes in some of the most dangerous areas on Earth.

Guardsmen are also helping their fellow citizens more directly with almost 5,000 battling wildfires in California or delivering supplies in Puerto Rico. And if the call comes on Christmas morning to help their fellow citizens, they will put down the coffee and put on the uniform.

From its birth the Navy has been an expeditionary force. Sailors will man their ships from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Mexico. Navy officials maintain that roughly a third of the Navy is deployed at any one time. By that measurement, it means more than 100,000 sailors and Marines are afloat on Christmas.

Sailors are performing missions that cannot stop for the holidays. Christmas is just another day for sailors manning their posts aboard submarines with nuclear weapons. Sailors launching aircraft from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Persian Gulf may have time for Christmas services.

The same holds true for Air Force missileers and airmen who will be in the silos, by the planes and in the command centers ensuring the nuclear system is ready, if needed.

Monitoring Cyber, Space

U.S. Cyber Command personnel will monitor the cyber world for threats, and service members will scan space to ensure those assets are not threatened.

Even at all these far-flung areas, service members will take time to remember the holidays. Dining facilities do their best to ensure every service member has a great holiday meal. Centers work overtime to help service members contact loved ones back home. At some places, there will be sporting matches and perhaps the troops may get a bit more rack time.

But this is the way it has always been. The military is always on duty and has been from Valley Forge in 1778 to Fredericksburg in 1862, from Bastogne in 1944 to Chosin in 1950, and from Linebacker 2 in 1972 to today.

The bottom line is the U.S. military stands guard so the world can know -- or hope for -- peace.