Military News

Friday, January 26, 2018

NATO Deputy Stresses Alliance’s Dedication to Turkey



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

During the Cold War, Turkey was on NATO’s front line facing the Soviet Union.

Today, Turkey is still a front-line state now facing the instability and turmoil stemming from the Middle East, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said in Istanbul Jan. 23.

Gottemoeller, who previously served as a U.S. undersecretary of state, spoke at the Turkish National Defense University.

And Turks have suffered, she said. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorist forces operating in Iraq and Syria have tried to use Turkey as a transit point and have carried out numerous horrific attacks in Turkish cities. Another terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, emanates from within Turkey’s borders, and has waged its bloody campaign for four decades. In fact, Turkey is the only NATO country with an active insurgency inside its borders.

“Your country has suffered a series of brutal terrorist attacks,” Gottemoeller said, “and I want you to know that NATO stands in solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.”

Commitment to Collective Defense

Gottemoeller stressed to the Turkish officers that NATO is a political alliance in which 29 nations have come together in a common cause. “I like to say that NATO is one big family,” she said. “Together, we discuss the many challenges that we have. Together, by consensus, we decide on how to address those challenges, and together we reap the benefits of this enduring commitment to our collective defense.”

Turkey is an integral part of the alliance, she said. The contributions of Turkey since 1952 have been immense, she added, and she said she expects contributions in the future to be just as valuable. The Turks, for instance, used experience they gained in Kosovo to inform their missions in the Middle East.

Gottemoeller related that she had visited Turkey’s Center for Excellence for Defense against Terrorism in Ankara. “The center’s mission is to provide key decision-makers with realistic solutions to terrorism and counterterrorism challenges,” she said. More than 12,000 students from more than 100 countries have been through the center since 2005.

“Sharing your expertise with others who are also facing the threat of terrorism is just one way in which Turkey contributes to and through NATO,” Gottemoeller said.

Stalwart Ally

Turkey has also been a stalwart ally in Afghanistan, where it has lost 15 soldiers. “Today, Turkey plays a key role as a framework nation for the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan providing more than 550 personnel, and I am pleased by the encouraging news that Turkey is considering an increased level of support to the Resolute Support mission,” she said. Turkey also helps to train Iraqi officers.

“These operations, missions and activities are vital to the alliance, to our security and to helping our partners achieve stability, and it is just a small example of what Turkey is doing inside this alliance,” she said.

But it is not a one-way street: NATO also contributes to Turkey, the deputy secretary general said. “The alliance has increased its military presence in recent years to help Turkey respond to a more demanding security environment,” she said. “For the past five years, at Turkey’s request, NATO allies have been reinforcing Turkey’s air defenses.”

Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States have contributed to the air defense mission. NATO has also provided airborne warning and control system surveillance aircraft to Turkey.

“Furthermore, we have increased our naval presence in the Black Sea area and in the eastern part of the Mediterranean,” she said.

Collective Defense

NATO’s commitment to the safety and security of all 29 allies is unwavering,” Gottemoeller said. “Our collective defense clause, Article 5, is at the heart of our alliance: An attack on any one ally is an attack on us all.”

The alliance has adjusted over the years, and it is adjusting again. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and attacks in Ukraine required a new emphasis on deterrence. “Allies, including Turkey, have agreed on and implemented the most significant reinforcement of our collective defense since the Cold War,” she said.

The alliance is working to project stability beyond its borders, recognizing that “when our neighbors become more secure, then we are more secure,” she said.

NATO works with more than 40 partners around the world, from Jordan and Tunisia to Georgia and Ukraine, Australia and Sweden, Afghanistan and Iraq. “We work with a diverse network of partners to improve security and stability for all,” Gottemoeller said. “We draw on the experience that we have gained and lessons we have learned.

“For example,” she continued, “our experience in Afghanistan has taught us that training local forces is one of our best weapons in the fight against terrorism. That is a challenge that affects us all, and if we are training local forces then they begin to provide for their own security, and they begin to take up the fight against terrorism.”

Evolving Role

The alliance is considering how its role might evolve within the global coalition by building up efforts to train Iraqi forces and increase the counterterrorism capabilities of partners, Gottemoeller said. The alliance is also improving ways of sharing information and intelligence, she added.

“We know all too well that terrorism is a foe that must be fought on many fronts and you know that very well here in Turkey,” she said. “It must be fought on many fronts and with many different strategies.”

Gottemoeller previewed the alliance’s summit, to be held in Brussels in July. “We will be bringing together the heads of state and government of all of the NATO member countries,” she said. “[Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan will be there meeting at that high level to discuss where we go from here.”

Terrorism will be front and center on the summit agenda, she said.

“How will we be able to do even more to project stability and fight international terrorism will be one of two top topics that the leaders will address,” she said. “And the second will be how will we further strengthen our deterrence and defense.”

Air Force, Army Developing Multidomain Doctrine



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

The Army and the Air Force are working together to flesh out how to fight a multidomain battle, a senior Air Force commander said today during a presentation at the Brookings Institution here.

Air Force Gen. James M. Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, said he is working closely with Gen. David G. Perkins, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, to develop the concept.

Holmes started his talk at the think tank with a history lesson, recalling that 27 years ago, the U.S. military was nine days into Operation Desert Storm. That battle to get Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait was a test of the AirLand Battle Doctrine.

It was an overwhelming success.

Fast-forward to Iraq in 2003, and American and allied forces went from the berm to Baghdad using all aspects of AirLand to cut through the Iraqi military, dominate the air and end the active phase of the conflict quickly.

Near-Peer Competitors Took Note

American conventional power was never more evident, Holmes said, and near-peer competitors took note. “That drove the world to start looking for new options to try to counter what U.S. forces could bring to the battlefield,” he said.

Over the next decade, the U.S. military had to deal with counterinsurgency warfare and counterterrorism operations. “Our adversaries kept thinking and kept working,” Holmes said. “Now we face an environment with a rising China [and] with a resurgent Russia that bring integrated, multidomain approaches to try to counter that conventional might that they saw us display.”

Adversaries are using a mix of conventional forces, special operations forces, cyber tools, space tools and sophisticated electronic warfare tools “in place of conventional forces and alongside conventional forces,” the general said.

To an extent, the general said, this is also dictated by the complexity of threats today. He used Syria as an example, noting that U.S. forces are in Syria advising a primarily Arab and Kurdish force going after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. U.S. airmen share the skies with Syrian and Russian aircraft. Turkish aircraft are attacking into Syria to negate what they see as a terror threat on their border.

Adapting to Change

The whole thing requires a flexibility to understand the rules, understand what to do when the rules or adversaries change and how to adapt, Holmes said.

Weapons married to technical assets and the ability to communicate quickly means there are “no hiding places from that unblinking eye of unblinking multidomain awareness,” Holmes said.

“There are no sanctuaries where we can unload our forces, get them ready for a battle and then move into a battle area,” he added.

The question becomes how the United States can counter this, he said. “The lesson from history is our armed forces cooperate and work together best when we can at least contemplate defeat,” Holmes said. “I think we are still the most powerful conventional force in the world. We still bring advantages that no one else can bring to the battlefield. But when we square off and think about the peer adversaries of a rising China and a resurgent Russia, … there’s no birthright that we have to win. We have to think, ‘We have to fight. We have to work hard at it.’”

As for bringing all domains together in a way to put pressure on adversaries, the Navy and Air Force worked together to form Air-Sea Battle, Holmes said. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he noted, has talked about multidomain, multiregional conflict and using U.S. forces and their ability to be all over the world to put pressure on adversaries anywhere. “We will continue to work forward and refine it,” Holmes said.

Tabletop Exercises

Over the next year, Training and Doctrine Command and Air Combat Command will host a series of tabletop exercises to see how the services can work together “and turn that into a doctrine and concept that we can agree on,” Holmes said.

“We have developed 13 initiatives … that the Air Force and Army can work together on, and … our goal is to try to find a way that the joint force, working together, can hold the initiative -- because in this world where both sides can see everything and know everything, both sides have long-range fires … the side that wins will be the side that can command the initiative by driving an optempo that the other side can’t keep up with.”

This will require multidomain awareness and advanced battle management to gather forces and concentrate them precisely where and when they are needed, the general said. “It will take agile, resilient comms to be able to communicate across that force,” he said.

U.S., Russia Propose Voluntary Bering Strait Shipping Routes



By Walter Ham, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

In response to increased Arctic shipping traffic, the United States and Russian Federation have proposed a system of two-way routes for vessels to follow in the Bering Strait and Bering Sea.

The nations jointly developed and submitted the proposal to the International Maritime Organization to establish six two-way routes and six precautionary areas.

Located in U.S. and Russian Federation territorial waters off the coasts of Alaska and Russia’s Chukotskiy Peninsula, the routes are being recommended to help ships avoid the numerous shoals, reefs and islands outside the routes and to reduce the potential for marine casualties and environmental disasters.

Voluntary Routes

The proposed two-way routes will be voluntary for all domestic and international ships.

No additional aids to navigation are being proposed to mark the recommended two-way routes and the routing measures do not limit commercial fishing or subsistence activities.

“Over the past decade, the U.S. and Russia have both observed a steady increase in Arctic shipping activity,” said Mike Sollosi, the chief of the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Standards Division.

Increased commercial and recreational traffic bring the increased risk of maritime casualties, Sollosi said, and the bilateral proposal for routing measures is designed to reduce that risk.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is engaging international and interagency partners across borders in developing joint proposals for ship routes in waterways that we share,” he said.