U.S. Army Europe
April 24, 2015
Operation Freedom Shock continues
By Army Europe Public Affairs
LETZLINGEN, Germany: Exercise Letzlingen Freedom Shock is in full swing with U.S. and German Soldiers conducting training at the German Army Combat Training Center through April 28.
The bilateral exercise is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve and includes troops from 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and the German 2nd Mechanized Battalion.
Designed to demonstrate interoperability between the German and American training organizations, Freedom Shock reinforces strong bonds with partner nations, advances readiness and professionally develops Soldiers and their leadership.
NATO ACT, Hampton Roads Celebrate Norfolk NATO Festival 2015
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam Bennett, US Navy
NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) and the Hampton Roads Community joined together to celebrate their friendship at the 2015 Norfolk NATO Festival in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, April 24-25.
The longest running festival in the Hampton Roads region, Norfolk NATO Festival, is an annual event recognising and celebrating the contributions and international influence of the more than 750 ACT staff members in the local community.
The festival started Friday with a flag raising ceremony outside of the Norfolk Scope Arena. Hosted by Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, the ceremony raises the flags of all 28 NATO nations while playing their respective National Anthems.
“Our gathering is a clear demonstration of our willingness to protect our values, promote peace and fight for it if needed,” said General Paloméros. I hope we will see in the foreseeable future even more of these flags flying together in a world of peace.
Joining General Paloméros was The Mayor of the City of Norfolk the honourable Paul D. Fraim. “As we listened to the U.S. Fleet Forces Band play the National Anthems of the 28 member nations it served as a reminder of the diversity and strength of the NATO alliance” said Mayor Fraim.
The Virginia International Tattoo followed the flag raising, showcasing an international cast of hundreds of military bands, drill teams, dancers and choirs.
The festival continued on Saturday morning with the 62nd Annual Parade of Nations. U.S. and international military bands along with local and visiting high school bands marched through downtown Norfolk accompanied by floats designed and decorated by the 28 NATO nations to display their distinct heritage and cultures.
After the parade the thousands of attendees moved into Town Pointe Park to keep the festival going with music, performances, artworks and tastes of international foods and beverages.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 24, 2015
Video: DSACEUR visits the Republic of Moldova
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 24, 2015
NATO-Ukraine agreement paves the way for further technical cooperation
On 24 April 2015, the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency and Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA), which will facilitate the implementation of the NATO-Ukraine Trust Fund on Consultation, Command, Control and Communication (C4). When ratified by the Ukrainian legislature, the agreement will also allow for the further development of technical cooperation between the NCIA and the Government of Ukraine in the future.
Specific projects under the C4 Trust Fund will be agreed in close cooperation between the Lead Nations and the Government of Ukraine.
NATO and Ukraine have long cooperated in support of Ukraine’s defence and security sector reforms. Since April last year, NATO and Ukraine have stepped up their cooperation in the framework of the Distinctive Partnership through capability development and sustainable capacity building programmes for Ukraine. Five Trust Funds, including the one on C4, were launched at the Wales Summit and constitute an essential part of this effort.
The NATO Communications and Information Agency is responsible for providing advanced communications and information technology to support NATO operations and missions. It operates and defends NATO networks.
April 25, 2015
US used Afghan aid money to buy off opposition, militia leaders: Activist
US financial aid to Afghans may have been diverted to channels for the so-called black operations, Rozoff said.
The United States may have used the money meant to be reconstruction aid in Afghanistan to “buy off” opposition and militia leaders, an anti-war activist in Chicago says.
Rick Rozoff, a member of Stop NATO, made the remarks on Friday when asked about an internal report released Thursday which shows the Defense Department cannot explain what happened to $1.3 billion shipped to force commanders in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2014 for critical reconstruction projects.
The missing money, which was part of the somewhat small amount of Afghanistan spending, was routed directly to military officers in order to get around bureaucracy and speed up the construction of urgently needed roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, water treatment plants and other essential infrastructure in the war-torn country.
Rozoff said the basic questions which need to be answered are that who “misappropriated” the money and where the funds were “diverted”.
“It may have been diverted to channels for the so-called black operations, that is even meant to buy off perhaps the opposition leaders, the militia leaders or into special operations of some sort the US does not want to acknowledge it’s been conducting,” he told Press TV.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rozoff said the US has done nothing for the Afghan people and that it misused Afghanistan as a war zone to train its forces to be used in other countries.
“The people of Afghanistan have no prospects of a peaceful and settled and prosperous existence, because what the US and its NATO allies have been interested in was conducting wars and training their respective military forces in a battle zone like Afghanistan for use elsewhere,” he opined.
“We’re beginning incidentally to see the fruits of that in conflicts such as that in Ukraine right now where the US and NATO have trained troops in various former Soviet Republics like Georgia and other nations who may very well enter the fray of this conflict in Ukraine [if it] continues much longer,” he noted.
“But in terms of Afghanistan, once again, we see the lack of concern for the economic and social and other human aspects of the Afghan situation and the US insisting on a military solution to what was a never military issue,” Rozoff stated.
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
As Regards Patriotism (1901)
It is agreed, in this country, that if a man can arrange his religion so that it perfectly satisfies his conscience, it is not incumbent upon him to care whether the arrangement is satisfactory to any one else or not.
In Austria and some other countries this is not the case. There the State arranges a man’s religion for him, he has no voice in it himself.
Patriotism is merely a religion – love of country, worship of country, devotion to the country’s flag and honor and welfare.
In absolute monarchies it is furnished from the throne, cut and dried, to the subject; in England and America it is furnished, cut and dried, to the citizen by the politician and the newspaper.
The newspaper-and-politician-manufactured Patriot often gags in private over his dose; but he takes it, and keeps it on his stomach the best he can. Blessed are the meek.
Sometimes, in the beginning of an insane and shabby political upheaval, he is strongly moved to revolt, but he doesn’t do it – he knows better. He knows that his maker would find it out – the maker of his Patriotism, the windy and incoherent six-dollar sub-editor of his village newspaper – and would bray out in print and call him a traitor. And how dreadful that would be. It makes him tuck his tail between his legs and shiver. We all know – the reader knows it quite well – that two or three years ago nine-tenths of the human tails in England and America performed just that act. Which is to say, nine-tenths of the Patriots in England and America turned traitor to keep from being called traitor. Isn’t it true? You know it to be true. Isn’t it curious?
Yet it was not a thing to be very seriously ashamed of. A man can seldom – very, very seldom – fight a winning fight against his training; the odds are too heavy. For many a year – perhaps always – the training of the two nations had been dead against independence in political thought, persistently inhospitable toward Patriotism manufactured on a man’s own premises, Patriotism reasoned out in the man’s own head and fire-assayed and tested and proved in his own conscience. The resulting Patriotism was a shop-worn product procured at second hand. The Patriot did not know just how or when or where he got his opinions, neither did he care, so long as he was with what seemed the majority – which was the main thing, the safe thing, the comfortable thing. Does the reader believe he knows three men who have actual reasons for their pattern of Patriotism – and can furnish them? Let him not examine, unless he wants to be disappointed. He will be likely to find that his men got their Patriotism at the public trough, and had no hand in their preparation themselves.
Training does wonderful things. It moved the people of this country to oppose the Mexican war; then moved them to fall in with what they supposed was the opinion of the majority – majority-Patriotism is the customary Patriotism – and go down there and fight. Before the Civil War it made the North indifferent to slavery and friendly to the slave interest; in that interest it made Massachusetts hostile to the American flag, and she would not allow it to be hoisted on her State House – in her eyes it was the flag of a faction. Then by and by, training swung Massachusetts the other way, and she went raging South to fight under that very flag and against that foretime protected-interest of hers.
Training made us nobly anxious to free Cuba; training made us give her a noble promise; training has enabled us to take it back. Long training made us revolt at the idea of wantonly taking any weak nation’s country and liberties away from it, a short training has made us glad to do it, and proud of having done it. Training made us loathe Weyler’s cruel concentration camps, training has persuaded us to prefer them to any other device for winning the love of our “wards.”
There is nothing that training cannot do. Nothing is above its reach or below it. It can turn bad morals to good, good morals to bad; it can destroy principles, it can re-create them; it can debase angels to men and lift men to angelship. And it can do any one of these miracles in a year – even in six months.
Then men can be trained to manufacture their own Patriotism. They can be trained to labor it out in their own heads and hearts, and in the privacy and independence of their own premises. It can train them to stop taking it by command, as the Austrian takes his religion.
April 24, 2015
US instructors give Ukraine’s National Guard firing drills
U.S. Army paratroopers are training Ukrainian servicemen in firing drills in western Ukraine, while Washington disagrees with the Kremlin’s claims that the training program could be a destabilizing factor, according to Reuters.
On Thursday, Russian Defense Ministry accused the U.S. forces of deploying also in eastern Ukraine, in the conflict zone near the cities of Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Artyomovsk and Volnovakha to train Ukrainian soldiers, Ukraine Today reports.
Nearly 300 US servicemen from the 173rd Airborne Brigade are hosted the Ukrainian National Guard at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center at Yavoriv close to the Polish border.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 24, 2015
Defense Minister of Georgia Hosted U.S. Delegation
Defense Minister of Georgia Mindia Janelidze hosted Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Evelyn Farkas and Main Deputy Assistant of U.S. Department of State Tod Chapman at the MoD. U.S. delegation pays visit to Georgia within U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Defense Consultations.
Mindia Janelidze emphasized the importance of U.S. delegation visit to Georgia. The sides discussed the outcomes of bilateral defense consultations and talked about future cooperation directions. Georgia’s security and enhancing defense capabilities, as well as implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package and U.S. contribution in the process of implementation were highlighted at the meeting. Defense Minister expressed gratitude to the U.S. side for supporting joint statement at NATO-Georgia Commission and for U.S. contribution in Georgian company’s training for NATO Response Forces.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense positively evaluated the outcomes of bilateral defense consultations and enhancing cooperation with the USA in defense sphere. Dr. Evelyn Farkas emphasized Georgia’s contribution in global security. She reiterated U.S. steadfast support for Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations.
Deputy Defence Minister Levan Girsiashvili, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland, Defense Attaché COL Mathew Dimmick and other members of the delegation attended the meeting.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 22, 2015
Meeting with Future Georgian Students of U.S. Military Educational Institutions
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr Evelyn Farkas met with the future Georgian students of U.S. military educational institutions. The meeting was held within the U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Defense Consultations held at the MoD of Georgia.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr Evelyn Farkas, Deputy Defense Minister Levan Girsiashvili and U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland talked with Aleksandre Tsereteli, Konstantine Kipiani and Radion Tskhakaia and wished the juveniles success.
ODC members selected the youngsters on the base of their data, academic success and interview. The results were sent to U.S. Coast Guard Academy and U.S. Navy Academy. According to the confirmation from the U.S. educational institutions, Aleksandre Tsereteli and Konstantine Kipiani will continue studying at U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Radion Tskhakaia will study at U.S. Navy Academy.
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 22, 2015
Meeting with James Appathurai
The Secretary of State Security and Crisis Management Council David Sujashvili and First Deputy Defence Minister Gocha Ratiani are on an official visit to Brussels. Gocha Ratiani took part in a meeting with NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia.
At the meeting the sides talked about the national security challenges and existing situation in the region. Implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package was one of the main topics of discussion. Special focus was made on establishment of NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Center, its importance, mission and capabilities.
Deputy Defence Minister informed the representatives of the North Atlantic Alliance about the implemented and ongoing reforms. He underlined Georgia’s contribution to global security and professionalism of the Georgian military servicemen.
Ministry of Defense of Georgia
April 24, 2015
U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Defense Consultations
U.S.-Georgia Bilateral Defense Consultations were held at the Ministry of Defence of Georgia today. The meeting was co-chaired by Deputy Defense Minister Levan Girsiashvili and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Evelyn Farkas.
During consultations the sides discussed enhanced defense cooperation directions, Georgia’s defense transformation process and future plans. Assistance priorities for 2015-2016 were also set at the meeting. Representatives of the Georgian Defense Ministry briefed the U.S. partners about the progress of ongoing defense reforms and existing security environment.
“In our discussions, we agreed that the global security environment we confront today makes our bilateral relationship as important as ever. Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and here in Georgia challenge our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. The United States continues to call on Russia to reverse its recognitions of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions as independent states and to withdraw its forces from Georgia,” Evelyn Farkas said.
Special focus was made on development of defense capabilities and U.S. assistance in increasing NATO interoperability of the Georgian Armed Forces. The sides elaborated on the following directions of cooperation: joint participation in international peace support operations, increasing the scale of joint military exercises and trainings, support for implementation of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package elements and U.S. support for medical treatment and rehabilitation of the wounded warriors.
The U.S. side positively evaluated progress achieved in defense transformations process. During consultations the sides discussed allocation of financial assistance on priority directions under the Barak Obama’s ‘European Reassurance Initiative’ Plan.
Deputy Chiefs of General Staff Brigadier General Vladimer Chachibaia and Colonel Giorgi Kbiltsetskhlashvili, the leadership of each unit of the armed forces, Main Deputy Assistant of U.S. State Secretary Tod Chapman, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland and other members of delegation attended the BDC.
The leadership of the U.S. delegation will meet with Defense Minister of Georgia Mindia Janelidze. The U.S. delegation will also hold meeting at Ministry of Foreign Affairs within U.S.-Georgia Strategic Charter.
April 24, 2015
U.S.-Georgia Defense and Security Working Group Meets in Tbilisi
Tbilisi: A bilateral working group on defense and security in frames of U.S.-Georgian strategic partnership charter was held in Tbilisi on April 23.
Led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Todd Chapman and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Evelyn Farkas, the U.S. delegation reiterated “strong bilateral partnership.”
Defense and security working group is one of those four inter-agency groups, which were established to address priority areas of the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Charter, signed in January, 2009. Other priority areas of cooperation identified by the charter are democracy, economic and people-to-people relations.
“The United States will continue to remain active in the region and to strengthen our defense and security relationship with Georgia under the umbrella of strategic partnership commission,” Farkas said after the meeting, where the Georgian side was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Dondua and Deputy Defense Minister Levan Girsiashvili.
The U.S. delegation reaffirmed the additional USD 20 million in security assistance to Georgia through the European Reassurance Initiative.
“The U.S. security assistance and military engagement with Georgia supports its defense reforms, trains and equips the Georgian troops and also trains them for participation in international operations and advances Georgia’s NATO interoperability,” said Todd Chapman U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs.
“We were also able to discuss how to expand our cooperation in areas like maritime security, counter-narcotics and cyber crime,” he added.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas said that the U.S. will be actively involved in implementation of NATO’s substantial package of cooperation with Georgia, which was approved by the Alliance at its summit in Wales in September.
“The U.S. is providing a deputy that is overseeing implementation of NATO’s substantial package to Georgia and through our on the ground involvement we will ensure that NATO provides the proper implementation of the commitments” that were made by the Alliance at the Wales summit, she said.
She said that joint U.S.-Georgia military drills, Noble Partner, planned for next month at the Vaziani base outside Tbilisi, will be “the most robust” exercise that the United States has conducted with Georgia to date.
“It is a critical part of our [Georgia and the United States’] contributions to the NATO Response Force,” she added.
During the visit the U.S. delegation also held talks with the Georgian Defense Ministry leadership as part of regular bilateral defense consultations.
Norfolk NATO Festival Set to Start with Flag Raising Ceremony
[From Virginia’s own Thomas Jefferson: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”]
The 28 national flags of NATO will be prominently displayed during a flag raising ceremony at the Scope Plaza in Downtown Norfolk at 5 p.m. on April 24.
The ceremony will mark the beginning of Norfolk NATO Festival weekend and will include performances by the U.S. Fleet Forces Band and speeches by Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) French Air Force General Jean-Paul Paloméros, Festival Ambassador and SACT Senior Military Member of the Year Spanish Air Force Master Sergeant Pablo Alonso Martin, Mayor of The City of Norfolk the Honourable Paul D. Fraim, and Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs the Honourable John C. Harvey Jr.
Following the flag raising ceremony, attendees are invited to enjoy the Virginia International Hullabaloo at Scope Plaza and the NATO Night at the 2015 International Tattoo in the Scope Arena.
On Saturday the excitement continues at 10 a.m. with the 62nd Annual Parade of Nations in Downtown Norfolk. The parade is the only one of its kind in the United States and features colourful floats designed and built by each of NATO’s 28 member nations, as well as High School- ROTC- and other bands, performers and a host of other exciting things.
Following the parade, NATOFest commences at Towne Point Park at 11:30 a.m. NATOFest provides a unique opportunity for the public to interact with members of the only NATO headquarters located in the U.S. and features a NATO Village of nations, cultural performances, international art and cuisine, and craft beers.
So, join us at the 2015 NATO Festival for some or all of the fabulous events and activities in celebration of NATO in your community. All activities are family friendly and all except the tattoo are free!
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 24, 2015
NATO and New Zealand take stock of long standing partnership
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed New Zealand’s Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee to NATO headquarters on Friday (24 April 2015) for talks on the state of the partnership between the Alliance and New Zealand.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Minister of Defence of New Zealand, Gerry Brownlee
New Zealand is a strong and reliable partner for NATO. It has made significant contributions to NATO-led efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina (through the IFOR and SFOR missions) and in Afghanistan (through the ISAF mission). It continues to make significant contributions to current NATO-led operations, including the Resolute Support Mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces and institutions, the counter-terrorist Operation Active Endeavour across the Mediterranean Sea, and the counter-piracy Operation Ocean Shield off the Horn of Africa.
The visit by Minister Brownlee provided an opportunity to exchange views on how to further the partnership between NATO and New Zealand in areas of potential mutual interest, including armaments, cyber defence, science and technology.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 24, 2015
NATO welcomes deepened cooperation with Australia
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to NATO headquarters on Friday (24 April 2015) for talks on issues of mutual interest, and on strengthening the NATO-Australia relationship. Calling Australia a natural partner for the Alliance, the Secretary General underscored that the current security environment has increased the need for increased dialogue and cooperation.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Julie Bishop
In a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, the Secretary General and Allied ambassadors thanked Minister Bishop for Australia’s close cooperation with the Alliance, including its important participation in NATO led missions and operations. The Secretary General expressed deep appreciation for Australia’s support and sacrifice in Afghanistan over many years. Mr. Stoltenberg further welcomed Australia’s participation in Operation Ocean Shield, fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia. The Secretary General also thanked Australia for its engagement in NATO exercises, Smart Defence projects, and science and technology cooperation.
The Secretary General and Minister Bishop discussed current security challenges, including Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, increased instability in the Middle East and North Africa, and the threat of returning foreign fighters. They agreed that NATO and Australia are stronger when they stand together to defend and promote international security.
Australia is one of five partners – alongside Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden –which the Alliance has identified as making particularly significant contributions to NATO operations. At the Wales Summit last year, NATO leaders agreed to deepen dialogue and practical cooperation with these key “Enhanced Opportunity” partners.
From Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916)
“But he must let these things happen. Or why do they happen?”
“No,” said Mr. Britling. “It is the theologians who must answer that. They have been extravagant about God. They have had silly absolute ideas – that He is all powerful. That He’s omni-everything. But the common sense of men knows better. Every real religious thought denies it. After all, the real God of the Christians is Christ, not God Almighty; a poor mocked and wounded God nailed on a cross of matter…Some day He will triumph…But it is not fair to say that He causes all things now. It is not fair to make out a case against him. You have been misled. It is a theologian’s folly. God is not absolute; God is finite…A finite God who struggles in his great and comprehensive way as we struggle in our weak and silly way – who is with us – that is the essence of all real religion…I agree with you so – Why! if I thought there was an omnipotent God who looked down on battles and deaths and all the waste and horror of this war – able to prevent these things – doing them to amuse Himself – would spit in his empty face…”
Another son had gone – all the world was losing its sons…
He found himself thinking of young Heinrich in the very manner, if with a lesser intensity, in which he thought about his own son, as of hopes senselessly destroyed. His mind took no note of the fact that Heinrich was an enemy, that by the reckoning of a “war of attrition” his death was balance and compensation for the death of Hugh. He went straight to the root fact that they had been gallant and kindly beings, and that the same thing had killed them both…
By no conceivable mental gymnastics could he think of the two as antagonists. Between them there was no imaginable issue. They had both very much the same scientific disposition; with perhaps more dash and inspiration in the quality of Hugh; more docility and method in the case of Karl. Until war had smashed them one against the other…
The letters reinforced the photographs in their reminder how kind and pleasant a race mankind can be. Until the wild asses of nationalism came kicking and slaying amidst them, until suspicion and jostling greed and malignity poison their minds, until the fools with the high explosives blow that elemental goodness into shrieks of hate and splashes of blood. How kindly men are – up to the very instant of their cruelties! His mind teemed suddenly with little anecdotes and histories of the goodwill of men breaking through the ill-will of war, of the mutual help of sorely wounded Germans and English lying together in the mud and darkness between the trenches, of the fellowship of captors and prisoners, of the Saxons at Christmas fraternising with the English…Of that he had seen photographs in one of the daily papers…
April 23, 2015
MEPs believe EU ‘should be ready for nuclear war’
Declaring the EU’s readiness for nuclear war is one of the best steps to deter Russia from further aggression, MEPs said at a meeting on Tuesday organized by the largest political group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP), according to a report by EU news Web site Euractiv.
“Time of talk and persuasion [vis-à-vis Russia] is over,” MEP and Vice-President of the EPP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski said at the meeting.
“Now it’s time for a tough policy, a realistic policy, and concentration on defense and security, because the eastern flank of the EU feels vitally, existentially threatened.”
Roland Freudenstein, Head of Research and the Deputy Director of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the political foundation and official think tank of the EPP, expressed his regret that Europe’s readiness to go to war had not been properly discussed in public.
“That needs to change […] We have to make clear that yes, we are willing to go to war, for what we consider existential principles of Europe’s future,” he said.
Freudenstein further argued that the West should resume its deterrence, including nuclear deterrence.
“In Germany at the moment, nuclear deterrence by NATO consists of 20 rusting free-fall bombs, of the B-61 type, that could be wiped out with one strike by Russian forces. These are things where we have to change – we have to shape up” Freudenstein said.
He said Western leaders should give Russia a clear message that its behavior is unacceptable and that Europe is prepared to resist.
The EPP is the largest political group in the European Parliament, and the party behind the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission, the Euractiv report read. The news site said the party has the support of some of Europe’s most powerful leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Xinhua News Agency
April 23, 2015
NATO to establish liaison office in Djibouti
BRUSSELS: NATO will establish a liaison office in the Republic of Djibouti in support of the Alliance’s counter piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, according to a press release released by NATO Wednesday.
NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations, Ambassador Francesca Tardioli, and Djibouti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H. E Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, signed the agreement Wednesday, it said.
The establishment of a liaison office will facilitate greater operational, logistical and administrative coordination. It will also provide the basis for further dialogue between NATO and Djibouti on potential partnership activities.
Djibouti is a supporter of the NATO Ocean Shield operation, which was first established in August 2009 and its current mandate will run until the end of 2016.
DSACEUR Visits Exercise WIND SPRING in Romania
SMARDAN, Romania: Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir Adrian Bradshaw met soldiers and witnessed multinational military training being held at the Smardan training area in eastern Romania on Tuesday 21 April 2015. Over 2,200 Romanian, British, American and Moldovan troops are participating in the multinational joint exercise, which runs from 16-30 April.
During the visit DSACEUR also met with the Romanian Minister of National Defence, Mr. Mircea Duşa and the Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant-General Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă. Among the topics discussed were recent agreements to establish NATO command and control elements in Romania. A total of six Allies, including Romania, have begun work on establishing NATO Force Integration Units that will facilitate defence planning and the rapid deployment of NATO forces, if required.
“NATO is on track and on time in delivering on commitments to adapt to new and emerging security threats from both the south and east,” said General Bradshaw. “Romania’s contribution of a NATO Force Integration Unit is essential to this effort, as it will identify logistical networks, transportation nodes and supporting infrastructure to ensure NATO high-readiness forces can deploy quickly when needed,” he said.
Romania is also working on establishing a Multinational Division Headquarters for south-eastern Europe that can command troops during land operations, which improves NATO’s deployable command and control capabilities.
General Bradshaw acknowledged Romania as an ardent supporter of NATO and Allied training. In March, Romanian ships conducted training with Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 in the Black Sea, and Romanian soldiers are currently training with several Allies on Exercise SABER JUNCTION in Germany.
“The training I’ve seen today embodies NATO’s strong resolve and commitment to collective defence,” said General Bradshaw. “Romania’s support of NATO and multinational training is exceptional, and Romanian troops are making valuable contributions to the RESOLUTE SUPPORT mission in Afghanistan, as well as to the KFOR mission in Kosovo,” he added.
In June, NATO will conduct a series of training events, collectively referred to as the ALLIED SHIELD series of exercises. The ALLIED SHIELD series includes Exercise NOBLE JUMP, the first training tactical deployment of Allied high-readiness units under the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) framework. It also includes BALTOPS, a major Allied naval exercise in Poland and SABER STRIKE, a significant land exercise in the Baltic States.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Air Command
April 23, 2015
20th Baltic Region Training Event a success for NATO Allies and Partners
RAMSTEIN, Germany: Ten NATO Allies and two Partner nations took part in the 20th Baltic Region Training Event (BRTE 20), which was held on 21 and 22 April 2015.
The event included flying assets, air command and control centres and Forward Air Controllers (FACs), including a NATO Airborne Early Warning (AEW) platform. NATO Allies Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, the United States, as well as, partners Finland and Sweden took part.
Most of the training took place invisible from the ground up in Baltic air space. Fighter aircraft conducted intercept and air-to-air training as well as air-to-air-refuelling with United States and German tanker aircraft. NATO AEW and Control and Reporting Centre Karmelava, Lithuania, ensured control of the training event that was overseen by Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Uedem, Germany and organised by Allied Air Command (AIRCOM) at Ramstein, Germany.
The Latvian training range at Adazi east of the capital Riga was the venue for Close Air Support (CAS) training of Allied FACs who coordinated and controlled CAS missions of Norwegian and Swedish fighter aircraft during realistic simulated scenarios.
“Headquarters AIRCOM began organising the BRTE series in 2008. These two-day training events have been a long-standing routine for the headquarters and CAOC Uedem helping to further cooperation and interoperability in the Baltic Region,” says Greek Air Force Major Dimitrios Koukaras, the BRTE project officer at AIRCOM. “This time we have successfully brought together Allied and Partner aircraft to train tactics, techniques and procedures such as CAS, air-to-air-refuelling, Dissimilar Air Combat Training, and Search and Rescue. I am very pleased with the outcome. We were able to achieve our training objectives and I look forward to the continuation of the BRTE series in early June at Ämari Air Base, Estonia.”
Story by HQ AIRCOM Public Affairs Office
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 23, 2015
DSACEUR Visits Moldovan 2nd Motorized Infantry Brigade, Cites 20-Year Partnership
CHISINAU, Moldova: Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) General Sir Adrian Bradshaw observed a training demonstration and spoke with the commanders and soldiers of the Moldovan 2nd Motorized Infantry Brigade on Thursday, 23 April, while on an official visit to the country. General Bradshaw also met with the President of the Republic of Moldova, Nicolae Timofti, as well as the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers and the Chief of General Staff.
General Bradshaw highlighted the enduring partnership between NATO and Moldova during his visit and maintained that it has been beneficial to both parties.
“NATO has benefited from the Republic of Moldova’s regional expertise and from the support of Moldovan soldiers who serve alongside NATO troops during exercises and operations like KFOR,” said General Bradshaw. “In turn, the Alliance has assisted the Republic of Moldova with capacity building and military education and training. Based on what I have seen over the last few days, our strong partnership is continuing to pay dividends,” he said.
The partnership between NATO and the Republic of Moldova spans a period of over 20 years. Relations began in 1992 and in 1994 Moldova joined the Partnership for Peace programme. Moldova currently has over 40 troops serving on the KFOR mission in Kosovo, including an infantry platoon and an explosive ordinance disposal team. Moldovan troops are also currently taking part in Exercise WIND SPRING, a multinational training event currently underway in Romania that includes British, America, and Romanian troops.
April 23, 2015
Sweden eyes closer defence ties with Nato
A new defence strategy bid set to be unveiled by the Swedish government on Friday calls for increased co-operation with Nato, Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reports.
Nato membership is a long-running debate in Sweden, with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s ruling centre-left coalition among those against it.
But the Svenska Dagbladet daily reports that it has studied the defence deal ahead of its presentation tomorrow and claims the text is largely positive to increased co-operation with the military alliance.
Quoting from the government proposal, the newspaper writes that “the expansion of Nato has been beneficial to security in Europe, including for Sweden” and that “our co-operation with Nato gives us the opportunity to increase our military capabilities” because “Nato is the only organization that has a developed ability to lead and conduct demanding military operations”.
The government wants to extend its co-operation with Nato by “increasing Swedish participation in Nato’s most advanced and complex exercises, especially within the framework of Nato’s quick response force, as well as in Nato’s recurring large-scale exercises”, it states.
Further co-operation with the United States is also emphasized in the defence strategy.
“As the US is a world leader in terms of military capability development, this area should be prioritized to Sweden’s defence co-operation,” writes the government, according to Svenska Dagbladet.
Sweden has recently revealed it is planning closer military co-operation with its Nordic neighbours, but has so far ruled out joining Nato.
Sweden’s new defence deal was struck last Friday after more than ten days of tense negotiations. The new agreement of 10.2 billion kronor still needs to be approved in parliament, but is guaranteed enough support following the cross-party talks.
The Moderate, Christian Democrat and Centre parties reached an agreement with the Social Democrat-Green government to increase defence spending by 10.2 billion kronor ($111.9 million) between 2016 and 2020.
Sweden’s defence capabilities have been questioned following increasing military activity from Russia in the Baltic region.
In October 2014, a foreign submarine – suspected to be from Russia, although this was never confirmed – was spotted in Swedish waters just outside Stockholm. A number of Russian planes have also been spotted in or close to Swedish airspace over the past year.
William Dean Howells
Member of the Anti-Imperialist League
Letter to his sister Aurela H. Howells
April 3, 1898
Of course we are deafened by the war-talk here. I hope you will not be surprised to hear that I think we are wickedly wrong. We have no right to interfere in Cuba, and we have no cause of quarrel with Spain. At the very best we propose to do evil that good may come. If we have war it will be at the cause of a thousand times more suffering than Spain has inflicted or could inflict on Cuba. After war will come the piling up of big fortunes again; the craze for wealth will fill all brains, and every good cause will be set back. We shall have an era of blood-thirsty prosperity, and the chains of capitalism will be welded on the nation more fiercely than ever.
U.S. Army Europe
April 20, 2015
Ukrainian president visits Fearless Guardian
By Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk (173rd Airborne Brigade)
YAVORIV, Ukraine: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt marked the start of combined training between U.S. Soldiers and Ukrainian national guard troops during a visit to the International Peacekeeping and Security Center here, April 20, 2015.
The training, known as Fearless Guardian, involves approximately 300 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade training Ukraine’s newly-formed national guard under the congressionally-approved Global Contingency Security Fund. Under the program, the United States will train three battalions of Ukrainian troops over a six-month period here.
Poroshenko delivered a speech during the ceremony, thanking paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne for participating in the training and expressed hope for the friendship between the United States and Ukraine.
“Dear generals, officers, sergeants and American Soldiers, [a] combined exercise of such scale and content is being held, probably, for the first time,” Poroshenko said. “Our meeting today is a symbol of our new partnership and a new future.”
The ceremony concluded with Poroshenko awarding Ukrainian troops, who distinguished themselves in Eastern Ukraine.
Both the president and ambassador toured classrooms that will be used for training, followed by lunch, where they sat with both Ukrainian and U.S. Soldiers.
“I am excited for our paratroopers to have the opportunity to come to Ukraine and train with Ukrainian troops,” said Maj. Nathan Williams, the executive officer for 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. “This [training] will help bolster capabilities of both our Soldiers and Ukrainian Soldiers.”
For the Ukrainian national guard troops, the event marked the beginning of much needed training.
“Our Soldiers look forward to training with the American troops,” said Col. Sergey Alexandrovich Moscalenko, the battalion commander for the Ukrainian national guard participating in the training.
“We are excited to see what the Americans [Soldiers] can do and how we can learn from them.”
More than 180 journalists from all over the world covered the event.
Trend News Agency
April 22, 2015
France plans to train Ukrainian combat engineers — declaration
France is ready to support Ukraine in the fight against organized crime and in the strengthening of domestic security, says a joint declaration signed in Paris on Apr.22 by presidents Francois Hollande and Petro Poroshenko, TASS reported.
“The presidents of the two countries welcomed France’s consent to train Ukrainian sappers to defuse self-made explosive devices,” the document says.
The move is aimed to “protect the civilian population from the consequences of the armed conflict” in Donbas, the declaration says.
Xinhua News Agency
April 20, 2015
Ukraine kicks off joint military exercise with U.S.
KIEV: The Ukrainian-American command post exercises code-named “Fearless Guardian-2015″ kicked off in the western Ukrainian region of Lvov on Monday, the country’s Defense Ministry said.
The six-month drills will be held at the Yavoriv military facility and will involve servicemen from Ukraine volunteer battalions and U.S. troops, the ministry’s press service said in a statement.
According to Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko, during the drills, the U.S. brigade of some 300 paratroopers would conduct a series of trainings for 900 Ukrainian servicemen to enhance their medical and defense skills.X Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who attended the opening ceremony of the drills, said that the exercises are conducted amid an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government troops which have been fighting pro-independence insurgents over the past year.
“In such circumstances a strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States acquires new meanings and quantitative parameters,” Poroshenko was quoted by his press office as saying.
The Yavoriv military facility is near the Polish border and nearly 1,000 km away from the combat area in eastern part of the country.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine, which started in April 2014, has killed over 6,100 people and wounded more than 15,400 others, according to the latest United Nations estimates.
The move to deploy U.S. military instructors in Ukraine has irked the Kremlin, which warned that the U.S. military presence could further destabilize the country.
Polish Press Agency
April 22, 2015
Poland picks US Patriot missiles and French helicopters
The government has announced the choice of US Patriot surface to air missiles and Airbus Eurocopters in two separate tenders for modernizing the Polish Armed Forces, each worth billions of euros.
The Patriot missiles, produced by American company Raytheon, beat off competition from the MBDA and Thales consortium which was offering Aster 30 missiles for the ‘Wisła’ [Vistula] tender, the anti-ballistic missile component of Poland’s planned defence shield.
A total of eight Patriot batteries will be delivered by 2025, with two of these delivered within three years of the contract being signed. As part of the agreement the Polish defence industry will gain technology which will allow it to independently maintain the system once delivered.
Although no official figures have been confirmed it is estimated that the Patriot contract will be worth PLN 10-12 billion (EUR 2.5-3 billion).
President Bronisław Komorowski stated that the details would be negotiated directly between the US and Poland, with Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak due to visit the US this May.
The tender for the related anti-aircraft ‘Narew’ missile tender, named after a tributary river of the Vistula, is yet to be decided.
French helicopters chosen
Meanwhile it was also announced that Poland would purchase 50 Eurocopter EC725 helicopters, produced by France-based Airbus Helicopters.
Three firms were competing in the tender for multi-task military helicopters, which apart from Airbus consisted of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Agusta Westland PZL Świdnik.
It had previously been expected that Poland would buy 70 helicopters, but the government has decided to delay purchasing some of the planned transport helicopters as Soviet-built Mi-17 helicopters currently in use by the Polish Armed Forces can remain in service for the immediate future.
The Eurocopter order consists of 34 ‘specialized’ helicopters for anti-submarine warfare, the Special Forces and medical evacuations, with 16 pure transport ones.
According to the deputy head of the Ministry of Defence, Czesław Mroczek, the revised helicopter order is worth PLN 13 billion (EUR 3.2 billion) and the helicopters will be delivered within two years.
From The Thief (1927)
Translated by Hubert Butler
“…Things are going badly with everyone nowadays. You’d think that all the blood that has been shed has turned the air bad. And you’ll have to go on breathing it a long time yet, till a breeze comes. The armies were too keen by half…”
“The sun is passing through a terrible phase. Mitka is plague and anarchy and ignorance and even ruin. He is the lump of wood from which the progenitors of the future man will be carved. But humanity will not go to the dogs all the same. I’m a melancholy fellow, but I maintain that the organ of laughter, the spleen, will scent the danger in time and save the world. If I skip the last few years, I’m forced to admit that man is somehow beautiful and his creation somewhat wise. Himself warm and living, he seeks out and creates each moment new idols for himself, and cannot realize that he himself is better than all his creations. Man is alive, but an idol is dead, even when it is obeyed.”
In a cage in the right-hand corner lay a bear. His great head rested on one of his paws, for he had made his peace with the iron bars. Mitka stepped closer, and though someone was walking behind him, he did not turn around. In the dark eye of the beast there was indulgence, and even forgiveness toward men, who from time immemorial have robbed the weakest of their freedom. We can all of us read our own sufferings in a beast’s eye.
April 21, 2015
Ukraine to be given U.S. army equipment brought for international exercises – ATO spokesman
The military equipment which has been brought by U.S. military personnel for international exercises at Yavoriv range in Lviv region will be given to the Ukrainian military, anti-terrorist operation (ATO) spokesman Andriy Lysenko has said.
“The U.S. military brought modern military equipment with them. The Armed Forces of Ukraine will receive 705 uniform kits, the same number of bullet-proof jackets, helmets, other protective elements, 85 night-observation devices, and over 200 radio systems,” he said at a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Lysenko also spoke about some of the details of the joint Ukraine-U.S. exercise.
“[National Guard] soldiers will undergo artillery training, a tactics reconnaissance course and a course of information operations. In particular, this is cooperation with the local population in the conflict zone and the counteraction of enemy’s information aggression. Besides, the program of training also includes the installation of the protective constructions, mine clearance of dangerous objects and a tactical medicine course,” he said.
He added that 30 Ukrainian military instructors will participate in these courses to share the experience received from the U.S. military.
April 21, 2015
Poroshenko thanks U.S. for sending military to Ukraine
KYIV: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has held a telephone conversation with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden.
This is reported by the presidential press service.
Poroshenko thanked Joseph Biden for sending American troops to Ukraine and conducting joint exercise “Fearless Guardian – 2015,” and also for his personal contribution to the realization of this project. “It is a new and important page that proved the strategic level of partnership between Ukraine and the United States,” the president said.
The parties have coordinated further actions in the sphere of defense, particularly on the provision of additional aid for Ukraine.
Vice President Biden informed about the readiness of the United States to grant Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees within the financial support in 2015. He also told about funding projects for the provision of humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons and victims of the war in Donbas.
April 21, 2015
NATO trust to be used to reform Ukrainian army
KYIV: This week, Ukraine and NATO are to agree on start of practical implementation of the Alliance’s trust fund to reform the control and communication system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Mission of Ukraine to NATO has reported this to an Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels.
“On Friday, April 24, at the NATO headquarters, the parties will sign the Memorandum between the Government of Ukraine and the NATO Communications and Information Agency, needed to start the practical implementation of the NATO trust fund to reform the control and communication system of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the Mission reported.
The document will be signed by the Head of Mission of Ukraine to NATO, Ambassador Ihor Dolhov and General Manager of the NATO Communications and Information Agency Koen Gijsbers.
Xinhua News Agency
April 21, 2015
Armed group takes over Macedonian police station demanding an “independent state”
SKOPJE: A group of 40 armed, masked people forcibly took over a police station in the Macedonian border village of Goshince early Tuesday morning, Macedonian police confirmed.
The assailants called themselves members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and disarmed the four police officers on duty. The armed people declare they were forming an independent state.
“The attackers started beating one of the officers and they tied up the other three with handcuffs. They threatened them with the words: ‘We are KLA and nobody will save you, neither the Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski nor the leader of the coalition ruling party Albanian Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) in Macedonia, Ali Ahmeti. We demand our own independent state and we do not recognize the Ohrid Framework Agreement. Nobody can come here anymore. If someone does, he will be executed’,” Ivo Kotveski, spokesperson for the Macedonian ministry of the interior, told Xinhua.
The attackers recorded the whole operation on camera. The four officers were given half an hour to leave the police station before being killed, but three of them were tied up. The one who was not tied up managed to flee the station on foot.
The police operation to reclaim the station is underway. The Macedonian ministry of the interior is considering this attack as a “serious terrorist act.”
According to initial information from the Macedonian Ministry of the Interior, the attackers came from neighboring Kosovo, but additional evidence on this is still being obtained. Goshince is a small place in the Lipkovo municipality, northern Macedonia.
Lipkovo municipality was one of the main areas where, in 2001, there was an armed conflict between Macedonian security forces and insurgents from the so-called People’s Liberation Army, affiliated with the KLA. The conflict ended with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, a document guaranteeing political and civil rights to Albanians and the other minorities in Macedonia.
In recent months, KLA has claimed responsibility for two attacks on the government building here. First in October last year, and again on April 10, unknown attackers launched grenades on the building. Two of them hit the facade and one exploded near the government building. No one was hurt in the incidents, but the police have not yet managed to find the attackers.
After both incidents, the so-called KLA has issued written statements regarding their responsibility for the attacks, claiming that they do not recognize the Ohrid Framework Agreement because they are not satisfied with its implementation.
U.S. Department of Defense
April 20, 2015
Military Exercises Begin in Ukraine, Philippines
By Cheryl Pellerin
WASHINGTON: Military training exercises begin today in Ukraine for Fearless Guardian, and in the Philippines for the 31st iteration of Exercise Balikatan, a Pentagon spokesman said today.
During a briefing with Pentagon reporters, Army Col. Steve Warren said that about 300 Sky Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, will train members of the Ukraine National Guard at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv near the Polish border.
The United States has trained at the same center for years with other allies and partners, he added.
“This latest training, which is as valuable in peacetime as it is in times of conflict, is to establish a professional force that protects and defends Ukraine’s people [and] the country’s sovereignty,” Warren said.
Three hundred Sky Soldiers will train about 900 Ukrainian national guardsmen during three training rotations, each about two months long, he said.
The small-unit trainers will focus on defensive and civil military operations.
Specific blocks of instruction include medical training, casualty evacuation, counter-unmanned-aerial-vehicle tactics, counter-insurgency training, counter-improvised-explosive-device training, and more, Warren said.
Human rights and use-of-force training also will be conducted, along with common soldier and collective tasks such as individual conduct and law of war, first aid, survival, land navigation, communication, unit operations, and counter-chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training.
Joint Commission Plus Canada
“The Defense Department will continue to work closely with Ukraine to provide assistance, training and advising support,” Warren said, “including through our U.S.-Ukraine Joint Commission on Defense Cooperation, to Ukraine, over the long term.”
The Joint Commission formed in July 2014, and Canada was an observer at the inaugural meeting in October 2014. Later, Canadian leaders requested an invitation for membership on the Joint Commission.
On Feb. 2, Canada’s Defense Minister Rob Nicholson announced that Canada would join the commission “to better coordinate Canada’s ongoing provision of assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”
Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine
Warren said the United States also jointly hosts two Partnership for Peace exercises each year in Ukraine, a ground forces peacekeeping exercise called Rapid Trident and a naval exercise called Sea Breeze.
The training in small-unit tactics includes instruction on how to shoot, how to move, how to communicate and other individual soldier skills, Warren added, during which the National Guardsmen use Ukrainian weapons and their own munitions.
“Thus far, we have provided the Ukrainians with nonlethal aid only,” he said, adding that the department delivered 30 Humvees to Kiev in March and will deliver another 300 in the coming months.
The DoD is monitoring events in Ukraine, Warren said, “particularly in Eastern Ukraine where we know Russian forces are contributing to the destabilization and unrest.”
Also today in the Philippines, U.S. and Philippine forces began the 31st iteration of Exercise Balikatan, Warren said.
The annual bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement seeks to improve the readiness of participating U.S. and Philippine forces.
“It is a signature element of our alliance,” Warren said.
Balikatan takes place in the Philippines starting today to April 30, and about 6,000 U.S. personnel will participate this year, he said, noting that 4,100 of the forces will be U.S. Marines.
The exercise trains Philippine and U.S. military forces to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety.
“This training proved invaluable during the relief mission [of November 2013] in the wake of super typhoon Haiyan,” Warren said. The typhoon devastated more than 35 provinces in the Philippines and displaced nearly half a million residents.
Military service members from both countries also will conduct combined command-post exercises and field training and live-fire exercises, the colonel said.
U.S. Department of Defense
April 20, 2015
Carter, German Minister Discuss Defense Issues at Pentagon
WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter today met with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon, according to a Defense Department statement.
During the 45-minute meeting, the leaders discussed their continuing efforts in NATO and support to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the statement.
It was Carter’s first meeting with the German defense minister, the statement said.
Carter and Minister von der Leyen emphasized the importance of NATO unity against Russian aggression and discussed ways to work together to support NATO reassurance measures, the statement said.
The U.S. defense secretary thanked the minister for Germany’s support to Kurdish forces in fighting ISIL, and welcomed Germany’s continued leadership and commitment in Afghanistan, according to the statement.
The two leaders expressed their commitment to a strong working relationship and noted that they are looking forward to meeting at upcoming NATO ministerials, the statement said.
2nd Cavalry Regiment
April 17, 2015
US Troopers, Romanian land forces and British soldiers participate in opening ceremonies for Exercise Wind Spring
Story by Sgt. William Tanner
SMARDAN TRAINING AREA, Romania: For the Dragoons assigned to 2nd (Cougar) Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, being able to train with military service members from other countries is an opportunity to experience not only the differences in each other’s training but to create a unique challenge for their Soldiers as well.
Troopers assigned to Cougar Squadron, Romanian soldiers with Romanian Land Forces (ROULF) and British soldiers stationed with the Coldstream Guards, all participated in the opening ceremony for Exercise Wind Spring at Smardan Training Area, Romania, April 16, 2015.
“Today’s ceremony initiates ‘Wind Spring,’ a series of multilateral training exercises hosted by Romanian Land Forces, including units from 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the United Kingdom’s Coldstream Guards,” said Lt. Col. Theodore A. Johnson, 2nd Squadron Commander.
The exercise will be the ROULF’s biggest exercise in the past six years and is aimed to maintain and increase interoperability between NATO Allies.
“Wind Spring will be the largest training event in Romania in years,” said Johnson. “It involves combined arms maneuvers with enablers provided by all three participating countries.”
This multinational event is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve and coincides with Saber Junction, an annual training exercise currently being conducted in Hohenfels, Germany. Opportunities such as these allow for training to take place throughout different European countries while helping to further demonstrate the reassurance measures adopted by the NATO Council.
Exercise Wind Spring is projected to last until the end of April, with 2nd Squadron preparing themselves for future operations throughout Romania and Bulgaria.
April 20, 2015
Georgian Fighting for Ukraine Killed at Shyrokyne
Tbilisi: A Georgian national, Giorgi Janelidze, who was fighting on the Ukrainian side, was killed in combat at the village of Shyrokyne, just east from the port city of Mariupol on April 18.
Janelidze was fighting alongside the Azov Battalion; another Georgian was wounded, according to Georgians fighting on the Ukrainian side.
This is the fourth reported fatality among Georgians fighting in Ukraine – three of them were fighting on the Ukrainian side and one on the side of the Russian-backed separatists.
D.H. Lawrence: War adds horror to horror, becomes horrible piratic affair, dirty sort of freebooting
From Kangaroo (1923)
If men had kept their souls firm and integral through the years, the war would never have come on…
And now, if circumstances had roped nearly all men into the horror, and it was a case of adding horror to horror, or dying well, on the other hand, the irremediable circumstance of his own separate soul made Richard Lovat’s inevitable standing out. If there is an outward, circumstantial unreason and fatality, there is an inward unreason and inward fate. He would have to dare to follow his inward fate. He must remain alone, outside of everything, everything, conscious of what was going on, conscious of what he was doing and not doing. Conscious he must be and consciously he must stick to it. To be forced into nothing.
For, above all things, man is a land animal and a thought-adventurer. Once the human consciousness really sinks and is swamped under the tide of events – as the best English consciousness was swamped, pacifist and patriotic alike – then the adventure is doomed. The English soul went under in the war, and, as a conscious, proud, adventurous, self-responsible soul, it was lost. We all lost the war: perhaps Germany least. Lost all the lot. The adventure is always lost when the human conscious soul gives way under the stress, fails to keep control, and is submerged. Then out swam the rats and the Bottomleys and crew, and the ship of human adventure is a horrible piratic affair, a dirty sort of freebooting.
Mrs. Redburn was frightened, receiving the tainted Mr. Somers. But she had pluck. Everybody in London was frightened at this time, everybody who was not a rabid and disgusting so-called patriot. It was a reign of terror…
So then, why will men not forgive the war, and their humiliation at the hands of those war-like authorities? Because men were compelled into the service of a dead ideal. And perhaps nothing but this compulsion made them realise it was a dead ideal. But all those filthy stay-at-home officers and coast-watchers and dirty-minded doctors who tortured men during the first stages of the torture, did these men in their souls believe in what they were doing? They didn’t. They had no souls. They had only their beastly little wills, which they used to bully all men with. With their wills they determined to fight for a dead ideal, and to bully every other man into compliance. The inspiring motive was the bullying. And every other man complied. Or else, by admitting a conscientious objection to war, he admitted the dead ideal, but took refuge in one of its side-tracks.
April 20, 2015
Three more countries train Ukrainian army – Poroshenko
KYIV: The Ukrainian army, apart from the U.S. military, will be trained by the servicemen from the United Kingdom, Canada and Poland.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has said this in Lviv at the opening of the Ukrainian-U.S. joint drills “Fearless Guardian – 2015″, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“It is symbolic that on the 70th anniversary of victory of Anti-Hitler Coalition over Nazism, frontier of civilizational battle for the future of Europe and the world is laid in Ukraine once again. The hybrid war with Ukraine, which is being conducted, will decide whether the norms of international law will act, whether the borders will be integral. We are not alone in this fight, now apart from American partners, Britain, Canada, Poland joined us. We hope that together we will win this fight,” Poroshenko said.
The President thanked the US military for their coming to share experience, and noted that their visit is a symbol of a new stage of cooperation between the United States and Ukraine.
April 20, 2015
Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 military exercise begins in Ukraine
During the Fearless Guardian 2015 international military exercise, Ukraine’s National Guard intends to learn from the United States military the practices they have used in operations worldwide, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said.
“The U.S. special task force has experience received in operations worldwide, and we want to use this experience. Wars are won by skills, not weapons,” Avakov said the opening ceremony of the Ukrainian-U.S. command post exercise in the Yavoriv district of the Lviv region on Monday.
He also said it is important that “the Americans openly support Ukraine, including in this form.”
The Ukrainian interior minister said he is hoping that Ukraine will soon receive similar support from other countries.
The Ukrainian-U.S. Fearless Guardian 2015 command post exercise began in the Yavoriv district in the Lviv region on Monday. The exercise will last until November 2015.
According to the training program, each stage will involve two companies of the Ukrainian National Guard (each comprising 150 servicemen) and 25 top military officials and the United States European Command will involve 247 servicemen in each stage of the exercise.
Stars and Stripes
April 20, 2015
US paratroopers train Ukrainian forces to take on Russian-backed militants
By Matt Millham
YAVORIV, Ukraine: U.S. and Ukrainian troops rang in the start of a new training mission here Monday, an effort to beef up the capabilities of Ukrainian forces fighting Russian-backed militants in the country’s east.
The Fearless Guardian exercises are expected to run at least through the end of summer and turn out thousands of newly trained personnel to take on separatists trying to splinter off from the former Soviet republic.
The first batch of about 900 trainees have already fought on the front lines of the year-old conflict, said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who addressed the U.S. and Ukrainian troops in a mid-day downpour.
But the country’s armed forces, he said, need to be rebuilt.
Two companies from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade will lead the first round of training, which will start off with basic marksmanship and grow in complexity over the next 10 weeks to include operations at a company and platoon level.
The U.S. has so far declined to provide “lethal aid,” such as weapons, to Ukraine. The training plan aims instead to improve Ukrainian forces’ use of their own weapons, such as Kalashnikov rifles, said U.S. officials. A small number of Ukrainian troops taking part in a ceremony marking the start of the training wore U.S.-supplied body armor and helmets similar to those worn by American forces early in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Capt. Nicholas Salimbene, the 31-year-old commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, said he hesitates to say the program is similar to basic training “because these guys are coming right from the east. They have real-life combat experience.”
His company was also the first to deploy to Lithuania last year as part of the U.S.-led Atlantic Resolve mission to reassure Baltic and Polish allies after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine near the start of the conflict.
Salimbene said the situation here is different because Lithuania has an established Army, “whereas these guys, the national guard, is relatively new to Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s national guard forces have been converted from volunteer militias that sprang up less than a year ago to fight Russian-backed separatists into units under the command and control of Ukraine’s armed forces.
Moscow has described the effort to train Ukrainian forces — in which Britain and Canada are also participating — as “counterproductive,” saying it will not help resolve the “fratricidal” conflict in Ukraine.
Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of sending its troops to help and arm the separatists — a claim Moscow denies.
Poroshenko said it was a Ukrainian government decision to have the guardsmen receive the U.S.-led training first, but hopes that regular army units will be able to get the training as well.
United States European Command
April 20, 2015
EUCOM provides update on the European Reassurance Initiative
By Media Operations Division
Stuttgart, Germany: U.S. European Command continues to support the defense and security of NATO allies and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. partners in Europe. The European Reassurance Initiative (ERI), part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on December 19, 2014, included $985 million in ERI funds. These monies enable the Department of Defense to continue its efforts to reinforce America’s solemn commitment to…strengthen the security and capacity of our partners in the region.
“ERI is an infusion of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds for Fiscal Year 15 designed to support increased capability, presence, readiness, and responsiveness to deter further destabilization in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Major General Randy A. Kee, Director, Strategy and Policy, at U.S. European Command. “It specifically funds an increase in the rotational presence of U.S. forces in Europe; additional bilateral and multilateral exercises and training; improved infrastructure to receive reinforcements and support onward movement and enhanced prepositioning of U.S. equipment in Europe,” he said.
The ERI enables the DoD to, among other things: Continue Operation Atlantic Resolve, which includes conducting military exercises and training on land, in the air and at sea, while sustaining a rotational presence across Europe; and increase the responsiveness of U.S. forces to reinforce NATO by exploring initiatives such as prepositioning of equipment and enhancing reception facilities in Europe.
Reassurance to NATO Allies
ERI funding will help increase the capability, readiness and responsiveness of NATO forces, primarily through the funding of rotational force presence in Eastern Europe, as well as through the improvement of ground and air training and staging sites. Combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with our Allies and partners demonstrate that we share a commitment to promoting a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.
The ERI is already increasing responsiveness and readiness by pre-positioning ammunition, fuel and equipment for use in regional training and exercises, as well as improving infrastructure that enhances NATO operations and enables Eastern Allies to rapidly receive reinforcements. The U.S./European strategic partnership has been forged over the past seven decades and is built on a foundation of shared values, experiences and vision. Our persistent, rotational presence in Central and Eastern Europe is fully in line with our international commitments and agreements, and provides a visible sign of our commitment to collective defense.
Military Assistance to Support Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia
The United States will use ERI funds to build the capacity of key partners to provide for their own defense and improve interoperability with NATO. The U.S. stands by its allies and partners, as they have stood by us. We will continue to take actions that increase the capability, readiness, and responsiveness of NATO forces to address any threat and that aid in deterring further destabilizing activities. Congress specifically appropriated $175 million to bolster the governments of Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as they potentially have to defend their sovereignty against expanding regional aggression.
A mixture of Military Construction (MILCON) and minor construction projects will help create an enduring presence in the European area of responsibility to better allow U.S. forces to work closer with our partner nations through rotational deployments. Projects related to land forces are primarily focused on firing ranges and training area improvements throughout Eastern Europe, as well as infrastructure required to allow access to host nation training areas. Where required, structures will be developed to enable training – such as classrooms for instruction and buildings to store range targets. Construction projects related to air operations are focused on improving existing airfields, as well as cargo handling and passenger support operations in Eastern Europe. Finally, additional construction projects are slated to improve weapons storage capabilities in the theater.
Some examples of locations where MILCON projects are planned to be executed include:
•Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria (Airfield Improvement)
•Amari, Estonia (Airfield Improvement)
•Lielvarde, Latvia (Improve Airfield Infrastructure)
•Siauliai, Lithuania (Improve Airfield Infrastructure)
•Lask, Poland (Improve Support Infrastructure)
•Campia Turzia, Romania (Improve Airfield Infrastructure)
•Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania (Cargo Ramp/Multi-Modal Improvements/Fuel Storage Capacity)
The ERI helps assist the continued, visible demonstration of the United States’ resolve to support NATO reassurance measures and bolster the security and capacity of America’s partners in the region.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Allied Command Operations
April 20, 2015
The NATO Rapid Deployable Corps (NRDC)
NATO’s Rapid Deployable Corps (NRDC) can be deployed for a wide range of missions: from disaster management, humanitarian assistance and peace support to counter-terrorism and high-intensity war fighting. There are currently nine NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, which are each capable of commanding up to 60,000 soldiers.
These headquarters are multinational, but are sponsored and paid by one or more ‘framework nations’ who provide the bulk of the headquarters’ personnel, equipment and financial resources. The United Kingdom is the framework nation of the ARRC, while France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey have sponsored the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps France, Greece Italy, Spain and Turkey, respectively. Germany and the Netherlands share costs for the German-Netherlands Rapid Deployable Corps, while Denmark, Germany and Poland are the three framework nations of the Multinational Corps Northeast and Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain are the Eurocorps framework nations. Romania is currently establishing a Multinational Division Headquarters for south-eastern Europe, which is expected to be operational by 2016.
The corps participate in the NATO Response Force (NRF) – a highly ready and technologically advanced force made up of land, air, sea, and Special Operations Forces components that can be deployed at short notice to wherever needed. Under the NRF’s rotation system, a designated Rapid Deployable Corps assumes command of the land component of the NRF for a fixed 12-month period, during which it is on standby. This means that the headquarters must be able to deploy on short notice. Prior to this, the corps undergoes an intense six-month training programme, which tests its procedures for planning and conducting combined joint crisis-response operations.
The various corps also play a central role in NATO’s ongoing operations. For example, several corps have commanded NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan including Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (U.K.), NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Italy, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps Turkey, Eurocorps and 1 German-Netherlands Corps.
Oliver Goldsmith: To make one man happy is more truly great than having ten thousand captives groaning at the wheels of his chariot
From Citizen of the World (1762)
The English and French have not only political reasons to induce them to mutual hatred but often the more prevailing motive of private interest to widen the breach; a war between other countries is carried on collectively, army fights against army, and a man’s own private resentment is lost in that of the community; but in England and France the individuals of each country plunder each other at sea without redress, and consequently feel that animosity against each other which passengers do at a robber. They have for some time carried on an expensive war; and several captives have been taken on both sides. Those made prisoners by the French have been used with cruelty, and guarded with unnecessary caution. Those taken by the English, being much more numerous, were confined in the ordinary manner; and, not being released by their countrymen, began to feel all the inconveniencies which arise from want of covering and long confinement.
To rejoice at the destruction of our enemies, is a foible grafted upon human nature, and we must be permitted to indulge it: the true way of atoning for such an ill founded pleasure, is thus to turn our triumph into an act of benevolence, and to testify our own joy by endeavouring to banish anxiety from others.
Hamti, the best and wisest emperor that ever filled the throne, after having gained three signal victories over the Tartars, who had invaded his dominions, returned to Nankin in order to enjoy the glory of his conquest. After he had rested for some days, the people who are naturally fond of processions, impatiently expected the triumphal entry, which emperors upon such occasions were accustomed to make. Their murmurs came to the emperor’s ear. He loved his people, and was willing to do all in his power to satisfy their just desires. He therefore assured them, that he intended, upon the next feast of the Lanthorns, to exhibit one of the most glorious triumphs that had ever been seen in China.
The people were in raptures at his condescension; and, on the appointed day, assembled at the gates of the palace with the most eager expectations. Here they waited for some time without seeing any of those preparations which usually precede a pageant. The lanthorn, with ten thousand tapers, was not yet brought forth; the fire-works, which usually covered the city walls, were not yet lighted; the people once more began to murmur at this delay; when in the midst of their impatience, the palace gates flew open, and the emperor himself appeared, not in splendor or magnificence, but in an ordinary habit, followed by the blind, the maimed, and the strangers of the city, all in new clothes, and each carrying in his hand money enough to supply his necessities for the year. The people were at first amazed, but soon perceived the wisdom of their king, who taught them, that to make one man happy was more truly great than having ten thousand captives groaning at the wheels of his chariot.
Some time since I sent thee, oh holy disciple of Confucius, an account of the grand abbey or mausoleum of the kings and heroes of this nation. I have since been introduced to a temple not so ancient, but far superior in beauty and magnificence. In this, which is the most considerable of the empire, there are no pompous inscriptions, no flattery paid the dead, but all is elegant and awfully simple. There are however a few rags hung round the walls, which have at a vast expense been taken from the enemy in the present war. The silk of which they are composed when new, might be valued at half a string of copper money in China; yet this wise people fitted out a fleet and an army in order to seize them; though now grown old, and scarce capable of being patched up into a handkerchief. By this conquest the English are said to have gained, and the French to have lost much honour. Is the honour of European nations placed only in tattered silk?
U.S. Air Forces in Europe
U.S. Air Force Africa
April 17, 2015
Romania, US reaffirm commitment to European security
By Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
CAMPIA TURZII, Romania: Leadership from the Romanian Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Air Force conducted a visit of Romanian and U.S. Air Forces executing a bilateral training deployment at Campia Turzii, Romania, April 16.
Mircea Dusa, Romanian Minister of National Defense, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, Romanian army Lt. Gen. Nicolae Ciuca, Chief of General Staff, and Romanian air force Maj. Gen. Laurian Anastasof, Chief of the Romanian Air Force Staff, toured the installation, congratulated Airmen and participated in a media event related to the progress of the theater security package.
“We are here today at the invitation of our Romania friends who, like other Eastern Europeans, are experiencing real anxiety in the wake of aggression in the Ukraine,” Roberson said. “Intimidating actions, which continue, have created significant distress among Eastern Europeans and resurrected thoughts of a not too distant past.”
Roberson said that U.S. European Command and the U.S. Air Force deployed additional forces on the continent to reassure its allies and partner nations, which he described as an effective way to show that European security is an American priority.
The U.S. Air Force’s 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft and the Romanian air force’s 71st Air Base’s MiG-21 fighter aircraft and Puma helicopters partnered together for training, also known as Dacian Thunder 2015, in order to build upon both nations’ joint capabilities and ensuring a stronger partnership as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen and support equipment from the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, serve in various operations, maintenance, mission support, medical and wing staff functions there, reflecting a combat capable force able to respond to a wide variety of operations.
He added that the TSP represents the first of its kind in the European theater, while reflecting those used in the Pacific theater since 2004. “Although Mr. Putin’s recent actions are of concern, this team is not only in response to him and Russia but also part of a long-range plan,” he said. “The essential point is that rotational constructs that we see here [are] part of a steadfast commitment to the long-term safety and security of our NATO allies.
This rotational construct is also a method for projecting forces at the right time and to the right combatant commanders.”
Roberson also highlighted the 354th EFS’s accomplishments since arriving in Europe in February 2015: the execution of more than 400 flights with more than 1,000 training hours in support of missions with Poland, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Romania and others; many flying training deployments and interoperability events; support to Joint Terminal Attack Controllers certification; as well as Combat Search and Rescue training.
“These Airmen and A-10s of the 354th EFS provide a strategic symbol as they represent U.S. commitment to European security and stability,” Roberson said.
Anastasof echoed Roberson’s assessment of the TSP, citing it as “more proof of America’s continued commitment to European security.”
“Notable accomplishments in theaters of operations provide evidence of how thoroughly and responsibly our military forces approach exercises like this one and, at the same time, clearly show the benefits of military cooperative relationships such as between the U.S. and Romania, following the principle ‘Training together — fighting together,'” Anastasof said.
He also said that the exercise will continue to be a part of future plans when considering its relation to accomplishing assumed NATO and national commitments.
“Both NATO and strategic partnership commitments of the Romanian air force, as well as the way we choose to meet them, give expression to our solidarity and determination to successfully complete joint projects on the benefit of peace, freedom and democracy [!],” Anastasof said.
The ceremony concluded with U.S. and Romanian aircraft recommencing training.
“All these training events focus upon increased readiness and toward greater stability in the area,” Roberson said. “Together, we stand to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace.”
April 15, 2015
Lithuania pushes to buy German artillery
Germany said Wednesday it wants to sell howitzer-type mobile artillery vehicles to Lithuania as the Baltic NATO nation boosts its defences amid concerns over neighbouring Russia.
“It is possible to give those 12 howitzer tanks to Lithuania,” German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told journalists in Vilnius.
Von Der Leyen did not disclose the price, but said experts would invoke a “solidarity” clause when they finalise the deal next month.
German media reported the hardware was used by Berlin in Afghanistan and is now worth €15 million.
“We are interested in moving fast,” Lithuanian army colonel Romualdas Petkevicius in charge of weapon procurement told AFP, adding he hoped the hardware would arrive next year.
Lithuania is seeking “PzH 2000″-type howitzers. Petkevicius said the Baltic state was also mulling whether to buy German Boxer-type armoured fighting vehicles.
NATO members since 2004, the three Baltic states have repeatedly asked allies to step up their presence [against] Russia.
Berlin will send over 500 troops to Lithuania for military exercises this year.
NATO is also reinforcing its defences on Europe’s eastern flank with a rapid reaction force of 5,000 troops and command centres in six formerly communist members of the alliance, including the three Baltic states.
April 10, 2015
German military to bring back mothballed tanks
Berlin has announced plans to bring dozens of mothballed tanks back into service. There is speculation the move is in response to increased demands from the Ukraine crisis.
German Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said Friday that the country’s military will pay 22 million euros ($23.6 million) to buy back 100 Leopard 2 battle tanks from the defense industry.
The plans to equip Germany’s Bundeswehr with additional tanks nearly reverses a four-year-old decision to cut the total from 350 to 225.
The ministry has decided to raise the upper limit for the future to 328,” Flosdorff told a government news conference, confirming a report by German magazine Spiegel.
The announcement came as NATO attempts to increase the response time of its rapid reaction force following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year and the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The Reuters news agency reported that Berlin is seeking “to ensure its troops are ready for action in response to concerns over recent Russian assertiveness.”
The modernization of the Leopard 2 fleet is scheduled to start in 2017.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
April 17, 2015
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visits Serbia
The visit to Serbia was an opportunity for the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Bartels to develop further the NATO-Serbia military relations, commend the progress made in the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP) and to highlight the mutual benefits of the new Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) agreed between NATO and Serbia in January 2015. During his two-day visit (16 – 17 April 2015), General Bartels met with General Diković, Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Ambassador Branimir Filipović Assistant of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr Zoran Đorđević, State Secretary.
NATO and Serbia have steadily built up cooperation and dialogue, since the country joined the Partnership for Peace programme (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 2006 and agreed, earlier this year, to further enhance the dialogue and cooperation with the Individual Partnership Programme (IPAP) whilst respecting Serbia’s policy of military neutrality. As with Serbia, NATO works closely with several other countries on such a basis.
Serbia and NATO have thereby opened the possibility to deepen the political dialogue on issues of common interest. These include support for democratic, institutional and defence reforms and cooperation between the militaries. General Bartels used the opportunity to highlight the excellent and extensive cooperation and coordination that exists between the Serbian military and the NATO forces in Kosovo, KFOR. “I strongly believe in the potential of NATO-Serbia relations. Serbia is a member of the European family like any other; we want to work as closely with you as we do with our other European partners” General Bartels stated during his press conference with General Diković.
Part of the purpose of the visit was to discuss the new opportunities on the Military side the newly agreed Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) between NATO and Serbia has provided, “this important step will allow us to further strengthen dialogue, understanding and cooperation between us. This is an opportunity to work together and to promote stability and security in the region and beyond. Also improved interoperability will benefit other areas in the NATO-Serbia cooperation such as Civil Emergency/Crisis Management, NATO Building Integrity Programme, Medical Support to Peace Operations, and the Science and Peace for Security Programme” General Bartels said.
The IPAP is a jointly agreed framework between a partner nation, in this case Serbia, and NATO, and is mutually beneficial. The main objective of the IPAP is for the partner nation to lay out its goals and the areas where NATO can provide assistance to achieve those goals. “The IPAP will help to organise bilateral cooperation, ensuring that NATO and individual Allies can provide support to Serbia in achieving its goals”, explained General Bartels. This new step will lead to a significant increase in dialogue between NATO and Serbia at political and expert levels.
This plan commits NATO and Serbia to working together to raise public awareness and understanding of security issues and of NATO-Serbia cooperation. And it reflects the wide range of defence and military areas in which NATO and Serbia intend to continue and to strengthen their cooperation.
Stars and Stripes
April 17, 2015
US spending $1 billion to reassure European allies
By Steven Beardsley
Strykers from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment convoy from Alytus, Lithuania, to the Polish border, on March 23, 2015. The U.S. plans to spend nearly $1 billion this fiscal year in eastern Europe as part of the European Reassurance Initiative.
NAPLES, Italy: From Army rotations to bunkered weapons, American military spending in Europe has risen in the past year in an effort to reassure allies nervous over Russian actions in Ukraine.
More is coming in the months ahead. U.S. commanders in Europe continue to draw from roughly $1 billion in contingency funding approved by Congress in December, much of it earmarked for projects still in their earliest stages, including airfield improvements and funding for forces in the Baltics and Ukraine. The military is requesting almost $800 million for the coming fiscal year, and officials say funding will be needed in years ahead to ensure the success of current projects.
“I think everyone’s aware that, especially with infrastructure, some of this will have a tail that goes beyond (Fiscal Year) 2016,” one defense official said.
That official, provided by U.S. European Command and authorized to speak only on background, spoke with Stars and Stripes as the military prepares to update Congress on recent spending under the $985 million European Reassurance Initiative. Funded through overseas contingency operating funds, the ERI is meant to rope off money for exercises, patrols and infrastructure improvements by moving them outside military’s base budget, which is subject to budget caps passed by Congress four years ago.
Much of the funding is dedicated to the most visible parts of U.S. operations on the continent. The rotation of an Army heavy armored brigade eats up about a quarter of the total, while ERI also funds fighter jet patrols over the Baltic states and increased Navy deployments to the Black Sea.
The Air Force decision to keep a squadron of F-15C fighter jets in Lakenheath, England, a line item not included in original planning for the fund, represents another significant chunk, at about $110 million.
Other programs are less visible. Congress designated $175 million of current funding specifically to provide equipment to forces in the Baltics and Ukraine. Another $175 million of the fund is earmarked as military construction in the Baltics and Central and Eastern Europe, with more likely to be set aside during the coming fiscal year beginning in October.
Projects include building dining and laundry facilities to accommodate U.S. airmen deployed to small airfields like Lask Air Base in Poland or Siauliai in Lithuania. The Army received more than $64 million to upgrade training ranges across Europe and another $17 million to improve logistics infrastructure on some bases, including warehouse and railheads. The Navy received $3 million to upgrade a port facility on the Black Sea.
Prepositioning sites for weapons and equipment are another focus of the ERI, with funding of $136 million in the current fiscal year — all of it for Army and Air Force. Part of the funding will go to storing tanks, vehicles and other equipment for the rotational Army brigade.
Construction projects are still in the early stages, according to the defense official, and months will pass before work can begin. Engineers are still making site visits, while American embassies in each country are laying the diplomatic groundwork necessary to begin work.
Timelines and funding restrictions remain a challenge, the official said. The military developed ERI as a two-year funding mechanism; Congress chose instead to fund one year at a time. Much of the current fiscal year funding must be used before the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, meaning some efforts have to be sped up.
Military construction projects must first be approved by Congress, which also has oversight on funding for foreign military forces.
The availability of funding in future years is, as always, an open question.
The military’s use of contingency funding has drawn more scrutiny in recent years. Ryan Alexander, president of the non-partisan advocacy group Taxpayers for Common Sense, noted that most of the expenses covered by the ERI — such as exercises and infrastructure improvements — have little relation to contingency operations.
“I think it’s part of an all-over trend of putting things in OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations) that they don’t want to be subject to the caps,” she said.
April 18, 2015
Russia open to military cooperation with U.S., other NATO countries – military official
[The man who speaks the truth should have one foot in the stirrup – Armenian proverb]
VLADIVOSTOK: Russia is interested in maintaining military cooperation with the U.S. and other NATO countries to the extent they are interested in this themselves, says Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov.
“As concerns us, I would like simply to reaffirm that we are interested in military cooperation with the U.S. and [other] NATO countries to the extent they are interested in this. All mechanisms are in place, and it were not we who froze them. We believe this decision is wrong. But we won’t coax, cajole, or beg anyone,” Antonov said in an interview shown in a Saturday analytical program hosted by Sergei Brilyov.
Russia and the U.S. have an agreement on the prevention of dangerous military activities, and there is also a national nuclear threat analysis center through whose channels Moscow can immediately contact Brussels, Washington or other capital, he said.
“This is not a problem. The problem is that all these channels have been frozen today. Unfortunately, the NATO countries and the United States have frozen all these contacts. And I feel and sense from conversations, from media reports, and from unofficial contacts that both the Americans and the [other] NATO countries perfectly understand that such mechanisms should live and exist. And besides, it’s very bad when the military stop talking. It’s bad for the world, for stability, and for regional security,” Antonov said.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
From The Professor at the Breakfast Table (1859)
They are playing with toys we have done with for whole generations. That silly little drum they are always beating on, and the trumpet and the feather they make so much noise and cut such a figure with, we have not quite outgrown, but play with much less seriously and constantly as they do.
A man whose opinions are not attacked is beneath contempt.
Justice! A good man respects the rights even of brute matter and arbitrary symbols.
It is in the hearts of many men and women – let me add children – that there is a Great Secret waiting for them, – a secret of which they get hints now and then, perhaps oftener in early than in later years. These hints come sometimes in dreams, sometimes in sudden startling flashes, – second wakings, as it were, – a waking out of the waking state, which last is very apt to be a half-sleep. I have many times stopped short and held my breath, and felt the blood leaving my cheeks, in one of these sudden clairvoyant flashes. Of course I cannot tell what kind of a secret this is, but I think of it as a disclosure of certain relations of our personal being to time and space, to other intelligences, to the procession of events, and to their First Great Cause. This secret seems to be broken up, as it were, into fragments, so that we find here a word and there a syllable, and then again only a letter of it; but it never is written out for most of us as a complete sentence, in this life. I do not think it could be; for I am disposed to consider our beliefs about such a possible disclosure rather as a kind of premonition of an enlargement of our faculties in some future state than as an expectation to be fulfilled for most of us in this life…
Ministry of Defence of Georgia
April 18, 2015
Defence Minister Met with UK Ambassador
Defence Minister of Georgia Mindia Janelidze held meeting with Ambassador of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Georgia, Alexandra Hall Hall. Deputy Defence Minister Levan Girsiashvili, UK Defence Attaché LTC Nick Wilkes, Political Advisor to Ambassador Chris Gaff and UK Special Advisor to Georgian MoD Stephan Glover attended the meeting as well.
The sides talked about current cooperation issues and future prospects in defence sphere between Georgia and the UK. Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspiration, implementation process of NATO-Georgia Substantial Package and UK’s contribution in this process were referred at the meeting as well.
As Defence Minister outlined Great Britain is strategic partner of Georgia and close cooperation with the UK is very essential. “Periodically, we review cooperation process with our partners. Georgia has a very active relation with the British side. I’d like to emphasize cooperation in military education – we actively cooperate to the direction of joint trainings. We hope the British side will participate in NATO-Georgia joint training scheduled to be held this summer. We also have a number of exchange meetings. Therefore, similar meetings and discussion of cooperation prospects are necessary to be organized”, stated Minister Mindia Janelidze.
Alexandra Hall Hall focused on close and fruitful cooperation with Defence Ministry of Georgia: “We have a very good working relation with the Georgian Ministry of Defence, with the Minister personally and his team. The purpose of my meeting today was to discuss current levels of UK-Georgia cooperation in defence. I was able to confirm that the UK will be contributing to the NATO Core Team to be established in the Georgian Ministry of Defence as part of the NATO package agreed at the Wales Summit. Actually, the UK will be contributing making very large financial contribution to the Trust Funds which has been set up to fund this defence capacity building operations. We also talked about the other defence cooperation that is going on between us. We have several Georgian students on British military courses in the UK. We also have number of defence visits. We have a director of international security policy visiting this June. We will talk about further defence cooperation”.
From It Can’t Happen Here (1935)
America followed, too, the same ingenious finances as Europe. Windrip had promised to make everybody richer, and had contrived to make everybody, except for a few hundred bankers and industrialists and soldiers, much poorer. He needed no higher mathematicians to produce his financial statements: any ordinary press agent could do them. To show a 100 per cent economy in military expenditures, while increasing the establishment 700 per cent, it had been necessary only to charge up all expenditures for the Minute Men to non-military departments, so that their training in the art of bayonet-sticking was debited to the Department of Education. To show an increase in average wages one did tricks with “categories of labor” and “required minimum wages,” and forgot to state how many workers ever did become entitled to the “minimum,” and how much was charged as wages, on the books, for food and shelter for the millions in the labor camps.
It all made dazzling reading. There had never been more elegant and romantic fiction.
Even loyal Corpos began to wonder why the armed forces, army and M.M.’s together, were being so increased. Was a frightened Windrip getting ready to defend himself against a rising of the whole nation? Did he plan to attack all of North and South America and make himself an emperor? Or both? In any case, the forces were so swollen that even with its despotic power of taxation, the Corpo government never had enough. They began to force exports, to practice the “dumping” of wheat, corn, timber, copper, oil, machinery. They increased production, forced it by fines and threats, then stripped the farmer of all he had, for export at depreciated prices. But at home the prices were not depreciated but increased, so that the more we exported, the less the industrial worker in America had to eat. And really zealous County Commissioners took from the farmer (after the patriotic manner of many Mid-Western counties in 1918) even his seed grain, so that he could grow no more, and on the very acres where once he had raised superfluous wheat he now starved for bread. And while he was starving, the Commissioners continued to try to make him pay for the Corpo bonds which he had been made to buy on the instalment plan.