Fitter, Quicker NATO

NATO planners are “considering the longer-term implications of Russia’s actions” in Ukraine for the alliance’s strategy and force posture, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, according to an alliance release. “More than ever we need to be ready, prepared, and flexible,” he said on May 15 during his keynote address at the Bratislava Global Security Forum, where he announced NATO’s plans to buttress its quick reaction and special forces capabilities to enhance deterrence. “We already have more planes in the air, more ships at sea, and more exercises on the ground. They are all defensive measures … in line with our international obligations and in line with a changed security landscape,” he added. Rasmussen said that Russian defense spending has grown 10 percent in five years, while alliance members in Central and Eastern Europe have cut spending by “more than 20 percent,” reported Reuters. “Judging by Russia’s actions, the aim is clear … to establish a new sphere of influence in defiance of international law,” which has “profound long-term implications” for allied security that demand “serious long-term solutions,” he said.