More Money, More Troops

NATO members’ defense ministers are expected to agree this week to deploy four battalions of NATO troops to its eastern flank, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. Speaking the day before the officials meet to ready for the alliance’s Warsaw Summit in July, Stoltenberg said the deployment of a multinational battalion to each of the three Baltic states and Poland along with an enlarged response force—made up of 40,000 troops with a spearhead force of 5,000 that can move within days—“strikes the right balance between a greater ability to reinforce, and a boost to our forward presence.” Stoltenberg said he would inform the ministers that 2015 was the first time the alliance’s members increased defense spending in many years, and 20 nations plan to spend more in 2016. “After many years of going in the wrong direction,” he said, “we are starting to go into the right direction.” Stoltenberg said the defense heads will also discuss cooperation with the European Union and consider expanding efforts to help non-NATO allies, including Iraq, stabilize their own country. NATO also will consider providing AWACS surveillance planes to the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition during the two days of meetings. (See also: Deterrence, Not War and The NATO Trip-Wire.)