Stoltenberg Welcomes VJTF Enablers from US

Brussels As the NATO defense ministers meet at the Alliance’s headquarters here to refine improvements to its investments in readiness and collective defense, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters ?he welcomed Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s recent announcement that the US would preposition training materiel in Europe as well as provide key enablers for the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. These tools are “highly valuable and I welcome it very much,” he said prior to the start of the North Atlantic Council’s defense minister’s session. Strategic airlift, air refueling, and special operations force commitments are key tools to augment the VJTF, he said, and show a “transatlantic united effort and resolve” for strengthening collective defense tools. US Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute told reporters June 23 the key enablers will make the VJTF “mobile, more agile, and more effective, while prepositioned materiel in key eastern European states will help support training and exercising and should not be viewed as warfighting stocks. Using these sites, “rotating US troops can simply fly in, join up with this equipment, conduct their training, leave the equipment behind as they rotate out, and so forth,” he told reporters. This will introduce efficiency into the “rotational, persistent presence” of the US and its allies across Europe, which has been under way for over a year now.