Who’s the Threat?

European militaries need to adjust to new realities, said Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, US Army Europe’s commanding general. “Yes, there are some of my partners in Europe who are concerned with Russia,” notably Estonia and Georgia, Hertling told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23. They “see Russia as a threat, and rightfully so,” but the United States hopes to improve the situation through increased military-to-military contacts and partnering activities with its old adversaries, said Hertling. “The major threats I see today in Europe are transnational terrorism, transit through the Schengen Zone, human trafficking, criminal networks, cyber, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and missile defense,” he said. The Army has made that adjustment—with “better signal intelligence, increased missile defense” and other pluses offsetting reductions resulting from the Pacific pivot, but some partners are just catching up, he said. Asked if the days of mass tank formations in Europe are over, Hertling replied, “I wouldn’t say there is no more need, but there is a reduced need for that in Europe.” He later added: “We’re not lined up against the Warsaw Pact. We’re fighting a lot of stuff, but it ain’t the Cold War.”