Battleships. Tanks. Helicopters. Rapid reaction forces.
Thousands of NATO troops are on the move this month in Poland and the Baltic states, practicing sea landings, air lifts and assaults. The massive maneuvers on NATO’s eastern flank that began in early June include the first-ever training by the new, rapid reaction “spearhead” force, and are NATO’s biggest defense boost since the Cold War.
Polish and Baltic state leaders have made it clear that they want to host large numbers of U.S. and NATO forces as a deterrent in the face of a resurgent Russia, and are welcoming the thousands of allied troops to their land and sea test ranges. Polish and Romanian leaders are even seeking more of a permanent allied military presence ahead of next year’s NATO summit in Warsaw.
“We must know how to defend ourselves. It is our goal is to assure a stable order,” Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said.
“In the face of new, real threats, the biggest enhancement since the Cold War of the alliance’s collective defense is taking place,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the Polish PAP news agency.
He added that the spearhead exercise means to show that NATO is “ready and capable of facing every challenge and every threat.”
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