Steadfast Jazz 2013 collective defense exercise in the baltics, Poland

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Baltic States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BNS via Lithuania Tribune, April 22, 2013

Up to 5,000 NATO soldiers will attend Steadfast Jazz 2013, an exercise to be held in the Baltic States and Poland this fall, a NATO officer has said… (more)

How the Nordic Countries Are Quietly Leading the Alliance into the Future

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Nordiska passunionen: Norge, Sverige, Finland,...

The Nordic Passport Union: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Magnus Nordenman, New Atlanticist, April 08, 2013Amidst massive defense cuts and perennial squabbling over burden sharing across NATO, the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark have quietly assumed a real leadership role in the transatlantic security relationship. They are making valuable contributions to the Alliance in personnel, strategic vision, operations, and policy. More importantly, they provide a model for how NATO can remain an effective security provider in a future of constrained resources… (more)

Putin orders surprise Black Sea military exercises

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A map showing the location of the Black Sea an...

A map showing the location of the Black Sea and some of the large or prominent ports around it. The Sea of Azov and Sea of Marmara are also labelled. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Russian military honor guard welcomes U.S....

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Agence France-Presse (Published on Hurriyet Daily News), March 28, 2013Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered surprise military exercises in the Black Sea region involving 7,000 troops and dozens of ships to test the army’s battle readiness, the Kremlin said.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said 36 ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet‘s base in the Ukrainian Crimean city of Sevastopol and the Russian port of Novorossiisk would be involved in the exercises… (more)

 

A Nordic defensive shield

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English: Map of the geographic situation of No...

Map of the geographic situation of Nord Baltic Eight countries. Nordic countries (Demark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) are painted in blue and Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are painted in green. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Edward Lucas, European Voice, March 14, 2103

Look at a map and the case for closer co-operation between NATO and its non-member neighbours Finland and Sweden seems obvious. Like the alliance’s most vulnerable members, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, they have problems with Russia. By virtue of their membership of the European Union, both Finland and Sweden are committed to collective defence of a kind. Close co-operation with NATO simply makes it more effective. The shibboleths about non-alignment and neutrality look anachronistic… (more)

Visegrad Four to strengthen military cooperation

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Countries of the Visegrád Group

Countries of the Visegrád Group (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Deutsche Welle, March 7, 2013

Defense ministers from the Visegrad Four Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – have agreed to form a joint military unit for EU missions. Germany and France praised the move at the summit in Warsaw… (more)

Large NATO Exercise to Take Place in Baltics in Fall

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English: Locator map of the Baltic region – Es...

Baltic region – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the russian Kaliningrad Oblast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Estonian Public Broadcasting, Feb. 22, 2013

This fall, the Baltic region will host NATO’s biggest collective defense exercise of the last ten years.

The maneuvers, named ‘Steadfast Jazz,’ will take place in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Estonia will participate with one infantry company as well as staff officers and civilian officials, the Ministry of Defense said in a press release on Thursday… (more)

The Defense Dividend

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A U.S. Patriot Missile launches from a truck m...

A U.S. Patriot Missile launches from a truck mounted canister (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Project Syndicate, Feb. 19, 2013

BRUSSELS – On a hillside overlooking the Turkish city of Gaziantep, Patriot missile launchers are keeping watch under NATO command and control. This is just one of six Patriot batteries from three Allied countries – Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States – providing protection for millions of people along Turkey’s southeastern border with Syria. The deployment shows NATO’s enduring commitment to its core task: safeguarding its members’ security. It also shows that, when a crisis erupts, there is no substitute for effective deterrence and defense.

Virtually every day brings fresh evidence that an arc of crisis – from terrorism and weapons proliferation to cyber-attacks and piracy – is spreading from the Middle East and the Sahel to Central Asia. These risks will not disappear while NATO members focus on fixing their finances. The fact is that our way of life is predicated on security and stability, without which investment withers, employment collapses, and economies shrink… (more)

Time to Bite the Bullet on European Defence

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Military expenditure as percent of GDP, data t...

Military expenditure as percent of GDP Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

By Clara M. O’Donnell, Centre for European Reform, Feb. 1, 2013

 

Europe’s military spending is in free fall. As highlighted during a seminar organised by the CER in December as part of the FR-UK Defence Forum, the EU countries combined have reduced defence spending from €200 to €170 billion since the start of the economic crisis in 2008. In response, governments have signed up to a variety of new bilateral and multilateral initiatives. These are designed to limit the impact of budget cuts on their armed forces. But so far, the savings incurred pale in comparison. At the December discussions, participants estimated them at €200 to €300 million. Many sensitivities relating to national security make it hard for governments to implement collaborative defence efforts. But at a time when Europe’s neighbourhood is replete with instability and the United States is scaling back its own armed forces, Europeans need to do more to stem the damage to their militaries.

 

Notwithstanding their budget cuts, taken together EU states are still the second largest defence spenders in the world. And not all European countries are reducing the level of funding to their armed forces. According to a 2011 study for the European Parliament, Finland and Denmark have maintained military spending steady in recent years. Poland and Sweden have increased it… (more)

 

 

Disagreement on missile defence may tell on Russia-NATO cooperation in other areas

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English: Map of NATO historic enlargement in E...

Map of NATO historic enlargement in Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Turkish Weekly, Feb. 9, 2013

The lack of agreement on missile defence may negatively affect RussiaNATO cooperation in other areas, too, said Russian Ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, in a statement… (more)

Georgia requests Germany’s assistance in integration into NATO

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English: A Republic of Georgia soldiers stands...

A Republic of Georgia soldiers stands in formation during a ceremony marking the historic deployment of the Republic of Georgia’s 31st Light Infantry Battalion to support Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By N. Kirtskhalia, Trend, Feb. 4, 2013

Georgian Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze held a meeting with German Deputy Minister of Defence Christian Schmidt on Monday…

…”We talked about Georgia’s role in the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan. Georgia has the largest mission in Afghanistan amongst non-NATO members. You know that we have already made a statement that Georgia will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. We asked Germany to actively support Georgia’s integration into NATO. The Deputy Defence Minister once again confirmed that the resolution adopted by the Bundestag is in force,” Panjikidze said…. (more)