General Says NATO Prepared to Respond to Aggression Should Deterrence Fail

Generals provided testimony today regarding tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border and the ability of U.S. allies to move large numbers of forces quickly over great distances.

Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of the U.S. European Command, and Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to review the fiscal 2022 defense authorization request and the Future Years Defense Program.

The current NATO security posture in Europe is strong, yet challenged by Russia’s actions in the vicinity of Ukraine, said Wolters, adding that America’s allies and partners in Europe remain a key strategic advantage.

“NATO remains the strategic center of gravity and the foundation of deterrence and assurance in Europe. Everything we do is about generating peace,” said Wolters. “We compete to win. We deter, and, if deterrence fails, we’re prepared to respond to aggression with the full weight of the transatlantic alliance.”

Wolters noted that NATO has a robust exercise program. This summer, NATO will conduct Defender-series exercises composed of some 30,000 U.S. service members, allies and partners.

That exercise will demonstrate NATO’s ability to move massive forces over large swaths of Europe at speed and at scale, he said.

Wolters also mentioned the addition of 500 soldiers to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden in Germany.

These troops will be made up of field artillery; composite air and missile defense; intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space; aviation and a brigade support element. The Theater Fires Command will improve readiness and multi-national interoperability by integrating joint and multinational fires in exercises and operations, in support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, said Army Col. Joe Scrocca, the spokesman for U.S. Army Europe and Africa, in a separate statement today.

“The Theater Fires Command and Multi-Domain Task Force in Europe will enable U.S. Army Europe and Africa to synchronize joint fires and effects, control future long-range fires across all domains, and will create more space, cyber and electronic warfare capabilities in Europe,” Scrocca said.

Lyons told senators that Transcom’s mission is to project forces globally on land, air and sea, including to support the upcoming NATO exercises.

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