November 13, 2017

9 November 2017 US General Ben Hodges, commander of US ground forces in Europe, said last month that “to give civilian leaders options other than a liberation campaign”, the alliance needed to be “able to move as quick or quicker than Russian forces”.

And Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said new logistics commands – potentially placed in Germany and Poland – would improve the movement of troops and equipment.

He said: “We need a command structure which can make sure that we have the right forces, in the right place, with the right equipment at the right time.

“This is not only about commands. We also need to ensure that roads and bridges are strong enough to take our largest vehicles, and that rail networks are equipped for the rapid deployment of tanks and heavy equipment.”

Nato defence ministers were set today to endorse a scheme to create two new commands: one to protect sea lanes ferrying troops and equipment across the Atlantic from the United States, the other a logistics command to supervise troop movements.

At the end of the Cold War almost 30 years ago, around 22,000 personnel were working at 33 commands, but numbers have been slashed to fewer than 7,000 people and seven commands.

Stoltenberg said: “We reduced the command structure at the end of the Cold War because tensions went down.

“When the world is changing, the command structure must change.”

The move suggests Nato is attempting to discourage Russian aggression and the threat of a “hot war” – the term used as a comparison to the Cold War in which no physical battles occurred.

Nato allies have stationed around 4,000 troops in the Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Poland to reassure them that the alliance stands ready to defend their borders against neighbouring Russia.