NATO retreats from claim that 300,000 troops would be placed on high alert

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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military officials are pushing back Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s announcement that 300,000 troops “will be” placed on high alert across the alliance, now saying the high number is a ” concept” that the bloc intends to enact by mid-2023.

Stoltenberg said on Monday that NATO “will increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000.”

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But now it appears that number is more ambitious and is based on a new model that NATO believes will take at least another year to realize.

The initial announcement appeared to be a sevenfold increase from the 40,000 troops that NATO currently has on high alert, and two NATO officials told CNN that this number caught the defense chiefs of many NATO countries off guard.

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It was unclear to them, for example, which troops from each member state would need to contribute to this new high readiness force, or whether enough countries were requested or agreed to provide sufficient forces for this. It was a point of apparent confusion and dislocation in a highly choreographed display of unity among the allies.

Two senior NATO officials told reporters at a briefing on Thursday that the new high readiness model will eventually replace the NATO Response Force model, but that it is “still a work in progress”.

“We know from nations, through our planning process, the number of forces that nations have at their disposal, the readiness they have,” said one of the officials. “So there will be multiple iterations of populating this model, but we wouldn’t be providing numbers for a model if we weren’t extremely confident that we could deliver these things. But it is a work in progress.”

Officials indicated that under the new model, many of the troops would remain in their home countries rather than moving under the command of NATO Allied Command Operations. But they would be readily available to NATO should a security crisis arise, such as Russia attacking a member country.

Asked what the trigger would be to move these forces to high alert under NATO command, one of the officials only said that it would involve “indications and warnings” of a possible attack.

Source: CNN Brasil

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