Tagged: large

0

Russia's Military Is Leaner, But Meaner

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday, a friendly journalist asked Putin whether the escalating tension in relations with the U.S. and the crumbling of arms control treaties would draw Russia into an unsustainable arms race. “We will ensure our security without engaging in an arms race,” the president replied[1], citing widely diverging dollar numbers for the U.S. and Russian defense budgets. 

That’s a simplistic answer from a politician starting an election campaign (of sorts: Putin is headed for re-election in March without giving anyone else a chance). The more pointed question that should be asked is this: How, with a relatively small and decreasing military budget — 2.77 trillion rubles ($42.3 billion) for 2018, down from some 3.05 trillion[2] rubles this year — is Russia is still a formidable military rival to the U.S., with its enormous and increasing budget of almost $692.1 billion in 2018, up from $583 billion[3] this year? 

The equalizing value of the two countries’ well-balanced nuclear deterrents is enough of a reason to avoid direct confrontation. But leaving that aside, Putin may well understand the nature of modern military challenges better than U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. legislators — and Russia’s authoritarian system may be more efficient when it comes to military allocations. Note that Russia is now almost an equal to the U.S. as a power broker in the Middle East, where the Russian military has just helped Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad effectively win a civil war — in which the U.S. was helping the other side. At the same time, Russian defense spending numbers are deceptive. The country is far more militarized than its defense spending suggests. That level of security spending is only sustainable at the expense of Russia’s future.

Trump’s military spending hike, which makes it necessary to remove the existing cap on defense expenditure, is a dubious and likely outdated response to decreased global security.

Quite aside from the cost of maintaining the world’s most powerful military, the U.S., according to the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, has spent at least $2 trillion on its wars since 2001. But, considering the less transparent costs, such as those of caring for veterans, war-related increases to the Department of Defense base budget and interest on the debt taken on to cover defense spending, it’s closer to $4 trillion at the very least. The Afghan conflict has cost the U.S. at least $840 billion — more than four times Afghanistan’s cumulative GDP since 2001. Since the 2018 U.S. defense budget contains additional funds for sending 3,500 more troops to Afghanistan, the results of the massive outlay over the years are clearly suboptimal.

Today’s wars aren’t fought with fat wads of money. The adversaries are mostly small, agile forces that aren’t as well-resourced as nation states. Fighting them requires a combination of local knowledge, brute force applied only at important points in a conflict and ability to shift risks[4] onto the shoulders of irregular fighters. Russia kept cutting its defense budget all through its participation in the Syrian war. Yabloko, an opposition party, earlier this year put[5] the cost of the Syrian operation for Russia at about 140.4 billion rubles ($2.4 billion at the current exchange rate) since September, 2015; that’s some 4 percent of what the U.S. allocated to overseas contingency operations in 2017 alone — and the outcome is as good as Russia could have expected.

The U.S. is pumping money into comparatively inefficient warfighting — and into preparing for the kind of large-scale war that’s not likely to take place because of existing nuclear arsenals and unauthorized nuclear proliferation. Even North Korea, with its unknown but probably small nuclear capability, is dangerous enough to deter the U.S. from attacking. At his press conference, Putin made the point that the U.S. couldn’t know for sure where to strike in North Korea — and if the Kim regime managed to get a single long-range, nuclear-armed missile in the air, the results could be catastrophic.

U.S. defense budgets, of course, feed a large, powerful domestic industry; even the indirect U.S. involvement in a conflict lifts the stock prices of major defense contractors, research[6] has shown. In Russia, the biggest contractors are state-controlled; they have far less lobbying clout, and the technocratic Russian government has kept them on a short leash, though some of the military’s purchasing decisions have served regional development rather than defense purposes. Such an arrangement, which would have been inefficient in most other industries, probably reduces wasteful spending in the budget-dependent military-industrial complex.

That said, in relative terms, Russia is spending more on force-related functions than the U.S. does. Trump’s budget proposal[7] allocated $71.8 billion to the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department. Add that up with the defense spending, and the total security budget will stand at $764 billion, less than 19 percent of total federal spending. Russia will spend a combined 29 percent of its federal budget — some 4.8 trillion rubles — on defense and domestic security. That’s probably not all of the security-related outlay either, as Mark Galeotti pointed out[8] earlier this year: Even some of the education and development spending in Russia goes toward military goals.

In the U.S., federal law enforcement outlay is a fraction of defense spending. In Russia, the two areas of government expenditure are almost equal. That’s the difference between a country with a relatively liberal domestic order and a near-dictatorship, which relies heavily on the suppression of dissent and must keep large law enforcement agencies under centralized control.

Russia could show the world how to spend efficiently on more than adequate defense — but instead it is engaged in an arms race against its own development. For years, it has been underfunding areas such as education and health, undermining what Putin told the press conference was his vision of the country’s future — flexible, technology-driven, highly productive. Judging by Putin’s answers to reporters on Thursday, he still prefers not to notice that.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:

Leonid Bershidsky at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

Therese Raphael at [email protected][9][10]

References

  1. ^ replied (kremlin.ru)
  2. ^ 3.05 trillion (www.rbc.ru)
  3. ^ $583 billion (www.defense.gov)
  4. ^ shift risks (www.bloomberg.com)
  5. ^ put (www.vedomosti.ru)
  6. ^ research (papers.ssrn.com)
  7. ^ proposal (www.whitehouse.gov)
  8. ^ pointed out (www.ecfr.eu)
  9. ^ [email protected] (www.bloomberg.com)
  10. ^ [email protected] (www.bloomberg.com)
0

Russia's Military Is Leaner, But Meaner

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday, a friendly journalist asked Putin whether the escalating tension in relations with the U.S. and the crumbling of arms control treaties would draw Russia into an unsustainable arms race. “We will ensure our security without engaging in an arms race,” the president replied[1], citing widely diverging dollar numbers for the U.S. and Russian defense budgets. 

That’s a simplistic answer from a politician starting an election campaign (of sorts: Putin is headed for re-election in March without giving anyone else a chance). The more pointed question that should be asked is this: How, with a relatively small and decreasing military budget — 2.77 trillion rubles ($42.3 billion) for 2018, down from some 3.05 trillion[2] rubles this year — is Russia is still a formidable military rival to the U.S., with its enormous and increasing budget of almost $692.1 billion in 2018, up from $583 billion[3] this year? 

The equalizing value of the two countries’ well-balanced nuclear deterrents is enough of a reason to avoid direct confrontation. But leaving that aside, Putin may well understand the nature of modern military challenges better than U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. legislators — and Russia’s authoritarian system may be more efficient when it comes to military allocations. Note that Russia is now almost an equal to the U.S. as a power broker in the Middle East, where the Russian military has just helped Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad effectively win a civil war — in which the U.S. was helping the other side. At the same time, Russian defense spending numbers are deceptive. The country is far more militarized than its defense spending suggests. That level of security spending is only sustainable at the expense of Russia’s future.

Trump’s military spending hike, which makes it necessary to remove the existing cap on defense expenditure, is a dubious and likely outdated response to decreased global security.

Quite aside from the cost of maintaining the world’s most powerful military, the U.S., according to the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, has spent at least $2 trillion on its wars since 2001. But, considering the less transparent costs, such as those of caring for veterans, war-related increases to the Department of Defense base budget and interest on the debt taken on to cover defense spending, it’s closer to $4 trillion at the very least. The Afghan conflict has cost the U.S. at least $840 billion — more than four times Afghanistan’s cumulative GDP since 2001. Since the 2018 U.S. defense budget contains additional funds for sending 3,500 more troops to Afghanistan, the results of the massive outlay over the years are clearly suboptimal.

Today’s wars aren’t fought with fat wads of money. The adversaries are mostly small, agile forces that aren’t as well-resourced as nation states. Fighting them requires a combination of local knowledge, brute force applied only at important points in a conflict and ability to shift risks[4] onto the shoulders of irregular fighters. Russia kept cutting its defense budget all through its participation in the Syrian war. Yabloko, an opposition party, earlier this year put[5] the cost of the Syrian operation for Russia at about 140.4 billion rubles ($2.4 billion at the current exchange rate) since September, 2015; that’s some 4 percent of what the U.S. allocated to overseas contingency operations in 2017 alone — and the outcome is as good as Russia could have expected.

The U.S. is pumping money into comparatively inefficient warfighting — and into preparing for the kind of large-scale war that’s not likely to take place because of existing nuclear arsenals and unauthorized nuclear proliferation. Even North Korea, with its unknown but probably small nuclear capability, is dangerous enough to deter the U.S. from attacking. At his press conference, Putin made the point that the U.S. couldn’t know for sure where to strike in North Korea — and if the Kim regime managed to get a single long-range, nuclear-armed missile in the air, the results could be catastrophic.

U.S. defense budgets, of course, feed a large, powerful domestic industry; even the indirect U.S. involvement in a conflict lifts the stock prices of major defense contractors, research[6] has shown. In Russia, the biggest contractors are state-controlled; they have far less lobbying clout, and the technocratic Russian government has kept them on a short leash, though some of the military’s purchasing decisions have served regional development rather than defense purposes. Such an arrangement, which would have been inefficient in most other industries, probably reduces wasteful spending in the budget-dependent military-industrial complex.

That said, in relative terms, Russia is spending more on force-related functions than the U.S. does. Trump’s budget proposal[7] allocated $71.8 billion to the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department. Add that up with the defense spending, and the total security budget will stand at $764 billion, less than 19 percent of total federal spending. Russia will spend a combined 29 percent of its federal budget — some 4.8 trillion rubles — on defense and domestic security. That’s probably not all of the security-related outlay either, as Mark Galeotti pointed out[8] earlier this year: Even some of the education and development spending in Russia goes toward military goals.

In the U.S., federal law enforcement outlay is a fraction of defense spending. In Russia, the two areas of government expenditure are almost equal. That’s the difference between a country with a relatively liberal domestic order and a near-dictatorship, which relies heavily on the suppression of dissent and must keep large law enforcement agencies under centralized control.

Russia could show the world how to spend efficiently on more than adequate defense — but instead it is engaged in an arms race against its own development. For years, it has been underfunding areas such as education and health, undermining what Putin told the press conference was his vision of the country’s future — flexible, technology-driven, highly productive. Judging by Putin’s answers to reporters on Thursday, he still prefers not to notice that.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:

Leonid Bershidsky at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

Therese Raphael at [email protected][9][10]

References

  1. ^ replied (kremlin.ru)
  2. ^ 3.05 trillion (www.rbc.ru)
  3. ^ $583 billion (www.defense.gov)
  4. ^ shift risks (www.bloomberg.com)
  5. ^ put (www.vedomosti.ru)
  6. ^ research (papers.ssrn.com)
  7. ^ proposal (www.whitehouse.gov)
  8. ^ pointed out (www.ecfr.eu)
  9. ^ [email protected] (www.bloomberg.com)
  10. ^ [email protected] (www.bloomberg.com)
0

Russia's Military Is Leaner, But Meaner

During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday, a friendly journalist asked Putin whether the escalating tension in relations with the U.S. and the crumbling of arms control treaties would draw Russia into an unsustainable arms race. “We will ensure our security without engaging in an arms race,” the president replied[1], citing widely diverging dollar numbers for the U.S. and Russian defense budgets. 

That’s a simplistic answer from a politician starting an election campaign (of sorts: Putin is headed for re-election in March without giving anyone else a chance). The more pointed question that should be asked is this: How, with a relatively small and decreasing military budget — 2.77 trillion rubles ($42.3 billion) for 2018, down from some 3.05 trillion[2] rubles this year — is Russia is still a formidable military rival to the U.S., with its enormous and increasing budget of almost $692.1 billion in 2018, up from $583 billion[3] this year? 

The equalizing value of the two countries’ well-balanced nuclear deterrents is enough of a reason to avoid direct confrontation. But leaving that aside, Putin may well understand the nature of modern military challenges better than U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. legislators — and Russia’s authoritarian system may be more efficient when it comes to military allocations. Note that Russia is now almost an equal to the U.S. as a power broker in the Middle East, where the Russian military has just helped Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad effectively win a civil war — in which the U.S. was helping the other side. At the same time, Russian defense spending numbers are deceptive. The country is far more militarized than its defense spending suggests. That level of security spending is only sustainable at the expense of Russia’s future.

Trump’s military spending hike, which makes it necessary to remove the existing cap on defense expenditure, is a dubious and likely outdated response to decreased global security.

Quite aside from the cost of maintaining the world’s most powerful military, the U.S., according to the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, has spent at least $2 trillion on its wars since 2001. But, considering the less transparent costs, such as those of caring for veterans, war-related increases to the Department of Defense base budget and interest on the debt taken on to cover defense spending, it’s closer to $4 trillion at the very least. The Afghan conflict has cost the U.S. at least $840 billion — more than four times Afghanistan’s cumulative GDP since 2001. Since the 2018 U.S. defense budget contains additional funds for sending 3,500 more troops to Afghanistan, the results of the massive outlay over the years are clearly suboptimal.

Today’s wars aren’t fought with fat wads of money. The adversaries are mostly small, agile forces that aren’t as well-resourced as nation states. Fighting them requires a combination of local knowledge, brute force applied only at important points in a conflict and ability to shift risks[4] onto the shoulders of irregular fighters. Russia kept cutting its defense budget all through its participation in the Syrian war. Yabloko, an opposition party, earlier this year put[5] the cost of the Syrian operation for Russia at about 140.4 billion rubles ($2.4 billion at the current exchange rate) since September, 2015; that’s some 4 percent of what the U.S. allocated to overseas contingency operations in 2017 alone — and the outcome is as good as Russia could have expected.

The U.S. is pumping money into comparatively inefficient warfighting — and into preparing for the kind of large-scale war that’s not likely to take place because of existing nuclear arsenals and unauthorized nuclear proliferation. Even North Korea, with its unknown but probably small nuclear capability, is dangerous enough to deter the U.S. from attacking. At his press conference, Putin made the point that the U.S. couldn’t know for sure where to strike in North Korea — and if the Kim regime managed to get a single long-range, nuclear-armed missile in the air, the results could be catastrophic.

U.S. defense budgets, of course, feed a large, powerful domestic industry; even the indirect U.S. involvement in a conflict lifts the stock prices of major defense contractors, research[6] has shown. In Russia, the biggest contractors are state-controlled; they have far less lobbying clout, and the technocratic Russian government has kept them on a short leash, though some of the military’s purchasing decisions have served regional development rather than defense purposes. Such an arrangement, which would have been inefficient in most other industries, probably reduces wasteful spending in the budget-dependent military-industrial complex.

That said, in relative terms, Russia is spending more on force-related functions than the U.S. does. Trump’s budget proposal[7] allocated $71.8 billion to the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department. Add that up with the defense spending, and the total security budget will stand at $764 billion, less than 19 percent of total federal spending. Russia will spend a combined 29 percent of its federal budget — some 4.8 trillion rubles — on defense and domestic security. That’s probably not all of the security-related outlay either, as Mark Galeotti pointed out[8] earlier this year: Even some of the education and development spending in Russia goes toward military goals.

In the U.S., federal law enforcement outlay is a fraction of defense spending. In Russia, the two areas of government expenditure are almost equal. That’s the difference between a country with a relatively liberal domestic order and a near-dictatorship, which relies heavily on the suppression of dissent and must keep large law enforcement agencies under centralized control.

Russia could show the world how to spend efficiently on more than adequate defense — but instead it is engaged in an arms race against its own development. For years, it has been underfunding areas such as education and health, undermining what Putin told the press conference was his vision of the country’s future — flexible, technology-driven, highly productive. Judging by Putin’s answers to reporters on Thursday, he still prefers not to notice that.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:

Leonid Bershidsky at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story:

Therese Raphael at [email protected][9][10]

References

  1. ^ replied (kremlin.ru)
  2. ^ 3.05 trillion (www.rbc.ru)
  3. ^ $583 billion (www.defense.gov)
  4. ^ shift risks (www.bloomberg.com)
  5. ^ put (www.vedomosti.ru)
  6. ^ research (papers.ssrn.com)
  7. ^ proposal (www.whitehouse.gov)
  8. ^ pointed out (www.ecfr.eu)
  9. ^ [email protected] (www.bloomberg.com)
  10. ^ [email protected] (www.bloomberg.com)
0

NATO Allies Still Block US Convoy Movements in Europe

Two Army[1] brigade commanders said Wednesday the continuing problem of red tape and restrictions to cross-border movements in Europe pose a major challenge to forming a credible deterrent.

“Europe can be a tough operating environment, particularly with regards to freedom of movement,” said Col. Clair Gill, commander of the 1,800 troops of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum[2], New York.

“Coordinating movements across multiple borders involves weeks of planning and clearances, and any one error can jeopardize an entire large operation,” Gill said.

“Our brigade can move across Europe when needed,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3,500 troops of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson[3], Colorado.

Related content:

However, “It is no secret among the senior leadership and it’s definitely not a secret to us — freedom of movement is and remains the number one challenge in the U.S. Army Europe area of operations,” he said.

Simmering and Gill spoke at an Army Pentagon briefing on the lessons learned following the completion of nine-month rotations of their commands in Europe.

Both echoed Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who was retiring Wednesday following three years as commander of U.S. Army Europe, on making USAREUR a more agile force and improving interoperability with NATO allies.

Hodges is succeeded in the role by his former deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who will serve as acting commander while the Army searches for a permanent replacement.

In addition to problems crossing borders, Gill said he found that he needed a quick fix to navigational difficulties his UH-60 Black Hawk[4] helicopters experienced in coordinating with the GPS[5] systems used in Europe.

In the U.S., the Black Hawks can rely on ground-based systems for navigation when flying on instruments in clouds and fog, he said, but Europe mostly uses satellite GPS.

“We knew it was a potential issue” before the 10th CAB deployed[6],” Gill said. “We don’t have that [advanced GPS] system in our Blackhawks right now,” Gill said, and so the Black Hawks were initially limited to flying where there were ground-based systems.

The Army came up with a solution that Gill described only as a “box” installed on the helicopters to allow them to navigate by satellite. “It would allow the unit that’s currently in theater to fly in that satellite-based environment” while the Army works on a permanent fix, he said.

On the cross-border problem, Simmering noted that Hodges had backed a proposal for the creation of a military “Schengen zone” in Europe. The so-called “Schengen zone” was created by 26 European states to abolish passport checks and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

The current border checks pose “a system-wide challenge for everybody at this point in time,” he said. Trying to move units quickly across borders “is something we experienced frustrations with routinely,” he added.

“The bottom line is freedom of movement is a challenge in Europe,” Simmering said. ‘I’m confident that we have people working on it. Do I see at my level right now as a brigade commander a readily apparent solution? I can’t point to one.”

Gill gave the example of having one of his trucks break down at a border crossing. There was a rule against towing it into the next country. He brought in a wrecker, put the truck on the wrecker, drove the wrecker across the border, and then resumed towing the truck in the next country.

Gill said he also had a problem in moving his brigade to ports to begin the trip back to Fort Drum.

One country, which he declined to name, refused to allow the convoy to pass. So what did he do? “Circumnavigate,” he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at [email protected][7].

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Drum (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  4. ^ UH-60 Black Hawk (www.military.com)
  5. ^ GPS (www.military.com)
  6. ^ deployed (www.military.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
0

NATO Allies Still Block US Convoy Movements in Europe

Two Army[1] brigade commanders said Wednesday the continuing problem of red tape and restrictions to cross-border movements in Europe pose a major challenge to forming a credible deterrent.

“Europe can be a tough operating environment, particularly with regards to freedom of movement,” said Col. Clair Gill, commander of the 1,800 troops of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum[2], New York.

“Coordinating movements across multiple borders involves weeks of planning and clearances, and any one error can jeopardize an entire large operation,” Gill said.

“Our brigade can move across Europe when needed,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3,500 troops of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson[3], Colorado.

However, “It is no secret among the senior leadership and it’s definitely not a secret to us — freedom of movement is and remains the number one challenge in the U.S. Army Europe area of operations,” he said.

Simmering and Gill spoke at an Army Pentagon briefing on the lessons learned following the completion of nine-month rotations of their commands in Europe.

Both echoed Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who was retiring Wednesday following three years as commander of U.S. Army Europe, on making USAREUR a more agile force and improving interoperability with NATO allies.

Hodges is succeeded in the role by his former deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who will serve as acting commander while the Army searches for a permanent replacement.

In addition to problems crossing borders, Gill said he found that he needed a quick fix to navigational difficulties his UH-60 Black Hawk[4] helicopters experienced in coordinating with the GPS[5] systems used in Europe.

In the U.S., the Black Hawks can rely on ground-based systems for navigation when flying on instruments in clouds and fog, he said, but Europe mostly uses satellite GPS.

“We knew it was a potential issue” before the 10th CAB deployed[6],” Gill said. “We don’t have that [advanced GPS] system in our Blackhawks right now,” Gill said, and so the Black Hawks were initially limited to flying where there were ground-based systems.

The Army came up with a solution that Gill described only as a “box” installed on the helicopters to allow them to navigate by satellite. “It would allow the unit that’s currently in theater to fly in that satellite-based environment” while the Army works on a permanent fix, he said.

On the cross-border problem, Simmering noted that Hodges had backed a proposal for the creation of a military “Schengen zone” in Europe. The so-called “Schengen zone” was created by 26 European states to abolish passport checks and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

The current border checks pose “a system-wide challenge for everybody at this point in time,” he said. Trying to move units quickly across borders “is something we experienced frustrations with routinely,” he added.

“The bottom line is freedom of movement is a challenge in Europe,” Simmering said. ‘I’m confident that we have people working on it. Do I see at my level right now as a brigade commander a readily apparent solution? I can’t point to one.”

Gill gave the example of having one of his trucks break down at a border crossing. There was a rule against towing it into the next country. He brought in a wrecker, put the truck on the wrecker, drove the wrecker across the border, and then resumed towing the truck in the next country.

Gill said he also had a problem in moving his brigade to ports to begin the trip back to Fort Drum.

One country, which he declined to name, refused to allow the convoy to pass. So what did he do? “Circumnavigate,” he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at [email protected][7].

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Drum (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  4. ^ UH-60 Black Hawk (www.military.com)
  5. ^ GPS (www.military.com)
  6. ^ deployed (www.military.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
0

NATO Allies Still Block US Convoy Movements in Europe

Two Army[1] brigade commanders said Wednesday the continuing problem of red tape and restrictions to cross-border movements in Europe pose a major challenge to forming a credible deterrent.

“Europe can be a tough operating environment, particularly with regards to freedom of movement,” said Col. Clair Gill, commander of the 1,800 troops of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum[2], New York.

“Coordinating movements across multiple borders involves weeks of planning and clearances, and any one error can jeopardize an entire large operation,” Gill said.

“Our brigade can move across Europe when needed,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3,500 troops of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson[3], Colorado.

Related content:

However, “It is no secret among the senior leadership and it’s definitely not a secret to us — freedom of movement is and remains the number one challenge in the U.S. Army Europe area of operations,” he said.

Simmering and Gill spoke at an Army Pentagon briefing on the lessons learned following the completion of nine-month rotations of their commands in Europe.

Both echoed Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who was retiring Wednesday following three years as commander of U.S. Army Europe, on making USAREUR a more agile force and improving interoperability with NATO allies.

Hodges is succeeded in the role by his former deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who will serve as acting commander while the Army searches for a permanent replacement.

In addition to problems crossing borders, Gill said he found that he needed a quick fix to navigational difficulties his UH-60 Black Hawk[4] helicopters experienced in coordinating with the GPS[5] systems used in Europe.

In the U.S., the Black Hawks can rely on ground-based systems for navigation when flying on instruments in clouds and fog, he said, but Europe mostly uses satellite GPS.

“We knew it was a potential issue” before the 10th CAB deployed[6],” Gill said. “We don’t have that [advanced GPS] system in our Blackhawks right now,” Gill said, and so the Black Hawks were initially limited to flying where there were ground-based systems.

The Army came up with a solution that Gill described only as a “box” installed on the helicopters to allow them to navigate by satellite. “It would allow the unit that’s currently in theater to fly in that satellite-based environment” while the Army works on a permanent fix, he said.

On the cross-border problem, Simmering noted that Hodges had backed a proposal for the creation of a military “Schengen zone” in Europe. The so-called “Schengen zone” was created by 26 European states to abolish passport checks and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

The current border checks pose “a system-wide challenge for everybody at this point in time,” he said. Trying to move units quickly across borders “is something we experienced frustrations with routinely,” he added.

“The bottom line is freedom of movement is a challenge in Europe,” Simmering said. ‘I’m confident that we have people working on it. Do I see at my level right now as a brigade commander a readily apparent solution? I can’t point to one.”

Gill gave the example of having one of his trucks break down at a border crossing. There was a rule against towing it into the next country. He brought in a wrecker, put the truck on the wrecker, drove the wrecker across the border, and then resumed towing the truck in the next country.

Gill said he also had a problem in moving his brigade to ports to begin the trip back to Fort Drum.

One country, which he declined to name, refused to allow the convoy to pass. So what did he do? “Circumnavigate,” he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at [email protected][7].

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Drum (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  4. ^ UH-60 Black Hawk (www.military.com)
  5. ^ GPS (www.military.com)
  6. ^ deployed (www.military.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
0

NATO Allies Still Block US Convoy Movements in Europe

Two Army[1] brigade commanders said Wednesday the continuing problem of red tape and restrictions to cross-border movements in Europe pose a major challenge to forming a credible deterrent.

“Europe can be a tough operating environment, particularly with regards to freedom of movement,” said Col. Clair Gill, commander of the 1,800 troops of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum[2], New York.

“Coordinating movements across multiple borders involves weeks of planning and clearances, and any one error can jeopardize an entire large operation,” Gill said.

“Our brigade can move across Europe when needed,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3,500 troops of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson[3], Colorado.

However, “It is no secret among the senior leadership and it’s definitely not a secret to us — freedom of movement is and remains the number one challenge in the U.S. Army Europe area of operations,” he said.

Simmering and Gill spoke at an Army Pentagon briefing on the lessons learned following the completion of nine-month rotations of their commands in Europe.

Both echoed Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who was retiring Wednesday following three years as commander of U.S. Army Europe, on making USAREUR a more agile force and improving interoperability with NATO allies.

Hodges is succeeded in the role by his former deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who will serve as acting commander while the Army searches for a permanent replacement.

In addition to problems crossing borders, Gill said he found that he needed a quick fix to navigational difficulties his UH-60 Black Hawk[4] helicopters experienced in coordinating with the GPS[5] systems used in Europe.

In the U.S., the Black Hawks can rely on ground-based systems for navigation when flying on instruments in clouds and fog, he said, but Europe mostly uses satellite GPS.

“We knew it was a potential issue” before the 10th CAB deployed[6],” Gill said. “We don’t have that [advanced GPS] system in our Blackhawks right now,” Gill said, and so the Black Hawks were initially limited to flying where there were ground-based systems.

The Army came up with a solution that Gill described only as a “box” installed on the helicopters to allow them to navigate by satellite. “It would allow the unit that’s currently in theater to fly in that satellite-based environment” while the Army works on a permanent fix, he said.

On the cross-border problem, Simmering noted that Hodges had backed a proposal for the creation of a military “Schengen zone” in Europe. The so-called “Schengen zone” was created by 26 European states to abolish passport checks and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

The current border checks pose “a system-wide challenge for everybody at this point in time,” he said. Trying to move units quickly across borders “is something we experienced frustrations with routinely,” he added.

“The bottom line is freedom of movement is a challenge in Europe,” Simmering said. ‘I’m confident that we have people working on it. Do I see at my level right now as a brigade commander a readily apparent solution? I can’t point to one.”

Gill gave the example of having one of his trucks break down at a border crossing. There was a rule against towing it into the next country. He brought in a wrecker, put the truck on the wrecker, drove the wrecker across the border, and then resumed towing the truck in the next country.

Gill said he also had a problem in moving his brigade to ports to begin the trip back to Fort Drum.

One country, which he declined to name, refused to allow the convoy to pass. So what did he do? “Circumnavigate,” he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at [email protected][7].

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Drum (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  4. ^ UH-60 Black Hawk (www.military.com)
  5. ^ GPS (www.military.com)
  6. ^ deployed (www.military.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
0

NATO Allies Still Block US Convoy Movements in Europe

Two Army[1] brigade commanders said Wednesday the continuing problem of red tape and restrictions to cross-border movements in Europe pose a major challenge to forming a credible deterrent.

“Europe can be a tough operating environment, particularly with regards to freedom of movement,” said Col. Clair Gill, commander of the 1,800 troops of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum[2], New York.

“Coordinating movements across multiple borders involves weeks of planning and clearances, and any one error can jeopardize an entire large operation,” Gill said.

“Our brigade can move across Europe when needed,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3,500 troops of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson[3], Colorado.

However, “It is no secret among the senior leadership and it’s definitely not a secret to us — freedom of movement is and remains the number one challenge in the U.S. Army Europe area of operations,” he said.

Simmering and Gill spoke at an Army Pentagon briefing on the lessons learned following the completion of nine-month rotations of their commands in Europe.

Both echoed Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who was retiring Wednesday following three years as commander of U.S. Army Europe, on making USAREUR a more agile force and improving interoperability with NATO allies.

Hodges is succeeded in the role by his former deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who will serve as acting commander while the Army searches for a permanent replacement.

In addition to problems crossing borders, Gill said he found that he needed a quick fix to navigational difficulties his UH-60 Black Hawk[4] helicopters experienced in coordinating with the GPS[5] systems used in Europe.

In the U.S., the Black Hawks can rely on ground-based systems for navigation when flying on instruments in clouds and fog, he said, but Europe mostly uses satellite GPS.

“We knew it was a potential issue” before the 10th CAB deployed[6],” Gill said. “We don’t have that [advanced GPS] system in our Blackhawks right now,” Gill said, and so the Black Hawks were initially limited to flying where there were ground-based systems.

The Army came up with a solution that Gill described only as a “box” installed on the helicopters to allow them to navigate by satellite. “It would allow the unit that’s currently in theater to fly in that satellite-based environment” while the Army works on a permanent fix, he said.

On the cross-border problem, Simmering noted that Hodges had backed a proposal for the creation of a military “Schengen zone” in Europe. The so-called “Schengen zone” was created by 26 European states to abolish passport checks and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

The current border checks pose “a system-wide challenge for everybody at this point in time,” he said. Trying to move units quickly across borders “is something we experienced frustrations with routinely,” he added.

“The bottom line is freedom of movement is a challenge in Europe,” Simmering said. ‘I’m confident that we have people working on it. Do I see at my level right now as a brigade commander a readily apparent solution? I can’t point to one.”

Gill gave the example of having one of his trucks break down at a border crossing. There was a rule against towing it into the next country. He brought in a wrecker, put the truck on the wrecker, drove the wrecker across the border, and then resumed towing the truck in the next country.

Gill said he also had a problem in moving his brigade to ports to begin the trip back to Fort Drum.

One country, which he declined to name, refused to allow the convoy to pass. So what did he do? “Circumnavigate,” he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at [email protected][7].

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Drum (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  4. ^ UH-60 Black Hawk (www.military.com)
  5. ^ GPS (www.military.com)
  6. ^ deployed (www.military.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
0

NATO Allies Still Block US Convoy Movements in Europe

Two Army[1] brigade commanders said Wednesday the continuing problem of red tape and restrictions to cross-border movements in Europe pose a major challenge to forming a credible deterrent.

“Europe can be a tough operating environment, particularly with regards to freedom of movement,” said Col. Clair Gill, commander of the 1,800 troops of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum[2], New York.

“Coordinating movements across multiple borders involves weeks of planning and clearances, and any one error can jeopardize an entire large operation,” Gill said.

“Our brigade can move across Europe when needed,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3,500 troops of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson[3], Colorado.

Related content:

However, “It is no secret among the senior leadership and it’s definitely not a secret to us — freedom of movement is and remains the number one challenge in the U.S. Army Europe area of operations,” he said.

Simmering and Gill spoke at an Army Pentagon briefing on the lessons learned following the completion of nine-month rotations of their commands in Europe.

Both echoed Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who was retiring Wednesday following three years as commander of U.S. Army Europe, on making USAREUR a more agile force and improving interoperability with NATO allies.

Hodges is succeeded in the role by his former deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who will serve as acting commander while the Army searches for a permanent replacement.

In addition to problems crossing borders, Gill said he found that he needed a quick fix to navigational difficulties his UH-60 Black Hawk[4] helicopters experienced in coordinating with the GPS[5] systems used in Europe.

In the U.S., the Black Hawks can rely on ground-based systems for navigation when flying on instruments in clouds and fog, he said, but Europe mostly uses satellite GPS.

“We knew it was a potential issue” before the 10th CAB deployed[6],” Gill said. “We don’t have that [advanced GPS] system in our Blackhawks right now,” Gill said, and so the Black Hawks were initially limited to flying where there were ground-based systems.

The Army came up with a solution that Gill described only as a “box” installed on the helicopters to allow them to navigate by satellite. “It would allow the unit that’s currently in theater to fly in that satellite-based environment” while the Army works on a permanent fix, he said.

On the cross-border problem, Simmering noted that Hodges had backed a proposal for the creation of a military “Schengen zone” in Europe. The so-called “Schengen zone” was created by 26 European states to abolish passport checks and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

The current border checks pose “a system-wide challenge for everybody at this point in time,” he said. Trying to move units quickly across borders “is something we experienced frustrations with routinely,” he added.

“The bottom line is freedom of movement is a challenge in Europe,” Simmering said. ‘I’m confident that we have people working on it. Do I see at my level right now as a brigade commander a readily apparent solution? I can’t point to one.”

Gill gave the example of having one of his trucks break down at a border crossing. There was a rule against towing it into the next country. He brought in a wrecker, put the truck on the wrecker, drove the wrecker across the border, and then resumed towing the truck in the next country.

Gill said he also had a problem in moving his brigade to ports to begin the trip back to Fort Drum.

One country, which he declined to name, refused to allow the convoy to pass. So what did he do? “Circumnavigate,” he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at [email protected][7].

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Drum (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  4. ^ UH-60 Black Hawk (www.military.com)
  5. ^ GPS (www.military.com)
  6. ^ deployed (www.military.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)
0

NATO Allies Still Block US Convoy Movements in Europe

Two Army[1] brigade commanders said Wednesday the continuing problem of red tape and restrictions to cross-border movements in Europe pose a major challenge to forming a credible deterrent.

“Europe can be a tough operating environment, particularly with regards to freedom of movement,” said Col. Clair Gill, commander of the 1,800 troops of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum[2], New York.

“Coordinating movements across multiple borders involves weeks of planning and clearances, and any one error can jeopardize an entire large operation,” Gill said.

“Our brigade can move across Europe when needed,” said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3,500 troops of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson[3], Colorado.

However, “It is no secret among the senior leadership and it’s definitely not a secret to us — freedom of movement is and remains the number one challenge in the U.S. Army Europe area of operations,” he said.

Simmering and Gill spoke at an Army Pentagon briefing on the lessons learned following the completion of nine-month rotations of their commands in Europe.

Both echoed Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who was retiring Wednesday following three years as commander of U.S. Army Europe, on making USAREUR a more agile force and improving interoperability with NATO allies.

Hodges is succeeded in the role by his former deputy, Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who will serve as acting commander while the Army searches for a permanent replacement.

In addition to problems crossing borders, Gill said he found that he needed a quick fix to navigational difficulties his UH-60 Black Hawk[4] helicopters experienced in coordinating with the GPS[5] systems used in Europe.

In the U.S., the Black Hawks can rely on ground-based systems for navigation when flying on instruments in clouds and fog, he said, but Europe mostly uses satellite GPS.

“We knew it was a potential issue” before the 10th CAB deployed[6],” Gill said. “We don’t have that [advanced GPS] system in our Blackhawks right now,” Gill said, and so the Black Hawks were initially limited to flying where there were ground-based systems.

The Army came up with a solution that Gill described only as a “box” installed on the helicopters to allow them to navigate by satellite. “It would allow the unit that’s currently in theater to fly in that satellite-based environment” while the Army works on a permanent fix, he said.

On the cross-border problem, Simmering noted that Hodges had backed a proposal for the creation of a military “Schengen zone” in Europe. The so-called “Schengen zone” was created by 26 European states to abolish passport checks and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

The current border checks pose “a system-wide challenge for everybody at this point in time,” he said. Trying to move units quickly across borders “is something we experienced frustrations with routinely,” he added.

“The bottom line is freedom of movement is a challenge in Europe,” Simmering said. ‘I’m confident that we have people working on it. Do I see at my level right now as a brigade commander a readily apparent solution? I can’t point to one.”

Gill gave the example of having one of his trucks break down at a border crossing. There was a rule against towing it into the next country. He brought in a wrecker, put the truck on the wrecker, drove the wrecker across the border, and then resumed towing the truck in the next country.

Gill said he also had a problem in moving his brigade to ports to begin the trip back to Fort Drum.

One country, which he declined to name, refused to allow the convoy to pass. So what did he do? “Circumnavigate,” he said.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at [email protected][7].

© Copyright 2017 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

References

  1. ^ Army (www.military.com)
  2. ^ Fort Drum (www.military.com)
  3. ^ Fort Carson (www.military.com)
  4. ^ UH-60 Black Hawk (www.military.com)
  5. ^ GPS (www.military.com)
  6. ^ deployed (www.military.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.military.com)