Friday, 22 October 2021
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Nick Watts, Deputy Director General of the U K Defence Forum recently sat down with General Sir Richard Shirreff lately Deputy Supreme Commander Europe, the senior British commander in NATO's military structure. The NATO biennial Summit in Wales in September 2014, was concerned with the subject of how best to respond to Russian actions in Ukraine and what this might mean for the way the Alliance protects its Member States who are adjacent to Russia in the Baltic.

"On the face of it, the summit said what needed to be said." By which Shirreff means a clear and coherent message from NATO; a strong position in the face of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. This includes measures such as the formation of a Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. But he wonders about the substance. "One area where it was not was the promise that within 10 years nations should aspire to be spending 2% on defence. That is a ten year rule which doesn't pass any hollow laughter test. The test will be the development of the Joint Deployment Force. The real nitty-gritty of readiness, sustainability, equipment and training. As an ex- NATO force generator, I would be pretty suspicious of whether the nations will sign up for that or not."

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