BERLIN/WASHINGTON(Own report) – In Washington serious warnings are being raised against an independent German-European military policy aimed at weakening NATO. The militarization of the EU is being supported as long as “it is complimentary to NATO,” a senior Pentagon official was quoted. However, Washington would intervene, if Berlin and the EU were to pull military resources away from NATO and use them for their own wars. This statement was made in light of the NATO defense ministers’ meeting that begins today, which will include a decision on the establishment of two new NATO headquarters. One will be established in the United States, to secure the military supply routes from North America over the Atlantic to Europe. A second will be established in Germany, to optimize rapid redeployments of West European troops eastwards across the continent. At the current stage of planning, this will be under German sovereignty and available also for use outside of the NATO framework.
Rapid Eastward Deployments
At their meeting, beginning today in Brussels, NATO’s Defense Ministers will officially decide on a new headquarters that will serve to plan and execute the redeployment of combat material and troops in Europe. It will facilitate the rapid deployment of West European and North American NATO forces across the European continent right up to the neighboring Russian border, to theaters in East and Southeast Europe. Already last year, the German government had proposed a location for the new headquarters; the United States has endorsed this proposal since some time. “I cannot think of any place better suited than Germany,” announced USAREUR Supreme Commander, at the time, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, in late November. Germany is already the US “launching pad” on the European continent. “Most of the soldiers that we have stationed in Europe live in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Baden Wuerttemberg and Bavaria. We are at home.” Ulm as well as the Cologne/Bonn region are in consideration for the new headquarters. Cologne/Bonn is seen as the probable site.
Supplies over the Atlantic
Priority for the Military
According to recent reports, the new headquarters will not be firmly integrated into the NATO Command Structure (NCS), but rather be established and operated under German sovereignty. It would, therefore, be a component of the NATO Force Structure (NFS), which the Bundeswehr describes as being “comprised of member states’ national (and multinational) armed forces.” Their facilities may be “incorporated into NATO’s command and decision-making structure under contractually agreed conditions.” However, in the case of the new headquarters, there is also the option of being used for military purposes outside of the NATO framework – for example for the “Army of the Europeans” that the German government, according to its recently published coalition contract between the coalition partners, CDU/CSU and SPD, seeks to establish. Berlin, therefore, has a maximum of political flexibility in its options for the new facility.
Warnings are being raised against an independent German-EU military, in the run-up to the NATO Defense Ministers’ meeting. Washington is adamantly opposed to the EU pulling military requirements away from NATO, declared a senior Pentagon official at the beginning of the week. As long as EU initiatives, such as PESCO, are “complementary to” and not distracting from NATO’s activities and requirements, they will be supported. For example, military mobility would work both for Europe and NATO. But if we make sure that the infrastructure or legal changes within and between countries, aren’t based on NATO requirements, then we’re working at cross purposes. The US would not tolerate this. Yesterday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also joined the discussion saying that it will be absolutely without any meaning “if NATO and the EU start to compete.” It is precisely this competition that is the logical consequence of the German-EU efforts to reach military independence.
Full article: Transatlantic Rivals (German Foreign Policy)