“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

It is Not Your Father's (or Grandfather's) Nato

NATO's new rapid response force is ready for deployment October 1

While we debate the need and means to expand the US Military, there has been a sea change in the role of Nato. Once formed as a static defence force to ward off Soviet agression, it has slowly evolved to become the combined tool for an entirely new mission. Currently Nato is taking the lead role in Afghanistan. NATO agreed Thursday to take command of military operations across all of insurgency-hit Afghanistan next month after the United States pledged to transfer 12,000 American troops in the country to the NATO force. The question is will the politics keep up with the force capabilities?

Pentagon officials said the transfer of troops currently in Afghanistan's eastern region would result in the biggest deployment of U.S. forces under foreign command since World War II. Nato describes the NRF as:
"The NATO Response Force (NRF) will be a coherent, high readiness, joint, multinational force package, technologically advanced, flexible, deployable, interoperable and sustainable. It will be tailored as required to the needs of a specific operation and able to move quickly to wherever needed. It will not be a permanent or standing force. The NRF will be able to carry out certain missions on its own, or serve as part of a larger force to contribute to the full range of Alliance military operations. The NRF can sustain itself for duration of up to one month or longer if re-supplied. Its precise size and composition is under study and will be the subject of further definition and refinement, up to its full operational capability."


The NATO Response Force will be operational as promised in time for its October 1 launch. Germany is contributing the majority of the soldiers for the alliance's new rapid deployment force.

The United States, NATO's leading member, had pushed for a thorough rebuilding of the Alliance after the terror attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 and the deployment of international troops to Afghanistan. Washington set out to convince its fellow alliance members that NATO should be remodelled in order to face new challenges.

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had developed the idea of using NATO as some sort of "tool kit" for the protection against global threats. In 2002, heads of states and governments decided to develop a quick response force, scheduled to be fully operational by October 1st of this year. The military dress rehearsal for the force took place this summer on the Capverdian Islands. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was quite satisfied with the test run. "I am convinced that we will be fully operational by October 1st, just as scheduled," he said at the time.

NRF’s 26,000 soldiers are now ready for action. The troops -- lead by Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe, General James Jones -- are to be able to react to crises within a lead time of 5 days.

NATO member states will provide troops for the NRF on a rotational basis. The soldiers will stay in their home barracks until required for an emergency. They will be on duty for at least half a year, and 6 months prior to their deployment, will get trained on how to interact with other nations' armies.

Germany taking lead in NRF

Currently, the German Armed Forces are providing the largest amount of soldiers. German commander, General Gerhard Back, explained that not all of the 26,000 NRF soldiers are to be deployed at once. Rather, units with different abilities such as air transport, mine clearance or ground fighting, are to be available on request.

"I need all of those skills at my disposal so I can chose whichever unit I need when going on a specific mission," General back said. "I don’t know yet what my next mission, or the next crisis situation will look like. When the political decision is made, I can assemble my forces with what I need."

NATO will assess potential missions on a case by case basis. The response force is not designed to take part in permanent missions like United Nations peace keeping operations. Instead, its job is to clear the way for peacekeepers, so that they can take over afterwards.


  1. It was good to see PossumTater back home. I was miss'n him and beginning to worry that he may have met up with a logg'in truck.
    You should see him. I don't think he did too much eat'n 'cause he's lost about two pounds.
    Then he goes into a take off of Gertrude Stein's, A rose isa rose is a rose, by tell'n me that a pound is a pound is a pound. So I figure he know's about pound'n....he said "Honeysuckle" sure did.
    I'll have to fill him in on the Pope,Russia going pink to red, and a coup in Thailand...he love Thai peanut chicken.
    Mean while I hear Arlen Specter is boning up on Scottish law, having already fired his "not proven" bullet Some of his research has uncovered some surprising ways for this RINO to remain in the Gumby league.
    Not,not..has no meaning
    Supra not ...above all meaning
    Extraterrestrial not.....I'm having a 60's flashback
    Enchalada not ..we don't build no fence.
    Iraq not ..I'm afraid of spiders.

    So he's set for the next round of important votes in the Senate

  2. There's a knock at the door. You answer it with some trepidation as your country has been embroiled in a war for four years, after suffering under a tyrant for thirty.
    A man at the door says he is taking a poll. Taking a poll? Who is he? Who sent him? How shall I anwer? You have a new form of government but daily killings and bombings keep things on edge.

    Ok the poll looks great but under the current circumstances I'm not sure how accurate any poll in Iraq would be at this point in time. Hell even in this country we can't trust pollsters who have learned methodologies of skewing results by simply manipulating the verbage and syntax.
    My hope is that it is true, but that hope is vapor.

  3. A new NATO Force, when it cannot even support it's ongoing mission in Afghanistan.
    2,500 more troops were to many for NATO to field, quickly, if at all.

    This idea is pipe smoke and mirrors, plus a little dreamin'.

  4. It does remain to be proven if a military force which is a committee, run by a committee to be used by another consensus of a committee will work. We shall see.

  5. Mount 'em up and send 'em to Darfur, there is a need, to be sure.

  6. Proof is in Performance
    not Promises

  7. Anyone have any opinions about the change in the BC, since the lockout and retreat? Is it just me or has it lost something?

  8. The thrill is gone.

    They've been kinda neutured.
    The ideas are not at all practical or, to some extent, even rooted in reality. Seems to me.

  9. I feel the same way. It is flat and wretchard does not seem to be able to invigorate it. There is a new group of posters but many of the old are there infrequently.

  10. remember when wuwei was there 24/7?

  11. I think wretchard finally realized that there was no "Master Plan".

    That the truth was worse than he had envisioned, that some of his early work was plying it's course into reality and it shook him.

    He finally saw the aimlessness of Policy that some of us have seen for years, now. IMHO

  12. Wretchard kept hinting at it. I must say, I warned him. Someone was giving him bad advice. there were always the tut-tutters that objected to the multiple posts. Wretchard had the right combination. I wonder how his traffic is as his posts are way off?

  13. DR..right again..

    Archaic institutions overtaken by world events.
    We need some functioning institutions not ones that spends Croesus fortune with the same reult he got .. defeat by the Persians.


  14. You think that was it? i got to tell you DR, you took some major BS but I can't remeber much where you were off mark. I know you said you were in the army, but when I switched over to the civilian arm of the air force I served with some submariners and their personailties were more like yours, at least as you appear on line.

  15. From a thread I participated in, a couple of days ago. Quoting wretchard

    "... But as I think Desert Rat suggests, its a policy without a shape, not just in Iraq but even in Afghanistan. The bike stays up, but it just meanders in slow figure 8s. Look ma, no hands. But it's not going anywhere obvious. ..."

  16. They threw some shit at you as well habu, but you are quite the counter puncher.

  17. Jr was reporting from Iraq, the news was online. Persepective was all that varied, that tempered with experience.

    Panama in '81 & 82, we trained a lot a foreigners. I learned to speak spanish to do it. Married a Panamian, before I left.

    Jr and his cohort HATE hanji, HATE 'em.
    But were supposed to "train" 'em.

    Knew then we were up the shit creek without a paddle

  18. How is any GI supposed to get excited about helping any of them? In Viet Nam, there were clear sides. You may not have known who the enemy was but at least you knew there were two sides. In Iraq who wants to be on either side?

  19. The BC lost it's viality when EB opened for business. We banter, we philosophize, we have fun.

    Seems like the BC was a have for frustrated think tank wannabes'.

    I think we have a helluva time here. I learn something new here everday that is practical to this worlds events.
    It is not hard to see that DR,Rufus,Buddy et al comb the info world and filtering out the crap and providing use good info. Same hold true for the staff.
    I said at the time he did it that the marketplace wouldn't like it..this markets full and he's now runn'n on empty.

  20. I never planned the thing at all. i realized that if he shut down commentary, there was no way to make contact and I slapped the elephant together as a backup. I enjoy it when some of the young guys show up as well. It is harder to hit and run here.

  21. From the tales I've been told, there are no "sides"
    It's a free for all

    That's from Jr and some really heavy Army types I met with Col. Happersett. The Col, now he is the "real deal", ran the War in Laos, for a while.

    Folks still stop by his ranch to report.

  22. Doctor FEELNOTHING:
    "State regulators said Diamond received two injections of diazepam or Valium within five minutes,
    followed by oral Valium, lidocaine,
    several other medications,
    and nitrous oxide.

    The regulators did not say whether the combination or the dosages were appropriate for the 35-pound girl.
    But the patient succumbed anyhoo.

  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. I'm going to throw up something, no subject but perfect for a BS session. give me 3 minutes.

  25. Next post is up. Habu, do the honors please. Form on Habu.

  26. Some GIs never took to the KATUSAs in Korea, but if you got to know 'em, they were pretty wierd.
    But within bounds, it's just that I do not think they thought much of most of US, at Camp Castle.

  27. So, jr clued you and you extrapolated. But, but, but....

  28. Go on back and read 'em, buddy.
    A time capsule, as it were.

    Just a few million bytes without a search engine.

  29. I was told, often, that no matter what, I stayed "on message".

    Because I beleived it true, and it seems that truth wins out.

    Just took to long to convince those that count.

  30. It's all rather kaleidoscopic--reports run into each other head-on at high speed, and there's no accident investigation to neaten anything up for the files.

  31. In twenty or so years, a Phd theseis, I'm sure.

  32. But read now, with hindsight, that's kind of fun.