Crisis in Ukraine may convince NATO on regional HQs

Crisis in Ukraine may convince NATO on regional HQs

Crisis in Ukraine may convince NATO on regional HQs

Gen Philip Breedlove says the crisis in Ukraine has revealed the need for regional NATO headquarters.

NATO’s top commander has begun entertaining the idea of a regional headquarters specifically focusing on Article 5 violations – which requires members to come to the aid of another member if it is attacked – ahead of an alliance gathering in Wales.

“Right now, I think the nations agree that we have the force structure we need. We just need to adapt it. For over 12 years, we have been fighting very successfully together in Afghanistan. We focused on the counter-insurgency fight. And now as the mission changes to resolute support, it is time for the existing force structure to begin to train for more Article 5 kinds of defense missions,” Turkey SACEUR Gen. Philip Breedlove told CNNTürk and the Hürriyet Daily News during a visit to U.S. troops based in Gaziantep, adding that the alliance’s military wing was looking into a broad set of measures to make NATO more responsive to threats from Russia.

“Right now, our Reaction Force does exactly what we ask it to do, and it does it very well. But the new threat we see from Russia requires that we increase its responsiveness. We will look to pick some headquarters to be focused on these missions and that will be a political decision,” Breedlove said. “It may be that we may need HQ in the north, in the center and in the south, these will all be looked at. But the most important thing is we will all look into measures to make NATO more responsive to crisis such as the ones in Crimea, in Ukraine, et cetera.”

While the alliance is debating among its members measures to dedicate more financial and human resources to the capabilities, Breedlove said he would not specifically ask for an increased military posture, or more special forces capability.

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former SACEUR now at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said in an op-ed in June that NATO members needed to prepare more special forces for threats coming from the southern border of the alliance, especially Iraq and Syria, and to deter Russia.

NATO sources are not ruling out Turkey’s possibility of hosting one of the regional headquarters focusing on Article 5 violations, but Poland is lobbying actively to be the frontrunner.