NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels are mulling proposals to create new maritime and logistics commands – with talk of a new planning and strategy base, focused on keeping Atlantic shipping lanes safe from enemy submarines.
It would be the first such expansion in two decades and comes amid perceptions that Russia is a “potential threat.”
“2014 was a very important year for understanding the transition from NATO as an expeditionary actor to NATO as an organisation that focuses on collective defence,” said Kristine Berzina, a Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
“When you look at the invasion of Crimea and when you look at Russia’s ongoing activities and support for separatists and warfare in Eastern Ukraine, this has heightened the sense of risk, really, across all of the NATO allies.”
NATO has already sent troops to the Baltics, Poland and the Black Sea to reassure allies. The US has also returned tanks and troops to Europe.
Russia condemns the moves, saying it’s aggressive and threatens to destabilise eastern Europe.
Euronews’ Andrei Beketov reported from NATO headquarters in Brussels: “NATO is preparing to partially restore its command structure which was reduced after the end of the Cold War. The number of deployed personnel will not reach the level of the beginning of this century. which makes these measures mostly symbolic in response to the perceived Russian threat.
“The approval of the reform is expected at a formal summit, which will be held for the first time at the new headquarters of the Alliance next July.”