Saturday , July 13 2024

NATO urges arming up for strong defence

09-06-2024

BRUSSELS: As the Russia-Ukraine war has been raging since February 2022, creating a security threat to Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s top general Christopher Cavoli called to ramp up the military production and armament to defend against aggression Thursday.

While speaking in an interview with media, Cavoli said that the military alliance is ready to defend itself.

Today, the allied powers marked the 80 years since the US-led World War II coalition landed on the D-Day to liberate France from Nazi occupation.

Currently, the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe Cavoli has been attentive to the Russian special military operation against Ukraine and Moscow’s potential threat to NATOo countries.

The top general said in Normandy: “NATO is ready to do collective territorial defence.”

He pointed to a vast exercise dubbed Steadfast Defender 24, which involved 90,000 NATO troops across multiple European countries from January to May.

“We’ve shifted our focus entirely over the last couple of years. We used to do out-of-area operations, now we’re focused on defending the territory of the alliance,” Cavoli said but “when it comes to military equipment… we need to build more, we need to expand our industrial base,” he added.

Russia’s special military operation against Ukraine and Kyiv’s Western-backed defences have shown the vast appetite of modern conflicts for ammunition and other related equipment. It has, however, taken time for defence manufacturers to ramp up output of items from artillery shells to vehicles and drones.

“We need to generate hardware more quickly. I think all the nations in the alliance realize that and are working on it,” Cavoli said.

Studying Russia-Ukraine war

He joked that “if you ever want to feel a little bit of pressure, take a job Dwight D. Eisenhower had” referring to the World War II commander and later US president who was the first to hold the position Cavoli took up in 2022.

Facing a new generation of warfare, the general added that the 32-member alliance is “going to take a very deliberate effort to study everything about the (Russia-Ukraine) conflict so that we can develop from it”.

He cited “innovative uses of hardware”, such as the low-cost drones used by both sides for reconnaissance and attack.

NATO troops would also be learning from “techniques and tactics” used on Ukrainian battlefields at a new “lessons learned” centre to be set up in Poland, Cavoli added.

Speaking at the cemetery for Americans killed in the D-Day landings and subsequent fighting through Normandy 80 years ago, Cavoli said that “these cemeteries throughout Europe, throughout the world, are very inspirational to us.

“They remind me of my own soldiers that I’ve lost,” he added.

Beyond turning out more weaponry, “there’s a difference between having the equipment and really being able to use it effectively… it’s our soldiers, our airmen, our marines, our sailors who are true experts.

“The professionalism is what makes us have an advantage,” Cavoli said.

France’s enduring memory of the liberation from Nazi occupation was on display throughout the landing zone, with many houses along the roads to the cemetery flying the flags of the US and other Allied nations.

The cemetery and the warm local welcome for US troops are “just a living example of US-French friendship and also the way an alliance comes together and not only fights a war but stays together after a war,” Cavoli said. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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