Stop NATO News: February 16, 2012

16 February 2012012

  • Permanent Presence: U.S. To Rotate F-16s In Poland
  • NATO To Buy U.S. Drones For Asian And African Operations
  • UAE Foreign Minister Pushes Gulf States-NATO Cooperation In Brussels
  • Ex-Ambassador Appointed First American NATO Deputy Secretary
  • Thailand: U.S. Leads Seven-Nation, 13,000-Troop Military Drills

Permanent Presence: U.S. To Rotate F-16s In Poland

http://www.stripes.com/news/usafe-to-establish-first-u-s-aviation-detachment-in-poland-this-year-1.168576

Stars and Stripes
February 14, 2012

USAFE to establish first U.S. aviation detachment in Poland this year
By Jennifer H. Svan

-The agreement states that training exercises between the two countries’ air forces may include the use of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, subject to the availability of appropriate ranges and facilities for such purposes. Poland in 2009 completed the acquisition of 48 new U.S. F-16 aircraft and began acquiring five C-130 aircraft, the agreement notes.

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany: U.S. Air Forces in Europe is standing up the first U.S. aviation detachment in Poland later this year, a move that Polish officials say represents the first ‘permanent presence’ of U.S. military members on Polish soil.

The detachment will host periodic rotations of U.S. F-16 fighter jets and C-130 cargo aircraft, whose crews will visit Poland and conduct training for one- to two-week intervals throughout the year, said USAFE spokesman Maj. Rickardo Bodden.

The aircraft will rotate from both USAFE and stateside units, though it’s ‘too early to tell how many total aircraft or which units will be involved,’ Bodden said.

The first rotation is expected to occur at the end of this year, he said…

Despite the small scale of the U.S. operation, ‘this is an extremely significant development,’ said Andrew Michta, senior trans-Atlantic fellow and director of the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

‘This is regarded here as mostly a political signal’ that the United States ‘is serious about the security of Poland and its neighbors, (the other) NATO allies in the region,’ Michta said, noting the recent change in the U.S. defense posture with greater focus on Asia and the Middle East.

Blanka Kolenikova, a Europe country analyst with the London-based research group IHS Global Insight, said there were concerns the deal could hamper Poland’s efforts to revive its ties with Russia, since Russia had warned that it would counter the move if Poland decides to host U.S. fighter jets on its soil.

Plans for the detachment were outlined in a memorandum of understanding signed last spring by U.S. Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein and Polish Defense Minister Bogdan Klich, said a news release from the U.S. Embassy in Poland.

The agreement states that training exercises between the two countries’ air forces may include the use of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, subject to the availability of appropriate ranges and facilities for such purposes. Poland in 2009 completed the acquisition of 48 new U.S. F-16 aircraft and began acquiring five C-130 aircraft, the agreement notes.

The detachment will be located at the 32nd Tactical Air Base in ?ask, southwest of Warsaw, an embassy spokesman said.

Maj. Gen. David Scott, USAFE Operations, Strategic Deterrence, and Nuclear Integration director, visited the base last week, where he met with Polish military officials to discuss the detachment, according to an embassy news release.

The rotation of aircraft is another sign of the growing military presence in Poland, where in 2010 Germany-based soldiers began deploying to help the country bolster its air-defense systems. [Stationing of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles only miles from Russia territory.]

Michta, of the Marshall Fund, said the aircraft rotations are a gesture by the United States to reciprocate Poland’s security contributions, especially to Iraq and Afghanistan.

‘It will become a very significant American ally in the coming decade,’ he said.

Poland is a key partner in the U.S. missile defense plan for Europe, as the country is expected to host elements of the U.S. anti-missile shield by 2018.

====

NATO To Buy U.S. Drones For Asian And African Operations

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/15/us-nato-drones-idUSTRE81E1SD20120215

Reuters
February 15, 2012

NATO to buy U.S.-made unmanned drone aircraft
By Justyna Pawlak

BRUSSELS: NATO is to buy five U.S.-made unmanned drone aircraft capable of countering Afghan insurgents, hunting pirates off Somalia or monitoring arms embargoes, an alliance official said on Wednesday.

The drones are part of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) project, scheduled to begin operating between 2015 and 2017. The project reflects NATO efforts to cooperate more closely with its member states on defense costs and capabilities at a time of financial constraints.

NATO has said last year’s Libya conflict exposed shortcomings in the alliance’s surveillance ability.

Thirteen allies – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States – will participate in the procurement of the unmanned drones and other equipment such as deployable ground stations that will support AGS.

‘The acquisition itself is plus 1 billion (euros),’ a NATO official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The cost will include five Global Hawk drones, produced by U.S. firm Northrop Grumman, as well as training and pilot costs, he said. Maintenance of the drones and operation costs will amount to around 2 billion euros over 20 years.

Northrop Grumman ISS International is the main contractor, while the German arm of EADS, Italy’s Galileo Avionica – a unit of Finmeccanica – and the Canadian arm of General Dynamics are also involved.

The drones can fly at 60,000 feet and stay aloft for more than 24 hours.

The system will have its main base at Sigonella in Italy and several associated command-and-control base stations.

Britain and France will contribute surveillance equipment, the official said, instead of a portion of their contribution to the financing of the system’s base, infrastructure and communications costs, which will be borne by all NATO states.

(Reporting by Justyna Pawlak; editing by Andrew Roche)

====

UAE Foreign Minister Pushes Gulf States-NATO Cooperation In Brussels

http://www.wam.ae/servlet/Satellite?c=WamLocEnews&cid=1289997507815&pagename=WAM%2FWAM_E_Layout&parent=Query&parentid=1135099399852

Emirates News Agency
February 15, 2012

Gargash praises UAENATO strong relations

Brussels: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash addressed today a seminar held at the NATO HQ in Brussels to discuss ways of deepening cooperation among members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and the NATO, ahead of NATO’s Chicago Summit in March.

Dr Gargash emphasised the need to confront security challenges in the Gulf region and the importance of coordinating efforts…in the Gulf.

He said the UAE’s decision to establish a permanent mission reflects its strong relations with the NATO.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen thanked Dr Gargash for taking part in the seminar.

====

Ex-Ambassador Appointed First American NATO Deputy Secretary

http://en.rian.ru/world/20120215/171335137.html

Russian Information Agency Novosti
February 15, 2012

Vershbow Appointed NATO Deputy Secretary General

BRUSSELS: Alexander Vershbow visits Georgia: who holds the key to the war?

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow has been appointed NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, the organization’s press service said on Wednesday.

Vershbow replaced Claudio Bisogniero from Italy, who held the post since October 2007.

Vershbow was the U.S. NATO ambassador in Brussels in 1998-2001.

This is the first time an American has been appointed a deputy Secretary General in NATO. The positions of the Secretary General and his deputies are traditionally given to Europeans.

====

Thailand: U.S. Leads Seven-Nation, 13,000-Troop Military Drills

http://www.china.org.cn/video/2012-02/16/content_24650162.htm

CNTV
February 16, 2012

US, Thailand conduct military exercise

The US-led annual multinational exercise Cobra Gold 2012, the largest such military endeavour in the Asia-Pacific to date, is underway in Thailand.

Live-fire training, non-combatant evacuation exercises and a computer-simulated command-post exercise are featured at this year’s drills. Humanitarian and civic assistance projects will also be part of the exercises.

Begun last Wednesday, the 10-day exercise involves around 13,000 military personnel from Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.

About half are of US troops. According to the US military, it is designed to advance regional security among ‘nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific’.

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