Archive for the 'NATO' Tag
We have a “go” – in a fashion – for a NFZ-L. CONOPS, COA, ROE, etc; the most important things we really don’t know what we will have. What we do know at the moment is what nations are already throwing their hat in.
CAN: 6 CF-18.
GBR: Unknown number of Tornado and Typhoon fighters. Possible E-3D and tanker support, perhaps others. Frigates HMS CUMBERLAND and HMS WESTMINSTER.
FRA: Bases in southern France & Corsica. CVN FS CHARLES DE GAULLE with 35 aircraft perhaps.
USA: We can bring the the multitude or European based aircraft to bear; if we want to. We have the KEARSARGE ESG in the area. The Big E and her CSG are within reach in a few days; if we want it to. BATAAN ESG will deploy early and can lean in; if we want it to.
ESP: Access to airbases and unspecified aircraft and navy ships.
ITA: Accesses to airbases and support “without reserve” – whatever that means.
BEL: 6 F-16.
QAT: Unspecified support – the only Arab nation so far that I can see coming out post NFZ-L approval.
DEU, I guess, decided they had enough of the Libyan desert a few decades ago – and our other allies I presume were out of OPTAR or some other excuse. As for the rest of NATO – well, this sounds about par.
Before Friday’s meeting, NATO allies were still divided on whether to impose a no-fly zone. While the United States, Britain and France strongly backed the idea, Germany remained cautious and Turkey expressed opposition.
A diplomat said that NATO nations reached consensus on Friday on the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, but failed to fix details about how partners will take part in.
NATO ambassadors are expected to meet over the weekend, the diplomat added.
Meanwhile, some NATO nations have expressed their willingness to participate in the deployment of a no-fly zone over Libya.
We shouldn’t expect more from them. Those who could, have. The rest will take a couple of months to figure out how they can do enough to get their flag outside the headquarters – but not enough to take any blame if things should go wrong.
We also know that there is hard math at work here. Physics and engineering cannot be successfully fudged for long. Almost all the viable non-USN particiapation is shore based. Distance is not your friend, especially with the short legs of many of the fighters being offered. Tanker support will be a huge requirement in money and material if you want a serious NFZ-L – as will heavy AEW. If you want, as some have mentioned, a “No-Drive Zone Libya” (NDZ-L), then you are asking for dramatic increase in the Combined Joint Statement of Requirements (CJSOR) – and will need boots on the ground to do it right.
The role and participation by the USA is still behind closed doors, but unless something unusual happens, we know how this will happen in broad terms;
Michael O’Hanlon, a defense expert at the Brookings Institution, said the United States “frankly might wind up playing the biggest role” because Britain and France may be unable to get sufficient aircraft to Libya quickly enough.
“A key part of the role the U.S. is going to play here is going to be like one of President Obama’s previous jobs: community organizer,” said Brian Katulis, a Middle East expert at the Center for American Progress.
Frank knows time-distance it seems; Brian is a cheeky monkey.
With the atrophied military capability and shaky will of the European nations – not to mention their budget “issues” – any type of significant military action in the Maghreb will require the USA to do the heavy lifting. We are the indispensable nation – and when it comes to any sustained action from the sea, the USN is the indispensable Navy.
If you have to project any type of power ashore with ranges such as here (see post from 01MAR) – the CVN is the indispensable ship. As we have waited to the 11th hour to do anything, I still stand by my statements from 17 days ago; without more than 1 CVN you will not have an effective NFZ-L. We don’t have that yet, and may never.
So, if that is where we stand; are we just relying on hope and best case scenarios? Is the NFZ-L just for show and a half-hearted effort? Are we ready for the time and effort for a sustained NFZ-L? Are our allies? Are we going to just let the Europeans fail as they did in AFG from ’06-’08 and then try to fix it later?
Finally there is this questions that many seem to want to avoid. We set up a NFZ-L and Gadaffi still wins in the face of it; what is our Branch Plan, or Sequel? What are the second and third order effects of an ineffective NFZ-L that results in a Gadaffi win?
Well – hopefully we won’t have to figure that out. Smart professionals are working that – but before everyone starts moving their little-bits around the map – listen to SECDEF Gates one more time.
Another dark room – let’s all step in together.
UPDATE II: Pictures are important and tell the story of the costs of delay. A couple of weeks ago, Gadaffi only had the area around Tripoli and a scattered town or two. The facts on the ground have changes significantly. Quite the challenge (click for larger).
In support of Chris’s post, let’s dig at this a bit more.
Via FT; once again, when our prostrate, financially starved, and materially deficient allies say this,
“We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people,” David Cameron, UK prime minister, said. “In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.”
What they really mean is, “America, will you please do the heavy lifting? We will try to help with what little we have, but be a good sport.”
Want to make this an international effort? I won’t even start to discuss the UN route – as to get to that point is just too difficult and like Darfur, by the time someone can craft a deal, there will be no one to save. Anyway, really?
You can also think NATO, but I think that is off the table already.
… Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey, which has the second largest standing army in Nato, on Tuesday rejected intervention by the western alliance in Libya as “unthinkable”.
“Can you even consider such an absurdity?” Mr Erdogan said at a conference in Germany when asked about calls for Nato to intervene in Libya. “As Turkey, we’re against this, this can’t even be talked about, it’s unthinkable.”
Russia and France also opposed military action, with Paris saying humanitarian aid and cutting off Col Gaddafi’s funding sources should be the priorities.
Once again – NATO devolves to the lowest common denominator, even in their own back yard.
Coalition of the willing it is.
No serious person is talking about putting boots on the ground to engage in ground combat the Libyan rebel forces are more than willing to do – I think the most aggressive thing inside the “possible” bubble is a no-fly zone in Libya (NFZ-L) so Gaddafi’s air force cannot do their will on civilians and rebel forces.
Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman called last week for NATO countries to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent air attacks by Mr Gaddafi on opponents who have wrested control of large parts of the country from him.
According to Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, US military planners are working on “various contingency plans … [and] repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made”.
Let’s make some initial draft Planning Assumptions (PA) assuming that the CINC directs the establishment of a NFZ-L, here’s my first three:
- PA-1: The ENTERPRISE CSG and KEARSARGE ESG now in the Red Sea successfully transit Suez.
- PA-2: Tanker, AEW, and EW/ES aircraft have full basing rights in Sigonella, Souda Bay, at British bases in Cyprus.
- PA-3: ITA, ESP, and GBR are willing to contribute Navy and Air forces.
Of those allies with the most pressing concern in the Mediterranean, we already know TUR, and FRA are non-players. GRC? Child please. There goes your most of your Med nations. Who else can help that isn’t already on holiday? GBR, ITA, ESP, with perhaps a dog or cat from other NATO air forces up north may help, but they have very limited reach and a very shallow bench. Even with the USAF, you cannot effect a sustained NFZ-L using ground based aircraft – even if you limited it to the Tripoli and Benghazi. Especially when you can bet a paycheck that ROE will require visual ID and sustained observation of suspect activity; no. Add to that the requirement for CSAR, and no again.
There is only one way to do this: Carrier Aviation. American Carrier Aviation.
One carrier cannot do this alone unless you have very low ambition and expect very little in the way of tasking. You should have one station to the east, one to the west. If you are talking big deck CVN – you really need two to keep one station for any length of time. To keep two stations, four – but if you can get some limited land-based air support for some cycles – maybe get by with three?
Let’s be realistic. We are not going to get four CVN or even three. Two then? I vote no. We’re tapped out.
If you had plenty of support and just a few AAW CAPs up – we could get by with just one … if for only a short time. Hope? Feh, not a plan – so be modest in your ambition.
OK, let’s go to NFZ-L with the Global Maritime Partnership we have, not that we wish we had.
Would we give a station to our allies? Of the remaining folks, GBR, ESP, & ITA have CVS, right? Well, the Brits don’t do CVS counter-air anymore – and the Italians and Spanish carriers? How many sorties can they do? How about if they had a lot of land based fighter support? How many fighter aircraft need to be stationed at Sigonella supported by how many tankers to cover Tripoli? Same question about Souda Bay and Benghazi. The British bases on Cyprus?
UK officials said they could use of a British military air base in Akrotiri, Cyprus to enforce a no-fly mission. “Akrotiri would be very useful if we wanted to deploy,” said an official. “That would seem most logical.”Although fixed-wing aircraft appear to be depleted, British officials said the main concern was that Col Gaddafi could use helicopters to mount bombing raids on opponents.
Thanks, but … look at that transit – tanker and AEW/ES only. That is about the same distance as from Masirah, Oman to Southern Afghanistan.
There is the problem – but we have a solution, the one a lot of smart people are going to try to make work. We will have do a limited NFZ-L with Big E and the KEARSARGE ESG. Not the way it should be done, but good enough for show.
On alert, using limited CAPs and relying on ready aircraft. Our allies may be here and there and will be able to help on the margins – but they have neither the ability or political will to do much more. They have proven over and over that they are less concerned about their backyard than we are – either that are they are just too used to us solving their big problems – and if we don’t – they will just hope for the best.
My guestimates on the back of a notepad are very rough – but probably within a standard deviation. Do them yourself. The tyranny of distance and allied defense budgets are beyond our control but are critical planning factors you cannot get around.
Once you ponder that some, remind yourself and others the importance of a CVN – and use this other little tool in discussions of the utility of CVN. Off Libya soon may be the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65), commissioned on 25 NOV 61 – almost 50 years ago. On the western side of Libya is the former Wheelus Air Force Base. How is that base working out for us?
UPDATE: SECDEF Gates throws some cold water on Prime Minister Cameron, and seems a bit off key with SECSTATE Clinton.
The U.S. and allies have discussed the prospect of imposing a no-fly zone over the North African country to prevent Col. Gadhafi from using air forces to strike at protesters. But Mr. Gates on Wednesday made clear the U.S. military would have to launch pre-emptive strikes to destroy Libya’s air defenses if President Barack Obama ordered the imposition of a no-fly zone,
“Let’s just call a spade a spade,” Mr. Gates said. “A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya.”
Mr. Gates’s words were the strongest public indication of skepticism within the administration about establishing a no-fly zone, especially without broad international support.
In recent days, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken supportively of a no-fly zone. Asked about the apparent contradiction between Mr. Gates’s comments and Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said Wednesday that the no-fly zone is being “actively considered.”
I think SECDEF Gates has reviewed COA-1, COA-2, & COA-3 and realized the risk-reward is just not where it should be. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something. Right call.
To paraphrase the Great Bismark; Libya is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.
Gen. Craddock continues to provide a great service to the larger national security community by providing little glimpses into the challenges SACEUR has in training and herding the NATO cats in Mons and Brussels.
“(10) NATO Council elders refer to an era that included the threat of widespread, world-ending, nuclear exchange as ‘the good old days.’ The Cold War — for NATO those were simple times, exceedingly dangerous but simple. We trained, we exercised, we planned — but we didn’t deploy anywhere, and we did not resource or conduct operations. We did not live in a time when information was literally at the fingertips of citizens around the globe. We didn’t have to convince our populaces of the merit of our action. National survival hung in the balance.
“[Today] with almost 74,000 from 44 countries deployed in six operations within and beyond the Euro-Atlantic area … [we lack] political will, commitment in resources … and commitment to communicate the need … to our citizens. Defense spending is on the decline [while] security demands are on the rise.
“(9) You need to reach consensus on whether to serve red sauce or white sauce on the pasta. Consensus in garnering international support and legitimacy (is one thing). But for routine alliance business? Easier said than done. NATO would need to reach consensus on a decision to no longer need to reach consensus. Time to change the MO. But let’s always remember Churchill — ‘the only thing worse than fighting a war with allies is fighting a war without them.’
“(8) You’re part of an organization that’s been a pillar of strength and provider of peace and security for member and partner nations for more than 60 years … fostered the reunification of Germany — and through enlargement extended democratic values throughout Warsaw Pact countries … resolved conflict in the Balkans [and] its reintegration into the whole of Europe. And today, NATO reaches around the globe to collectively confront 21st century challenges … but we’re still lacking modern crisis management capabilities to respond to challenges in an unpredictable world.
“(7) Your relationship with 27 European Union nations, 21 of whom are also members of NATO, is, at best, cordial. (gobbledygook for sleight-of-hand). A tight working relationship between EU and NATO is the overdue prerequisite for solutions to 21st century challenges. Signed agreements guarantee EU access to NATO assets and capabilities for EU-led missions. … Time to work together by playing to strengths of both to address current/future crises.
“(6) When you tell a 20-something you work for NATO, he says, ‘Isn’t that the dog in the Wizard of Oz?’ No, Billy, it’s not. It’s the most successful security alliance in world history, [to which we owe] freedom, peace, prosperity and our way of life. (Up to us to make sure younger and future generations) understand NATO’s essential role … in the civilized world.
“(5) A ‘teeth sucking’ sound that follows any request to commit resources resonates in the hallways of Brussels. The crux of NATO’s operational problems is that its ambition outstrips its political will to resource that ambition. Afghanistan is the textbook illustration … since mission inception, NATO nations have never completely filled the agreed requirements for forces needed in Afghanistan.
“(4) NATO enlargement, alongside EU’s, is responsible for the advance of democracy across the European Continent in the aftermath of the Cold War. Increase in security for NATO’s members is not a decrease in security for any other. However, candidate nations must be contributors to security, not consumers of it.
“(3) Words like urgent, rapid and swift better describe the demeanor and movement of a Galapagos tortoise than action in NATO. Consensus stands in the way of agile decision-making. It currently takes NATO 62 weeks to process a submitted urgent operational requirement, down from 80 weeks. Next goal 35 weeks. That means operational commanders still wait almost nine months for what they deem an urgent requirement. In our current security requirement, these delays are simply untenable. NATO is not postured for the realities of today’s world.
“(2) NATO is a great forum for strategic debate among allies, but fear of open disagreement inhibits debate. We engage in less now than 15 years ago. Debate is not a way into problems — but a way out, onto a road of consensus and action. Yet we face multiple new and emerging threats — transnational terrorism, the proliferation of WMD [weapons of mass destruction], piracy, climate change, energy security, mass migrations, cyber attacks, to name a few. The spectrum of potential conflict is wide. NATO must be agile and capable.
“(1) If you got this far, you work in NATO … part of an organization “whose future is as bright as its history is impressive.”
Crossposted at CDRSalamander.
Now this is the Cliff’s Notes version of a turnover as Commander Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
A top NATO leader says the alliance’s politicians are effectively absent without leave in the battle against Afghan insurgents.
General John Craddock, the outgoing Supreme Allied Commander, was referring to the fact that countries such as Canada, the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands are doing most of the fighting in Afghanistan’s most dangerous regions.
“I’m probably being harsh here, but I also believe that much of this is due to the fact that political leadership in NATO is AWOL,” the U. S. Army general told the Atlantic Council of the United States.
Yes, I can hear you, yes Great Caesar – give us more!
More fundamentally, the Alliance has not kept its promises. It has not come close to funding the objectives it set for itself in 2006, upon taking control of the mission, and it is clear that the domestic political interests of NATO member states have been paramount over Alliance goals — even though said goals were achieved through painstaking consensus building. Craddock understands that political leaders in democracies have to consider public opinion. At the same time, however, he said “It’s the job of leaders to persuade the citizenry” on important foreign policy goals and that “often, this has not been the case.”
Sigh – truth always comes too late. Part of that truth is many nations in the Alliance only contribute enough to get their flag on a pole outside HQ ISAF in Kabul so they can claim to be part of it.
Many don’t, in numbers or through caveats, do enough to really contribute so, in the case it fails, they can simple blame the USA. All the benefits of being in a coalition – with none of the responsibility.
Go grab a fresh cup of coffee and watch the below. This is a great primer.
Next Monday I’ll post some of my personal thoughts on my home blog what I see as changing in Afghanistan WRT the Alliance’s relationship to the USA. Things are changing – and I don’t think anyone with an Atlantist bent to their ideas will like it. The political of you will enjoy the Schadenfreude nature of it.