NATO Chief Proposes Rapid-Deployment Training Force

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Ft. Bragg, April 5, 2016The head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization outlined plans to create an at-the-ready crew of trainers prepared to deploy at a moment’s notice to help local forces aligned with the military alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has pressed for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to enable local forces to protect their own countries rather than deploying large numbers of alliance troops to front lines. But he said Wednesday that the military alliance must conduct needed training more swiftly and effectively.

“Training matters. In the fight against terrorism, building local capacity is one of the best weapons we have, and the earlier we can do it, the better,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “A few months can mean the difference between a fragile state and a failed state.”

The NATO Secretary General made the proposal in a speech to the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank….

Building up the skill of local forces has become a main NATO function. NATO forces are training locals in Afghanistan to try to deter Islamic State and the Taliban. It is also aiding U.S. and coalition forces as they train and equip the Iraqi army in the battle against Islamic State. Mr. Stoltenberg wants to make that function of NATO more robust by developing a “responsive, ready-to-go” training mission that moves faster.

“What I am arguing is to do that more, but in a more organized framework—more cost efficient and with a greater impact,” he said.

“If there is anything wrong that we did in Afghanistan, then it was that we did not start the training earlier,” he said.

Image: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Ft. Bragg, April 5, 2016 (photo: US 82nd Airborne Division)