Will Any More European Powers Contribute to NATO’s Eastern Force?

NATO multinaitonal brigade exercise, Nov. 5, 2015 Now that the U.S. is only sending one—not two—battalions for the alliance military force on the eastern flank, there is a big question regarding which country will fill the void.

Informally, the U.S. is trying to prod Norway and Denmark to team up and form a combined battalion for Estonia or another of the countries, according to U.S. and alliance officials.

The response from the north? Not so fast.

Norway, whose former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg is now the alliance secretary-general, has its own border with Russia that it must pay more attention to and potentially reinforce further, according to a Norwegian official. In addition, contributions to NATO’s spearhead force and other alliance missions mean that the Norwegian military has little spare capacity, the official said.

Danish officials have said they are considering contributing to the force in the east, but Copenhagen has balked at taking the job of being a framework or co-framework nation.

Danish Foreign minister Kristian Jensen told the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten that serving as a framework nation would “demand more capacity than we have.”

“Denmark is considering a contribution, but not to be a framework nation,” he said….

U.S. and NATO officials said they were talking with Canadian officials about the possibility the Canadian army could take a greater role. Canada currently has 220 troops in Poland.

While Ottawa has not made any commitments, it isn’t saying no.

Image: NATO multinaitonal brigade exercise, Nov. 5, 2015 (photo: Rui HeLeno/NATO)