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General Says NATO Prepared to Respond to Aggression Should Deterrence Fail

Generals provided testimony today regarding tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border and the ability of U.S. allies to move large numbers of forces quickly over great distances.

A man dressed in a military uniform sits at a table and speaks into a microphone.
Wolters Testimony
Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, April 13, 2021.
Photo By: EJ Hersom, DOD
VIRIN: 210413-D-DB155-001
A man dressed in a military uniform speaks into a microphone.
Lyons Testimony
Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, April 13, 2021.
Photo By: EJ Hersom, DOD
VIRIN: 210413-D-DB155-004

Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of the U.S. European Command, and Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to review the fiscal 2022 defense authorization request and the Future Years Defense Program.

The current NATO security posture in Europe is strong, yet challenged by Russia's actions in the vicinity of Ukraine, said Wolters, adding that America's allies and partners in Europe remain a key strategic advantage.

Three soldiers with guns lie on their stomachs and take aim.
Live Fire Training
Soldiers assigned to 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173 Airborne Brigade, participate in a live fire exercise at 7th Army Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, March 25, 2021.
Photo By: Kevin Sterling Payne, Army
VIRIN: 210325-A-DT978-0033

"NATO remains the strategic center of gravity and the foundation of deterrence and assurance in Europe. Everything we do is about generating peace," said Wolters. "We compete to win. We deter, and, if deterrence fails, we're prepared to respond to aggression with the full weight of the transatlantic alliance."

Wolters noted that NATO has a robust exercise program. This summer, NATO will conduct Defender-series exercises composed of some 30,000 U.S. service members, allies and partners.

Two trucks containing artillery are parked on the pavement.
Target Acquisition
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Field Artillery Brigade begin target acquisition from a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System at Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania, April 10 2021.
Photo By: Army Spc. Jabari Clyburn
VIRIN: 210410-A-RR275-109

That exercise will demonstrate NATO's ability to move massive forces over large swaths of Europe at speed and at scale, he said.

Wolters also mentioned the addition of 500 soldiers to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden in Germany.

These troops will be made up of field artillery; composite air and missile defense; intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space; aviation and a brigade support element. The Theater Fires Command will improve readiness and multi-national interoperability by integrating joint and multinational fires in exercises and operations, in support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, said Army Col. Joe Scrocca, the spokesman for U.S. Army Europe and Africa, in a separate statement today.

A jet readies for takeoff.
Takeoff Preps
An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron taxis on a runway at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, March 26, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Melody Howley
VIRIN: 210326-F-VG991-1002

"The Theater Fires Command and Multi-Domain Task Force in Europe will enable U.S. Army Europe and Africa to synchronize joint fires and effects, control future long-range fires across all domains, and will create more space, cyber and electronic warfare capabilities in Europe," Scrocca said.

Lyons told senators that Transcom's mission is to project forces globally on land, air and sea, including to support the upcoming NATO exercises.

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