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General Says NATO Is Stepping Up Defense Investments

March 29, 2022 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Russia's premeditated and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has galvanized NATO and global partners, Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.

A large helicopter hovers near a military vehicle as soldiers manipulate a line beneath it.
Paratrooper Training
Paratroopers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division conduct sling load training in Zamosc, Poland, March 18, 2022.
Photo By: Marine Corp Sgt. James Bourgeois
VIRIN: 220318-M-GU107-1003

"We are witnessing a generational moment, a historic demonstration of unity in will and an unprecedented effort by allies to strengthen defense while simultaneously helping those in need," said Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO supreme commander in Europe. 

For instance, NATO ally Germany has committed to meeting the alliance's 2% benchmark for military spending, he said. "We expect other allies will follow and redouble efforts to adequately invest in defense to generate peace — from Turkey in the southeast, to Norway, Sweden and Finland." 

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VIDEO | 1:01:45 | Military Leaders Brief Senate Committee, Part 1
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VIDEO | 45:25 | Military Leaders Brief Senate Committee, Part 2

Wolters said U.S. investments in military-to-military relationships, training, and readiness help to build unity, resolve and combat-credible deterrence. 

Years of focused investment through the European Reassurance Initiative and European Deterrence Initiative include facilities, prepositioned equipment, rotational deployments, and all-domain exercises to improve speed and agility, Wolters said. 

Two soldiers work with what looks like a long, narrow pipe; barbed wire is in the foreground.
Explosive Preparation
Army Spc. Edwin Miranda and Army Sgt. Kyle Moitoza, both of Bravo Company, 1st Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, prepare an explosive as part of range detonation training, at Swietoszow Range, Poland, March 21, 2022.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Joseph Aleman
VIRIN: 220321-A-ID188-1005

Thanks to these initiatives, the Army was able to deploy an entire armored brigade combat team from the U.S. to Germany in just one week amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, he said. "That level of speed and agility is unmatched." 

Air Force Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, testified that Transcom, in concert with Eucom, is providing critical aid to Ukraine and assuring NATO allies through troop deployments and exercises. 

Transcom operates an agile and resilient logistics enterprise comprised of military components, commercial partners and industry teammates, delivering materiel and manpower to allies and partners around the world, she said.  

A large ship is docked.
Port Visit
The guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman moors in Gdansk, Poland, for a scheduled port visit, March 27, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Lt. j.g. Kathleen Barrios
VIRIN: 220327-N-SP805-0001A

"We project and sustain the world's most capable military force. The speed and reliability at which we execute these missions, demonstrates our nation's resolve and serves as a deterrent to our adversaries," Van Ovost said.  

Transcom's top readiness concern remains sealift and air refueling assets, as these platforms are approaching the end of their service life, she said.