Arguments, Shortages Slow NATO’s ‘Rapid Reaction’ Force in East Europe

Months After Deal, NATO Leaders Still Trying to Figure It All Out

Arguments over who’s going to pay for the creation of the “rapid reaction” force in Eastern Europe, something NATO agreed to create back in September, has left the alliance spinning its wheels on actually getting the force going.

It was supposed to be a 5,000 ground troop force with air and naval support positioned along the Baltic Sea as some sort of hedge against a Russian invasion, something no one serious expects anyhow.

But while officials were eager to approve the plan as a chance to spend a lot of money on beefing up NATO’s military presence in the east, the officials are much less eager to commit any of their own money to the plan.

With so many European NATO nations trimming their military budgets in recent years, there’s not just tons of equipment and fighters left over to throw at the “spearhead” force from any of them, and most are just waiting for someone else to do it.

Diplomats are now saying that the force, which was supposed to be put together quickly, will be lucky to be fully operational before 2016. Fewer than 100 of the 5,000 troops have been committed yet.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.