We have been too polite for too long.
For those who have been close to NATO - we all know it is true. You know my opinion on our NATO allies. Forget me, I'm just a retired O-5. Review what Gen. Craddock said on the way out - then read this from SECDEF Gates.
In his final policy speech as Pentagon chief, Gates questioned the viability of NATO, saying its members' penny-pinching and lack of political will could hasten the end of U.S. support. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark against Soviet aggression, but in the post-Cold War era it has struggled to find a purpose.
"Future U.S. political leaders - those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me - may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost,"The full transcript is available here and here. Below is a short clip.
"The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress - and in the American body politic writ large - to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense," he said.
Without naming names, he blasted allies who are "willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets."
"Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform, not counting the U.S. military, NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops, not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters, transport aircraft, maintenance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and much more," Gates said.
Shame everyone does this on the way out the door, to no effect. Time to take action if you want to get people's attention. Once again - WWII & the Cold War is over. We need to stop enabling Europe's military-welfare support. A couple of Combined logistics and training facilities, and that it.
USA based with global reach. Rinse, repeat.
If you need more proof of the Potemkin Village that is our NATO allies defense spending, Norway helps.
Norway will scale down its fighter jet contribution in Libya from six to four planes and withdraw completely from the NATO-led operation by Aug. 1, the government said Friday.
Defense Minister Grete Faremo said she expects understanding from NATO allies because Norway has a small air force and cannot "maintain a large fighter jet contribution during a long time."
The announcement comes as the Obama administration puts pressure on Germany, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands to shoulder a greater share of the alliance campaign, which has heated up with intensified airstrikes on Libya's capital.
The Scandinavian country's air force says Norwegian F-16 jets have carried out about 10 percent of the NATO airstrikes in Libya since March 31.Spin on ... spin on ... but the truth is there as it the measured retreat under fire in Afghanistan initiated by the Canadians and Dutch.
As a side note - you'll see the post tomorrow, but if you are interested in this topic go ahead and clear your Sunday late-afternoon schedule; you are not going to want to miss the next Midrats.
UPDATE: Our buddy Phil at DoDBuzz picks out a jewel from the SECDEF,
The defense secretary was even harsher in his critique of NATO’s command of the Libya operation. After an initial bombing campaign run by the Americans, the alliance took over the air war and Mr. Gates warned that NATO may not be up to the task.
“The mightiest military alliance in history is only eleven weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country — yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference,” Mr. Gates said.
While the Libya war was unanimously endorsed by NATO nations, less than half are participating, and less than a third are carrying out strike missions.
“Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t,” Mr. Gates said. “The military capabilities simply aren’t there.”