U.S.-West European Cooperation in Out-of-Area Military Operations

Problems and Prospects

by Richard L. Kugler


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During the Cold War, the United States and its West European allies focused their military planning on defense of NATO's borders. The arrival of the "out-of-area (OOA) era," an era in which military intervention may be required outside the alliance area, confronts these nations with troublesome questions. This report analyzes the issues surrounding OOA military operations and outlines a series of measures that could help strengthen the ability of the alliance to project military power outward; adoption of a new strategic concept, creation of new planning institutions and command structures, upgrading of NATO's rapid-reaction forces, and pursuit of meaningful force improvement programs. Even if other measures can be identified, the key point is that policy declarations alone will not suffice if the goal is to materially strengthen the alliance's capacity to project military power outside NATO's borders.

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