NATO Conventional Defense

Force Augmentation with European Reservists

by Roy F. Phillips

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NATO could enhance a capability for successful forward defense in several ways. One, the reserve option, would create additional NATO forces from the pool of unused or underused European reservists. To assess the feasibility of the reserve option, this study examines one technical and two policy issues: (1) the factors important to reserve unit effectiveness, (2) the number and type of reserve units required to provide NATO with a capability for successful forward defense, and (3) the manpower and budgetary costs of acquiring that security. The analysis shows that approximately 12 division equivalents of reserve forces, costing $50 billion over 15 years (representing a 1.7 percent increase in the defense expenditures of those nations contributing to NATO's Central European defense), could mount the necessary defense. The least expensive alternative, at a cost of $41.2 billion, would purchase one U.S.-based heavy division with a companion POMCUS set (prepositioned materiel configured in unit sets) in Europe. The addition of a single division, however, would not enable NATO to mount a successful forward defense.

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