A follow-on strategic echelon for NATO

by Peter A. Wilson, Kevin N. Lewis

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A variety of U.S. combat and mobility force structure initiatives are being undertaken to enhance U.S. potential for both major and minor third-area contingencies. This paper reviews some options for designing and/or exploiting new force increments for Central European as well as third-area requirements, which might be considered as a second or even third strategic echelon mobilization and reinforcement option for NATO. The authors consider the issues of rapid deployment, strategic lift, "light" infantry divisions, motorized units, heavier Marine divisions, and French and Spanish participation. They conclude that the tendency to view the defense of NATO and third areas as separate planning problems could result in lost opportunities to introduce combat and mobility options suited to a range of contingencies.

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