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Those Willing to Go to War

1) Die Koalition der Kriegswilligen / Coalition of Those Willing to Go to War (GFP, Jun.-Aug. 2018 )
2) L’Europa va alle armi, ancora in ordine sparso. Si profila l’Iniziativa Europea d’Intervento (Contropiano, 27 ottobre 2018)
3) Maneuver in Civilian Setting / Manöver in zivilem Umfeld (GFP, July 2018)

Su ciò che bolle in pentola nei settori guerrafondai della Unione Europea si veda anche la nostra rassegna precedente:
Troppi finti tonti [JUGOINFO 19/3/2018]
Links / Troppi finti tonti sul clima di guerra in Europa (di Sergio Cararo, 20 febbraio 2018) / Unione Europea, spostarsi a destra e preparare la guerra (Doug Nicholls, 03/03/2018) / 3) La militarizzazione dell'Unione europea mina la pace e la sicurezza (CPPC, 24/02/2018)

=== 1 ===

ORIG.: Die Koalition der Kriegswilligen (GFP, 26.06.2018)
Deutschland beteiligt sich an einer gestern gegründeten neuen europäischen Militärformation. Die Europäische Interventionsinitiative, die auf einen französischen Vorstoß zurückgeht, steht EU- wie auch Nicht-EU-Staaten offen; sie soll schnelle Entscheidungen über gemeinsame Kriegseinsätze ermöglichen und die bisherige EU-Militärkooperation ("PESCO") um eine operative Komponente erweitern. Bereits für September ist eine erste Zusammenkunft der militärischen Führungsstäbe der - bislang - neun beteiligten Staaten angekündigt. Mit dabei sind Großbritannien, das auch nach dem EU-Austritt die Militärzusammenarbeit mit dem Kontinent fortsetzen will, und Dänemark, das seiner Bevölkerung einst ein Opt Out aus der EU-Militärpolitik zugestanden hat, dies nun aber umgehen kann, weil die Interventionsebene offiziell nicht innerhalb der EU angesiedelt ist. Experten sprechen von einer europäischen "Koalition der Willigen". Deren Gründung geht mit milliardenschweren Militarisierungsplänen der EU-Kommission und mit teuren deutsch-französischen Rüstungsprojekten einher...


Coalition of Those Willing to Go to War


PARIS/BERLIN(Own report) - Germany is participating in a new European military formation that was launched yesterday. Originally a French proposal, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) will be open to EU and Non-EU member countries to join. Expanding the existing EU military cooperation ("PESCO") with a new operational component, the EII should facilitate rapid decisions on joint military interventions. A first meeting of military commanders from the hitherto nine participant states is set for September. The EII includes Great Britain, which plans to continue its military cooperation with the continent, even after Brexit, as well as Denmark. Since the coordination of military interventions is now officially set outside of the EU framework, Denmark can sidestep the opt-out from EU military policy, it had once granted its population. Referred to by experts as a European "coalition of the willing," it goes hand in hand with the EU Commission's militarization plans worth billions and the high-cost German-French arms projects.


Germany's PESCO

The European Intervention Initiative (EII) derives from the EU policy speech by French President Emanuel Macron at the Sorbonne University on September 26, 2017. His proposals on EU military policy was made at a time, when Berlin had succeeded in largely implementing its positions, while key French demands had been ignored during the negotiations on EU military cooperation - which would soon lead to the launching of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).[1] PESCO is aimed at aligning the EU member states’ military capabilities and elaborating joint military capacities. The initiative thus complements the EU Defense Fund aimed at enhancing arms research and developing new weapons by European companies.[2] The broad, fairly general approach facilitated the inclusion of 25 of the 28 EU member countries. The UK, Denmark and Malta do not participate: The UK because it will leave the EU; Denmark, because it had promised its population to opt out of EU military policy, after the “NO” in the Maastricht Treaty referendum; Malta because it still officially maintains its neutrality - unlike Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Austria. However, the Maltese government is explicitly reserving the right to join PESCO at a later stage.[3]

France's Intervention Initiative

Already during the PESCO negotiations, France had advocated a different approach, aimed less at broad participation and more toward a reliable disposition and capacity for rapid military interventions - due to the French armed forces’ heavy "overstress," as the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) has noted in its recent analysis. From the French perspective, "EU structures are of little help for rapid interventions."[4] French Defense Minister Florence Parly complained last weekend, "decision-making within the EU framework is still very slow."[5] When it became evident that Berlin would prevail in the PESCO negotiations, Paris began planning an alternative format - the "Initiative européenne d'intervention." In his speech at the Sorbonne, Macron called on the EU not only to launch a joint intervention force at the beginning of the coming decade, but also to establish a joint military budget and military doctrine.[6] Parly reiterated that, in the future, France no longer wants to wage wars alone - such as ("Opération Serval") in Mali 2013 - but "together with others.."

Independent of Alliances

Following final negotiations between President Macron and Chancellor Merkel last week, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) was officially launched on Monday. Formally independent of the EU, it is not dependent on lengthy concertations within the Union. It also facilitates the UK's post-Brexit inclusion. London, which, since 2010, had already concluded special military agreements with Paris - which had also served as the basis for the joint aggression against Libya,[7] - is part of the Initiative's inner circle. Denmark is also involved. Because the Initiative is not a formal EU project, its inclusion does not formally contradict the Danish opt-out from EU military policy clause. The EII includes the initiator France, along with Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands - as well as Estonia, quasi as a representative of the anti-Russian oriented East European countries. Finland explicitly reserves the right to join later. The EII's future expansion to include NATO-member Norway, for example, is considered feasible.

The Military as Normative Force

Under German pressure, the EII has been somewhat downgraded and coupled with PESCO. Berlin considers that French-inspired interventions that run counter to German interests can be more easily obstructed within an EU framework. The initiative, at least for the time being, is not aimed at creating its own troop formations, but merely a regular coordination at the military command level. The participating countries will dispatch a liaison officer to the French operation headquarters.[8] Top commanders of their militaries will hold a meeting in Paris in mid September to elaborate their first work plan.[9] A situation analysis and a joint development of intervention plans are among the items on the agenda. The French government is expressly focusing on the creation of a single "strategic culture," wherein military practice will develop to have a normative effect. In fact, until now, as the DGAP explains, "the perception had predominated that jointly elaborated strategy documents, such as a European white paper, must be the first step for a European approach."[10] Such an approach would have given the EU's leading power, Germany, an advantage, however with stronger accent on military practice, particularly in Africa, an experienced France can hope for prevalence. This explains Berlin's somewhat remaining hesitation.

Russia in the Sights

The creation of the new EII goes hand in hand with the expansion of PESCO and the EU Commission's new plans to upgrade the infrastructure of the EU countries - particularly their roads, rails and bridges - to meet military standards. 6.5 billion euros over the next decade have been earmarked for this project alone. Berlin and Paris are also energetically promoting billions in arms projects.[11] On the sidelines of last week's Franco-German Ministerial Council meeting, Defense Minister von der Leyen and her French counterpart, Parly agreed on the next steps toward the development of a modern German-French jet fighter, destined to succeed the Eurofighter in 2040, and the development of a German-French successor to the Leopard - 2 battle tank. Paris will direct the project of the jet fighter production, developed jointly by Airbus and France's Dassault group ("Rafale"), while Berlin will be in charge of the battle tank, produced by KNDS - the merger of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann with the French company Nexter. The tank is explicitly supposed to be equipped to meet the challenge of the highly modernized Russian T-14 Armata. The jet fighter is said to be conceived to operate in coordination with drones and swarms of drones and must be able to overcome Russia's most modern S400 air defense systems. A possible adversary of the EU’s future wars is thereby already clearly in the sights of the German-French arms production.


[1] See also Launching the Military Union.

[2] See also Billions for European Wars (II) and Europas strategische Rüstungsautonomie.

[3] Malta among three countries opting out of EU's new defence agreement. timesofmalta.com 11.12.2017.

[4] Claudia Major, Christian Mölling: Die Europäische Interventionsinitiative EI2. Warum mitmachen für Deutschland die richtige Entscheidung ist. DGAPkompakt Nr. 10, Juni 2018.

[5] Florence Parly: «L'Europe de la défense nécessite une culture stratégique commune». lefigaro.fr 24.06.2018.

[6] Initiative pour l'Europe - Discours d'Emmanuel Macron pour une Europe souveraine, unie, démocratique. Paris, 26 septembre 2017.

[7] See also Die neue Entente Cordiale and Der neue Frontstaat des Westens.

[8] Claudia Major, Christian Mölling: Die Europäische Interventionsinitiative EI2. Warum mitmachen für Deutschland die richtige Entscheidung ist. DGAPkompakt Nr. 10, Juni 2018.

[9] Florence Parly: «L'Europe de la défense nécessite une culture stratégique commune». lefigaro.fr 24.06.2018.

[10] Claudia Major, Christian Mölling: Die Europäische Interventionsinitiative EI2. Warum mitmachen für Deutschland die richtige Entscheidung ist. DGAPkompakt Nr. 10, Juni 2018.

[11] See also Die Rüstungsachse Berlin-Paris.


ORIG.: Die Koalition der Kriegswilligen (II) (GFP 11/08/2018)
Die von Paris initiierte und von Berlin mitgetragene Europäische Interventionsinitiative (Initiative européenne d'intervention, IEI) wird noch in dieser Woche ihre Arbeit aufnehmen. Dies haben Vertreter der zehn beteiligten Staaten am gestrigen Mittwoch in der französischen Hauptstadt beschlossen. Die IEI zielt auf schnelle Einsatzfähigkeit; sie ist vom französischen Präsidenten Macron forciert worden, der sich um Unterstützung für die überlasteten Streitkräfte seines Landes bemüht. Berlin tritt bislang eher als Bremser auf: Die Bundesregierung setzt auf die systematische Verschmelzung europäischer Truppen beispielsweise im Rahmen der "PESCO"-Projekte der EU, zudem auf die Verzahnung europäischer Waffenschmieden mit Hilfe von Zuschüssen aus dem EU-Rüstungsfonds. Letzterer soll im künftigen EU-Haushalt um den Faktor 30 gesteigert werden und sich auf mehr als 17 Milliarden Euro belaufen. Trotz aller Differenzen streben sowohl Berlin (PESCO) wie auch Paris (IEI) eine europäische Streitmacht an, die unabhängig von den USA global eingesetzt werden kann...


Coalition of Those Willing to Go to War (II)


PARIS/BERLIN(Own report) - The European Intervention Initiative (Initiative européenne d'intervention, IEI) initiated by Paris and supported by Berlin, will begin work this week. Representatives of the ten participating states took this decision in the French capital, yesterday. France's President Emmanuel Macron promoted the IEI, aimed at rapid deployment capability, in search of gaining support for his country's over-stretched armed forces. So far, Berlin has been applying the brakes. The German government is focused on systematically merging European troops, for example, within the framework of the EU's "PESCO" projects and integrating European arms industries with the help of subsidies from the EU Defense Fund. In the future EU budget, the EU Defense Fund is to be increased thirty-fold, to more than €17 billion. Despite all the dissention, Berlin (with PESCO) and Paris (with IEI) are both seeking to establish a European armed forces, which can be deployed on a global scale, independent of the USA.


In the ongoing Franco-German dispute over the long-term establishment of an integrated European armed forces, Berlin is still prioritizing PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation), which formally began working on December 11, 2017,[1] and seeks to enhance the coordination and development of the EU countries' military capacities. It includes 25 of the 28 EU member countries. Great Britain, Denmark, and Malta are not participating: Great Britain, because it is leaving the EU, Denmark, because it has an opt-out clause from EU military policy, following the Danish population's "NO" to the Maastricht Treaty, and Malta because it wants to maintain its neutrality. Thus far, 17 projects have been determined in the PESCO framework, with more soon to follow. Berlin is coordinating four: the establishment of the European Medical Command, the Network of Logistic Hubs, the EU Training Mission Competence Center and the EUFOR Crisis Response Operation Core.[2]

Building Armed Forces from Below

With PESCO, the German government is seeking to strengthen the integration of EU countries' armed forces to build, quasi from below, a long-term base for jointly waging wars. Aimed at better integration of the EU countries' arms industries, Brussels has established the EU Defense Fund, due to be significantly increased. In the current EU budget period (2014 - 2020), €575 million have been allocated; which is to be increased thirty-fold to €17.22 billion in the following (2021 - 2027) budget period.[3] According to current planning, the funds may be allocated without European parliamentary monitoring.[4] In addition to its activities within the EU framework, Berlin is pushing for closer cooperation with the armed forces of selected European NATO allies. It is intensifying cooperation not only with the Dutch army and navy and with Czech and Rumanian army brigades, but also with the navy of Norway, which is a member of NATO but not of the EU. In NATO's Framework Nations Concept (FNC), the Bundeswehr's medical corps is establishing the Multinational Medical Coordination Centre (MMCC). Since troops from non-EU countries, such as Norway, are also linked to EU member's armed forces via the FNC, it is not unusual to hear of the establishment of a "European" rather than an "EU" army.


Paris sets other priorities. According to an analysis published last June by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the French military is drastically "over-stretched" and France's government is desperately searching for support in its current and future missions.[5] For example, Paris is trying - with Berlin's help - to involve troops from the Sahel countries ("G5 Sahel") in its "Operation Barkhane." (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[6]) Brussels has hardly contributed. The DGAP concluded, "EU structures" have "proven of little help, when it comes to rapid interventions." Therefore, the French government is now seeking help - through its European Intervention Initiative (Initiative européenne d'intervention, IEI), announced by President Macron in his keynote speech at the Sorbonne on September 26, 2017. Officially, the IEI was founded June 25, 2018. Nine countries are participating. It is referred to as a "coalition of the willing."[7] Because the IEI is not a component of the EU's military policy, both Denmark - which is under an opt out clause for the EU's Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) - can participate and post-Brexit Great Britain can remain a member. IEI is also an independent structure and must not rely on the Union*s, at times, extremely lengthy decision-making processes.

Building Armed Forces in Action

In the run-up to yesterday's IEI meeting, Paris and Berlin again went public with their dissentions. Already at the founding of the initiative, the German government had seen to it that Macron would only be partially able to accomplish what he had set out to achieve. For example, the IEI has, until now, been limited to the regular coordination of the participating national staffs at the military command level, whereas the initial objective was to develop joint situation analyses and intervention plans. France, which, in fact, had sought to create a stronger structure, promotes the founding of IEI as progress in the creation of a joint "strategic culture."[8] On Tuesday, Macron demanded that "a real European army" be created. The move was aimed at winning wider competence for the IEI, which he fashionably justified saying that "Europe" must be prepared "to handle its own defense, in complete independence of the USA."[9] Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German politicians also gave their opinions.[10] Germany's Minister of Defense, Ursula von der Leyen immediately contradicted Macron, Tuesday, making it clear that the German government continues to rely on PESCO, rather than Paris' IEI. "A European army must be set up within and not outside the European Union," von der Leyen said in Berlin.[11]

Situation Analyses and Operation Scenarios

At yesterday's meeting of representatives of the IEI participating countries, a preliminary "timetable" was established for the merger, to which Finland will now become the tenth member. According to reports, leading representatives of the IEI armed forces plan to begin this week to establish situation analyses and possible operation scenarios, that will form the basis of future missions. These are activities that are neither carried out in NATO nor within the realm of the EU, announced France's Minister of Defense, Florence Parly.[12] There are openings for other countries wanting to participate. There is but one stipulation - the capability and the willingness to engage in missions.


[1] See also Launching the Military Union.

[2] Jörg Fleischer: PESCO: Schritt in die richtige Richtung. bmvg.de 30.05.2018.

[3] Eva Fischer: Haushaltsausschuss des Europaparlaments will 190 Milliarden mehr von EU-Mitgliedstaaten. handelsblatt.com 06.11.2018.

[4] Christoph Prössl: 13 Milliarden Euro am Parlament vorbei. tagesschau.de 20.09.2018.

[5] Claudia Major, Christian Mölling: Die Europäische Interventionsinitiative EI2. Warum mitmachen für Deutschland die richtige Entscheidung ist. DGAPkompakt Nr. 10, Juni 2018.

[6] See also Die Militarisierung des Sahel (IV).

[7] An der Europäischen Interventionsinitiative nehmen Belgien, Dänemark, Deutschland, Estland, Frankreich, Großbritannien, die Niederlande, Portugal und Spanien teil.

[8] See also Coalition of Those Willing to Go to War.

[9] Nicolas Berrod: A quoi pourrait ressembler l'armée européenne voulue par Emmanuel Macron? leparisien.fr 06.11.2018.

[10] See also Das Ende einer Ära.

[11] Macron fordert eine gemeinsame europäische Armee. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 07.11.2018.

[12] L'avant-garde de la défense européenne entre en rodage. challenges.fr 07.11.2018.

=== 2 ===


L’Europa va alle armi, ancora in ordine sparso. Si profila l’Iniziativa Europea d’Intervento

di Alessandro Avvisato, 27 ottobre 2018

Si chiama Iniziativa Europea d’Intervento. Il suo scopo è quello di conseguire una capacità operativa congiunta – con risposte rapide ed efficaci – in tutto lo spettro degli scenari di crisi, da quelli ad alta intensità a quelli umanitari, che potrebbero avere ripercussioni per la sicurezza dell’Europa.  Il progetto lo aveva messo sul tavolo Macron un anno fa, ma i Ministri della Difesa di nove Paesi europei (Francia, Germania, Olanda, Portogallo, Regno Unito, Belgio, Danimarca, Estonia, e Spagna), ne hanno discusso ampiamente a margine del Consiglio dell’Unione Europea per gli Affari Esteri lo scorso 25 giugno, e hanno firmato una lettera d’intenti per avviarla, anche all’esterno della cornice istituzionale dell’Unione Europea. L’adesione di ogni Stato all’Iniziativa Europea di Intervento è infatti volontaria e riguarda anche paesi extra unione europea.

Per le autorità militari francesi, l’IEI ha l’obiettivo di rafforzare i legami tra le Forze Armate degli Stati aderenti per “agevolare il processo di formazione di una “vera” cultura della difesa comune, in grado di sopperire alle lacune emerse nei precedenti interventi europei, promuovere la credibilità militare dell’Europa, rinforzandone l’autonomia strategica, e contribuire ad una migliore ripartizione degli oneri”.

Secondo il sito specializzato AnalisiDifesa.it, i meccanismi decisionali saranno regolati da un approccio intergovernativo: la decisione rimarrà nelle mani dei singoli governi nazionali. “Ogni Paese potrà valutare caso per caso a quale intervento prendere parte secondo le proprie capacità e le proprie valutazioni strategiche. L’uso della forza militare, infatti, rimane una responsabilità esclusivamente nazionale.

La cooperazione tra i nove Paesi riguarderà quattro settori d’azione: la pianificazione strategica congiunta, gli scenari d’impiego, le lezioni apprese e la condivisione delle dottrine, l’appoggio/supporto alle operazioni”.

Da quanto risulta, fino ad ora l’Italia non avrebbe aderito a questo progetto di integrazione militare e strategico a livello europeo, soprattutto perché gli interessi francesi e quelli italiani in Libia continuano a confliggere.

Curiosamente, la Nato che avevo espresso apertamente le sue preoccupazioni sulla PESCO ( PErmanent Structured Cooperation, firmata da 25 Paesi dell’UE nel dicembre 2017)., tramite il suo segretario Stoltemberg ha accolto favorevolmente la decisione di avviare l’Iniziativa Europea d’Intervento, anche perché al suo interno c’è anche la Gran Bretagna che la Brexit aveva posto fuori dagli apparati e dai progetti di integrazione politico/militari dell’Unione Europea, privando la Nato e gli Usa di un “guastatore” nei progetti dell’Unione. Sul piano politico, se l’Iniziativa Europea d’Intervento vedesse la  piena e concreta adesione degli Stati europei più “pesanti”, rischierebbe di precludere qualsiasi progetto finalizzato alla creazione della Difesa Europea . Da qui il benestare della NATO, influenzata apertamente dalla posizione USA. Se le risorse europee per la politica militare vengono dirottate su questa iniziativa, si allontana la realizzazione del progetto di Difesa UE, l’unico capace di minare la sopravvivenza della stessa NATO.

=== 3 ===

ORIG.: Manöver in zivilem Umfeld (GFP, 02.07.2018)
Die Bundeswehr weitet ihre gegen Russland gerichteten Trainingsaktivitäten drastisch aus.. Vorbereitet wird gegenwärtig die Übernahme der Führung der NATO-"Speerspitze" im kommenden Jahr und deren Beteiligung an dem NATO-Großmanöver "Trident Juncture" Ende dieses Jahres. Kern der auch als "Very High Readiness Joint Task Force" (VJTF) bezeichneten, 8.000 Soldaten umfassenden "Speerspitze" ist die im niedersächsischen Munster stationierte Panzerlehrbrigade 9 der deutschen Streitkräfte, zu deren zentralen Aufgaben offenbar die Kriegsführung im zivilen Umfeld gehört. Erst in der vergangenen Woche wurde die Truppe mit "Bestnote" als Gefechtsverband der NATO zertifiziert - nachdem sie ihre Fähigkeiten im "Häuserkampf" unter Beweis gestellt hatte. Schon im April absolvierten Teile der Einheit eine Übung, bei der sie ihre Gefechtsstände nicht auf einem Manövergelände einrichteten, sondern auf regulär bewirtschafteten Bauernhöfen. "Getarnte Transportpanzer" hätten "neben Treckern und Landmaschinen" gestanden, erklärt die Bundeswehr - "hautnah" zur Zivilbevölkerung...


Maneuver in Civilian Setting


BERLIN(Own report) - The German Bundeswehr is drastically expanding its training activities directed against Russia, in preparation to take command of NATO´s "spearhead" force next year and its participation in NATO's major "Trident Juncture" exercises at the end of this year. The German army's 9th Armored Demonstration Brigade stationed in Munster (Lower-Saxony) forms the core of the 8,000-strong "Very High Readiness Joint Task Force" (VJTF), NATO's "spearhead" unit. Combat in civilian settings is obviously one of its major tasks. Just recently, the Brigade was awarded a "top grade" as a NATO combat unit - after demonstrating its house-to-house-combat capabilities. Already last April, sections of the Brigade had participated in an exercise with command posts set up not on a combat training ground but on regularly run farms. "Camouflaged armored personnel carriers" were standing "alongside tractors and other agricultural machines," the Bundeswehr noted - "at close range" to the civilian population.


War in the City

On June 19, NATO awarded the 9th Armored Demonstration Brigade's "Very High Readiness Joint Task Force Land" (VJTF - L) combat unit the "top grade" following a large exercise at the combat training center in Altmark (Saxony-Anhalt), the Bundeswehr announced.[1] The center includes the Schnöggersburg training town, with its nearly 500 buildings, divided into the "historic old city," various residential areas, an industrial district and a slum. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) The 1,700 German, Dutch, and Norwegian soldiers - with more than 80 armored combat vehicles, including German Leopard 2A6 battle tanks - had demonstrated their house-to-house-combat capabilities, notes the Bundeswehr. "In a rapid assault, battle tanks and Dutch soldiers prepared the operation for Norwegian infantry in the town. Together with the Norwegians, German light and mechanized infantry were waging battles in the military training town from house to house and from floor to floor."[3]

War on the Farm

Already last April, a unit of Germany's 9th Armored Demonstration Brigade was training for combat in a civilian setting - to prepare its "mission" as part of the VJTF. Soldiers of the 3rd Reconnaissance Demonstration Battalion stationed in Lüneburg (Lower Saxony) did not set up its command posts on a combat training ground, but rather on regularly run farms in the region. According to the Bundeswehr, "camouflaged armored personnel carriers" were thus standing "alongside tractors and other agricultural machines" and "soldiers were among the farm workers." Officials celebrate the exercise as a successful PR action. "For many of the curious" it was a "welcomed change from every-day life," because they could observe "at close range" the education and training of the soldiers. However, one can also see it as soldiers practicing how to use the civilians on hand as human shields: "See much without being seen," is the 3rd Reconnaissance Demonstration Battalion's motto.[4]

War in the Village

Last year's maneuvers, wherein Bundeswehr VJTF units were involved, tended also to be geared toward preparations for war scenarios in civilian settings. Within the framework of the 2017 "Icy Heather" military exercises, for example, troops of the 91st Light Infantry Battalion practiced "retaking" a village occupied by "enemy forces," according to the official description.[5] In February 2017, the Baumholder training grounds (in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate) hosted another VJTF maneuver. The 325th Artillery Demonstration Battalion explained that the training included not only "support fire for combat troops," but also "combat against objectives ... in the depths of the combat zone" along with the "laying of mortar mine barriers" and "precision combat of high-profile targets at great distances." The troops were supported, according to the maneuver report, by tornado jet fighters dropping 250 kg 25E Matra bombs.[6] German military press reports that this type of bomb serves primarily to destroy "soft" targets - civilian targets - "buildings," "streets," "rail lines," and "supply installations" are explicitly named.[7]

Combat Ready

Recently Germany's Inspector General, Lt. Gen. Jörg Vollmer, showed confidence in the results of this training, saying that by next year, the VJTF under Bundeswehr command will "react rapidly to all possible scenarios and carry out its mission appropriately." The general also made it absolutely clear that the VJTF has all of the necessary tanks and artillery systems at their disposal to fulfill its mission." "There is no question of us having to do without any kind of heavy machinery needed to complete our eventual mission." In this context, Vollmer pointed to the participation of Germany's VJTF units in NATO's major "Trident Juncture" maneuvers later in the year. "These exercises are an important milestone. NATO will put the VJTF armored combat group to the test and certify its combat readiness. I have no doubt of this."[8]

Combat Exercises against Russia

In the meantime, the leadership of the western military alliance has begun to release initial details about the "Trident Juncture." The maneuvers will be held in October/November in Norway and Iceland, with more than 40,000 soldiers coming from NATO countries and the still officially neutral Finland and Sweden. As Admiral James Foggo (USA), commander of the maneuvers explained in a press conference, an "Article 5 scenario" will be exercised, wherein the western military alliance will be sending the German-.commanded VJTF in reaction to the "violation of Norway's sovereignty" by an aggressor. The representatives of the media, approvingly accepted the fact that, given the situation, only Russia could be meant as "aggressor" - and from NATO, this presumption was not contradicted.[9]

"Total Defense"

Analogous to "Trident Juncture 2015" (german-foreign-policy.com reported [10]) it was announced that NATO seeks to demonstrate its ability to "defend and provide a deterrent effect, ready to respond to any threat, from any direction at any time." The German perception of "highly intensive" warfare, carried out in a civilian setting, is evidently the general standard. According to the Norwegian representative at NATO's Military Committee, Vice Admiral Ketil Olsen, it is all about establishing a "total defense concept," wherein the sum of "civilian and military efforts" are bundled to handle a "crisis."[11]


[1] Zertifiziert - Speerspitze der NATO ist kampfbereit. deutschesheer.de 21.06.2018.

[2] See also Urban Operations (II).

[3] Zertifiziert - Speerspitze der NATO ist kampfbereit. deutschesheer.de 21.06.2018.

[4] Vorbereitung VJTF - zwischen Treckern und Landmaschinen. deutschesheer.de 27.04.2018.

[5] Schnelle Eingreiftruppe der NATO: Ein personeller und materieller Kraftakt. bundeswehr.de 13.04.2018.

[6] VJTF-Übung: Artilleristen beweisen sich in Baumholder. deutschesheer.de 03.04.2017.

[7] Die Bewaffnung fliegender Waffensysteme der Luftwaffe. hardthoehenkurier.de.

[8] Deutscher Anteil der NATO-Speerspitze ist zeitgerecht einsatzbereit. deutschesheer.de 07.05.2018.

[9] Press briefing on Exercise Trident Juncture 2018. nato.int 11.06.2018.

[10] See also Message to the World.

[11] Press briefing on Exercise Trident Juncture 2018. nato.int 11.06.2018.