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US General: NATO’s advantage over Russia has ‘eroded’

Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, boards a C-32 aircraft at Andrews, AFB, MD, Feb. 6, 2017. (DoD photo by D. Myles Cullen/Released)
September 18, 2019

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Amid a resurgent Russia and violent extremism growing in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, NATO must ensure that every decision it makes now and in the future is strategy-driven, U.S. General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said.

Summarizing deliberations from the September 15 NATO military committee’s meeting in Slovenia, Dunford said the alliance’s advantage over Russia has worn away.

“Russia is a competitor, and the NATO advantage over a resurgent Russia has eroded,” the general said in a Defense Department interview on September 17.

Dunford said the NATO defense chiefs “recognize this,” which is why the alliance approved a new strategy in May.

“We are bringing a coherence to the planning that is going on inside NATO, and the collective efforts to develop capability,” Dunford said of the alliance’s broad concept on defense and deterrence.

He said the meeting in Ljubljana was “a continuation of efforts to operationalize the alliance’s military strategy.”

“Much like in the United States, we didn’t have much competition in the 1990s, the need to be much more deliberate in the process of capability development, making assessments, developing concepts and strategy is what the focus is,” Dunford said.

He noted the alliance was making progress in support of “360-degree security” as part of its new strategy and changing environment.