Especially as our NATO partners have steadily reduced defense expenditures over time. A recent report on Libyan adventure.http://www.airpower.au.af.mil/digital/pdf/articles/Mar-Apr-2...Both the European NATO partners and the United States must addressthe capability gap that exists in Europe and the latter’s relianceon America. Some analysts may extol the European countries’ improvedcapabilities by citing the relative proportion of sorties flown orweapons expended by non-US NATO and coalition partners, but even“the most advanced fighter aircraft are of little use if the allies do nothave the means to identify, process, and strike targets as part of an integratedair campaign.”58 These are not optional extras in an air campaign;they are essentials that, at present, only the United States seems able to provide.the inherent trust and familiarity among partners involvedat the operational and tactical levels seemed missing or at least slow to develop. Many countries were reluctant to fully integrate from the beginning and limited their interaction with support elements fromother nations.Another problem arose in learning the detailed capabilities of coalitionaircraft. Most assets belonged to NATO nations, but no mechanismexisted for disseminating basic information from all participants regardingtheir aircraft capabilities. Planners’ lack of familiarity with thesecure radio, data link, and other aircraft equipment of each nationhad a detrimental effect on development of a communications plan,prioritization and deconfliction of frequencies, and the planning ofsearch and rescue contingencies. The United States not only sufferedfrom a paucity of compatible systems with its partners but also hadtrouble getting the systems to communicate since the “NATO standard”proved neither standard nor even accessible to US assets.
In 1976 I did a brief stint at NATO HQ. I don't expect the policies and operating procedures to be any different today. The general consensus among US personnel was that we provide the funds and do the dirty work, while the policy was to spread the credit to every piddly member nation there was. Without the US there is no NATO. ~ajCSM,Ret
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