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USAREUR 2010: Harnessing the Potential of NATO Enlargement

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NATOs enlargement in the post-Cold War era has fundamentally altered the political and military realities of the security structure that kept peace in Europe for over half a century. The inclusion of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic in 1999 and the upcoming inclusion of seven new members in 2004, have created both new challenges and increased opportunities for U.S. policy in the region. More nebulous objectives including protection of human rights, combating terrorism, ensuring peace and stability, and preparing expeditionary forces for use outside of NATO territory have replaced the raison detre of the alliance before 1989, to deter the expansion of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, NATO consensus in any given crisis is problematical, as has been demonstrated in recent alliance disunity over policy towards Iraq. In response, the United States has had to adapt its strategy to take into account the shifting political realities engendered by the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATOs expansion, and the ongoing war against terrorism. The stationing of the bulk of U.S. ground forces in Germany, once mandated by the Soviet threat, is no longer a military necessity. Indeed, there are compelling reasons to move U.S. ground forces into Eastern Europe to help local militaries reach NATO interoperability standards, to stabilize new democracies, to gain better access to potential areas of instability, and to acquire improved training areas, among others. Spreading American units among several European states is also an important hedge against risk should a host nation deny the use of its infrastructure to prevent U.S. forces stationed on its territory from deploying out-of-area.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations

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