NATO is looking for more U.S. warships to counter the Russian "threat," the alliance's naval chief has said.
In a meeting with Pentagon reporters, Royal Navy Vice Adm. Peter Hudson said that NATO's four standing maritime groups have operated at only half strength for the last several years, reported Navy Times.
Twenty five years ago, he said, "We used to do big, complex NATO exercises in all environments, but the world has changed. We haven’t been doing as many of those in the last 10, 15 years. But I think Ukraine has told us we need to up our game and I think that’s the plan in the near future.”
Hudson was apparently at the Pentagon to discuss with U.S. Navy officials how to beef up NATO's naval forces. “Six or seven destroyers … isn’t going to defeat a complex enemy,” he said. “But it will sustain a theater, ... it will put all the connectivity into a region in place so that the follow-on forces can deliver.”
One wonders what sort of scenario would entail a NATO "defeat" of Russia. The U.S. has already stepped up its rotation of ships into the Black Sea and has promised to do more. Vice Adm. Hudson also said last month that NATO would increase its presence in the Baltic Sea, as well. (That plan has no doubt been given new currency as a result of Sweden's claims that a Russian submarine has been snooping around its waters.)
And a "large fleet of naval vessels" is currently in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean conducting Operation "Noble Justification," the name of which speaks to the vigor with which NATO has embraced its new role in the months since the crisis with Ukraine began. After a couple of decades of near irrelevance, both NATO and Russia have found new meaning in reviving their dormant mutual antagonism.