US troops in the Baltic countries would be “outranged, outgunned and outmatched” by Russians in case of a conflict, the head of the US European Command told lawmakers, seeking to secure funds in the face of a Moscow “threat.”
“If you look at it in a concentrated way on the border of Eastern Europe and only on the ground force, I would agree with that statement,” General Curtis Scaparrotti told Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday.
Inhofe was referring to the recent RAND Corporation report which found that Russian forces could take the capitals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania within 60 hours. The report has been compiled over the past several years, with the assistance of EUCOM, Scaparrotti said.
“I don’t have any argument with the basis of the report and the threat that we have,” he added. Though the RAND report concluded that NATO has “sufficient resources, personnel, and equipment to enhance conventional deterrence focused on Russia,” it argued a “more robust posture … is worthy of consideration.”
Scaparrotti: #Russia is carrying out a campaign of destabilization to change the international order, fracture @NATO, and undermine U.S. leadership around the world. #EUCOM2018 #SASC pic.twitter.com/piRvjorzXO
— U.S European Command (@US_EUCOM) March 8, 2018
“Hence my comment that I don’t have all the forces I need in Europe today,” Scaparrotti lamented, despite admitting that the US has “repostured forces” and “rewritten plans” of containing Russia over the past few years.
Last month, EUCOM requested $6.5 billion for its European Deterrence Initiative in 2019, which is roughly $2 billion more than requested for fiscal 2018.
Scaparrotti took over EUCOM in May 2016, and he asked the lawmakers to approve the budget requests for more troops, supplies and information warfare programs to counter the “threat” of Russia.
At Thursday’s hearing, he accused Moscow of seeking to “change the international order, fracture NATO, and undermine US leadership.” Russia continues to intercept “routine reconnaissance flight operations over the Baltic and Black Seas, flying dangerously close to our aircraft and occasionally causing unsafe conditions for our pilots operating in international airspace,” Scaparrotti informed lawmakers, adding that Russia also “continues to hold snap exercises and to limit transparency of planned exercises.”
Though Scaparrotti argued that Moscow could challenge US dominance by 2025, there was little mention of several new weapons in Moscow’s arsenal, revealed last week by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a message to the US and NATO that their attempts to intimidate and contain Russia have failed.
“All the things you were trying to prevent through your policies have already happened. You have failed to hold Russia back,” Putin said.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 9th, 2018