Author: Dr Thomas-Durell Young
Since 1991, standing and mobilization forces made available by nations to NATO have been steadily reduced, particularly in the case of land forces. Equally important have been the structures NATO has created into which national contributions would fall on deployment. Military Committee (MC) 317, accepted by nations in 1991, provides the framework by which NATO organizes its forces. However, the author argues that, while there are arguably sufficient reaction forces to support NATO Ministerial Guidance, there are numerous weaknesses that would, and have, inhibited the efficient and effective deployment of land forces in crises. More specifically, there are insufficient deployable reaction headquarters, both at the corps and component command level, that would support a commander of a NATO Combined Joint Task Force. The continued existence of what has become atavistic practices of nations impede and inhibit the employment of multinational land forces by an Allied commander. The author observes that the NATO Force Structure Review offers nations an opportunity to review these dated structures, organizations, and practices.