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Rob Baue : NATO countries need to be on red alert for war and "expect the unexpected"



NATO official warns West: Be ready for ‘anything’​

‘The tectonic plates of power are shifting,’ Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer says.

NATO military committee chair Admiral Rob Bauer has said member countries must ramp up defense readiness | Lise Aserud/NTB/AFP via Getty Images

JANUARY 17, 2024 3:58 PM CET

NATO countries need to be on red alert for war and "expect the unexpected," the chair of the alliance's military committee of national chiefs Rob Bauer said Wednesday.

“In order to be fully effective, also in the future, we need a warfighting transformation of NATO,” said Bauer during a meeting of military chiefs in Brussels. “For this too, public-private cooperation will be the key.”

Bauer, a Dutch admiral, said allies need to "focus on effectiveness" and ramp up defense readiness with more exercises, industry partnerships and troops on high alert.

"We need public and private actors to change their mindset from an era in which everything was plannable, foreseeable, controllable, focused on efficiency ... to an era in which anything can happen at any time. An era in which we need to expect the unexpected," Bauer added.

While NATO countries have sharply increased defense spending and pledged major new contracts to arms manufacturers in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it's taken a while to ramp up output.

Bauer has been frank in the past about the need to standardize 155 caliber heavy ammunition, for example, so that it's easier for countries to cooperate on artillery stocks and deliver supplies to Ukraine that can be used in different weapon systems.

“Militarily, there are many more steps to be taken to get where we want to be for our collective defense,” said Bauer, citing Ukraine's war as a critical conflict that "will determine the fate of the world."

Everything from improving logistics to more joint exercises and the placement of many more troops on active alert are measures that NATO countries are pressing ahead with, Bauer said.

“The tectonic plates of power are shifting,” he added. “And as a result: We face the most dangerous world in decades.”