WATCH: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper discusses the DoD’s coronavirus response
US Secretary of Defense: We See Increased NATO Readiness
Pentagon chief Mark Esper on the external challenges of the United States in the era of the pandemic
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper noted that the United States remains “vigilant” against external threats, despite the challenges of the pandemic. He also expressed confidence in NATO’s readiness to defend the countries of Eastern Europe..
Despite the absence of major provocations and the pandemic, a number of countries, including Russia and China, continue to resort to concerns, the US Secretary of Defense said on Monday, May 4, during a web event hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington..
“We are seeing an increase in Chinese activity in the South China Sea. We see Russia continuing to conduct reconnaissance around our airspace outside Alaska and on the northern border. We see groups of militants in Iraq, terrorist actions from Africa to the Middle East and Afghanistan, ”said Mark Esper, adding that, first of all, today countries are now concerned about the pandemic problem, but nevertheless the United States remains“ on the alert ”and“ shoulder to shoulder with our partners and allies ”. – These are uncertain times. You don’t know how countries or the military will act. Therefore, we must remain vigilant. “.
The Secretary of Defense added that the United States has done “everything it can” to maximize the readiness of military forces at foreign bases, including sending tests for coronavirus and doctors..
With regards to protecting Eastern Europe from potential Russian aggression, Mark Esper noted NATO’s growing readiness to defend its eastern flank, but did not elaborate on the future of the defender 2020, the largest NATO exercise in 25 years, which began in 2020. More than 20,000 American soldiers were supposed to take part in them. The exercise has been suspended, and the United States has stopped sending troops and equipment to Europe in March..
The US Secretary of Defense noted that NATO is a strong alliance that is increasing its defense spending, and its priority remains the development of the 30-30-30-30, or Four Thirty, program, which provides for the possibility of airlift across the Atlantic and within Europe 30 battalions, 30 squadrons and 30 warships within 30 days.
“We have seen an increase in NATO readiness over the past few years,” said Mark Esper. “So, I think, overall, the trend towards NATO readiness is positive both in terms of the available capabilities and the ability to deploy them in a timely manner.”.
The US Secretary of Defense also noted that in foreign policy, Russia today “is still busy in Libya, and, of course, in Syria.”.
In general, as Mark Esper assured, despite the challenges of the pandemic, the United States is closely monitoring potential external threats, but Washington must take a number of steps to adapt to the “new realities.” The head of the Pentagon noted that so far the impact of the pandemic on the combat readiness of the American armed forces has been small. However, in order to avoid “more influence” in the future, US agencies must now resort to active strategic planning..
To date, in the US military, which numbers up to two million troops, fewer than 5,000 people are infected with coronavirus, less than 100 are hospitalized, and there are 2 deaths, the US Secretary of Defense said..
“It is a tragedy that we lost two servicemen,” said Mark Esper. “But in general, at the moment we are in pretty good shape.”.
Journalist «Voices of America». Prior to that, she worked for international non-governmental organizations in Washington and London, in the Russian-language version of the Estonian daily newspaper “Postimees” and as a spokesman for the Estonian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Interests – international relations, politics, economics