NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Let Europe Supply The Ground Troops

May 20, 1999

Europe's NATO-member countries have the resources and coordination policies in place to handle a ground war in Kosovo, now that the largely U.S. air campaign has severely weakened Serb military resistance. That is the scenario being advanced by some military analysts.

Letting the Europeans take the lead makes sense, they argue, in terms of European security, international stability and the future of the NATO alliance.

  • Although the air campaign over Kosovo is being conducted by NATO, the U.S. is providing approximately 80 percent of the combat air power.
  • As for a ground war, Britain has nine divisions or division-size infantry units and the Royal Armored Corps -- including 11 regiments that could participate in such an operation.
  • Germany has seven army divisions that could participate.
  • And France -- which has been preparing for precisely such an operation -- could also provide a sizable force.

Countries such as Italy and the Netherlands could also provide forces.

NATO's forces have for years been training for joint operations, proponents point out. Their military equipment, communications systems and command structures are largely "interoperable."

Using an all-European NATO force in the Balkans suggest a number of benefits. It would strengthen and balance the NATO alliance. It would reduce the risk of a confrontation with Moscow -- which strenuously objects to the U.S. role. And it would free the U.S. to maintain vigilance elsewhere.

Source: Peter Schweizer (Hoover Institution), "Why Should U.S. Invade Kosovo? Europe Alone Could Supply the Troops," USA Today, May 20, 1999.


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