Makes sense. Sort of.
As of Jan. 1, Germany is on the hook to provide 5,000 soldiers for NATO’s so-called Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF. The formation must be ready to fight wherever it is needed within 48 to 72 hours. Partner nations for this year’s rotation include the Netherlands, Norway, France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania, bringing the total package to around 8,000.
A key rationale for the quick-reaction force is to display to Moscow the ability to ferry combat power across Europe rapidly at a time when speed is believed to be a Russian advantage. Governments here are on edge from the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea, and more recently from a naval standoff between the two countries in the Sea of Asov. Both incidents fit into a pattern of Russia steering clear of outright war while trying to shake up the post-Soviet order around its borders, according to issue experts…
The Bundeswehr, plagued by equipment shortfalls, management problems, or both – depending on who is asked, has had to dig deep to assemble the needed equipment for the task force lead. In the end, funneling supplies from across the force to the tip of the spear appears to have worked, but it has depleted the readiness of many units, said Christian Mölling, an analyst with the Berlin-based German Council on Foreign Relations, DGAP.
“It means the rest of the Bundeswehr is no longer the kind of deterrent it is meant to be.”