With the multi-year reductions in the U.S. military budget and the refusal of much of the NATO alliance to contribute the agreed upon percentage of GDP for their own defense, NATO finds itself pathetically unable to handle two geopolitical situations at the same time. Russia has been aggressively probing NATO defenses along the Eastern European border and in the Baltic Sea. At the same time, NATO is stepping up efforts against the Islamic State. It seems these two situations may be too much for it to handle effectively. The Baltic Times reports, NATO’s planned efforts in the battle against ISIS could result in a loosening of the alliance’s grip on the airspace of Eastern and Central Europe, the DPA news agency reports with references to sources in military circles.
These sources have disclosed that the alliance lacks aviation radio detection systems AWACS in the fight against ISIS, which may lead to a reduction of activity in other regions. Military experts suggest using up to 720 flying hours of AWACS time allotted for the current mission in Eastern Europe for operations against ISIS.
Presently NATO regards the control of Baltic and Polish airspace to be a less vital concern than the fight against ISIS, according to the DPA. Additionally, observation of Eastern Europe’s airspace could partially be replaced with ground tracking stations, military sources note.