13 December 2012 NATO announced that the Patriot PAC 3 batteries requested by Turkey on 30 November 2012 would be honored. 2 Batteries from Germany, 2 Batteries from Netherlands will be supplied. 14 December 2012 United Stated Department of Defense announced that it would contribute 2 Batteries to the NATO mission to Turkey (Deployed from Europe). It is expected that these batteries will be operational at the end of January 2013.
In this case NATO is providing 1 enhanced ADA Battalion (Not America Disabilities Act)(Air Defense Artillery) (6 Batteries versus normal 4 Batteries), The United States to provide 400 troops, German is providing approximately 400 troops and the Netherlands is providing approximately 360 troops. Total initial troop commitment 1160 soldiers. All parties emphasized in their respective announcements that unit will be under “NATO control”.
Wait it gets better as stated in the NATO press release the unit will not be operational until the end of January 2013. Hopefully this will be so that the troops that are tagged with this deployment will be allowed to spend this Christmas with their families. Glad it is not that much of an emergency. On a side note it is a clever way to extent the ballistic missile shield closer to Iran, but I am sure that had nothing to do with the decision to forward deploy this ADA Battalion.
Just how long are they going to be forward deployed is the next question? Will the troop elements be rotated out on a regular basis, so as to spread the pain among the PAC-3 batteries in Europe?
Even with allowing the troops to stay in Europe until after Christmas, the long deployment time for the Battalion is a direct results of the fact that the various parts of the Patriot system, namely the radar units, command and control centers, and communication and support facilities (power generation) can not be transported by air to Turkey they are either too big or too heavy, or too big and heavy, instead they must be shipped by ground and ship.
It brings to mind the remarks I heard from Retired Marine Corp General Cartwright in a conference where he chided the various chief of the services, he chide the Army for being too heavy and too big to move by air, and chided the Air Force for not being able to move the heavy and or big, and not being able to move enough of it in a timely manner, and finally the Navy for being able to move the big and heavy unfortunately they are too slow to be considered a rapid reaction assets.
In this case NATO is providing 1 enhanced ADA, The United States to provide 400 troops, German is providing approximately 400 troops and the Netherlands is providing approximately 360 troops. Total initial troop commitment 1160 soldiers. All parties emphasized in their respective announcements that unit will be under “NATO control” isn’t that nice.
Turkey will supply the physical security forces, and combat engineering support to ready the physical battery sites. And it goes with out saying, but I will say it anyway that the United States will fill in the holes, i.e. the logistics train that will be required to support this forward deployment. The United States in all likelihood will be the source of operational spares, since we have the deepest stores.
The 1160 troops associated with the enhanced ADA battalion will require a large logistics train to support it. Most of the operational support will come out of Europe, another mission for the 21 Theater Sustainment Command. It takes a great deal of Food, Fuel, Fiber, Shelter, Equipment, and Communications to support 1160 troops downrange. Lucky for us the natives are friendly, or the footprint would have to be even larger.
NATO also announced that they would be deploying AWAC assets to provide additional coverage for the area, the commitment of another NATO critical asset. Bad news there is limited maintenance support for this system in Turkey, oh well what a few more trips back and forth between Turkey and Geilenkirchen FRG, it is just a few tons of F-34/F-35 to make that trip.
Currently there are only 74 E-3 AWACS in the free world, NATO has 18 aircraft, France has 4, Saudi Arabia has 13, the United Kingdom has 7, and the United State 32 aircraft, with the majority assigned to the 552nd Air Control Wing. At best 80 percent are available for operations at any time, the rest are in maintenance cycle.
NATO had difficulties using their own assets i.e. 18 AWAC to support their operations against Libya lucky for the British, French, and the United States, mainly the United States. What will we see in NATO’s support of Turkey?
The PAC-3 Batteries are a critical item for the Netherlands and Germany, given that Netherland only has two Squadrons (Battalions) (8 -12 Batteries total), and Germany has 6 Battalions (24-36 Batteries total). The assets are anything but common.
God only knows what this is going to cost? God only knows who is going to pay for it? But my bet is the United State will pay for it either directly or indirectly via our funding of NATO. It is unfortunate fact that the world is an expensive place. Let the sequestration begin.