- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NATO’s highest political decision-making body and its military committee have been mulling over a report that shows an array of air, land and naval options the alliance can tap to support skittish Easter European allies that see Russian forces amassing along the Ukraine border as a threat to their sovereignty.

Although Supreme Allied Commander of Europe Gen. Philip Breedlove is not set to discuss his support recommendations until Wednesday, senior officials are already reviewing their options and prepared to make rapid decisions, The Washington Times has learned.

NATO officials said Gen. Breedlove sent his list of recommendations to the military committee on Friday. The North Atlantic Council, which consists of 28 ambassadors, received that list Monday, according to Jorge Benitez, an analyst specializing in NATO at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

Gen. Breedlove will likely propose to increase the number of military jets participating in the rotational Baltic Air Policing mission, prepositioning equipment and material in the territory of the easternmost allies, according to Mr. Benitez.

NATO members are probably also chewing on the idea of basing a new landpower training center in Poland and conducting more naval exercises in the Black Sea with Romania and Bulgaria, he said.

Lt. Col. Jay Janzen, spokesman for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe said that a series of discussions on the additional measures that Gen. Breedlove might carry out are expected to play out  “over the coming weeks.”

Any decisions made by NATO members Wednesday or during ensuing weeks, however, would have to be made by consensus, meaning all 28 allies must collectively agree to embrace one or more of the recommendations, a NATO official said.

• Maggie Ybarra can be reached at mybarra@washingtontimes.com.

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