The 2021 NATO summit put members on the record that they would build a flexible, agile, and resilient force architecture “with the right forces in the right place at the right time.” U.S. and NATO forces along the eastern flank facing Russia are the equivalent of the stand-in force Commandant David Berger envisions for the U.S. Marine Corps. They will be operating from the start of a conflict within the engagement zones of Russian long-range anti-access and area denial capabilities. They must be able to withstand an initial blow, slow down the advance of Russian forces, and strike critical targets. Helping frontline nations such as Poland acquire the means to operate as a stand-in force is of vital importance to the Alliance’s deterrence mission. Providing Poland with a version of the M1 Abrams tank and encouraging its industry to be involved in sustaining U.S. and Polish Abrams tanks would be a significant statement of NATO’s commitment to the defense of its eastern flank. I have written more about this here.
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