Check out this great article by AP: AP Interview: US troops may be sent to E Europe. Looks nice and official – here is a US 4 star general who has been tasked by EU ministers to come up with a plan to “protect” NATO member countries from the “Russian threat” which he estimates at 40’000 men. To look more credible, the good general makes some “military sounding” statements:
“What we see there is a force of about 40,000, I would characterize it as a combined arms army. In other words, this is an army that has all of the provisioning and enablers that it needs to accomplish military objectives if given them (…) The Russians’ assets include fixed and rotary wing aircraft, artillery, field hospitals, communications and jamming gear.”
So far so good. And then comes the masterpiece:
The general adds that however the Russian contingent might ultimately be used, it’s “ready to go essentially at command. We talk about inside of 12 hours“. WOW! Scary stuff.
One problem with that:
The good general does not seem to realize that there is no such thing in the Russian military as a “12 hours readiness”.
Let me explain.
For an imperialistic naval power, a 12 hours readiness or even a 24, 36 or 48 hour readiness is extremely high. That the time needed to get in 82nd Airborne ready to go, and that is quite good enough for the USA whose own territory is only threatened by illegal immigrants from Mexico and bad drivers from Canada. 12 hours is really fast only when what you want to do is to invade some small country – preferably an island with no military – or if you just want to go and kill some Brown people somewhere, just to show how scary and powerful you are.
But for a land power like Russia, 12 hours readiness is absolutely unacceptable, much less so for units supposedly on high alert and ready to invade the Ukraine. How long would it take for a US/NATO missile or bomber to get to the nearest Russian base or deployed unit? You take that time and it will give you an idea of what “high readiness” means to the Russian military. It is counted in minutes, not hours, and most definitely not 12 hours.
It appears that the US general spinning this fairy tale tried to make is sound real scary and thus he came up with what he believes in a fantastically high degree of readiness for the Russian forces: 12 hours. What he clearly did not realize, is that by Russian standards a military force with a 12 hour readiness is essentially on holidays and at the lowest possible level of readiness.
Furthermore, it might be a good time to remind everybody that the US intelligence did not see the Russian military move in 2008 (during the 08.08.08 war) and neither did it see the “Polite Armed Men in Green” move into Crimea. So much for the most bloated intelligence community on the planet…
Lastly, a “combined arms army” is definitely not the adequate tool to use if the Russians wanted to invade the Ukraine simply because the Ukrainian military simply does not have the kind of force one would attack with a combined arms army. To deal with the Ukie military a much lighter and mobile force of mechanized infantry and a few battalion tactical groups would be plenty. Frankly, some Interior Troops (police forces) such as the SOBR and the ODON would be much better suited as they are used to deal with criminal and paramilitary thugs like the Right Sector.
A US 4-star general really should know better. I am embarrassed for him.