General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was speaking in Brussels on Monday ahead of a NATO Military Committee meeting at the alliance’s headquarters in the Belgian capital.
A resurgent Russia is the greatest threat on the continent, Dunford said, cited by the US Department of Defense website.
Russia has modernized many aspects of its military, including redesigning and modernizing its nuclear capability, modernizing its maritime capabilities, and developing new cyber and electronic warfare capabilities, he added.
And Russia will use its capabilities, Dunford said, quoted by the Department of Defense.
“You’ve got to look at behavior, so you’ve got to go back and look at Georgia and look at Ukraine,” he added.
Nations entitled to defend themselves
Nations have a right to defend themselves and not be attacked by others, Dunford insisted. This is true, he added, whether they march into a nation in uniform or the attack “is a combination of unconventional operations, information operations, cyber, economic coercion, and political influence.”
“It is still a violation of sovereignty,” he said.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and further actions in Ukraine got NATO’s attention, Dunford added.
The Western alliance first moved to assure all allies with an enhanced forward presence, stationing four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The United States led the battlegroup in Poland, and further built up forces in Europe with the addition of a rotational brigade-sized element and an aviation brigade, Dunford added.