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    Strategic Revamp: NATO’s Potential Moves Including US 7th Army Reactivation

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    As the international security landscape continues to evolve, NATO is considering significant changes to its command structure, including the reactivation of the US 7th Army in Germany and a relocation of its naval headquarters.

    Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade, fire their Howitzers during the reactivation ceremony for the 7th Infantry Division Oct. 10 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The battalion was the ceremony’s official firing battery. The 17th Fires Brigade is one of the 7th Infantry Division’s five subordinate brigades.

    A report released by a Washington-based think tank underlines the urgency of adapting the alliance’s structure to effectively confront and deter current and future threats.

    The NATO Command Structure, as it presently stands, may not be fully equipped to meet the challenges in a rapidly changing world, especially in the aftermath of events such as Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine.

    This has spurred a series of modifications aimed at enhancing the alliance’s rapid mobilization capabilities across the European continent, including a new headquarters in Ulm, Germany, focused on crisis response.

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Major General Walter E. Piatt gives a coin to 1st Lt. John M. Wasniewski of Battery C, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, after accepting the inscribed canister representing the last round of the honors fired from the 13-gun salute. Brigadier General Christopher G. Cavoli accepted the transfer of command of the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command from Piatt at Tower Barracks parade field July 21. Keeping with tradition, the generals, including Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, Jr., commander of U.S. Army Europe headquartered in Weisbaden, Germany, stood before the troops and passed the colors, with marks the changing of command. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christina M. Dion, 319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

    Gen. Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s top military commander and head of the US European Command, has initiated an overhaul of his headquarters in Mons, Belgium.

    These changes involve updated NATO command-and-control arrangements essential for executing new regional defense plans. However, the Atlantic Council report suggests these steps are merely the beginning of what needs to be a broader strategic shift.

    One of the more notable recommendations involves reactivating the US 7th Army, which was disbanded in 2010. Its revival could be pivotal in strengthening NATO’s Land Command in Turkey, which reportedly struggles to field a fully staffed and trained battlestaff for Supreme Allied Command Europe (SACEUR).

    According to the report, the 7th Army would command multiple NATO corps, paralleling the operational functionality of US Central Command’s 3rd Army.

    The report also proposes shifting NATO’s European naval headquarters from Naples to the United Kingdom. This historic move would mark a return to London, where the headquarters was once situated, placing the alliance in a more strategic position to address Russian naval challenges in the north.

    Alongside this, the recommendation to move Joint Force Command Brunssum to Poland reflects the country’s increasing prominence as a significant land power in Europe. This transition would allow for a more focused effort on the threats to NATO’s eastern flank, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    According to the report’s author, Richard Hooker, “The growing capabilities of Poland, the importance of geographic proximity, and the reality of large-scale combat operations just across its border with Ukraine strongly suggest that JFC Brunssum should be replaced with a ‘JFC East’.”

    Furthermore, the analysis suggests that NATO’s strategic headquarters, currently located in Norfolk, Virginia, should be moved to Washington or Paris.

    This shift would give the command—which is focused on military modernization but considered by some as having “second class” status—increased political clout within NATO’s bureaucracy.

    The potential moves are part of a grander vision for a fortified alliance that can deter and, if necessary, contain and defeat formidable adversaries. These recommendations come amid other NATO activities, such as the forthcoming Combined Resolve 24-02 exercise at Hohenfels Training Area, Germany.

    This exercise, hosted by the 7th Army Training Command, is designed to prepare a multinational brigade to support NATO deterrence initiatives, signaling the ongoing commitment to readiness and interoperability among alliance members.

    Relevant articles:
    Report recommends NATO relocations, reactivation of US 7th Army in Germany, Stars and Stripes
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