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Pentagon Sticks to Idea of Expanded 'Pre-positioning' of Gear

Sputnik News

04:04 23.12.2015(updated 04:05 23.12.2015)

The Pentagon will adhere to a decision to 'pre-position' more gear around the world over the next year for the sake of prompt responses to both military and humanitarian crises.

In summer the Pentagon announced that it would pre-position battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons throughout several Baltic and eastern European countries close to Russia, as a countermeasure to so-called 'Russian aggression.' Pentagon comptroller Mike McCord previously said that the funding for such gear in Europe would see a significant increase in the 2017 fiscal year.

In a December 18 interview with Defense News, Major General John Broadmeadow, vice director for logistics, said the Pentagon didn't give up on the idea and talked about the benefits and drawbacks of storing additional assets abroad in the near future.

Despite his strong belief in 'prepositioning done right,' the Major General mentioned inevitable cons, among them the amount of money and effort the Pentagon would require to keep the gear in proper condition, and updating software and hardware so that equipment 'actually does start and doesn't start leaking' if the time comes.

'You can't look at prepositioning as just warehousing. If all you're thinking of doing is warehousing a bunch of equipment, you've made a mistake, because what is going to happen is the gear is not going to be in combat-ready condition,' He explained. 'You've got to put the maintenance effort into it. You've got to put the money to maintain that gear in combat-ready condition.'

Another problem would be having to deal with the fact that an 'enemy' cannot ignore large amounts of gear stored on its border and could react to the move by trying to bring the location under threat. For instance, Broadmeadow said, the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin could respond to equipment stationed near Russia's frontiers by moving some of its S-400 anti-aircraft systems nearby.

Therefore, the Major General concluded, the decision should be considered carefully, contingent upon the amount of excess gear the Pentagon plans to eliminate in the coming years.

'We'll divest what we're supposed to divest – it doesn't make economic sense to hold onto all that gear – but it doesn't make economic sense to divest ourselves of all of that excess gear,' Broadmeadow said. 'If we're going to store it, let's do it the right way, and that's that balance – how much of it should we put into expensive, forward-based prepositioning? Some of it needs to go out there.'


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