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OPLAN 4102

During a briefing in Latvia's capital Riga on 31 March 2016, NATO CINC Gen. Philip Breedlove said that NATO and the United States were switching their defense doctrine from assurance to deterrence in Eastern Europe in response to a “resurgent and aggressive Russia." The comments by Breedlove come a day after the Pentagon said it would begin continuous rotations of an additional armored brigade of about 4,200 troops in Eastern Europe beginning in early 2017.

"We are prepared to fight and win if we have to ... our focus will expand from assurance to deterrence, including measures that vastly improve our overall readiness, Breedlove said following talks with Baltic region NATO commanders. "To the east and north we face a resurgent and aggressive Russia, and as we have continued to witness these last two years, Russia continues to seek to extend its influence on its periphery and beyond."

Russia and China are calling into question the legitimacy of the established world order, and Europeans seem unprepared for 21st-century challenges. First among these is Russias new security doctrine and its use of hybrid warfare in proxy wars against the West. Its a new way of waging war, which the Russians used in Ukraine. A combination of irregular forces, combatants and minorities and everything else. Its a special kind of war, which cannot be counterws with tanks and armored divisions as in the Cold War.

The Russians might use this playbook to destabilize the Baltic States, Poland and other countries of NATO. Another cause for concern is the growing chaos to Europes south, Vad says. The spread of failed and fragile states and ungoverned spaces from North Africa to the Middle East is feeding extremism that often spills over into Europe.

Commander of the US Army in Europe Ben Hodges said NATO troops would not be able to do anything to prevent the Russian Baltic Fleet from blocking the Baltic Sea and cutting off the three Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from the rest of the military alliance. "Kaliningrad now has the ability to deny access of our [US] Navy or any NATO Navy to come to the Baltic Sea. From Kaliningrad Russia can stop from entering coming in to the Baltic Sea, and there we have three NATO allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania," Lieutenant-General Hodges explained.

Post-Cold War NATO has consistently said that it no longer views Russia as a threat. Allies, for example, agreed to language in the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act that "NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries." As seen during the debates over the Russia-Georgia war, many Allies would take great pains to avoid even the suggestion that the Alliance and Russia are on course toward a new Cold War. Countries such as Germany are unlikely to agree changes to NATO's General Intelligence Estimate (MC 161) that explicitly define Russia as a potential threat, preferring instead to argue that the Alliance needed to find a way to work cooperatively with Moscow.

Russia named NATOs military buildup near its border as the main military threat and raised the possibility of using precision conventional weapons as a strategic deterrent, according to the nations new military doctrine signed by President Vladimir Putin December 26, 2014. The doctrine placed a buildup of NATO military potential and its empowerment with global functions implemented in violation of international law, the expansion of NATOs military infrastructure to the Russian borders on top of military threats to Russia.

EUCOM OPLAN 4102, "Defense of Western Europe" replaced OPLAN 4102-84, 01 March 1985, Top Secret; replaced OPLAN 4102-84, 2 July 1984, Top Secret. Supplemented by CTNCUSAREUR OPLAN 4102. USCINCEUR OPLAN 4999-98, "Defense of Western Europe In General War" probably replaced OPLAN 4102 and was likely rescinded itself.

By 2009 the United States was developing a strategy for reaffirming both NATO and U.S. commitment to the core responsibility of the Alliance: collective defense. Examining NATO's approach to contingency planning will be one element of that strategy. Moving from country-specific to regional contingency plans is one potential method. The United States believes that NATO - as a matter of course - should conduct appropriate contingency planning for the possible defense of Allied territory and populations. NATO's Article 5 commitment requires no less. The United States believed strongly that such planning should not be discussed publicly.

US ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, said "I do think that it is extremely important that all NATO countries make very clear that NATO territory is inviolable and that any infraction of territory - whether it is direct military confrontation or the kind of indirect green man kind of tactics we have seen - will be dealt with directly, harshly and that the defense of NATO territory is absolute. In that regard it probably is wise if NATO were to forward deploy more military forces in the Baltics and Poland than it has up to this point and that it not just be the US and the UK, but that more European countries be involved in the deployment of forces there beyond aircraft."

Such plans would require specifying Russia as a potential threat, something which Germany and other NATO member states opposed. After years of reducing military spending and conducting expeditionary missions beyond NATOs border, the alliance had to reinvigorate plans that commanders and political leaders had largely consigned to the past.

The OPLAN defines the tasks and responsibilities of the supported CCDR and supporting CCDRs, administration and logistics requirements, and command and control of forces. OPLANs are used both for long-term planning and for responding to crises. According to Joint Publication (JP) 5-0, Joint Operation Planning, A joint OPLAN is the most detailed of the planning products, and provides a complete concept of operations (CONOPS), all annexes applicable to the plan, and the time-phased force and deployment data (TPFDD) for the specific operation. A CCDRs OPLAN is the result of the seven steps of the joint operation planning process (JOPP). OPLANs contain plans for responding to potential crises within a theater of operations. Operations Plan 4102 [with Annexes] is a top secret road map from peace to war by the US Europen Command. It described in minute detail how the US forces would react, almost hourly, to a Soviet attack across the inter-German border, including detailed plans for bringing in reinforcements from the United States, equipping them, and putting them under NATO command. The plan included descriptions of where each unit will go upon the outbreak of war, and now individual combat units would use the hills and valleys of the rugged West German terrain to conduct a defense in depth, including nuclear-release procedures.

During the Cold War NATO's sole focus was on territorial collective defense, and the need for simplicity overrode any initiatives towards greater military efficiency among its members. NATO organized the General Defense Plan of Germany into eight national corps, whose commanders retained crucial command authorities, e.g. authority over training, logistics, task organization, and mission assignments, among others.

The European General Defense Plan (GDP 31001) was tested annually during Return of Forces to Germany (REFORGER) exercises. The US Army's mission in Germany was to man the the General Defense Plan line, which cut north-south across the Fulda Gap, the break in the Vogelsberg mountains through which the Iron Curtain ran. Every piece of artillery, every machine gun, rifle, mortar, tank, and anti-tank weapon in the 3d Armored Division was intended to hit the Russians the moment they came pouring through the gap.

During the 1980s, V Corps included the 3d Armored Division, 8th Infantry Division, and 11th Armored Cavalry. The VII Corps included the 1st Armored Division, 3d Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division (Forward), and 2d Armored Cavalry. The separate 2d Armored Division (Forward) was stationed in northern Germany. These forces were arrayed, in line with the NATO General Defense Plan, in an essentially static forward defense of the traditional, critical eastern approaches to Western Europe. Their mission was to hold off an attack from the East until reinforcements could arrive from the United States. Against the increasing numerical superiority of Soviet and other Warsaw Pact forces, USAREUR concentrated its energy on improving its equipment and training, reefing reinforcement plans, building up prepositioned and war reserve stocks, and increasing interoperability with other NATO forces.

As a result of Project CHASE the 709th MP Bn (C) formulated and published the new General Defense Plan (GDP-1-75) to support V Corps. During the Cold War, an outstanding leader development tool for Cold War commanders in Europe was the General Defense Plan briefing. Leaders were required to take a higher command's written and oral plan, develop the defense plan for their unit, and then brief it back to their commanders.

Retired Sgt. Clyde Lee Conrad who, while living in Bad Kreutznach, Germany, passed sensitive NATO information to the Hungarian State Defense Authority. Conrad supplied the Hungarian government with the General Defense Plan (GDP) for essentially every allied unit assigned to Europe. He was a key player in what is generally regarded as one of the most successful Soviet Bloc spy rings of recent times. Conrad was tried in Germany and convicted of high treason. Conrad was arrested in 1988 and two years later, a West German court sentenced him to life in prison for espionage. He received the first life sentence ever given by the Federal Republic of Germany for espionage activities. Conrad died in 1998.

The V Corps's 130th Engineer Brigade's roots are firmly entrenched in the General Defense Plan days of Germany's forward-deployed heavy divisions. In those days, units didn't have to be strategically responsive or rapidly deployable beyond border assembly areas in eastern Germany.

Throughout the Cold War, mobilization to execute USAREUR's OPLAN 4102, plus the possibility of concurrent hostilities in Korea, was planned much on the model of World War II. It was expected that if the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact attacked North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, full mobilization would quickly be directed by the President. Full mobilization meant that all of the ARNG and USAR TPFDL units would be mobilized and deployed as required by the CINCs. For most RC units that would have entailed prolonged periods of post-mobilization training and issuance of additional equipment and personnel fill from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) and/or Selective Service. Units could be deployed when they reached a Command, Control and Communication (C3) readiness category if necessary.

Events since the end of the Cold War have indicated that although mobilization can be readily invoked by the National Command Authority (NCA) as in Operation DESERT STORM, the scope and magnitude of the use of reserve forces will most likely be less than that envisioned to deal with a Warsaw Pact style threat. Although such a scenario must remain a possibility, smaller scale mobilization is more likely for the Army XXI. It is essential that Army leaders engage public affairs to create a climate where necessary community support and acceptance can be initiated and sustained through a series of PA programs.

No longer can commanders memorize General Defense Plan battle positions at the Fulda Gap and know who and where they will fight. Field grade officers must now be capable of thinking through the most difficult situation, adapting to changes in their operational environment and ensuring the continued success and freedom of our nation. The Army expects it will take time before our officer corps is comfortable with the notion of having no "school solution," but as seen in Afghanistan, Iraq and other hotspots throughout the world, there is no General Defense Plan, and the enemy is constantly changing, thinking and adapting.

A Russian offensive on NATO territory in the Baltics would overwhelm underarmed alliance forces in a matter of hours, leaving NATO with a harsh dilemma: launch a long, bloody counteroffensive or concede defeat. That was the conclusion of a report by the Rand Corp., which conducted a series of elaborate war games from summer 2014 to spring 2015 with the assistance of numerous American military commands and experts. As presently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members, the Rand study said.

During Rands war game scenario, allies had one week to assemble forces to counter an onslaught on the Baltics. The Russian attackers, compris ing troops from the Western Military District and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, deploy 27 maneuver battalions in a short-warning attack to occupy Estonia and Latvia. In the scenario, allies were able to mobilize light infantry units in time, but the force proved inadequate, presenting NATO with a rapid fait accompli.

The outcome was, bluntly, a disaster for NATO, the Rand report said. Across multiple plays of the game, Russian forces eliminated or bypassed all resistance and were at the gates of or actually entering Riga, Tallinn, or both, between 36 and 60 hours after the start of hostilities.

The findings were no surprise to the militarys top officers in Europe, who had been warning that sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft systems could deny allies quick military access to the Baltics. Russia had superior numbers of air and ground forces across the border from the vulnerable Baltic states. However, Russia had repeatedly stressed it has no territorial designs on the Baltics.

Policymakers must determine whether the risks of potential Russian aggression are strong enough to demand the kind of reinforcements that could thwart a Russian assault. The costs of placing such a force in the region could be substantial but manageable for a NATO alliance with a collective gross domestic product of more than $35 trillion, Rand said. The report was issued just days before the release of the Pentagons 2017 budget, which included plans to add a brigades worth of pre-positioned tanks and other heavy equipment in Europe, where the Pentagon now rotates one heavy brigade. The U.S. maintains only two infantry brigades permanently in Europe and no heavy units.

There are about 65,000 troops in total forward stationed. A plan to quadruple investment in the European Reassurance Initiative to $3.4 billion will add several thousand more rotational troops in a plan to increase operations along NATOs eastern flank, but falls far short of Rands recommendations.

The minimum force requirement, according to Rand, are seven NATO brigades, including three heavy armored brigades adequately supported by air power, land-based fire support and troops ready to fight at the onset of hostilities. Adding three US Army armored brigades would come with an up-front price tag of about $13 billion. The annual operating cost would be roughly $2.7 billion, Rand reported. The force could not mount a sustained defense of the region, but it would buy allies time to assemble a larger force.

The presence of multiple brigades and air power also would fundamentally change the strategic picture as seen from Moscow, according to Rand. While this deterrent posture would not be inexpensive in absolute terms, it is not unaffordable, especially in comparison with the potential costs of failing to defend NATOs most exposed and vulnerable allies, Rand said.

Still, many NATO allies would likely balk at such a plan. Germany, for example, had long opposed any placement of permanent NATO forces in the Baltics or eastern Europe, which Berlin contends would be an unnecessary provocation to Russia. Moscow contends such a move would violate a 1997 NATO agreement that it says limits the types of forces that can be placed near its border.

Also, there is little evidence that Russia intends to launch a formal attack on a NATO state, which could trigger a collective alliance response under NATOs Article 5 provision that an attack on one member demands a response from all. If NATO sought to establish a force capable of countering a Russian offensive, Moscow could elect to further build up its own regional forces, setting off a race for the upper hand.

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Page last modified: 01-05-2019 18:55:50 ZULU