As it was reported, the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), aimed to strengthen the American military presence on the eastern borders of NATO, will lose about a quarter of its funding in 2021.
Donald Trump intends to use saved funds to build a wall on the border with Mexico. A decrease in the EDI fund, as conceived by Washington, should not lead to a weakening of the American presence in Europe. But payers for this presence will not be the Americans, but the Europeans.
As we know, new fiscal year in the United States begins on the 1st of October. So the process of preparing is actively going. A budget request for funding of the European Deterrence Initiative was formed on the 12th of February. Comparing it with the request for 2019, we can trace what kinds of adjustments were made to the EDI funding.
Primarily, the total cost of the program has changed. Pentagon asked for almost 6 billion dollars last year, and this year – only 4.5 billion dollars. So the decline continues for the second year in a row.
As we know, the EDI support increased U.S. investment to EU security across five main categories: (1) presence; (2) training and exercises; (3) infrastructure; (4) prepositioned equipment; and (5) building partner capacity.
However, if expansion continues, it will not be enough. Training and exercises directed funding will decrease most of all the areas of the EDI this year, (funding will be cut from 600 to 294 million dollars – more than doubled).
This item of expenditures exceeded $ 2 billion this year and in a new draft it is less than 1.5 billion.
By the way, infrastructure development will receive only 100 million less (compared with last year’s budget). This area of activity is mainly financed by investments in military construction, which includes 15 projects in 2021.
In particular, Pentagon’s plan is to build two storage facilities in Germany as a part of the RADR (Rapid Airfield Damage Repair) program, which aims to restore airfields in case of enemy bombardments. Romania will receive the largest allocation – four projects totaling 130.5 million dollars.
Scary fact is that Poland and the Baltic countries do not appear on the list of countries to be funded under the EDI program for this year. Given the fact that these countries border with Russia, they will be the first to stop Russian aggression against NATO in case of war. That’s why Pentagon’s decision to deprive the Baltic countries of funding is completely unacceptable.
They were mentioned in the military development program last time in 2019. Pentagon approved the construction of five facilities in Poland and two centers of the U.S. Special Forces (SOF) in Estonia. But the money did not reach there.
Unfortunately, in September last year Pentagon published a list of projects whose implementation was delayed due to the redistribution of funds in favor of the construction of the Trump’s wall.
Both Polish and Estonian objects were among them. But there was another effective way to reduce costs for Washington – to shift them to Europeans. It’s no secret that Trump is satisfied with this.
That is why current United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, speaking about the redistribution of funds in favor of the wall on the border with Mexico, directly invited the European allies to finish the military projects themselves. And a new request for funding the European Deterrence Initiative says that “EDI allows to more efficiently and fairly distribute the burden between all investments.”
Does it mean that the contribution of the Europeans to NATO’s common defense will be increased proportionally with decrease in the contribution of the Americans?
It would be naive to believe that the U.S. will leave Europe. Washington’s behavior suggests otherwise. The United States intends to maintain and expand its military presence in Europe, to surround Russia with controlled military facilities. But Washington will do this not for their money, but for the money of the European taxpayers.
By the way, in case of war between NATO and Russia, the Americans will also fight on European territory using European armies.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.