News / Europe

NATO Commander: We Need to Be Ready for ‘Little Green Men’

FILE - NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. General Philip Breedlove, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Canada, May 6, 2014.
FILE - NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. General Philip Breedlove, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Canada, May 6, 2014.
VOA News

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe says the alliance would respond militarily if any of its member countries faced an incursion similar to the one sustained by Ukraine’s Crimea prior to its annexation by Russia earlier this year.

“If NATO were to observe the infiltration of its sovereign territory by [anonymous] foreign forces, and if we were able to prove that this activity was being carried out by a particular aggressor nation, then Article Five would apply,” said U.S. General Philip Breedlove in an interview with Germany’s Die Welt, referring to NATO’s collective defense principle.

“That’s when the alliance principle goes into force. This means a military response to the actions of this aggressor,” said Breedlove.

The U.S. general said that the “big problem” facing NATO today is a new type of warfare that the alliance is in the process of preparing for. Citing the Crimea precedent and pointing to developments in eastern Ukraine, Breedlove said that it's imperative that the alliance be prepared for anonymous warriors.

FILE - Armed men in unmarked uniforms, believed to be Russian soldiers, are seen walking at the Crimean port of Yevpatoriya March 8, 2014.FILE - Armed men in unmarked uniforms, believed to be Russian soldiers, are seen walking at the Crimean port of Yevpatoriya March 8, 2014.
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FILE - Armed men in unmarked uniforms, believed to be Russian soldiers, are seen walking at the Crimean port of Yevpatoriya March 8, 2014.
FILE - Armed men in unmarked uniforms, believed to be Russian soldiers, are seen walking at the Crimean port of Yevpatoriya March 8, 2014.

“To be honest, it's of utmost importance that NATO be ready for so-called 'little green men.' Armed military personnel without sovereign insignia, who create unrest, occupy government buildings, incite local populations, train and provide tactical advice to separatists, and in doing so, strongly contribute to the destabilization of a country.”

Such scenarios, said Breedlove, could also occur in other eastern European countries, and NATO must take steps there to prepare police and military forces to deal with such challenges.

Breedlove said that the new reality confronting NATO is part of a new type of hybrid warfare referred to as DIME: Diplomacy, information, military and economy. And in the case of Ukraine, Russia can be seen using all of these instruments of power, said he.

“Diplomatically, Russia is trying to push the argument that Ukraine’s authorities are the problem. In the information sphere, we see an information and disinformation campaign aiming to mask Russia’s intentions. Militarily, we see daily troop movements, cross-border shelling and the use of all [types of] military capabilities. And, lastly, economic warfare through [the manipulation of] energy supplies,” said Breedlove.

He added that this type of hybrid model brings all means to bear, and that mixture he called “very troubling.”

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by: Ser from: Russia
August 19, 2014 5:09 AM
If someone will see greenmen, he should consult a psychiatrist, including generals.

by: Not Again from: Canada
August 19, 2014 12:51 AM
Gen. Breedlove only sees half of the reality, that the NATO/EU confronts, one is the "green men" like the Crimea scenario- they were men covering their faces from Russia; which Breedlove, like much of the rest of his EU team, has difficulty/are in fear of identifying them = they were Russian special forces, including Russian naval forces, which took over and transferred the sovereignty of Crimea from the Ukraine to Russia full lock stock and barrel, in a very deliberate, planned, and well carried out operation, firing only a few shots.
Such little green men (= Russians), will always pose a problem, physical and psycological, for as long as leaders, including Breedlove, have difficulty enunciating what they know, to this day, to be the truth.
The second part of the problem, is the EU NATO "partners?" who excel at delaying/offuscating/seeking endless clarifications/fearing their own shadows, and in preventing any actions; they make the alliance totally in-effective, because they have few real deterrent resources to offer. They (NATO EU Allies) have become addicted to riding on the back of the US deterrent effort; a problem that was allowed to grow over the past 20+ yrs. The problem = a dramatic decline of military forces and military defensive capabilities, to the point that the NATO EU allies no longer excercise their forces at the higher organizational levels(division/corps/naval squadrons/naval fleets/air arms, etc) beyond regiments or a few aircraft or a few naval units at a time. Much of their forces' equipment are very much obsolete, other very much rusted out, with designs and capabilities that were developed well before many, if not most, of the current members of those forces were born. Hence the "little green men" from Russia do not fear the big greyed men and their rusted out equipment, that the NATO/EU team could manage to stand up. All in all it is a recepee for war.
The biggest of all problems, which NATO faces, in my view, is that the military leaders have become politicians, and the politicians are trying to be military practitioners, both will fail in their usurped undertakings/roles, as it is clearly evident on a global scale; day by day global instability increases and is reaching extremely dangerous levels = major wars breaking out on most continents. The corrective actions required will be to re-invigorate/modernize their deterrence capabilities, renew their forces, and rationalize their strategies to ensure global stability is improved.

by: F. Sandragon from: Maryland
August 18, 2014 12:11 PM
What a silly headline. Clickbait = puerile attempts at humor, trivializing an issue

by: Hugo from: Germany
August 18, 2014 1:32 AM
If EU wants to survive and save peace in and out of its borders,then we should substitute Russia 's gas with USA's one or reduce consumption of it dramatically. Russia and Putin's totalitarian and terroristic regime will not survive without our money.

by: harry from: australia
August 18, 2014 12:33 AM
Why isnt the West openly supporting Ukraine militarily.Sanctions will hurt Moscow as much as a mosquito bite.Putin would think twice if confronted by NATO.In the absence of that Putin will do whatever to dedtabilise Ukraine.Besides if the West pussyfoot around the Russians who knows which nation would be their next target.Obama,Cameron and co better man up to meet this real threat.

by: On the Balcony from: Ukraine
August 17, 2014 9:46 PM
The quickest and surest way for NATO to eliminate the threat of "little green men" (and learn how to effectivelt combat DIME) is to fully commit itself to helping Ukraine win its fight against them.

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