According to Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, the United States and its allies in NATO may not be able to effectively counter a Russian incursion into Eastern Europe due to capability shortfalls between members of the alliance.

In order to effectively deter Russian aggression in the region, Hodges contends, the United States and its allies must be able to respond “as fast or faster” than the Russian forces advance.  A treaty between the United States and Russia bars the U.S. from permanently stationing troops along their border, but the treaty itself isn’t the limiting factor.

“We don’t do anything by ourselves partly because we don’t have the capacity,” Hodges said.  “There is a need for interoperability. We are much more effective and stronger when we have our partners.”

That need for high levels of combat interoperability between military units from a number of different nations was highlighted in September, as Russian and Belarusian forces conducted large-scale military drills that approximated a war with NATO in the Baltic region, arguably the area of Europe most susceptible to Russian advances.