U.S. tanks arrived in Europe with dead batteries and empty tanks for a major deployment to NATO’s eastern flank, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The tanks accompany nearly 4,000 NATO forces to the Russian border, in an attempt to curb Russian ambitions in the region. The deployment is supposed to be a major NATO show of solidarity with its Eastern allies and a signal to Russia.
The error stemmed from neglectful soldiers who forgot to disable the tanks’ systems while they were in transport. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of all Army forces in Europe, said the errors reflected an experience deficit in modern soldiers. “It is stuff we used to know,” he lamented to TheWSJ.
The dead tanks were not the only logistical obstacle U.S. forces faced on their way to the Russian border. Several armored vehicles also struck the tops of bridges on the way to Poland because U.S. forces lacked inaccurate information on the road routes in NATO countries, which are part of the former Soviet Union.
The logistical issues highlight what President Donald Trump has called a military readiness deficit. The U.S. Army is in fact “not at a level that is appropriate for what the American people would expect to defend them,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joesph Dunford told Congress in March.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry highlighted the defense readiness concerns in an op-ed Tuesday saying, “President Trump inherits an increasingly dangerous world and a military that has been severely damaged in recent years.”
Thornberry highlighted the need for the passage of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act saying it supports “an increase in the number of troops, additional resources for training, maintenance, and facilities, and new equipment to replace old, outdated systems.”
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