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Cablegate: Expansion of Eagle Guardian to Include Baltic

VZCZCXRO8554
PP RUEHSL
DE RUEHC #7810/01 0262036
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 262029Z JAN 10
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL NATO POST COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 6905

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 STATE 007810

SIPDIS

EO 12958 DECL: 01/22/2020
TAGS MARR, MCAP, NATO, PREL, EN, LG, LH, PL
SUBJECT: EXPANSION OF EAGLE GUARDIAN TO INCLUDE BALTIC
ALLIES

REF: A. USNATO 35 B. 09 STATE 127892

Classified By: EUR PDAS Nancy McEldowney for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (U) This is an action cable. Please see paragraphs 3-4.

2. (S) Summary and Action Request. On January 22 NATO Allies agreed in the Military Committee to expand the NATO Contingency Plan for Poland, EAGLE GUARDIAN, to include the defense and reinforcement of the Baltic States. Posts in Allied capitals should be prepared to explain, as necessary, U.S. support for this approach and how it fits within our broader vision for NATO contingency planning, as well as how to respond to media inquiries on the matter. Posts are asked to draw on the points below, as necessary, in discussions on this issue. End Summary and Action Request.

3. (C) Posts need not engage host government officials proactively on NATO contingency planning at this time, but are encouraged to use the points below as the basis for discussions on the matter as needed.
(S/REL NATO) CONTINGENCY POINTS (FOR USE AT POST,S DISCRETION)
-- 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.
-- As President Obama said in Prague: “We must work together as NATO members so that we have contingency plans in place to deal with new threats, wherever they may come from.”
-- The U.S. welcomes the decision to expand EAGLE GUARDIAN to include the defense of the Baltic states, and sees it as a logical military extension of the existing contingency plan that fits well within the existing scenario.
-- We see the expansion of EAGLE GUARDIAN as a step toward the possible expansion of NATO’s other existing country-specific contingency plans into regional plans. This is the first step in a multi-stage process to develop a complete set of appropriate contingency plans for the full range of possible threats - both regional and functional - as soon as possible. At the same time, we believe contingency planning is only one element of NATO’s Article 5 preparedness.
(S/REL NATO) POINTS ABOUT PUBLIC DISCUSSION OF PLANS (FOR USE AT POST’S DISCRETION)
-- The United States believes strongly that such planning should not be discussed publicly. These military plans are classified at the NATO SECRET level.
-- The Alliance has many public diplomacy tools at its disposal. Contingency planning is not one of them. What we should do is explore other public steps for demonstrating the vitality of Article 5, such as exercises, defense investment, and partnerships.
-- Public discussion of contingency plans undermines their military value, giving insight into NATO’s planning processes. This weakens the security of all Allies.
-- A public discussion of contingency planning would also likely lead to an unnecessary increase in NATO-Russia tensions, something we should try to avoid as we work to improve practical cooperation in areas of common NATO-Russia interest.
-- We hope that we can count on your support in keeping discussions on NATO contingency planning out of the public domain.
-- We should work together to develop strategies - to include activities such as exercises, defense investment, and partnerships - for demonstrating to our publics that Article 5’s value ultimately lies in NATO’s capabilities and deterrence, rather than specific planning.

4. (C) Washington strongly believes that the details of NATO,s contingency plans should remain in confidential channels. However, recent press coverage of NATO decisions regarding possible contingency planning options for the Baltic region may lead to additional media inquiries. If necessary, posts may use the points below in responding to
STATE 00007810 002 OF 002
public queries.
(U) PUBLIC/PRESS INQUIRIES -- IF ASKED:
-- NATO does not discuss specific plans.
-- As a matter of course, however, NATO engages in planning in order to be as prepared as possible for whatever situations might arise, particularly as relates to its ability to carrying out its Article 5 commitments.
-- Plans are not static. NATO is constantly reviewing and revising its plans.
-- NATO planning is an internal process designed to make the Alliance as prepared as possible for future contingencies. It is not “aimed” at any other country.
-- President Obama acknowledged this when he said at Prague that “We must work together as NATO members so that we have contingency plans in place to deal with new threats, wherever they may come from.” CLINTON

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