Here's the very root of the tripwire forces issue:
(1) Many people think that tripwire forces are purposeful because they - being a kind of hostage taken by their own government - would force their government to get involved in the event of aggression, and thus ensure it political commitment to defence. This act of foreign policy communication is meant to bolster deterrence and protect the peace.
Sure, the tripwire forces (especially super-symbolic multinational ones) would likely be easy targets in the event of deterrence failure*, but that doesn't matter, for this whole paradigm depends on one assumption: We are overwhelmingly superior in military power, and effective defence only depends on signalling that this superiority would be brought to bear against an aggressor.
I'm not sure that people who follow this paradigm really thought this through, but what I wrote above seems to explain their behaviour regarding deterrence and tripwire forces.
(2) And then there's the other paradigm, which I am applying: In this paradigm military forces are for deterrence AND defence, and setting part of one's forces up for failure in the event of an aggression is unacceptable.
As an addition that's rather uniquely mine I did add that the will to defend against an aggressor should be signalled by extreme fitness of the armed bureaucracy. Reaching this fitness requires the political masters to pursue it, disrespecting the self-interest of the (naturally lazy and egoistic) bureaucracy if not outright punishing the bureaucracy so much that it doesn't dare pursue any self-interest but avoiding said punishment for pursuing self interest.
Well, before I digress even more I'd like to admit that my preference for the latter paradigm is predetermined. I once studied economics, and this includes a creeping yet thorough indoctrination: You get indoctrinated to hate wastefulness.
The first paradigm is the wasteful one, since it requires overwhelming military superiority, not "just enough" military power for deterrence and defence. Only overwhelming military superiority would allow for a waste of military resources, and even negligence regarding fitness and deployment speeds.
I suppose everyone understands that "overwhelming superiority" isn't the same as "just enough". In fact, "just enough" may be reached at a state of military inferiority. Just look at Finland coexisting with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. The Finns were no doubt NOT superior militarily.
My other insistence on fitness and on addressing typical issues of bureaucracies (I wrote a lot about the basic descriptive models Niskanen's budget-optimizing bureaucrat and the principal-agent model) was predetermined by my economics studies as well.**
The first paradigm is kind of correct; European NATO HAS an overwhelming military superiority of Russia, the only not entirely ludicrous threat generator in its neighbourhood. Within the existing imbalance of power and the first paradigm militarily ineffective symbolic composite battalions, one per Baltic country and even one for Poland, make sense.
It's just unbearable to me how wasteful the whole situation is. To spend but ten billion Euros too much on the military is equivalent to killing more than a thousand of our citizens by neglect. Scratch the "equivalent to". I suppose we overspend by a much greater margin, looking at how poorly the armed forces in European NATO / in the EU are oriented at deterrence and defence.
*: Think about how extremely well the poorly armed U.S. airborne troops who served as tripwire forces in Saudi-Arabia during the Gulf crisis 1990 fit to this description; hopeless militarily, but backed up by overwhelming power.
**: So very much that I grew tired of adding links to it..