"Arming for deterrence"

July 19, 2016

That's a report on deterrence and defence needs of Poland in particular, but also the Baltics.

I haven't read all of it yet, but it appears to be overly focused on Poland, as if Poland itself was a realistic target for invasion and annexation. Such a focus appears to be typical of most reports and articles on NATO Eastern frontier security. For example, I myself mostly wrote about implications for the German army, RAND did a U.S.Army-focused piece.
Inevitably, ever such focused piece can at most be satisfactory to the target audience (RAND satisfying the interests of its client, the U.S. military, for example).



"I told you so!"


Do you remember the post-2003 obsession about how best to occupy Muslim countries and nation-build there? Practically everyone who dared to write anything new about how best to defend the alliance against old school blockade, bombardment or invasion was deemed a Cold War relic, a dinosaur, incapable of adapting to the new, post-Cold War world.

Well, occupying Muslim lands never reaped any benefits to speak of, and proved to be a badly misguided obsession. Instead, we're back at worrying about Russia, although the pendulum has swung so far (people are calling for unnecessary spending increases to meet this 'new' challenge) that by now I'd prefer to brake its movement already.

Let me reap the (marginal) benefits from having been right, not wrong, and a  long time ago already:

The article is relevant in its entirety, so I'll repost it in entirety:

Military history is just like general history an excellent tool for learning. You cannot make enough personal experiences to match what history offers you.

History offers valuable lessons for our strategic situation today. We feel extremely safe from threats of conventional war in Europe, and see no conflicts that could lead to such a conflict any time soon. Finally, we don't believe that any other power could challenge us in Europe - after all, we would have nukes for the worst case that our conventional forces fail.

There are two very disturbing lessons in military history that offer parallels to this situation.
I scratched on the surface of these lessons before, but they deserve a more thorough presentation.

I never truly believed the "nobody attacks us because of our nuclear weapons" ideology.
Air war theorists expected massive genocide from the air with gas bombs for the next war in the inter-war years (1919-1939) - but there was next to no poison gas usage in World War II. Hitler had the very first nerve gasses under his control and thereby a considerable advantage. But he never used any gas. Even not when the conventional attacks on England in 1940 failed or in more dire situations afterwards. No other power used gas in quantity on the battlefields or for bombing cities.
This means that there's an historical example that matches our expectations of 'WMD' dominance in the next European major war - and this example tells us that such expectations don't need to become reality.
We should (stay) prepare(d) for the case that some nation calls our nuclear deterrence bluff and not rely much on the nuclear deterrence.

The other remarkable and very irritating lesson of 20th century history is that you cannot plan your forces as much as five years in advance. To attempt it and stick to the plan leads to failure in case of real need for forces.
Germany had a 100,000 men military army in January, 1933. There was no military aviation allowed. And these troops were all volunteers, conscription was forbidden. There had been no training of reserve troops for many years by 1933 and the World War veterans weren't fit for combat service anymore.
Less than seven years later Germany had the most powerful army, a small but dangerous navy and an air force that was better prepared to support army operations than any other air force in the world. This rise of a phoenix shows how quickly a strategic situation can change.
Our policy would have a serious lag before it recognizes and reacts to such a challenge as did the policies of the European nations in the 1930's. The power which prepares for war in a specified time frame can more easily build up a modern and ready force than such a force can be maintained for decades.
The similarities between 1933 Germany and today's Russia are striking.
Mortified, defeated, survived economic crisis, shrunk military, authoritarian government, desire for national greatness, territories to reclaim, history of military strength even without major allies, arms limitations treaties in force...let them ally with PR China and they could grab Eastern European territories just like Germany was able to grab Saarland, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Memel before appeasement was given up. Imagine a reunification of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. We'd quickly face a nation much stronger in population, geo-strategic means, economy, arms industry and military - and probably backed up by an allied China.

The feeling of complete security in Europe and the assumption that it would require decades to threaten us with conventional war is completely wrong. History's lesson is clear-cut: Such safety cannot exist, there are historical precedences for what it would take to create a conventional total war in as few as a couple years.


I did not predict the Crimea and Donetzk grabs as the first (and so far only) ones,  and I didn't predict the salami slicing approach of Russia exploiting whatever freedom of action it has. Instead my warning was about their ability to go the brute strength route in an alliance with the PR China - which may still happen. Either way; it would have been beneficial to pay more attention to collective security instead of fruitless and costly great power games.


P.S: There was a small inaccuracy in the old article. The Reichswehr had 100,000 men in the army, navy was extra 15,000 men.I corrected that.


How to fix UK land power

The third part of the unofficial 'how to fix' series turned into a guest post at Think Defence. It has a lengthy introduction on the background, something I skipped in the first two instalments because it was covered in earlier blog posts.

(Comments are closed here, and open there.)



"Kerry warns Turkey's NATO membership could be in jeopardy"

Headlines these days:

"Turkey coup could threaten country's Nato membership, John Kerry warns"

"Kerry urges Turkey to maintain democratic principles after coup"

"Kerry Warns Turkey that Actions Could Have NATO Consequences"

Uhm, actually - no.

The North Atlantic Treaty has no such provision. Freedom, rule of law, democracy are mentioned in the preamble only, that's the non-binding part.

NATO did not kick Turkey out when it was a military dictatorship nor Greece when it was a military dictatorship and it let Portugal join while it was a dictatorship.

And how could it have kicked them out? There's no article in the treaty regulating how a member could be kicked out.* All others might leave and found NATO 2.0, and that's really the only legal way how to strip Turkey off its NATO membership.

I doubt anyone in Washington, DC who gets elected to high office is stupid enough to even want Turkey to leave NATO.

I suppose Kerry did a disservice by warping the public perception of NATO. Maybe I should add to my list that now some people believe in NATO as the first alliance ever to insist on democracy?


*: I checked all accession protocols, too: None of them even only mentions "democracy".

edit next day: The NATO Secretary General gets quoted implying the same nonsense:
"Being part of a unique community of values, it is essential for Turkey, like all other allies, to ensure full respect for democracy and its institutions, the constitutional order, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an e-mailed statement on Monday." 

Fixing German Army brigades

I was disrespectful enough to claim to know how to fix U.S.Army brigades, now I have little excuse for not doing the same to about the German army.

For background:

German army OOB 2012 (c) Noclador
German army bases
The problems are still approx. the same and there are equipment in-unit inventory and depot inventory issues as well as training issues etc, but I will follow the pattern from the other post and only describe a very, very short list of pivotal changes that should be done. Nothing about ideal designs from a clean sheet of paper.

First, hardware (mostly excluding munition stocks issues):

AFV and other vehicle issues would produce a long list. IFV Puma is nowhere close to ideal, but no alternative is realistic till 2020. The MBT is OK, the SPG is superb.

Anti-tank defences rest almost entirely on the Leopard 2's 120 mm gun, the still-new EuroSpike missile and Panzerfaust 3. I recommend the same as with the U.S.Army; we should introduce a HVM before 2020 because the IR-guided ATGM approach of both EuroSpike and the Trigat LR (the latter used by Tiger helicopters) requires a dissimilar alternative for redundancy. There's no reliability of long range AT defences without true redundancy. To control systemic risks (eliminating that one point of failure may crash the whole) this is basic risk management. 

We badly need a solution to the neverending story of the mortar crisis. I don't insist on a new mortar system and I'm certainly no fan of those excessively expensive and heavy mortar turrets, but we need better than 1960's style 4x4 car-towed 120 mm mortars only. The much-publicized Wiesel 120 mm mortar merely exist in numbers worthy of prototype status.
A self-propelled 105 mm soft recoil gun might be great for the purpose, but trajectory-correcting munitions AND a super-short high angle fire minimum range round that can emulate a 120 mm mortar's ~400 m minimum range in high angle fire* should be used for it, or else such a SPG cannot really replace mortars.

It was a mistake to eliminate more than 90 % of our battlefield air defences. Our legacy inventor of Stinger missiles is either near-useless after long storage and decades of countermeasures development or will be near-useless very soon.
It's not really an option to try to bring back Gepard and/or Roland in my opinion.
IRIS-T SLS is not the answer. I'd rather like them to have a close look at a combination of Bolide and MICA VL, though the latter may be too expensive for large numbers.** It's also important that all remote-controlled weapon stations for machineguns be prepared for use against low-flying helicopters and drones.

We need enough tank transporters (in-service types are Mammut, Franziska and Elefant) to deploy by road all tracked vehicles of half of the brigades at the same time. This means we may need to purchase additional Mammut vehicles, since we have less than 400 of all three types.

Tan transporter SLT 50 Elefant, (c) Sonaz

There aren't enough COBRA artillery radars. They have each less than 120° field of view and need to stare (emit) in order to provide reliable coverage. This means at least four per brigade would be needed, before accounting for attrition.

Second, organisation:

This is where the bigger sins are at.

Artillery needs to be organic with brigades, period.

We should clean up the many different brigades. We know that there's but one halfway realistic area of operations, and it makes sense to optimise for it in order to achieve the desired deterrence with great efficiency. Three terrain types are relevant; flat open agricultural areas, settlements (no megacities) and flat woodland. The agricultural areas and flat woodland may have a very soft and wet soil. The typical trees have thin-enough stems for being knocked over by MBTs.

I assume that capitals in the region would be defended by their national forces, so delaying actions and (counter-)attacks in alternatingly open, village and woodland areas would be predominant for German brigades.

The proper brigade archetype for this is an upgraded mechanized infantry brigade (Panzergrenadierbrigade), though its leadership should be capable of both infantry- and tank-centric mindsets. We should have minimum six of these, eight if we get rid of the navy and some other wasteful spending. No budget increase is required for this.

Mechanised brigade HQ company (small)
   Tank battalion
      (3 tank companies)
   Artillery battalion
      (PzH 2000s only; MARS should be above brigade level assets)
   Mechanised infantry ("Panzergrenadier") battalion
      (4 IFV companies and 1 organic indirect fires company)
   Infantry ("Jäger") battalion
      (3 infantry companies, 1 indirect fires company, 1 anti-tank company)
   Logistics battalion
      (carrying enough supplies for three days; 1,000 rds per indirect fires tube and about 1,500 tons diesel fuel)
   Anti-tank ("Panzerjäger") company
      (HVMs and Skorpion)
   Engineer company
      (mostly minesweeping and bridgelaying)
   (Artillery) Sensors, EW and MI company
   Air defence company
   Military Police Platoon
      (traffic control and HQ security tasks, in emergency usable as motorcycle couriers)

The doctrine for these brigades would rather not be to keep them together, but to (initially) deploy three mechanised battalion battlegroups that may converge for a massed action temporarily. The tank, mechanised and infantry battalion HQs would for this reason be identical once deployed. Only the administrative parts may differ.
A support group would host the support assets (including some of the artillery and air defences) and would primarily be secured by the infantry battalion whenever it's not required to sweep or defend infantry-friendly terrain.

The brigades would be in a two-phase cycle:
12 months training phase with deployability (90% of personnel and equipment) within 14 days.***
12 months quick reaction phase with deployability (90% of personnel and equipment) within 4-7 days.***

Support units allocated at division or corps command, but based very close to the brigades, would need to provide the tank transporters. These units would need to alternate bases yearly in order to always be close to the QR brigades.

Two light infantry ("Ranger" or "Jäger") regiments should exist in parallel. I would not designate them as brigades since I wouldn't want any 155 mm artillery, medium or heavy AFVs in there. These regiments would thus not be true combined army formations on their own. They would be able to self-deploy by road in 1st and 2nd week respectively.

There should be no Franco-German brigade. To disband this brigade is not feasible in itself due to its symbolism, so I suppose we should cheat and form a "Franco-German division" consisting of a French brigade and a German brigade.

_ _ _ _ _

The idea is simple: An army that could reliably deploy a robust**** force capable of delaying actions and (counter-)attacks against invaders to the region of Warsaw in mere days. Additional collective defence contributions for the first two weeks in NE Europe should include corps-level support (area air defences, some army rotary aviation, rocket artillery, combat service support) and combat air patrols by most of the Luftwaffe's Typhoon wings, which should be based in Eastern Germany.*****
This fits to the constitutional mission of the Bundeswehr and no-one would have good reason to claim that we don't do enough for collective deterrence an defence if we could deploy as much land forces power in the first week or two into Poland as the rest of NATO combined - in addition to the Luftwaffe's contribution beginning on day one.
I think this can be done without spending more than we spend so far - if we muster the self-discipline to cut wasteful spending.


P.S.: I don't know enough about the current equipment of the Heer for radio communication and electronic warfare to comment on these possibly decisive elements.

*: This may necessitate +80° maximum barrel elevation and fin-stabilized smoke and high explosive rounds for ranges of 400 to about 2,000 m only. 
**: I wrote MICA VL instead of IRIS-T SL because MICA VL exists with alternative RF and IIR seekers. It's rather unlikely that both will be countered effectively by the same target. Ironically, the Swedish military appears to intend to replace RBS 70 with IRIS-T SL, so I may be wrong here. I insist on Bolide (a RBS 70 version) because of its low price and its laser beamrider guidance that is most difficult to counter. An emphasis on IRIS-T SL or MICA on the other hand would emphasise a higher ceiling, which matters much against air attack with guided munitions.
Small numbers of ShorAD missiles such as MICA VL may suffice to force attack aircraft to higher altitudes, from which detecting, identifying and engaging targets is more difficult and in its effect less efficient. IRIS-T SL and MICA VL would in theory also be able to lock on after launch on an attack helicopter that's not in line of sight to the missile launcher.
***: Deployment by road to the vicinity of Warsaw - regardless of weekends, holidays etc. Legal preparations for this need to be done by German state governments, the federal government and the Polish government.
****: Actually robust, not buzzword "robust". By "robust" I mean not brittle under great pressure, without predictable points of failure such as countered anti-tank defences, unreliable radio communication, personnel without common native language or not survivable indirect fires support.
*****: Not too far and not too close. Tornado units and one training-focused Typhoon wing with early batch Typhoons would be meant for the 3rd and 4th weeks. Enough A310 MRTT need to be available for supporting Typhoon operations over Poland and Baltic Sea at the latest in the 2nd week (these planes can be converted between transport and tanker configurations). Used civilian A310 are available at low prices and could be converted to MRTTs.


Tactical reserves

I've seen very poor definitions of "tactical reserves", all seemingly derived from each other or from one common origin. For this reason I'll try to give a more satisfactory definition to get at the core of the idea:

"Tactical reserves are those subordinate combat forces that a commander strives to keep out of contact with opposing forces in order to commit them to action only after the area of their most promising employment has been identified or an opportunity for their most promising employment has arisen."
Tactical reserves have been most important throughout much of history. The layered Roman battle orders with Triarii in reserve and Alexander the Great's heavy shock cavalry are typical examples. Some other doctrinal systems such as the Greek polis' phalanx line knew no such reserves and were very susceptible to collapse and routing once one part of the formation failed.

In mobile warfare between armies consisting of mechanised brigades or smaller battlegroups one  would typically expect either clashes with extremely high attrition rates (1967, 1973 and 1990 examples) or contests between forces and tacticians of comparable quality in which the opposing commanders strive to fix or slow down hostile manoeuvre elements and especially the hostile reserves. The employment of the own reserves would be expected to yield the best results once the hostile reserves are busy elsewhere and unable to counter one's offensive move any more.
I remember a recollection of an army exercise in which an American officer was very proud that his division commander had the self-restraint to not tell his brigades to engage and destroy the red forces with brute force, but committed the author's brigade only until military intelligence reported that the opposing forces' reserves were already committed. The entire mission of that brigade was to draw in the opposing reserves, nothing else - and it was ordered to break contact once those reserves were understood to have been committed elsewhere already.

Let's for a moment believe that such a focus on tactical reserves as a major determinant of "success" in battle is appropriate. What are the consequences?

To commit an entire brigade merely to draw in equivalently powerful reserves sounds inefficient to me. What about committing much smaller forces, and feigning that those much smaller forces are actually a much greater threat?
A single battalion battlegroup could be sent to threaten some important objective (ammunition depot, army aviation forward airfield, corps HQ, river bridge etc.) in order to distract the reserves. It could exploit the terrain in order to be an unacceptably tough target of attack to merely equivalent-sized forces.
More friendly forces would then be available for the friendly tactical reserves, which could then be committed to exploit an offensive opportunity.

My old idea of manoeuvre elements (including armoured recce-like elements of at most company size) that don't fear being "behind" or "around" hostile brigades etc. interacts with this tactical reserves topic in an interesting way: Such elements could easily be told to converge on the hostile reserves and to keep them busy for a defined time window in order to achieve the same diversionary effect as would a much more substantial frontal attack of a brigade or two.

The key idea should be to achieve the desired diversionary effect with minimal resources (or rather minimal casualties). It would be of great help if the feint could gain the appearance of a more powerful force or at least of a major threat. This means the vehicle types, movement, electronic and fire support need to help generate this impression. It would also be of great usefulness if just any battlegroup could feign to be of double or triple strength instead of limiting such a deceptive capacity to but a few elements.

A commander and particularly his staff need a high level of self-awareness for this; they need to know what they would do if this feint was really a major action, or else they could not intentionally and consciously emulate this behaviour. Feints share the same disappointing fate with many other military preparations (such as prepared artillery missions); all-too often they fail to be effective because the opposing forces aren't predictable enough.

Tactical reserves and feints are not very prominent in field manuals about tactics, particularly for battalion  command and below. It seems that tactics course teachers, not textbooks, are meant to convey the importance and centrality of both tactical reserves and feints in "our" and "their" doctrines. This is somewhat risky, since it's this way less likely to be preserved as important part of the doctrine over generations of peace than if it was written down with more emphasis.



How NATO changed the perception of what an alliance is and does (II)

First part:

(9) Never before did an alliance have its own air force (NATO E-3 planes officially belong to Luxembourg, but they really are NATO's planes)

(10) Alliances didn't use to routinely deploy symbolic force detachments into areas of crisis. Nor was such behaviour expected, much less without any such obligation in the treaty text.

(11) Permanent ("forward") deployment of forces in allied states wasn't typical of alliances at all prior to NATO (and the Warsaw Pact). The current "normalcy" of forward deployed forces is a leftover from post-WW2 occupation forces - path dependency led us here. Previously, permanent military detachments in allied countries were typical of a hegemon-client relationship between the allies (such as Nazi Germany and Romania 1939/41, or Sparta and Thebes etc.) only.

I suppose that modern Europeans aren't really aware how atypical NATO is as an alliance. Seemingly self-evident features of NATO have hardly ever or never before been observed in other alliances.



Civil defence sirens


Actually, few cities and towns in Germany still have these. Many (if not most) were taken out of service since the mid-90's.

This is the sound that no German ever wants to hear, particularly not those who remember the Cold War:

Imagine (unless you experienced it) to hear it on  test run with a test signal sequence, knowing that you live at the frontier of NATO during the Cold War, expecting to simply die within minutes, hours or days after hearing that signal above - regardless of what you do or our soldiers try. It would make no difference between getting killed by a red or a blue bomb.
The perception as I remember it wasn't that "only" a million or two of us would die as simulated since the 50's, but more likely pretty much everyone.

It's been a quarter century already, and I wonder by how much the collective memory has faded and will fade.



Fixing U.S. Army brigades


I stomped on the idea that the U.S.Army brigade designs might be sensible for conventional warfare a few days ago. Now let's be constructive and think about how they could fix that.

First, the hardware issues.

Hardware: Tube Artillery

Save for absent battlefield air defences, their tube artillery has mediocre to poor quality (155 mm L/39 SPG and even towed). Their ranges and rates of fire (first minute) are substandard by now, and the towed guns have terrible survivability and issues and substandard responsiveness due to their limited traverse.
A correction of this deficiency might be possible with AGM / DONAR, which apparently can even be mounted on an 8x8 platform for a good road march mobility (I would rather propose HEMTT with protected cab as platform than Boxer, though). Other solutions than AGM are available, of course, but AGM looks most promising (if it really is reliable - I cannot judge this).

AGM module (on Boxer platform); 155 mm L/52, 10 rounds in first minute

Their only powerful anti-tank systems in their medium and light brigade types are few mounted TOW2 launchers and the portable Javelin launchers. Russia et al had 20+ years time to adapt to (counter) both; no Cold War ATGM remained without an effective counter for 20 years. Indeed, ordinary multispectral smoke does break both Javelin's and TOW2's approach to guidance easily.

Hardware: Short range AT
The U.S.Army might add man-portable unguided short range munitions such as Panzerfaust 3-IT600, or a supercalibre tandem shaped charge munition for their M3 Carl Gustav*. These are short-range munitions, but they require no guidance to meet expectations at all. The in-service AT4 is not a serious anti-MBT munition; AT4-CS is so only in urban warfare.
Panzerfaust 3 is more of a munition than a weapon, since only the grip and sight module piece is reusable. 
Panzerfaust 3 with computerized sight for 600 m useful range

The difference between "weapon" and "munition" is more important than it might seem: Army bureaucracies have tables of organisation and equipment. It's easy for the bureaucracy to change the equipment with additional munitions, but commonly it's difficult to add weapons beyond what the TO&E grants the small unit or unit. The less a piece of equipment is considered a weapon, the more likely it may be added to adapt the capability of a small unit to challenges of the next hours or days.

Panzerfaust 3 grip+sight units and rounds might be issued up to clip-on piece + several rounds per fireteam if there's a great need for short range AT firepower. The Carl Gustav on the other hand is a weapon allocated to infantry only, and but one per platoon. It's most unlikely that multiple of these heavy weapons would be handed out for a few hours or days only, and if so at most one per squad. This may make a huge difference, for many active defence suites are likely going to fail against salvo fires.

The Carl Gustav is more of a portable infantry gun than an anti-tank weapon actually, and won't be used in great quantity due to its launcher weight.
To adopt Panzerfaust 3-IT600 would thus offer much more AT firepower. It would also be 100% military off-the shelf, with no development costs or development time. I point out PzF 3 for its powerful calibre of 110 mm (more than the RPG-29's 105 mm), not because it's German. Portable 100-120 mm AT weapons/munitions are actually quite rare, but they're the only ones that can be somewhat trusted against MBTs.
MBT LAW and the weird (enhanced) ERYX are more options and likely more powerful against MBTs, but they're not quite as versatile.

Hardware: Long-range AT

Equally important might be an introduction of CKEM, a hypervelocity missile. Its quickness eliminates several counters that are relevant to Javelin, though CKEM would need to be coupled to a (possibly jamming-troubled) millimetre wave radar to eliminate the problem of concealment by multispectral smoke. Smoke couldn't be deployed in time to counter a launch (other than with Javelin and TOW-2), but artillery- and mortar-laid smoke that lasts for minutes (in the IR spectrum!) might provide a good preventive concealment. CKEM differs from Javelin and TOW-2 in its method of armour penetration: It is nearly identical to the M1 Abrams' 120 mm APFSDS munition. The minimum effective range of a CKEM may be several hundred metres (due to the slower acceleration than in a tank gun), so the aforementioned short range munitions would be important in some terrains.

Test footage of LOSAT missiles, conceptually similar to CKEM. Disregard the fake sounds.

AGM, Panzerfaust 3-IT600 and CKEM: Three hardware options to overcome critical shortcomings.

Now about the structure (brigade designs):

Structure: Heavy BCT
Their most sensible current brigade pattern is the heavy ("Armored") BCT pattern, though its road march deployability is poor. Hundreds of HETS are necessary to quickly deploy a brigade from Germany to Warsaw, for example. 
Too many tracked vehicles would break down on a long road march under own power. The march with all those routine maintenance breaks would be very slow, at least the drivers would be exhausted and the brigade would generally take days to technically recover from the march. The U.S.Army has enough HETS, though I have not seen any indication that enough are available to the Armored BCT in Germany. I don't consider deployment by rail as a reliable option because the rail network is too easily disrupted (the signals system is vulnerable even if diesel locomotives are used to avoid powerline issues). An entire battalion equivalent for operating enough HETS would be needed with the brigades in Germany. The personnel might be drawn from already present small units that serve no essential purpose in the event of crisis.

Structure: Medium BCT

The medium ("Stryker") BCT pattern is lacking a sensible concept of operations. The AT and arty firepower fixes would make it much more effective on defensive missions, but reinforcement by a tank battalion would be necessary for most offensive missions. It would make sense to have such a tank battalion's equipment in Germany and to fly in the personnel in times of need. The nearby Armored BCT's tank battalion could switch between using its own and 'foreign' tanks from month to month in order to avoid poor material readiness.

Structure: Light BCT

The light ("Infantry") BCT pattern needs the same treatment as the medium one. Again, the BCT should have limited (mostly by choice of terrain) defensive capability and after arrival of MBT reinforcements a limited (slow-moving) offensive ability in conventional warfare.
_ _ _ _ _

By the way:
I don't think that a forward deployment of some Armored BCTs to Northern or Eastern Poland would be desirable. The fiscal and political costs of setting up bases would be huge and a countering reallocation of Russian tank brigades would almost be guaranteed. It makes sense to plan for such a deployment, even assuming one or two years in improvised barracks, but a deployment right away makes no sense as long as the Russian Western Military District is strong only in regard to Moscow's integrated air defence cluster.
This drives my emphasis on quick 1,000+ km administrative marches with little or no early warning.

It doesn't take a super-complex and super-expensive program like FCS to drastically increase the fitness of the U.S.Army's hardware arsenal and brigade patterns for conventional warfare.
My proposals above weren't clean sheet optimal design proposals, but minimum quick fix proposals that could become effective within months (HETS allocation) to about five years (CKEM and AGM orders, production and introduction).


*: The Swedes developed a supercalibre shaped charge munition for the Carl Gustav in the early 80's, but it wasn't a tandem design to defeat explosive reactive armour (or overflight and sensor-fused EFP top attack design as MBT LAW) yet:

FFV 597

edit 20 July 2016: One could also look at SPIKE-SR (110 mmw arhead, non-gimballed IIR senor, fire&forget, 50-1,500 m, from Israel) for short range SR due to its low weight, but it now had a range of 1,500 m declared, which would make it look like a Javelin (2,000 m) successor despite inferior capabilities. This would make it difficult to introduce SPIKE-SR as a lower range complementary equipment. Then again, Javelins are approaching the end of their shelf life and a successor isn't a terrible idea anyway.



A couple days ago I wrote that I wouldn't mind getting rid of an entire German armed service. 
Now my challenge to (German) readers:

Offer me an example for collective defence (NATO or EU being under attack by a foreign government's armed services) in which a German navy is necessary to keep Germany from getting blockaded, bombed or invaded/occupied or necessary to reconquer/defend an ally that got blockaded, bombed or invaded & occupied!*

Phrases such as "Germany's navy would seal off the Baltic Sea exit for Russian navy" don't count. If that was really important and likely, the Russians could simply order those Baltic Fleet units to deploy to the Northern Fleet prior to a hot conflict.
Phrases about German ports needing naval mineclearing don't count either, since there are minehunter ships in allied navies as well, and the small Baltic Sea ports would hardly be used during a hot conflict (for safety reasons).

I think it's obvious that a German naval presence would hardly be felt in a Mediterranean conflict, but such a conflict is super-unlikely for want of a threat anyway.**
A Eastern European conflict on the other hand requires a super-quick deployment (or predeployment) of ground combat (and air defence) forces, as well as air power intervention. Navies would be utter sideshows unless the conflict escalated to the Atlantic Ocean, and in that case a German navy would hardly be felt either.

One might say that keeping a navy just in case, as a pool of competence,  would make sense. That's the ideology of balanced military forces - as if having a coastline inevitably makes a navy necessary (regardless of allies), even though landlocked allies do not need a navy at all (with equal apparent self-evidence).
I counter this with the 100+ year track record of German navy uselessness. I don't think it's worth spending billions waiting for a mythical time in which a German navy makes sense for a change. We wouldn't even have much use (and thus not any need) for it if we were alone and without allies again.

This is not a proposal for Germany to freeride on allied efforts. It's a proposal to tailor the armed services for collective deterrence and defence. Our geographic location puts an above-average burden on us as early defender of Eastern frontier allies. The navy is a mere distraction to this.


*: I wrote this rather complicated set of requirements because it's unrealistic to demand that military power prevents every alliance member from even only temporary naval blockade, air attack or hostile forces incursions.
**: Israel is the only somewhat relevant non-allied power there, and it's extremely unlikely that it attacks NATO or the EU.