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US to provide arms, aircraft, commandos for NATO

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MUNSTER, GERMANY (AP): The US will contribute weapons, aircraft and forces, including commandos, for NATO's rapid reaction force, Defence Secretary Ash Carter said Monday, to help Europe defend against security threats, including Russia from the east and violent extremists from the south.

Under the plan, the US will contribute intelligence and surveillance capabilities, special operations forces, logistics, transport aircraft, and a range of weapons support that could include bombers, fighters and ship-based missiles.

It would not provide a large ground force.

Carter announced the new details about the US contribution after meeting with defence ministers from Germany, Norway and the Netherlands.

Those countries had agreed to provide the initial troops for the so-called very high readiness task force, which was announced last year at the NATO summit in Wales.

The US had pledged to support the task force, but NATO has been waiting to hear specifically what America was willing to provide.

US officials said there have been no final decisions on the number of troops that could participate, or where they could come from. The officials said many of the forces could come from those already stationed in Europe.

But the plan could result in a temporary increase in US forces in Europe in the event of a crisis, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss details of the agreement publicly.

No US troops or equipment will move immediately, but instead they would be made available within 48-72 hours if requested, and approved by American leaders, in response to a crisis. Officials said the top US commander in Europe, currently Gen Phil Breedlove, would make the request for any troops or equipment needed.

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US  NATO  Equipment  Missile  Fighter  Aircraft  
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