WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- NATO's commander told the U.S. Congress a planned European Union rapid deployment force would undermine the military capability of the Atlantic alliance.
Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington Thursday, Gen. James L. Jones said a permanent 1,500-man EU force "would have a draining effect on the alliance and it would reduce our capability." The force has been proposed by Britain, France and Germany to intervene quickly wherever it is needed.
Jones argued since most of the 20 EU members and soon-to-be members also belong to the 26-member NATO they would be drawing on the same military resources.
Washington has been critical of the EU's military plans, which are still in the discussion stage. But Jones said siphoning off European troops for the rapid deployment force would "have a negative impact on the overall capability and significantly impact the general intention that we have in NATO to achieve NATO's transformation."