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A Schengen Zone for NATO

Why the Alliance Needs Open Borders for Troops

Operation Brilliant Jump, 2016.

NATO’s member states are willing to defend one another, and they have the troops and the equipment to do so. But quickly getting those troops and equipment to their destination is a different matter altogether. In some new NATO member states, bridges and railroads are simply not suitable for large troop movements. But one thing frustrates commanders even more: the arduous process of getting permission to move troops across borders.

“I was probably naïve,” admits Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe. “I assumed that because these were NATO and EU countries we’d just be able to move troops. But ministries of defense are not responsible for borders.”

At their upcoming summit in Warsaw, NATO members will discuss joint responses to Russian aggression, and they are likely to agree to station four battalions—totaling about 4,000 troops—in the Baltic states and

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