A fine New Year's pledge for the EU

We're inflicting 150 9/11-scale strikes on ourselves per year. Maybe we should stop this (or at least reduce this quantity) instead of getting distracted by squirrels errorists.

Air pollution - by many believed to be a solved problem - is still killing more Europeans per day than any non-World War war ever.

ESA's 2004 graphic based on ENVISAT satellite data: NO2 pollution world-wide
European NO2 hot spots

The biggest tragedies and political failures aren't necessarily the ones that attract the most attention. Errorists threats and strikes are spectacular by definition, reports about them are kind of entertaining. So is in a way the Aleppo tragedy. The REAL top tier problems are in entirely different areas.
The REAL top tier problems are the ones which we didn't solve yet because by their very nature they kind of 'fly under our radar'. They're the high-hanging fruits. You need to pay attention and mobilise some rational thinking in order to get exasperated about such issues - while all you need to do to get terribly angry about some errorist asswipes is to sit on your couch and use the TV remote.

Problems that easily arouse anger and frustration amongst many people are by their very nature provoking countermeasures and are thus bound to cause little harm after a while.  Meanwhile, big and small problems that do not provoke such intense reactions may linger on - politicians may know of them, but have little incentive to address them forcefully, for there's not public pressure. Solving such issues wouldn't necessarily yield rewards for political action either, since the problem was below the 
attention threshold anyway, and its absence would not be noted.

This is actually an analogy to Luttwak's description of how spectacular technological advance by a military provokes quick and effective countermeasures, while many small barely noticed innovations may provide lasting advantages 

So how about a New Year's pledge for the EU: In 2018 we should address the REAL top tier issues insteaSQUIRREL!



How to harm your people and mankind as a whole by starting a war

"Natürlich, das einfache Volk will keinen Krieg […] Aber schließlich sind es die Führer eines Landes, die die Politik bestimmen, und es ist immer leicht, das Volk zum Mitmachen zu bringen, ob es sich nun um eine Demokratie, eine faschistische Diktatur, um ein Parlament oder eine kommunistische Diktatur handelt. […] Das ist ganz einfach. Man braucht nichts zu tun, als dem Volk zu sagen, es würde angegriffen, und den Pazifisten ihren Mangel an Patriotismus vorzuwerfen und zu behaupten, sie brächten das Land in Gefahr. Diese Methode funktioniert in jedem Land." 
Interview mit Gustave Gilbert in der Gefängniszelle, 18. April 1946, Nürnberger Tagebuch (1962; Originalausgabe: "Nuremberg Diary" 1947)

"Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America nor, for that matter, in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. [...] That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Interview with Gustave Gilbert in jail, 18 April 1946, "Nurembourg Diary" (1962, 1st edition: 1947)

(This quote confirmed, albeit by a single source.)

Parental advisory: Don't try this at home!

Nor should you ever be played like that (again)!



How to deter errorism

Asswipes who want to provoke us with violence cannot be deterred with good reliability by the threat of primitive retaliation. All-too often retaliation is what they want to provoke, after all.

Years ago I proposed a schedule for withdrawal from a war of occupation which featured a deterrence element against violence; the troops would be scheduled to withdraw piecemeal over time, but for every one soldier killed or wounded in action a fixed quantity of soldiers would be sent as reinforcements. Any 'freedom fighters' claiming to fight against occupation would face the dilemma that fighting against occupation would actually prolong or even greatly grow the occupation.

I think something similar could be done against errorists, particularly errorists who are linked to a non-elusive party like daesh:

We could simply pass a law (effective for 10 years) which compels us to send aid to the enemies of the errorists for every of our citizens killed by errorists abroad or anyone killed by errorists in our country.

For one killed person:
1,000 small arms with munitions and accessories
100 4wd cars
100 missiles and one missile launcher
10 mortars with a thousand rounds (and more auxiliary charges) each
10 instructors who train the new users for six months

For one severely injured person:
500 small arms with munitions and accessories
50 4wd cars
50 missiles and one missile launcher
5 mortars with a thousand rounds (and more auxiliary charges) each
5 instructors who train the new users for six months

Both would be to be delivered (very publicly) within two months. Stocks would be purchased from other countries if the own stocks would otherwise drop below a defined minimum level for collective defence. Such purchases could be pre-arranged just in case, in order to meet the two-month deadline.

Additionally, the law could include a lump sum delivery as answer for failed every errorist strike.

I suppose we could skip many "counter-terrorism security" expenses and would still be safer than with the status quo policies.



Military engineers' railway bridges

I wasn't specific about how quickly a railway bridge could be replaced during wartime when I wrote about pontoon bridges or about the Baltic Invasion scenario. The reason was that researching this topic wasn't very fruitful.

Now I learned why; apparently,

"H-17.  The  MAN SE railway bridge is a panel bridge that is  similar to the Bailey bridge but is much stronger. It has two configurations: upper deck and lower deck. With the upper deck configuration, it can span gaps up to 40.95 meters; with the lower deck up to 50.4 meters. It is designed to withstand the crossing of locomotives with 30 tons per axle and wagons with 20 tons per axle. Installation time is 20 to 30 hours with a 50-man crew and two cranes. This bridge requires a prepared abutment (existing railway abutments or concrete abutment). Spain and Italy are the only NATO countries with  existing military railway bridges in their inventory."
source: FM 3-90.12/MCWP 3-17.1  (FM 90-13), page H-17, (July 2008)

Well, it's difficult to find info if there's hardly anything in existence. Thus this is not a blog article about military engineers' railway bridges as much as about them not having the same.

There is an important Oder bridge at the border between Germany and Poland. I suppose the central span over the water (104 m long) could be taken down by two well-aimed cruise missile hits. The MAN SE railway bridge would be less than half as long as needed.

Maybe there's a way to realise a railway pontoon bridge, but you'd need to lay the rail lines to and from it as well, and would still suffer from the vulnerability of the mostly unguarded rail lines and their signal systems.

This marginal capability to reconnect railway lines of communication reflects the reduced reliance of armed forces on railway transportation; we can make do with roads nowadays, though particularly tank transporter semi-trailers are in rather short supply for this.



LOS situational awareness

I'll try a bit of prophecising here.

Its known that a few modern main battle tanks have all-round camera vision (not upwards or downwards, of course). The F-35 LO strike  fighter has a subsystem called DAS, which with six cameras surveils all surroundings, serving as target tracker, missile detector and even (large calibre) muzzle flash detector. Some drones were equipped with a "gorgon stare", nine cameras watching a huge area simultaneously.

All this is sooner or later going to disseminate to the lowest level, the infantryman.

Now keep in mind how tiny and cheap 12+ megapixel cameras on smartphones are already.

Also, keep in mind how tiny and cheap radio-controlled quadcopter drones are. 

Finally, keep in mind that every fiberglass communication is essentially a communication by coded laser pulses.
_ _ _ _ _

Combine the ideas and the already available technology and you might end up with an infantryman possessing all-round vision with four cameras mounted on his helmet, and a worn minicomputer interpreting the all-round vision, alerting him of whatever is of interest; muzzle flashed, optics flashes, movements, recognizable shapes of interest, moving drones etc. 
The findings would be communicated to the user by stereo sound from earpieces and by a helmet mounted display not much more cumbersome than Google Glass.
He might even have a third set of eyes mounted on a kind of drone that's attached to a tiny backpack and launches from it to hover over his head, communicating with his helmet-mounted sensors by laser pulses and adding ranging by triangulation to the sensing of his "helmet's eyes". Well, this and  also the advantage of a bird's field of view.
The whole package may easily weigh less than a kg and cost less than two month's worth of pay.

ETA: About 2 years judging by technology, 10-20 years taking into account the sluggishness of the procurement agencies.

Finally, keep in mind I wrote this blog post under (very much felt) influence of alcohol, and it may be crap. Just as any other claim or idea of some dude on the intertubes. Always be critical, use your own judgement!



"Europeans Debate Nuclear Self-Defense after Trump Win"

This article was linked in the comments. I will not link to it for legal reasons, but you should be able to look it up easily.
I'd like to offer a quick hint that reveals how the author totally did not do his homework and in fact wrote an article that mostly and as a whole made no sense whatsoever because of this ignorance.

Article II
Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

An anecdote was leaked years ago that French then-president Sarkozy had proposed (in a meeting with chancellor Merkel) a binational control over French nukes as one of his erratic ideas and got angry when German minister of foreign affairs shot the idea down pointing out the NPT. I suppose a Spiegel journalist and his editor should have been aware of this part of the NPT since that leak at the latest.



Tripwire forces - and why I reject them inevitably

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.


What Europeans could do for more efficient deterrence and defence

Europeans - both European NATO and EU - spend enough, have enough nuclear munitions and have enough manpower to deter aggression and defend themselves. I wrote about this several times, and the real world data on European military power is mightily in conflict with widespread perceptions which were warped by Americans. Thus this blog article won't be about hot to make European defence more effective. It's about efficiency; in this case having both enough military power to quickly force a status quo ante white peace after an (hypothetical) aggression.
I'll heavily lean on what I wrote before, so this is in part a summary.

- - - - -

In general
  • Orient the military towards deterrence and defence against Russia (excluding Turkey here despite it's in NATO). Mediterranean defence and long-term security against a potentially hostile United States are very unlikely scenarios that justify very, very little expenses.
  • Any non-overt armed incursion needs to be faced with the same decisively destructive power that would be applied to military forces, and preferably so within 60 hrs. The first salami slice needs be salted at a dosage that eliminates all appetite for more for at least one generation. 
Naval affairs
  • Even maritime-minded people who are very much impressed by their naval history or long coastlines should begin to rationally think about the limit of the actual need for naval power. 
  • Both the Russian Baltic and Black Sea fleets are close to irrelevant luxuries. Their ships might launch cruise missiles, and accomplish very little else. Their ability to let loose of all their land attack cruise missiles in the first minute of a conflicts turns all efforts for the quick destruction of these fleets moot. These fleets might leave their home waters and join the Russian fleet in the Arctic, for example. This means that European countries with Black Sea and Baltic Sea ports cannot rationally justify naval expenses with these Russian fleets that would only need be destroyed if they leave said waters - and would easily destroyed by air power and land-based systems if they attempted to do so during a hot conflict. 
  • Countries in proximity to Russian territory (Germany, Poland, Baltics, Romania, Bulgaria) should thus not bother spending on naval power because farther back countries - several of which are naval-obsessed - can deal with whatever naval threat is on the Atlantic Ocean, while simultaneously being in a much worse geographic position to quickly and efficiently provide land power for defence (and thus deterrence).
  • Rear area maritime shipping lanes (Hamburg to Gibraltar)  could be secured with a land-based approach and boats instead of prestigious and expensive warships that would not possibly be available in sufficient numbers anyway.
Air power
  • The rule of the pilot caste needs be broken, or else both the use of drones and the use of ground and sea-launched cruise and quasiballistic missiles for precision strikes on stationary and semi-stationary targets will keep being neglected in favour of more pilot seats.
  • Air forces need to redeploy their high value assets (mobile radars, aircraft, missile firing units) at the slightest hint of crisis in order to prevent a strategic surprise attack with hundreds of missiles on these targets. 100 Typhoons are worth little if 80 get knocked out in their hardened shelters by direct cruise missile hits in the first hour of the conflict. This redeployment needs to become so common and routine that nobody would hesitate to do it - which means that the personnel of these units would much of the year live in the field or on other airfields and even civilian airports.
  • It's cost-inefficient and in a hot conflict fairly slow to lean heavily on highly sophisticated strike packages of the American model. Likewise, it's very risky to lean heavily on stealth. The relatively brute force and modest ambition of missile saturation attacks could on the other hand deliver powerful blows at highly useful ranges against stationary and semi-stationary targets.
  • Land strike against mobile targets is hardly efficient in the frame of long-range interdiction. Engagements within 100 km of powerful friendly land forces on the other hand could and should reach peak efficiency by reducing air power to the eye in the sky, with long-range artillery delivering the fires. This rests on the assumption that radio communications could be maintained at useful distances (or to satellites), of course. Air/ground missions  would hardly be less dependent on useful radio communication ranges anyway.
  • Ship strike from the air is a relevant topic, and a much cheaper alternative to naval power, especially naval air power. This requires highly capable anti-radar and anti-ship missiles in the inventory, and sufficient training (simulator and real) of suitable attack patterns. Both missile types could have a dual capability (also precision strike against radars / structures on land).
  • Small countries should not operate their own air force, but rather contribute personnel (and some funds) to common air components.
  • Said common air components could include quick change transport/tanker aircraft, AEW aircraft (preferably quick ones), electronic warfare aircraft (same), training aircraft (similar to NFTC).
Land power
  • Small NATO / EU members should focus on having one good brigade or several good brigades, not trying to create a full spectrum miniature army with assets that typically belong to divisional or higher echelons (army aviation, long range artillery, higher HQs, area air defences etc.) or elaborate training establishments.  They should also abstain from raising or maintaining any "elite" units, such as paras, special forces et cetera that would only dilute the personnel foundation of the brigades.
  • The larger NATO / EU members (Germany, France, UK, Italy, Poland) should imbalance their land forces in favour of such above-brigade assets in order to balance out the total alliance military power that could and would be brought to bear in the first weeks of a hot conflict.
  • A NATO land warfare exercise establishment capable of handling four army brigades should be established in Southwestern Poland, and should at all times house 3-4 army brigades. These would double as kind of forward-deployed forces.
  • Armour, artillery and anti-tank defence need to gain in importance regarding resource allocation again. You cannot face Russian forces with brigades that have hardly any indirect fires capability. 1980's anti-tank munitions are still usable against BMP/BTR/BMD, as HE fire support and for demolitions, but pointless against the MBTs an aggressor would use.
  • Land forces that cannot be deployed quickly are of little relevance. Quick deployment means arrival at 80% of nominal strength with three combat days worth of supplies, 1,000 km and two pontoon bridges away from garrison within 48 hours of the first warning order. This does NOT require a 8x8 APC-based "medium" brigade, or any other of the "medium" nonsense that was cooked up in the last two decades. It DOES require that 80% of nominal strength can be deployed by road  and arrive in operational condition. This is perfectly possible with tracked vehicles of any relevant size, if only there are enough tank transporter semi-trailer combos. It is also possible with MBTs arriving later, if only 80% of the nominal strength arrives on its own wheels in time. It may also require a personnel surplus in the units, or else the personnel side could make the 80% threshold unachievable.
  • Long-neglected army branches such as air defence need more emphasis, and relevant quantities of hardware. "EOD", military intelligence, HQs above brigade level, "marines" and medical services may shrink (though the exact advisable corrections differ between countries). "Special forces" could and should be disbanded though I exclude long range recon patrol / long range scout / Fernspäher from this; I simply don't think they should be "special" at all.
  • The logistical and planning sides of a rapid establishment of sufficient strength in NE Poland and Lithuania need to be fit for the rapid deployment of forces. This includes ensured passage over natural obstacles such as rivers and non-reliance on fragile means of transportation such as rail (even diesel-powered locomotives depend on easily-sabotaged signals systems and of course easily-sabotaged rails) for any time-critical transportation. Nor must we be dependent on supremely expensive airlift, or on sealift over the Baltic Sea. Enough alternative road routes need be available between Poland and Lithuania.
In general, part two
  • Europeans can easily spend a third less on military affairs in 2020-2025,  and still have more deterrence and relative military power than in the status quo. It's about efficiency, and not wasting resources on items that are irrelevant to deterrence and actual defence. It's entirely NOT about spending more, or spending some arbitrary percentage of economic output. That nonsense is merely getting pushed by special interests and people who are ignorant of or disregarding the fact that in reality Europe is a military powerhouse, including compared to Russia.
  • I recommend that countries with very low per capita economic output or very high public debt limit their military expenditures. Greece, Belgium, Albania, Bulgaria and also Romania easily fall into either of these categories. A great benefit of being allied is that you need to spend less to provide for deterrence and defence since the efforts add up better than the requirements. The pervert idea that a country needs to spend more to justify its place in an alliance is merely pushed by those cynics who want small countries to serve as auxiliary troops pools for great power games. They don't have security in mind, but playing games with the lives and fortune of people they don't care about.



edit: This wasn't meant to be published yet; I meant to keep it as a draft for a while and keep working on it. Well, now it's out, so I keep it as is.

Musings about naval power in European waters

I have a big and a quick blog post in preparation, but both are calling for a preceding one to explain a particular assertion of mine in greater detail:

First, let's agree that air power can destroy surface ship targets very well if suitable hardware and training is available (especially enough munitions) and the range isn't too great.
Surface warships would engage other surface warships primarily with quite lightweight surface-to air missiles (against which hard kill defence are quite impractical) and usually dedicated anti-ship missiles (of which usually no more than eight are on board). 
Combat aircraft meanwhile would typically use supersonic anti-radar missiles and anti-ship missiles (quite the same as fired by surface warships) in synchronised attacks, and follow up with bombs to finish off the already damaged ships. This air power can be shifted by hundreds of kilometres within less than an hour. Surface warships of any kind - including dedicated air defence frigates, destroyers and cruisers - without benefit of support by fighters and AEW aircraft would be little more than snail-like targets; easily stomped one after another by air power.
That air support is hardly going to be reliable.

(c) NormanEinstein
So essentially, the Eastern Baltic Sea and much of the Black Sea would be at least very, very dangerous waters in the event of war there. This suffices to make the sea lanes through these seas unacceptable for maritime transport in wartime. One could try to force one's way through such dangerous waters, but the outcome would be unpredictable and thus unreliable. If nothing else, the threat of air attack, missile attack and maybe even artillery to the ports in the region would disqualify the sea lanes.
It would be irresponsible to allocate resources to such maritime activities when it comes to designing the national military of the 2025-2030 period. Thus we should not plan to use these seas in the event of collective defence.

Similarly, there's hardly any - if any - justification for spending on naval abilities to kill hostile warships in these sea areas. This would de facto be all about modern submarines (SSI) anyway, and those are very specialised ship killers with hardly any relevance to air or land warfare. Yes, they could also launch land attack cruise missiles, but so could a barge - and the encapsulated cruise missiles for launch from submarines tend to cost twice as much per copy than those meant for surface launch.
The spending for ship-killing capability in regard to such seas should be about air attack and anti-submarine mining in narrow straits (Bosporus, Øresund et cetera).

Summarizing this, I say we need no navy in the Eastern Baltic Sea, we need no navy in the Black Sea, and whatever aggressor naval power might be there in the event of collective defence would merely be a diversion for our air power, keeping a couple dozen combat aircraft and up to twice as many crews busy for a few days.

Now the other part of the story; what if an aggressor (Russia, of course - the only not entirely unrealistic threat) has fleets there despite them sitting in a death trap?
Typically, this would lead to primitive reactions; every ally of ours with a port in the region would feel compelled to maintain a navy. Typically the urge would call for a well-rounded navy. A few subs, a few air defence ships, anti-submarine ships, mine hunters...a huge waste of funds.
This makes hardly any sense, for said threat fleet would be useless there in the event of war. The surface warships would be little more than targets for air attacks, and their submarines would not find targets unless we're stupid enough to feed them. Whatever cruise missiles the threat fleet could launch could be launched in the first five minutes of hot conflict, so it would be irrational nonsense to spend funds in pursuit of an ability to kill the platforms before they launch cruise missiles.

Those threat fleets become troublesome only if they leave those restricted waters prior to conflict and reach the Atlantic Ocean where air attack would be much more difficult due to the distances involved.

Now should those countries in geographic proximity to the only relevant land and air power threat build fleets that could follow a fleet into the Atlantic Ocean and engage it there? I suppose that would be nonsense. 
Their geographic situation demands a focus on land power, and (only if the budget is large enough) secondarily air power. There are other, more distant, countries which are obsessed about naval affairs because of irrelevant irrational reasons such as past naval  power or the length of their coastline. Those will afford the naval power needed to subdue a timely evacuated threat fleet, regardless of what a country such as for example Romania does in regard to naval spending.

- - - - - -

I mean no offense, but I do not expect readers / commenters to fully follow this post and to absorb the reasoning. It's too distant from mainstream for this. There are plenty special interest groups that push the other way as well. Still, I felt this separate elaboration was appropriate ahead of the coming blog posts.

Long story short; our European deterrence and defence would not suffer if less (or nothing) was spent on naval power in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea. To some extent the musings above can be applied to naval power in the Mediterranean Sea as well.



Multinational tripwire battalions in Baltics, Poland

I'm typical German in that I want it done right if done at all, even if I'm not in favour of doing it at all.
My opinion on tripwire forces is cast in stone; they're stupid ideas of politicians who are too lazy to come up with anything smart.

Still, the application of the tripwire forces concept in the Baltic countries is even more stupid than expected. They get the details wrong.
Participation by Norway (which should mind its own national defence), for example.

Here's how I would recommend to pull it off if I was professionally obliged to recommend any tripwire forces scheme:

Three composite battalions, one in each Baltic country:

HQ (LIT = host country)
1st Combat troops company including a MBT platoon(FRA)
2nd Combat troops company (ESP)
3rd Combat troops company (ITA)
Logistics company (smaller NATO members)

HQ (LAT = host country)
1st Combat troops company including a MBT platoon (UK)
2nd Combat troops company (GER)
3rd Combat troops company (NL)
Logistics company (smaller NATO members)

HQ (EST = host country)
1st Combat troops company including a MBT platoon (US)
2nd Combat troops company (TUR)
3rd Combat troops company (HUN)
Logistics company (smaller NATO members)

Not participating:
POL, NOR (which have their own borders to care about),
ROM (which has a terrible army that's stuck in 1950's-1970's tech),
GRE, BEL, POR (should focus on domestic issues and don't need to bear much responsibility due to their small sizes)

Such a design of a tripwire force would
  • have all three Baltic states covered (tripwire force in Poland is pointless even if one believes in tripwire forces)
  • have one nuclear power present in all three Baltic states
  • have the foreign components by major alliance members as combat troops (thus bound to be involved in combat in case of invasion)
  • commit authoritarian governments that cuddled with Putin to NATO defence
  • not distract NATO frontier countries from minding their own national defence
  • spare most countries that really, really should focus on domestic issues first (exception ESP and ITA due to their size)
  • have host country HQs and especially COs (!!!), which means that any component of the tripwire force that doesn't defend in the event of invasion would need to disobey orders to do so (in the public impression, not necessarily according to command regulations)
The composite battalions would be utter crap as combat formations unless the companies know how to fight well as isolated companies, but at least the political angle would be done well. The mixed battalions that are being raised for real are pretty much random designs by comparison.