US and NATO troops deployed in Europe will receive additional training to counter an alleged disinformation campaign being waged, in the opinion of Western countries, by Russia, head of US European Command General Tod Wolters said at a Defence Writers Group breakfast. He noted that it adds a new domain where the military bloc needs to organise its defences.
"A comprehensive defence involves air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace, which are the five domains that we recognise in NATO. Malign influence is of great concern, specifically in the information domain", the general said.
Wolters named the Russia-based TV channel RT as one of the examples of Moscow's so-called "misinformation" campaigns targeting units stationed in Europe.
The US general shared that Washington and its European allies are jointly working to develop defences against Russia's perceived "malign influence" by giving their soldiers specific training sessions. He added that these "deterrence activities" also involve some NATO partners – Finland, Ukraine, and Georgia.
"To have a good, comprehensive defence you have to be willing to deter in all domains, to include the information domain, so we have ongoing activities [...] that involve what we do in US EUCOM with the NATO nations and what we do in US EUCOM with all the partner nations", the chief of the US European Command said.
Wolters said that the new training NATO and US soldiers would receive is no less important than "the training to shoot a 9 mm pistol" and added that military personnel understand that.
Explaining how NATO forces would "deter" the disinformation campaign, the general said the alliance would be countering it with "facts" and by calling out "when truths are not being told in public" regarding the Atlantic Alliance’s actions.
NATO and US military officials have repeatedly accused Russia of trying to organise media smear campaigns against its soldiers – specifically those deployed in the Baltic States near the Russian border. The alliance's deployments and war games there have drastically intensified since the major rift in relations between Moscow and the West in 2014.