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Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joins his NATO colleagues at the 175th meeting of the alliance’s Military Committee in Brussels, May 18, 2016. DOD photo by Jim Garamone.

​NATO members’ defense chiefs agree an enhanced presence on the alliance’s border with Russia is needed, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said Wednesday. The makeup and number of the troops is still being decided, Scaparrotti said, but the forces would be “part of a forward presence and a posture that we need to set conditions for deterrence.” On Wednesday, the 28 military heads, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, kicked off a series of NATO meetings that will pave the way for the alliance’s Warsaw Summit in July, according to a Pentagon release. Russia is on the agenda. In a book published Wednesday, a former NATO deputy commander, former British Gen. Alexander Shirreff, hypothesized Russia and the alliance could be at war by the spring of 2017, The Guardian reported. Asked about the prediction during a press conference, Scaparrotti said NATO’s intent is to deter. “I don’t believe there will be a conflict as a result of that,” he said. The allied nations’ foreign ministers will be meeting Thursday and Friday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said they will discuss a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for NATO to expand its training mission into Iraq, among other topics, in preparation for this summer’s summit.