The idea looks good on paper.

But converting NATO’s so-called “tripwire” forces in the three Baltic countries to fully topped-up fighting brigades — the kind that could withstand a Russian invasion — is proving to be a challenge for the lead nations involved: Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany.

At the last NATO summit in Madrid, leaders of the western military alliance ordered the conversion of battle groups in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to full combat brigades with anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 troops each, depending on the availability of equipment.

Getting there is proving to be a struggle, according to two recent reports — one from the U.K. House of Commons, the other from a Warsaw-based international affairs think-tank.

Since that June NATO summit, journalists have been asking Canadian politicians and military officials when the Canadian-led brigade in Latvia will be created and what it will look like. Their responses have been vague.