Defense

March 18, 2013

Europe remains strategically vital to U.S.

Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

The top U.S. commander in Europe emphasized the importance of NATO and the United Statesí forward presence in Europe, while acknowledging that he continues to prod the allies to meet their financial defense commitments.

Europe continues to matter greatly for the United States, Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander for Europe, told the House Armed Services Committee March 15.

U.S. military bases in Europe represent the ìforward operating bases for 21st-century security,î not bastions of the Cold War, he told the committee.

The U.S. force in Europe has decreased about 80 percent from the height of the Cold War, he said, when the United States had 450,000 service members serving at some 1,200 bases. Today, Eucom consists of 64,000 joint forces, representing less than 5 percent of the U.S. military, spread across 21 major bases and smaller supporting sites.

Stavridis called the current force posture in Europe appropriate. Rotational forces to serve about two-month deployments there, he said, will help make up shortfalls due to troop reductions.

Noting the transformation in Europe over the past generation ìfrom a security consumer to one of the most important security producers, Stavridis cited the shared values and economic and security interdependence that make the region strategically important today.

Stavridis recognized, for example, the $4 trillion trade route across the Atlantic Ocean. ìThat binding of our economic interests will continue to make Europe our most important trading partner, collectively, he said.

And Europe’s location, he said, makes it vital in terms of U.S. support for operations in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
ìGeography matters,î Stavridis told the House panel. ìEurope in that regard is critically important.

At the heart of the U.S. relationship with Europe stands the NATO alliance — a historic bond that includes 28 nations, Stavridis said, that collectively possess 24,000 combat aircraft, 800 ocean-going ships and 50 airborne warning and control system aircraft.

NATO ìis a powerful, capable alliance that has stoodî with America in missions across the region and beyond, Stavridis said. Ninety percent of non-U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan are from Europe, he said.

So the alliance matters,î he said. ìNowhere else in the world will we find so many trained, capable soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who will stand with us on missions from the Balkans to Libya to the Levant, to Afghanistan, and indeed around the world.

Europeans remain our most steadfast, reliable, battle-tested, and important global partners as we confront the strategic risks and military challenges of the 21st century,î Stavridis said in his written statement. ìNo other region so readily combines the same commitment to shared values, high-end military capabilities and capacity and willingness to stand with America – as our European allies and partners have demonstrated at great cost and sacrifice over the past decade – in this centuryís fight for freedom and the pursuit of global security and stability.

While praising NATO alliesí operational contributions, Stavridis conceded today that many have fallen short in their military spending. Collectively, they spend about $300 billion a year on defense – about half what the United States spends, but more than China and Russia spend, combined, he said.

But the bad news is, in my view, is that they are not meeting their own targeted 2 percent of [gross national product], Stavridis said. He called that commitment, which all members vow to spend under NATO rules, ìa minimum in order to maintain the appropriate levels of interoperability with the United States.

On one hand, ìwe want to have the full advantage of their spending and their integration with us, Stavridis told lawmakers. ìOn the other hand, we need to encourage them to step up and to spend appropriately so we are in balance with them. We continue to do that.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 24, 2014

News: Hagel said to be stepping down as defense chief under pressure - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises. Afghan mission for U.S....
 
 

News Briefs November 24, 2014

Fog forces five U.S. choppers to land in Polish field Officials say that that fog forced five U.S. Army helicopters to make an emergency landing in a Polish field and spend the night there, the second such incident since September. The U.S. Army said 15 soldiers were moving equipment to their base in Germany Nov....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 

 
boeing-SC-787

Boeing South Carolina begins final assembly of its first 787-9 Dreamliner

Boeing has started final assembly of the 787-9 Dreamliner at its South Carolina facility. The team began joining large fuselage sections of the newest 787 Nov. 22 on schedule, a proud milestone for the South Carolina team and a...
 
 
Lockheed Martin image

Ball Aerospace equips Orion mission with key avionics, antenna hardware

Lockheed Martin image Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is providing the phased array antennas and flight test cameras to prime contractor Lockheed Martin for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), which is an u...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>