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.


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 
 

ISR: A critical capability for 21st century warfare

The progressive adaptations and breakthroughs made in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arena have changed the way wars are fought, and the way commanders think about the battlespace. “Whether we have airmen exploiting full motion video data or serving downrange in the (Central Command) area of responsibility, these individuals make up an enterprise of 30,000...
 
 

Army Operating Concept expands definition of combined arms

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr. The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said. It’s a “shift in emphasis,”...
 

 

Future of AF helicopter fleets discussed at conference

Air Force Global Strike Command’s Helicopter Operations Division hosted the Worldwide Helicopter Conference at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 7-9, to discuss the current and future state of the Air Force’s helicopter fleets. The conference promoted cross talk among the Air Force’s helicopter forces, which are principally operated by Air Combat Command, Pacific Air...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First F-35A operational weapons load crew qualified

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Airmen with the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew one, prepare to load a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition on to an F-35A Lightning II during a qualification load on Eglin Air...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 




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>