House Looks to Increase Permanent U.S. Military Footprint in Europe

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Top Tier Gear USA


The House Armed Services Committee asked the Pentagon to estimate the cost of making what are now “rotational forces” in Europe permanent, chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry said Monday.

Over the last year, the U.S. has made multiple deployments of ground troops to Eastern Europe, where they have participated in military exercises and fulfill a support role in other NATO operations. Those soldiers are deployed on an overlapping, rotating basis.

Rep. Thornberry said the Committee wants to see how the costs of rotational forces compare to keeping units stationed in Europe long-term, with the aim of reassuring allies over concerns about Russia.

“I don’t know what the cost data will show,” Thornberry said. “I’m not convinced that it is tremendously cheaper to rotate a bunch of units through rather than have that permanent presence.”

In January, as part of a NATO build-up U.S. soldiers arrived in Poland and spread out into other Eastern European countries to participate in various exercises and operations. In the last year, the Army has planned or carried out at least 11 military exercises in Europe:

Saber Strike, a long-standing U.S.-Europe cooperative training exercise meant to improve joint interoperability of the 13 participant nations (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.)

• Flexible Leader, an exercise conducted last year in Germany designed to train EURCOM staff to work with U.S. personnel in humanitarian assistance operations.

• Swift Response, an airborne crisis response exercise carried out last summer that focused on training the U.S. Global Response Force to conduct operations alongside allied airborne forces in Europe.

• Saber Guardian, an exercise planned for this summer in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria that will involve more than 25,000 service members from over 20 nations. It will be the largest of the exercises in the Black Sea region.

Saber Junction, an exercise designed to assess the readiness of the U.S. Army’s Stryker-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment to conduct unified land operations, conducted April 25-May 19 of this year. It involved over 4,500 participants from 13 countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Italy, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine the United Kingdom and the United States).

Anakonda, carried out last year and involved 31,000 service members from 24 nations.

Rapid Trident, conducted last summer and involved 2,000 personnel from 14 countries.

Allied Spirit, which took place March of this year in Southeastern Germany and involved approximately 2,770 participants from 12 nations, 1,520 of them American.

Add to that list Combined Endeavor, Combined Resolve, Cooperative Resolve, Immediate Response and Noble Partner and you’ve got a veritable flurry of military activity on the European continent.

The troop rotations began in November, when the Army announced it would begin sending armored brigade combat teams to Europe to join American bases and personnel that have been stationed on the continent since the end of the Second World War.

Despite the huge U.S. military presence in Europe, apparently it is not enough.

“There is a tremendous interest in Eastern Europe for a more permanent presence,” Rep. Thornberry said.

It remains to be seen whether or not U.S. troops will have an officially-admitted permanent deployment in Europe, but even if they did, it likely will not change much about the prevailing situation. The American military, as shown in part above, already maintains a defacto permanent presence on the continent and will continue to do so regardless of what the House Committee decides.

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  • Cynical Old Bastard

    What a shock.

    Look… you don’t see this happening? This is some kind of surprise? News?

    Meh. Catholics wanna kill Protestants and the feeling is reciprocated. Pentecostals wanna kill Baptists and the feeling is reciprocatated. Democrats wanna kill Republicans… and the feeling is reciprocated. Muslims, Jews, and Christians all wanna kill each other and each holds claim to what they call “the truth.”

    The truth is… all cultures hold claim to “the ultimate truth” and almost all of them are willing to die in order to “convince” you that their particular brand of “the ultimate truth” is indeed “the ultimate truth.”

    Me? I don’t care. I figure I have about 20 years left no matter what happens. That’s tops and if no SHTF comes again. Ten if the turd hits the stewpot. Maybe less if the boys get serious about it. What can I say… I’m a sucker for a good firefight. I like the adrenaline rush. I’m also a pothead… go figure. Dichotomy is the word of the day.

  • Frank

    Regardless of what they “discover” with their research on this question, there will always be US troops stationed and rotated throughout NATO countries, the only question is how often will they rotate. Moving troops and equipment for the numerous exercises and responding to regional crises is more expensive than having pre-positioned, semi-permanent forces already in or near to the most-likely places for crisis. Even if the US “footprint” or permanent presence on foreign soil is just to have logistics hubs or support bases, a persistent US presence brings stability and reassurance – as long as our “leaders” can resist the urge to intervene before local nationals have exhausted indigenous efforts to solve their own problems.

  • Nexusfast123

    Who are the occupation forces? Obviously not the Russians. The euros have no balls as even if they asked the US mercenary forces to leave they would force them.

  • John C Carleton

    These are international war criminals discussing military occupation of sovereign foreign Nations. This is an international war crime. International war criminals are supposed to receive a fair trial and a fair hanging for their crimes. Wonder why this is not happening.
    I would say that the present system is broke and will require the living souls the world over to throw off the old broke system, and implement a new system in which international war criminals ARE given a fair trial and a fair hanging.

    • Frank

      Its not a “military occupation” if the host country (aka: sovereign foreign nation) invites them and admits the foreign forces under an Agreement or standing Treaty.
      The US hosts foreign military forces, for training and international cooperation, etc. on a regular basis. Before you call the exchange and deployment of military forces to foreign host countries an “international war crime,” I suggest you make sure that an actual crime is being committed.

      • John C Carleton

        Japan is Host country, the USA dropped weapons of mass destruction on them, and has refused to un-occupy the country, against the wish of the Japanese people.
        USA invaded South Korea, and never left, against the wishes of the Korean people.
        Russia/US defeated the Germans. The USSR occupied one half, USA occupied the other half. USSR stopped occupying half of Germany, now the USA occupies all of Germany. German people don’t want to be occupied, but USA refuses to leave.
        151 years ago. USA conquered my country, and is still militarily occupying it.
        A puppet government, is not the people and can not give legitimate permission for the USA Military to occupy the country and make slaves of the people.

      • John C Carleton

        BTW. It matters not if the Zionist invade, militarily, occupy, or blackmail/bribe the elites in to selling out their countries and the souls living on the face of the land. A puppet government, however arrived at, does not, can not give legitimate authority to occupy the Land and the Souls.

  • Why am I not surprised?