Pentagon Updates its European Drawdown Plan

Pentagon Updates its European Drawdown Plan

The Pentagon has released an updated blueprint that shows how the Army’s force structure in Europe will change by 2016. This summer, four battalions from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team will move around in Germany and Italy.

Two battalions will relocate from Germany to Italy and the brigade’s headquarters and one infantry battalion will relocate from Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy to the Army’s new facility in Del Din — formerly known as Dal Molin — in Vicenza.  In addition two battalions will relocate from Schweinfurt and Bamberg, Germany to Grafenwoehr, Germany.

The Army’s footprint in Europe has changed dramatically from the Cold War force numbering more than 200,000 soldiers. As the Pentagon shifts its focus to the Pacific theater, while maintaining a presence in the Middle East, the Army will continue to move many of its European units back to the United States. Others will be closed down or “inactivated.”

This year the 172nd Infantry Brigade, Grafenwoehr, Germany and the V Corps Headquarters, Clay Kaserne, Wiesbaden, Germany will shut down. The Army closed down the 170th Infantry Brigade at Smith Barracks, Baumholder, Germany last year.

This year, the following units will become inactive:

–535th Engineer Company, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.

–12th Chemical Company, Conn Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany.

–Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 391st Combat Service Support Battalion, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.

–B Detachment, 106th Finance Company, Katterbach Kaserne, Ansbach, Germany.

Also this year, the 42nd Engineer Company, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany and 99th Movement Control Team, Aviano Air Base, Italy return to the United States.

In 2014, the following units will become inactive:

–Headquarters, 18th Engineer Brigade, Conn Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany.

–243 Engineer Detachment, Conn Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany.

–54th Engineer Battalion, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.

–370th Engineer Company, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.

–7th Signal Brigade, Ledward Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany.

–72nd Signal Battalion, Ledward Barracks, Schweinfurt, Germany.

–Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 95th Military Police Battalion, Sembach Kaserne, Kaiserslautern.

–630th Military Police Company, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany.

–464th Military Police Platoon, Camp Ederle, Italy.

–511th Military Police Platoon, Livorno, Italy.

Meanwhile, the 541st Engineer Company, Warner Barracks, Bamberg, Germany returns to the United States.

 In 2015, the 230th Military Police Company, Sembach Barracks, Kaiserslautern, Germany closes down and the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment (Airfield Operations Battalion), Storck Barracks, Illesheim, Germany returns to the United States.

 And in 2016, the 69th Signal Battalion, Grafenwoehr, Germany closes down and the 525th Military Police Detachment (Military Working Dogs), Baumholder, Germany returns to the United States. The 1st Battalion, 214th General Support Aviation Regiment structure will be reduced at Clay Kaserne, Wiesbaden, by 190 soldier spaces and at Landstuhl Heliport by 50 soldier spaces.


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We should have done this a long time ago. Oh well, better late than never.

Those who are able to read a map will notice that we continue to move what little forces we have remaining in Germany out of the large towns and off into the hinterlands of Graf.

Out of sight is out of the German mind.

I strongly resent every plus score given to this comment. It is an insult to every one of us who defended the Federal Republic of Germany and brought it to unity in peace and freedom.

How exactly has the U.S. military defended your peace and freedom since the end of WWII?

Suits the Germans as it brings economic benefit to those communities. How many U.S. communities would welcome the economic boost from troops returning to CONUS?

You can thank Bush. Americans were highly respected in Germany up until Bush. Now they are largely considered immoral.

Vitesse et Puissance, please flush out your head gear.

It is long overdue that we pull forces from Europe. It’s easy for these countries to maintain their socialist systems when they; do not have to pay for a standing army/air force to protect themselves; never put anyone in the fight yet they are very critical on how the fighting goes; we protect their oil and gas deliveries; they take our money at the U.N (another socialist/communist enclave) and vote against us (sanctions on the slime of the world). Try and watch something other than CNN (Communist News Network).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Our continued presence in Europe is a legacy of the cold war. The Soviet threat to Europe collapsed two decades ago, yet we still maintain significant force levels there, ground and air. For what? Time to bring them ALL home, except for a token representation at NATO’s new palatial headquarters.

DOD needs to reconsider home porting those 4 Aegis ships in Spain for euro missile defense. Is europe paying for this? I doubt it. They are fixated on saving their economies.

We should be as well.

I agree. German economy surrounding this posts will definitely feel the impact. This has already hit many American towns/cities where military bases have closed or plan on closing. Deserted businesses and homes, so sad. It just makes sense financially for our military to not be overwhelming sources where we have a strong ally already.

Germans are as liberal as they come. Of course they didnt like Bush. They also think that 9/11 was a fake and if they believed it was terrorists, then they thought we should have been sitting down and talking it out with them. This is the great thanks to us after all the years of military protection at a substantial cost to us? I am of German heritage and I love Germany but its been long over due for them to stop cutting their own military while increasing welfare programs. Its forcing to cut both of ours.

Don’t feel to sad for the Germans. Our exit is more than made up for my release of prime real estate. And German bases don’t really have the sprawl of dependent low rent camp followers that surround some stateside bases.

Outside the PX it’s so expensive some never even carry any euros because they can not afford to spend them.

Agree. Europe has gotten themselves in military trouble and relied on us. Without us, much of their heavy airlift would not be possible. We then loan them money to prop up the Euro which was designed to reduce the advantage we had with the dollar. Makes all the sense in the world.

I dont think we should bring every one of them home. Europe provides great training locations and opportunities for our forces. Great place to share and mix up tactics and work on joint operations. It also provides some strategic deployment locations which is an advantage. But yes, a great majority of them could be brought home and start boosting local economies.

From the European military perspective the best thing about A US withdrawal will be the freedom to sell armaments to China. There is heaps of money to be made with defense partnerships there at virtually no risk to the Europeans.

Already China is Europe’s biggest trading partner they know how to manage that relationship and understand the Chinese in a way that Americans have problems doing.

Im not sure if your saying you were in the US armed forces and are proud to have done duty in Germany or if you were a member of the German armed forces and think we weren’t there for Germany’s protection. Either way, your pride is great and I am glad you have a high amount of pride but the fact remains more troops were stationed in Germany than any other foreign country because of the idea that West Germany would be swallowed up by the Soviets in no time even tough the Federal Republic of Germany had a fairly large and very professional military. The soviets would have outnumbered you greatly as they did in WW2 and no amount of bravery would have prevented it. Additional numbers and support from the outside were required and honestly most people think our troops plus the German troops would have still simply been big speed bump to hold the Soviets in place long enough to get more resources to the scene.

Brandon, we can still rotate units on a temporary basis for training. Or the NATO countries can send their forces to CONUS for training. Just because the units are no longer located there, doesn’t mean they can’t train there. Navy forward deploys ships, such as MCMs, and rotates crews. Its worked so far.

The Chinese would only be interested in buying one of each. Ask the Russians.…

We have paid billions to defend Europe and others and have bankrupted our selves in the process. We’re borrowing a trillion plus a year to maintain our status as protector of democracy. At some point our ability to borrow will evaporate unless we change our ways. We must live within our means and become independent of Middle-East oil. Let the Europeans and Asians defend themselves or not. It is time to put America first.

We spend a ton of money in rental properties and logistics in Europe for an ungrateful world who just wants the dollars we provide. There is no European threat, the USSR is done. NATO is obsolete and the European Union doesn’t want an army. Close the doors, save the money and go home. We can still fly troops over if needed and would have if the ballon goes up, remember REFORGER?? I was over when we had 4 divisions and now we have a couple of brigades. The 173d should stay in Italy as an QRF for the region but the rest can’t move quick so should go home. They would need massive support if committed anyway.

Well not bad Europe is too quiet now no need to keep the Heavy Brigades there to fight the defunct Red Army. More troops to Korea Japan and the Philippines is needed with a global shift the DOD is doing.

If we can’t hold Germany for WW3, then we will have the Alps and Switzerland to hold the line in the Med. It will be our Fortress Europe if the Russians come a knockin’.

We don’t spend a trillion plus on defense. Lots of it is domestic.

Correct. I’m sure the Russians feel pretty burned about it.

So why is Pratt and Whitney handing over helicopter engine data to them? Why are we building GFE engines in China again?

And by the way, GE chose to do this. It’s not like Obama called his Illuminati friends to arrange this…

Germany had to spend years dealing with reabsorbing East Germany, which is no easy or cheap proposition. Even now East Germany lags the west.

Germany is now a local power again, and is basically right back to where Frederick of Prussia would recognize Germany’s geopolitical power projection abilities.

Their export economy is probably in better shape than ours. I don’t doubt they were grateful to America for the troops, but it’s not like they didn’t pay for their own defense as well. If anything, if we were dumb enough to go Morgenthau Germany would never have been reindustrialized: and the entire cost of defending Western Europe would have been borne by the United States.

No things have changed substantially after Bush. Conservative pro American Germans of 20 years ago are now saying that there is something very wrong with the morality of the US.

The Germans know that the future depends on investment in productive infrastructure and education not broken aircraft and dreams of empire. They are very unlikely to spend more on their military. Like the rest of the world they are reducing it as a percentage of GDP to 1%

European hi tech companies do alot of trade already with China. They know how to manage IP.


There is a reason why it took the U.S. to save Europe from the Axis. If you think the Chi-coms will spare Europe when it goes down, they will be the easiest flower to pick. They would make would make great slaves for the final communist solution. 72 million men in China without a female because females are aborted. Europe sure has a lot of pretty girls. It’s a matter of testosterone bro and those that lack it.

Europe will need a lot of that trade money to buy their freedom to come to… uhm… the U.S. most likely.

And the Chinese know more about how to steal technology than those companies know how to protect their info.

Europe is not facing a significant external threat at the moment. Their threat is internal–a demographic time bomb. They just prefer to ignore it.

Vitesse et Puissance, I respect your point of view but since you gave me yours I’m going to give you mine.

Europe was definitely in need of these resources during the Cold War. From what I’ve seen of the plans we had to defend Europe it still wouldn’t have been enough to defend West Germany from the overwhelmingly massive Soviet armored fist that would have rolled over it all like a speed bump.

However, now that the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is gone the nature of the defense relationship between the US and Europe has changed. It has changed in a way the does not benefit the US in anyway, but practically gives Europe everything. It has also lost its purpose entirely. Europe cuts back its defense budget and relies on us to do everything. They didn’t even try to stop the obvious massacres that were happening in the Baltic regions during the 90’s when we thought they would take care of them. We still have NATO around even when there is no legitimate use for it. Very few countries in NATO actually spend the required amount of funding that the organization requires them to be in the group.

My country gives Germany as well as several other European countries billions of dollars a year for defense. What do we get in return? For the most part, just a complacent attitude of how we do everything wrong around the world. Sure you guys send us help from time to time in conflicts, but I’ve talked to commanders out in the field and whenever **** goes down the only people who get things done are the British, the Canadians, the Australians, the Dutch, the Kiwis (New Zealand), Belgium, and some Ex-Soviet Eastern European countries that I will not name. There could be more that I’m just not thinking of, but for the most part these are the major contributors. The rest of the countries didn’t want to be there and didn’t help much. Germany especially didn’t want to participate in any of the conflicts. I can honestly understand their reluctance.

Meanwhile, Russia realizes that its military capacity for conventional warfare is diminishing so they have turned to making the best nuclear ballistic missiles available, which is more of a deterrent than an offensive capability. They feel threatened by NATOs expansion eastward and, honestly, who can blame them? The Soviet Union is gone, what purpose does NATO serve now? To them NATO = the US. If we were to draw down our presence in Europe then Russia would have little political ammunition to excuse any aggressive posture that they take. The more assets we have in Europe, the more the Russians can say that we are an enemy. Right now Putin is more concerned with trying to increase Russia’s GDP and solve the ridiculous host of other problems that his country has.

The European militaries have been and are continuing to be hollowed out in favor of relying on us. No where was this more evident than in the 2011 military intervention in Libya, which was primarily carried out for European interests, most notably Italy. (Italy receives about 25% of their oil and 10% of their natural gas from Libya, and they aren’t the only Europeans that rely on them for energy). Granted, the Libyans did get their freedom and we did succeed in stopping a massacre. Those both played a part in why we did it, but we always look out for our own interests when we start a conflict. This time we were looking out for Europe’s.

We launched 110 tomahawk cruise missiles (each which costs anywhere from $1M to $16M depending on the block model) into Libya and sent several UAVs, EA-18G jammers, F-15E and F-16 fighters, and an assortment of other weapons to take care of the major fighting and destroy major weapons systems. After we had done all of that we handed it over to the EU because it was their show. They still needed to ride the US logistics supply bus to get to the fighting, which is literally just south of their continent. European air forces ran into the most ridiculous problems. When they got to the fighting they ran out of bombs and other munitions. They ended up using canisters of concrete with a laser seeker mounted on the front to drop them and literally crush targets (which I found surprisingly innovative by the way). They didn’t know how to do a lot of the close in support missions like CAS/precision ground strike missions. They didn’t have the equipment to do it either in many cases, which we were all too happy to supply them with. The countries involved in the fighting against Libya included:
The Netherlands
United Kingdom
United Arab Emirates

I’m NOT saying that any of these countries lack brave men or good character. By the way, Germany didn’t want any part of this and refused to participate. My ultimate point is simply this: EUROPE COMBINED ITS RESOURCES AND STILL COULDN’T DEFEAT A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY THAT IS LOCATED LITERALLY RIGHT TO THEIR SOUTH WITHOUT HELP FROM THE UNITED STATES. By the way, the military contributions of Britain and Canada combined were greater than that of Italy’s.

This is not what pisses me off though. What REALLY pisses me off is the fact that the European Union shuts down in August. You all go on holiday/vacation and don’t work at all in the summer. Most Europeans have no idea what an American work-day is like since American citizens work ridiculous hours compared to those of most countries of the world. We wouldn’t have to be doing that right now if we weren’t paying for your defense and trying to be the police of the world for over the past 20 years since the Soviet Union fell. We simply cannot keep paying for this and this relationship cannot last forever this way.

The US is growing increasingly impatient with Europe’s inability to act on its own. In my opinion, we still have too many troops in Germany and this is not enough of a reduction. We can still remain allies with Europe, but they need to start pulling their own weight, which they just are not doing right now.

Deploying troops costs money.

Rotating units doesn’t build relationships.

The Navy conducts ops with allies on the ocean not the land. Apples and oranges.

Not saying we should have a monster presence overseas but isolationism is foolish. Having troops on the ground communicates a commitment much greater than diplomats words at the UN. Economies are important but eliminating all presence is shortsighted. Heard of WWII?

Aurora — FUNNY!!! and sadly true…

We dion’t borrow to protect democracy. Look at the numbers. Entitlements dude. We borrow to buy votes and keep parties in power.

There is no USSR threat. Don’t be so sure to think Russia is much different. We don’t need two corps of troops but isolationism isn’t the answer either.

A Brigade in Poland would be a good idea to establish a relationship with Poland and the new democracies of Eastern Europe.

These threads invariably attract the new breed of isolationists who like to call themselves non interventionists though they pursue the same policies of the isolationists before WWI & II.

There’s a lesson there…

We don’t need multiple corps in Europe but a couple of brigades is a cood idea especially in the new democracies of eastern europe who Russia has no problem intimidating.

E.G. http://​freebeacon​.com/​r​u​s​s​i​a​n​s​-​c​o​n​d​u​c​t​-​h​u​g​e​-​n​uke–

Long term our defense expenditures are huge — not saying entitlements are not a problem now. However, we continue to borrow money to guarantee others, including the Chinese, access to Persian Gulf oil. All I am sayng is that its time for us to look to our own vital interests rather than trying to make the world safe for democracy.

Leland — We spend a lot on defense.

We don’t borrow money just for defense which makes up a minority of gov’t spending. http://​www​.usgovernmentspending​.com/​b​r​e​a​k​d​own

Making the world safe for democracy sounds nice. It hasn’t been our consistent published policy or primary objective the last 70 years.

Many of our vital interests do involve the world.

Polices like that would only encourage the kind of stupidity Georgian President Saakashvili engaged in, because he felt the U.S. had his back.

Policies like the ones you espouse will only encourage the kind of stupidity that Russia engaged in when they created the Soviet Union and began grabbing every nation around them.

Brandon, agree on the military. However, where did you get the idea that we´re lending money to Europe? This used to be in the 60’s. The US merely buys Eurobonds and/or hard currency. We´ve not been able to grant loans to industrial nations for years.… Look at the state of the US economy!

Does anyone else remember the con game the Soviets used to utilize in stating that their defense budget was dramatically lower than we stated? Costs were hidden in other budgets or called other things. Well, we certainly learned from them. The United States defense budget for FY 2012 is not the publicly stated $553 billion or so. A thoughtful analysis will add the following amounts/estimates:

OCO for OEF, $118 billion (not in base busget)
Our share of foreign arms sales, $5.6 billion (grants, excludes cash sales)
Nuclear weapons in the DOE budget, $21.8 billion
VA plus military pensions, $124.6 billion (and growing rapidly)
FBI counter-terrorism and intelligence, $3 billion
Homeland Security, $46.9 billion
Intelligence and early warning support funded through NASA, $8.7 billion
CIA budget, unknown amounts for defense-related activities, to include a secret air force

This omits interest payments on our debt incurred to finance foreign wars without raising taxes, estimated at $109 to over $400 million a year. Adding the lower figure probably gets you over $1 trillion dollars to defend the United States and the world.

Even with an overwhelming array of firepower the Russians lost a bunch of aircraft in that war to crashes and what not. The conditions of their forces is not great by any measure, even with their dreams of grandeur.

What I do notice is China’s military spending.

I was there in ;79.1st battalion/51st Inf.,1st armored division. We were nothing more than a tripwire.We were relying on short and intermediate range nukes to stem the Ruski advance thru the Fulda gap​.As I was leaving in ’81,the A-10’s and the M1A1’s were coming on line along with then new president R.R.These were gamechangersThe conventional force posture of the Europe,vis a vis the Soviets went from defense in depth to undeniable conventional superiority​.It was then,in ’81,that we became the 800 lb. gorilla on the block.And where does an 800 lb. gorilla sit? Any damn where he pleases! GO ARMY !!!

Mobius — do some reading. The Russians initiated the incident by recognizing Georgian brebkaway republics, shooting down Georgian drones over a Georgian breakaway republic and then sending their “peacekeeping” troops into Abkhazia violating agreements. The Russians used the same tactics and approach with S. Ossetia as they moved troops into the breakaway republic to “protect” ethnic Russians in this Georgian breakaway republic that was unrecognized by the world.

Yeah, the Russians were totally justified to invade a sovereign country (Georgia) and its breakaway republic the Russians were abetting (S. Ossetia). IF the Russians were really interested in defendng S. Ossetia they coudl have ejected Georgia off it’s territory without invading the rest of Georgia. BTW, the Russians never went to the UN for sanctions, resolutions etc. They went straight to military action because there was no one to stop them. There’s a lesson there…

This is the same sort of stuff Hitler did in Alsace Lorraine, the Sudetenland and the Russians did to build the USSR and as they later interfered in the domestic politics of eastern Europe.

How quick isolationists forget…

Inferiority of troops didn’t stop the Russians from conquering their neighbors. That’s the point.

As for China, you are right. They will be just as ruthless and power-hungry as their Soviet counterparts.

If you don’t support messing around in Russia’s backyard like John McCain and company would have us, for no appreciable gain, you’re isolationist.

That’s right up there with Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace in our time” quote. Yeah, let’s just give them a little bit and they’ll be satisfied. Worked well before WWII.

BTW, Alaska is in Russia’s backyard.

Isolationism, failed everytime it’s tried but some still think it’s an option. Brilliant.

Guys the day of the ground troop is nearly over a police force is all that is needed after we use our space based weapons yes they are real I worked on them . RR started them and we finished the first ones and put them in space under Bush one .Why do you think the wall came down,the soviet’s new we could take out all of thier nukes berore they could fire them. Now we can use weapons I can’t talk about from here at home and bring any country to its knees.

I have read that we can save money by moving bases eastward, from Italy and Germany to Poland and Romania. I am not sure whether this is true or not, but it would certainly make strategic sense (moving toward the Middle East, Russia and Asia). I think we should maintain a presence in Europe, as it is a strategically valuable region, but we should also pressure our allies there to maintain a reasonable level of spending on their own defense. My biggest worry about Europe is their reliance on Russian natural gas — Russia can turn the lights off whenever they want. I am not sure how we can counteract that.

Grant, OCO is in the base budget starting in 2009. Before then it was called “emergency supplementals.” The term OCO was created when the war funding was rolled up into the base budget which is why the Continuing Resolution threatened the war funding just as equally as the rest of the Army budget.

If we got rid of the entire DoD we’d still have a budget deficit. And you can’t declare that “we borrow money to do X.” Nowhere is it written where a particular part of the budget comes from tax receipts and which come from bond sales. I could argue that we borrow a trillion dollars a year for Medicare and be just as accurate in that statement.

Hey, since we are such a BAD country. Lets just go home and Europe can care fro themselves.

Hey Will,I was there 77–81 right down the road from ya. 2/78 FA 1stAD.And your correct,we were nothing but a speed bump.

This argument makes no sense, If there is no threat to Europe, why the demand for increasing their defense contributions. But if there is such a threat, how does reducing our commitment to Europe help at all ? And what about those “out of area” missions ? While the German active military is about 1/8 of its Cold War strength, and they do still have hangups about deploying troops outside German territory, they’ve come a long way as a reliable alliance partner since WWII. I doubt if their neighbors would like it if they expanded their military greatly. We — I am 100% American, not European — do NOT benefit by emulating European in a competitive disarmament race. We only make our common alliance weaker and lessen its value to US interests. Again, I say, it is an insult to the burdens we did bear in the defense of liberty. And I will say this though the world voted against me.

This kind of resentment is small-minded, mean and cowardly. It dishonors what we have done in Europe, going back to WWI. As far as I am concerned, the paleocon and libertarian rednecks who want America to sit in its corner and cry about how little anyone else loves us can all go hang themselves.

I’ve always felt that the appropriate force structure in post-Cold War Europe would be an airmobile formation able to respond quickly across the full depth of the expanded NATO. That gets you there first, but not with the most, necessarily. You need to be able to surge into theater quickly and in mass. Oh, yeah, we had a program to do that. It was called Future Combat Systems. What we are going to in Europe is just a brigade sized ACE Mobile Force — the thinest of trip wires, with the highest likelihood of getting into a full scale nuclear war with a nuclear armed adversary. As it currently stands, there is no Plan B.

People do know I was talking about Germany, not the U.S.?

Europe just usefull when to buy military US tuff.
Reason why US never talk about French Ops notably over Lybia and Mali.

Always wondered who they were surveying when they did those “World map according to Americans” LOL

No reason to have troops in europe, or korea, or japan or anywhere else outside the US and its territories except on TDY deployments.

need to read ‘Inside the Soviet Army’ by victor suvurov. The red army was a joke and their tanks probably would have broken down before they got to your positions.

Isolationism worked just fine from 1800–1914. And we should have stayed out of WW1 anyway.

The allies would have just occupied germany and the russian revolution would have failed.

We have the capability to put aircraft and a ranger bat anywhere in the world in 18 hours plus flight time. We have pervasive and comprehensive surveillance and elint capability.

forward based troops are an anchronism.

That’s right up there with Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace in our time” quote. Yeah, let’s just give them a little bit and they’ll be satisfied. Worked well before WWII.

BTW, Alaska is in Russia’s backyard.

Isolationism, failed everytime it’s tried but some still think it’s an option. Brilliant.

Yep, the good old days when we were a backward 2nd tier country and the world wasn’t as reliant on each other as today.

Strange you being an Israeli you didn’t include WWII or today…

Forward operating bases are essential for global operations. One can’t create the infrastructure overnight to bed down troops and equipment. Forward bases provide logistic throughput, fuels, communications, and a host of other critical services. These bases represent the first responders to national emergencies worldwide. The key for consolidation is ensuring bases are right sized to meet future strategy.

FCS wasn’t any airmobile than any motorized or mechanized force. The vehicles couldn’t be lifted by helicopters which is what airmobile means.

But there is more to consider than just history. The U.S. made it’s adjustment from the Cold War mentality in European force structure in the 90s and has continued to reduce. What we’ve decided to leave isn’t about defending Europe, it’s about having an asset forward deployed, or at least half way there. It’s about 100s of thousands or tons of Air Force, Navy and Army munitions stored in Kaiserslautern and Liverno that serves as the bubble in the logistics chain to SWA. It’s about having a major Army medical center a couple of hours flight time away from the action. It’s about training and interoperability with those European Armies (however inadequate) that have been with us in Afganistan since 2001, even if all they have done is to hold the fort in the low risk areas, giving us breathing room to concentrate forces where we need them.__Reduce the foot print a little more, but lets not pull out completly. Its not about thier interests, its about OURs.

“As far as I am concerned, the paleocon and libertarian rednecks who want America to sit in its corner and cry about how little anyone else loves us can all go hang themselves.”

First time I’ve heard it that strongly stated, but I like it. Thumbs up.

“Isolationism worked just fine from 1800–1914.”

Yeah, and after that the whole idea just kind of collapsed under the weight of WWI/II and beyond. Like it or not, the US is a world superpower, and scaling back and pulling out will have serious consequences for us and the rest of the world.

Never talk? You mean we don’t speak to them when we’re providing them free fuel via our tankers or free transport via our C-17s?

Your post makes little or no sense.

I was there in 1962 to 1965 and served under the 11th ACR. It was a totally different story back then. We were under the threat of invasion. I had the opertunity to do Boarder Patrol, and we were often under fire. I don’t miss those days. Though often have dreams about the experience.

There is no threat to Europe. Did you read my post below this one? The problem is that they can’t handle any of their own problems, even against a single third world country with their resources combined.

There is no threat to Europe being completely conquered by a superpower, which was the reason we had all of these bases and troops in the first place. However, there can be a threat to Europe’s interests outside of its borders and a massacre can still be a possibility within European nations in areas like the Baltics. Europe is not under a threat of being conquered, but there are still military conflicts of low intensity in which only their interests are at stake. They can’t handle even the low intensity conflicts without us and this is a major problem. This is why they need to increase their defense spending. They need to start policing their own areas of responsibility and handling their own problems. We have been the police for their entire continent and their interests for nearly half a century, and there was a time when that was needed but that time is over. We can’t keep paying for their problems and they don’t even respect us anymore for what we’ve done for them. They just take us for granite and go on vacation in the summer. There have been moments where we have literally held them back from an economic collapse.

Does anyone remember this quote?: “Catch a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for the rest of his life.”

Hi,Joe.We were the ones woefully unprepared for war! After Vietnam (’73) and until 1981,our military had been emasculated by a succession of presidents,most notably President Carter.Under his watch(I believe ’76-’80), he singlehandedly dismantled our military and our intelligence apparatus.The weapons we were using in Germany in ’80 were worn leftovers from the Vietnam War.We rarely trained,and,when we did,we didn’t have enough ammo to finish our exercises.Weapons like the Dragon(anti-tank) were fired only once per platoon due to lack of munitions.Reference material from one book provides a rather limited understanding of the true reality of the time.

“backward 2nd tier country.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We were happy keeping to ourselves and not meddling in Europe’s problems when they didn’t really affect us. In the years leading up to WWI, Europe’s armies numbered in the millions with political issues going back centuries. By 1914 they were practically looking for a reason to unleash those forces on each other. At that point we had no business being in the middle of that. In the years leading up to WWII we should have seen the writing on the wall sooner, but I don’t think an earlier buildup would have changed the initial outcomes.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with not being a super power. After 1898 we became a regional power and that was new territory for us. It was almost frightening for some people that we had a blue water navy and an expeditionary army. I’m not a big fan of sticking our nose into every trouble spot in the world, but the problem now is we’ve been the king of the hill for so long that if we pull back too much there will be a vacuum that nobody we trust can fill.

It’s entirely possible for us to maintain a security/cooperation presence in Europe without “defending Europe” and getting involved everywhere. I like where we’re at with Korea and Europe with just a couple brigades, a logistics hub, and an air package. It means the flag is out there, there’s enough firepower to defend our position, and we have a few options without looking too threatening. A situation requiring anything more than those forces will require a healthy debate back home. If a problem in NATO’s sphere of influence really requires military forces, they shouldn’t have to depend on us. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be reliable, but it’s annoying that most of the time NATO really means “the USA and an entourage.”

What do you think about European reliance on Russian natural gas? How do we fight against that?

Hell that’s why all the forces are coming back.…America will have all kinds of UN forces to keep you detained soon.

Agree with much of what you’re saying but some will take it too far.

Keep in mind presence is good but not if it’s not capable of doing the job that might be expected of it. That’s how you get Task Force Faith’s. Enemy capabilities are a factor in determining what is stationed somewhere. Europe isn’t facing multiple Guards armies today. Should that change we need to adjust.

As for it not being bad to have been a second rate power that’s fine. It’s our history. Returining to that status isn’t a good thing. We were all kids once also. Few want to return to being reliant on their parents.

That’s a great question and a real problem. Short answer is the Europeans need to take some responsibility for their future and have diverse sources vs. over relying on a nation that doesn’t have one’s interests at heart (some advice we should adhere to with Saudi Arabia).

Stratfor did an excellent article on the subject and how Germany’s increasing reliance on Russian resources scares the crap out of Poland.

One thing we can do is develop our own resources, something handicapped by our environmentalists who seem to be pretty muzzled in Russia (and China).

Thanks for the recommendation! I am looking at Stratfor now and see several articles dealing with Russian natural gas exports to Europe, so I will start reading. Personally, I have always felt the Fall of the Wall was a real missed opportunity — I wish the US and NATO had done more to somehow help Russia transition into being a better country. The Russian-Americans and other Americans of Eastern European descent that I meet here have always impressed me, and Russia does have a strong tradition of producing world-class writers, musicians, mathematicians and scientists. Do you see any hope of somehow improving the US-Russian relationship?

Yes there is great potential for somethinhg positive to come from a good relationship but I think the chances are nil with Putin in charge. The communists are largely still in charge, just a different flag.

Under fire? You have a memory deficiency!

Without WW1 WW2 never happens. By staying out of the first, we could have avoided the second.

Not really, the more globalized export driven European companies perform substantially better in China then the Americans ones used to a captive market.

The loserism of small time America is a dead end it wont exist in 50 years.

Check the facts.…NATO has deployed my son served two in afgan German KSK , check their KIA WIA ratio

WWI started without us. It almost finished without us. The post-war treaties of WWI were the major contributors to WW2. If we never got into WWI, the war would have still happened, Germany probably would have probably still lost, or at least there would have been a negotiated settlement. Germany’s economic ruin and failed experiment in democracy caused Hitler’s rise. Communism would have still taken Russia. WWI had little impact on what got Japan into starting their part of WW2. Keep in mind WW2 was 2 years old when we got involved and we were only shipping weapons and not doing any fighting up to that point.

It would be much easier to train in the former Warsaw Pact countries. Land is cheaper and they have no environmental concerns. The politics of permanently stationing troops there would be a non-starter though. Look at how big of a fuss Russia put up when we wanted to put missile defense batteries in Poland. Now imagine us putting a BCT and a brigade of helicopters there.

Our vital interest IS making the world safe for democracy ! Who is with me ?

I have to agree for the most part. I believe Morgenthau wanted the European nations (those who’d suffered the Nazis firsthand) to occupy and defend Germany, or so he said in *Germany Is Our Problem* in 1945. Clearly the realities of the Cold War changed all that in quick order.
I wonder how much of the Morgenthau Plan would have been carried out otherwise.

I’m sure they’ll enjoy their continued status as “free riders” in that case.

I agree with many of your points. The U.S. pays a disproportionate share and this puts NATO into question.
I would posit that we still derive a strategic advantage from having overseas bases, and that includes in Europe. Clearly that doesn’t require anything on the scale of what we had there during the Cold War, and in my opinion we can and should shrink our footprint a bit further, particularly ground forces. These opinions are based on my perception of threats, advantages, and disadvantages– I realize they’re highly subjective. Not everyone thinks maintaining these capabilities is worthwhile. Nevertheless I think maintaining a credible presence in this area is worthwhile for the foreseeable future.
Another thing– the Germans (and, as far as I know, other European host nations) do bear some of the financial burden of maintaining these bases. The exchange is complex and for all I know may be little more than a shell game, but it’s worth looking into.

From what I’ve read, we’re not doing so well ourselves in that department. Seems to be a symptom of having a modern economy and standard of living.

Well said.

Good point. Morgenthau was probably of the American isolationist bent, where Europe would bleed for itself and stop pumping blood from the well of America.

The Europeans see it as “borrowing” American capability that we have already bought and paid for.

We should send them a nice bill for our services. The alternative is taking the opportunity cost view: what if we didn’t go into Libya? The Libyans would kick out all the Europeans again for not backing his play, world oil prices would go up, Europe would cry a river, Russia and Mideast would win.

We think of OPEC as having America on a noose, but Europe’s probably worse off. And their moves away from nuclear power won’t help. There’s only so much North Sea oil left.

I to was in the 11ARC from 61 to 65. We had to keeo an eye open while at the boarder patrol sites, We would see net tanks plains and several times people trying to get to West Germany get shot. Men, Women and small boys and girls.One time there was a woman with a baby in her arms killed. The east guards could see who it was and if a child or mom and dad. They did not care. WE have had to fight two times in that area and get spit on beat by a group saying USA go home. Well if they do not want us we should come home.

would like to sign up tp get this link every time EUCOM or AFRICOM gets an update

There were massacres in the Baltics? Was I asleep that decade. Do you mean the Balkan ethnic cleansing of the 90’s where the Bosnians where heavily supported by the Russians and an estimated 250K ended up in mass graves? Oh that’s right, your thesis is their not a geo-political threat anymore. Just ask the Free Syrian Army how many Russian ships are pouring weapons & war material into the Syrian port of Tartus. And now we have a potential stand off over Cyprus banks which are basically clearing houses for Russian mob money. Your right 18E the russians aren’t a threat anymore, just throw a log on the fire and rock your self back to sleep. I will not keep you up boring you about with what I know about their envolvement in the “stan”

I like your very pragmatic assessment regarding force structure in the European area of deployment and the resulting foundation it provides for forward operations. It is about our vital National Interest, and, the continued interoperability of with those Nato partners who have been at our side for several decades now. I’m a former MI person who has worked with and for several outstanding European Companies. Many of these Nations have ranged from being our ancestors to presently being important business partners.

So the UK never puts anyone into the fight?

-> How about the 42,000 UK troops who were there at the start of Gulf War II ?
UK troops, aircraft and minesweepers were used in Gulf War II
-> How about the UK troops and aircraft in Afghanistan?
-> How about the SAS used in Gulf War I and II?
-> How about the Armoured Division used in Gulf War I?
-> How about the low flying Tornados buggering up Iraqi airfields in Gulf War I?
-> How about the UK contribution in the Balkans?
and so on.…nah we dont do anything do we?

What do you think those Russian troops are doing in Crimea and just over the border from Eastern Ukraine.…of course they are not a threat to the peace in Europe .….in your dreams!

American forces (and I thank everyone of them for their service) are in Europe to protect American economic interests as well as us.

Who started Libya.……it was us the Brits (Prime Minister Caneron)…then the French followed because they thought they would be left out.….…then others joined in.

BTW we supplied heavy lift support (C17 and I think the USA?) to the French re Mali.

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