Adjusting the US Military’s European Presence

The Defense Department has already closed roughly 100 facilities in Europe over the last six to seven years, but more cuts are coming, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told members of the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday. Panetta said Pentagon leaders are looking at closing another 23 facilities. “We are, and we have been, looking at infrastructure abroad very carefully, because obviously, if we’re going to look at infrastructure in this country, we’re obligated to look at infrastructure abroad,” he said. According to the Obama Administration’s new defense strategic guidance (caution, large-size file), the United States remains committed to “supporting peace and prosperity in Europe as well as bolstering the strength and vitality of NATO.” However, because “most European countries are now producers of security rather than consumers of it,” now is the right time “to rebalance the US military investment in Europe,” states the guidance.