Austerity Alert

In several years, US military forces in Europe may be in no better position to confront emerging threats in the region than their European partners. Yielding to budgetary pressure, many European allies have cut deeply into defense spending and the United States may not be far behind, said US Air Forces in Europe’s head of plans and programs, Maj. Gen. Mark Schissler. “I don’t think our defense department will be much different from the defense departments in European nations in terms of sizing and reductions,” Schissler told the Daily Report Jan. 10 during an interview at USAFE headquarters at Ramstein AB, Germany. European allies may not be able to indefinitely rely on US forces to back-fill capacity, he said. “I’m not sure we’ll have more capability than they do. I think we’ll all probably be at the same place,” he said. The US and NATO continue to confront the same challenges to European security, but “dollars and euros will be tighter,” meaning the alliance faces “difficult decisions” in the next five to 10 years, he said. (For more from Schissler, read Don’t Forget Europe from Thursday’s Daily Report column.)