Consolidating European Infrastructure

The Defense Department plans to return a total of 15 sites, located in the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Portugal, back to their host nations under the newly released European Infrastructure Consolidation plan, according to a Jan. 8 US European Command release. The biggest change for the Air Force will be the closure of RAF Mildenhall, England, where the US’ only permanently stationed aerial tankers are based. The 15 KC-135s will move to Germany and Mildenhall’s other assets will be dispersed to other European locations. The Defense Department also announced plans to continue with the streamlining process at Lajes Field in Azores, Portugal, following a mandate in the 2014 defense authorization act requiring the EIC to validate the restructuring. “The Air Force originally chose to streamline US operations on Lajes as the current presence exceeds requirements to support transiting aircraft,” states the release. “The Air Force will adjust the size of the unit to reflect the level of support required while keeping forces at the installation.”