European Reassurance Initiative Needs Stable Budget for Strategic Goals

Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, chief of US European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, told Congress Tuesday that “a predictable, stable budget and funding is very important” to the strategic success of the European Reassurance Initiative. “We’re trying to reposture in Europe a bit,” in response to Russian provocations, Scaparrotti told the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee, and “it’s important that we have a vision that’s longer term.” While the budget for ERI quadrupled to $3.4 billion in FY17, the initiative is still funded year-to-year through overseas contingency operations funds. “It would be helpful for us all not to have to come back into that next year with uncertainty,” Scaparrotti said. Reliable funding would do more than just assist with planning, though. “I can assure you that our partners and our allies pay close attention to our budgeting,” he said. “It’s an assurance to our allies that what we’ve begun, we’re going to finish.”