Re-evaluating European Force Structure

Gen. Philip Breedlove, head of US European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said he is re-evaluating the US presence in Europe in light of recent actions by Russia. “It’s a very momentous time in Europe, probably the most since the end of the Cold War, especially because of the … recent changes wrought by Russia,” he said. For more than a decade, the US has based its decisions on resources, basing, and presence on a cooperative relationship with Russia, said Breedlove. “Now, what we see is a very different situation,” he added. Although the Defense Department is still looking to consolidate infrastructure in Europe, Breedlove said force structure should not decrease. “We should take a knee and make no permanent changes to our existing force structure. In fact, he said, “we may need to add additional rotational forces to cover the sustained, persistent presence that we are now envisioning.” That persistent presence will not only have to deal with a more aggressive Russia, but EUCOM forces also are “monitoring unrest in North Africa, [US Central Command] with flow in and out of Afghanistan, and they’re monitoring the situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria,” he said. (Breedlove transcript.)