Friday, December 19, 2014

Air Force to increase op tempo in Europe in 2015

Air Force to increase op tempo in Europe in 2015: The U.S. will continue a high op tempo in Europe — predominantly Eastern Europe — until Russia de-escalates its threats in Ukraine.

Events in 2014 — including the invasion and annexation of Crimea and the presumed shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine — kickstarted dozens of NATO and U.S. land, air and sea exercises in Russia's nearest neighbors.

Many of the exercises were part of the Defense Department's Operation Atlantic Resolve to demonstrate U.S. commitment to NATO allies and European partners.

Atlantic Resolve and other exercises will increase more than 60 percent in 2015, with U.S. Air Forces in Europe members involved in 115 exercises in Eastern Europe, Lt. Gen. Tom Jones, USAFE vice commander said.

"We've put about $1.1 million against those engagements," Jones said in a Dec. 11 interview with Air Force Times.

The increase in exercises indicates "we're going to have an increase in the numbers of everything," Jones said. More assets, including airmen and aircraft, will continue to rotate from the U.S.