Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Army to send even more troops, tanks to Europe

Army to send even more troops, tanks to Europe: Just months after bringing home the last of its M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles from Europe, the Army's heavy vehicles are back in the region as it faces a new but familiar threat.

In the last 10 months, Russia has annexed the Crimea region, secured a vital port in the Black Sea and sponsored a civil war in Eastern Ukraine that has claimed thousands of lives — all within a few hundred miles of NATO's borders.

Russia's military also has taken on an aggressive swagger. In the Black Sea, NATO ships like the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook have been buzzed by Russian fighters. Russian Tu-95 Bear Bombers have reportedly been tracked near Canada conducting missile strike drills within range of targets in the United States, and Russian airplanes have been tracked as close as 50 miles from the California coast — the closest they've come since the end of the Cold War.

"My concern about those kinds of activities is there can be a miscalculation or mistake that could lead to a confrontation," said Lt. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of NATO Land Command. "When you look at the history of warfare, it's replete with examples where a miscalculation or mistake can spin into war."