Thursday, June 23, 2016

Vice Chief of Army: More Maneuver Forces Needed in Europe

Additional maneuver forces are needed in Europe as Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors, said the vice chief of staff of the Army June 21.

“There is a significant lack of maneuver forces in Eastern Europe,” said Gen. Daniel Allyn. “That’s something that we are helping address with our rotational presence that will be a sustained presence starting on the first of January … this coming year.”

Russia has been a continued source of worry for officials. Through the European Reassurance Initiative, the United States is increasing its footprint on the continent to counter Russia. The Obama administration requested $3.4 billion in the Defense Department's fiscal year 2017 budget for the effort. Funding will go toward increased presence, bilateral and multilateral exercises, enhanced prepositioning, improved infrastructure and partner capacity.

These measures “are a step in the right direction particularly in a constrained budget environment,” Allyn said during a breakfast meeting with defense reporters in Washington, D.C. “It’s a fairly significant resource investment in deterrence.”

U.S. contribution to short-range air defense and artillery will be particularly helpful for NATO, he said. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, is currently reviewing what has been offered in the initiative, Allyn said.

“I expect that in the coming weeks we will probably hear from him on what isn’t in there that he needs,” he said.

Allyn said he was pleased with multinational collaboration he saw during recent exercises in Europe, such as Anakonda 2016. The exercise, which took place in Poland in June, was meant to “test the ability, readiness and interoperability of the Polish armed forces and allies and partners, while conducting a joint defensive operation on a large scale,” according to a U.S. Army Europe press kit. It brought together more than 31,000 service members from 24 nations.