White House decision on U.S. force structure in Europe coming soon

Supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe and chief of U.S. European Command, Adm. James Stavridis.

From John Vandiver, Stars and Stripes:  A Pentagon plan for the U.S. military’s force structure in Europe, which some critics say remains too bloated for a post Cold War world, has been finalized and is now up to the White House to make official.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates made his recommendation to President Barack Obama, according to Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a Pentagon spokeswoman, who declined to detail what was included in that proposal. …

“As you know we’re under grave budgetary pressure here, and there are already calls from some quarters to reduce the US military footprint in the European Command area of responsibility that you have,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the hawkish Independent from Connecticut. “I’m struck by the fact that what’s happening in Libya makes the argument for the continuing importance of our military footprint in Europe and enable our operations in North Africa. I wanted to ask you to just take a moment to essentially respond to the point that’s made that, hey, the Second World War is long over, the Cold War is over, what the heck are we still doing in Europe?” …

“I think that European platform permits us to reassure allies, to deter, to conduct military operations as we’re doing today in Afghanistan and in Libya, and to do this training, and building and partnership capacity – those are vital functions,” said [Commander of U.S. European Command and NATO SACEUR Adm. James] Stavridis, before adding that he saw room for more reductions. “I’m comfortable that we can take a little bit more out of that, a little bit more efficiency and we’ve looked very hard at that, and over the last year, and we’re very close to a decision that, I think, will make some minor reductions in that,” Stavridis said.  (photo: Miguel Angel Alvarez/Notimex/Newscom)

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