WASHINGTON — The U.S. military plans to appoint a German officer to be the next chief of staff of U.S. Army-Europe, Stars and Stripes has learned.
“U.S. Army-Europe is currently in discussion with the German [Ministry of Defense] on the opportunity to have a German brigadier general serve as the USAREUR chief of staff. The details are still being worked,” said Joe Garvey, deputy chief of Public Affairs for USAREUR.
Garvey would not provide additional details or a timetable for when an official announcement about the next chief of staff will be made, but said the two sides are “in the final throes” of the process.
“A decision has been made to make this happen,” according to Garvey.
The decision was first reported by German media.
This would mark the first time that a foreigner has held such a high position in the USAREUR leadership staff, although there have been higher-ranking foreign liaison officers there, according to Garvey.
Col. James Mingo is the current chief of staff.
“[It’s] a very positive initiative, and we’re looking very much forward to it,” Garvey said.
The U.S. military maintains key bases in Germany, and there are 40,000 U.S. servicemembers stationed there, including 25,000 soldiers.
The decision to strengthen bilateral military cooperation by appointing a German officer to the leadership ranks of USAREUR, which is based in Wiesbaden, comes at a time of popular anger over revelations that America’s National Security Agency has been spying on German citizens, including tapping into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal cell phone. Some in Germany have suggested that the country’s relationship with the U.S. should be reevaluated in the wake of the high-profile espionage.