2-star to lead USAREUR as search continues for Hodges’ replacement
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 1, 2017
STUTTGART, Germany — The two-star deputy at U.S. Army Europe will take command of forces on the Continent in the coming weeks as the Army continues its search for a permanent replacement for retiring Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges.
Maj. Gen. Tim McGuire, who has served as USAREUR’s second in command since June 2016, will be acting commander when Hodges steps down on Dec. 15, USAREUR said. USAREUR will hold a ceremony at its headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, to mark the occasion.
During three years at the head of USAREUR, Hodges led the Army through its largest expansion on the Continent since the end of the Cold War.
The Army has been at the center of efforts by U.S. European Command to bolster its mission along NATO’s eastern flank in response to concerns about a more aggressive Russia. A U.S. tank brigade now operates on year-round rotation in Poland, the Baltics and Romania, along with aviation assets.
McGuire, a West Point graduate who has served as a battalion commander with the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, will oversee USAREUR’s growing mission.
The Army said it was in the process of vetting candidates for the three-star billet.
USAREUR, a four-star post since the 1950s, was reduced to three stars in 2011 during a period of downsizing.
As the command’s stature has grown during the past several years, Army officials have discussed whether the command should again be elevated to four stars. For now, however, there are no immediate plans for such a move, the Army said.
“Many factors come into play in filling vacancies of this type,” William Sharp, an Army spokesman, said in an email. “These factors include a thorough Army and DOD vetting and recommendation process.”
If the Army recommendation is accepted by the White House, the nomination moves forward to the Senate for confirmation.
“All involved understand the importance of filling these high-visibility positions. However, the entire process takes time,” Sharp said.