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Oversight of Army’s 3 Europe-based brigades shifts to a one-star general

Maj. Michael Centola, executive officer of the 4-319 Field Artillery Regiment, part of the 173rd Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), pulls his parachute towards his pack during a live-fire artillery exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, May 18, 2018. In a restructuring in Europe, the 7th Army Training Command in Grafenwoehr will now assume oversight of the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the Germany based 2nd Cavalry Regiment and 12th Combat Aviation Brigade.

MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES

By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 30, 2018

STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. Army Europe will put a one-star general in charge of three brigades permanently stationed on the Continent as part of a command reorganization designed to improve combat readiness.

The effort, known as “mission command restructuring,” means the 7th Army Training Command in Grafenwoehr will assume oversight of the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, the Katterbach, Germany-based 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and the Vilseck, Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment, which is structured as a Stryker brigade.

The change takes effect Wednesday when all three brigades begin reporting to Brig. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, whose Grafenwoehr headquarters is taking on higher-level responsibilities, USAREUR said.

“U.S. Army Europe is realigning command relationships for optimal readiness and effectiveness,” USAREUR said in a statement.

Until now, management of the Army’s Europe-based brigades was left to USAREUR’s three-star boss.

The shift means USAREUR headquarters can now dedicate more resources to strategy while allowing the 7th Army Training Command to deal with tactical issues it is better designed to oversee, USAREUR said.

The headquarters realignment is the latest way in which the Army’s mission in Europe is adapting to a more unpredictable security environment.

Since Russia’s 2014 intervention in Ukraine, U.S. European Command’s operations have expanded, particularly along NATO’s eastern flank as allies attempt to deter potential aggression.

USAREUR has been at the center of those efforts as it manages large rotations of U.S.-based units flowing into Europe and more missions for the forces permanently posted to Europe.

However, as the missions grew, USAREUR headquarters found itself undermanned and not configured for the more intense pace of operations.

In 2015, a Army Mission Command Element was set up to manage the day-to-day movement of troops in the Baltics and Poland. That headquarters, currently manned by soldiers on rotations with the 1st Infantry Division, now operates out of Poznan, Poland, giving USAREUR a deployable headquarters it lacked after post-Cold War cutbacks.

As the Army downsized, it lost not only brigades but the higher headquarters that helped manage them. The inactivation of V Corps in 2013 left the Army without a corps headquarters for the first time since 1951.

With the 7th ATC now established as the brigade-level higher headquarters, those units will fall “under a more appropriate level of administrative authority to assist them in meeting their training and readiness requirements,” USAREUR said.

“The Mission Command Restructuring is being conducted to improve the effectiveness of U.S. Army Europe as a headquarters and the readiness of the affected brigades,” USAREUR said.

vandiver.john@stripes.com
Twitter: @john_vandiver

Soldiers with the 173rd Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) provide security during an artillery live-fire exercise at Grafenwoehr, Germany, Friday, May 18, 2018. In a restructuring in Europe, the 7th Army Training Command in Grafenwoehr will now assume oversight of the Vicenza, Italy-based 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment and 12th Combat Aviation Brigade.
MARTIN EGNASH/STARS AND STRIPES

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