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John Vandiver

China's base in Africa now big enough to host aircraft carriers, AFRICOM boss says

China, which opened its Djibouti base in 2017, has steadily grown its footprint and operates just seven miles from Camp Lemmonier, the U.S. military’s operational hub in the Horn of Africa.

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More Russian troops massed near Ukraine than before 2014 invasion, Pentagon says

The size of the Russian force along Ukraine’s borders “is certainly bigger” than in 2014, a Pentagon spokesman said.


Army housing in Europe gets low marks in customer survey

Military housing in Europe again fared poorly in a new Army customer satisfaction survey, which showed that garrisons on the Continent are improving but still lag behind their peers in the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region.


Top commander says more vaccines coming to Europe after lawmakers question Pentagon planning

The Defense Department is speeding up coronavirus vaccine deliveries to overseas bases, U.S. European Command’s Gen. Tod Wolters said.


Rota to gain two US destroyers by middle of the decade, EUCOM chief says

Two more Navy destroyers are expected to be based out of Rota, Spain, within the next few years, a move that will help U.S. European Command keep closer tabs on Russian submarines, the top U.S. officer on the Continent said Thursday.


NATO forces to leave Afghanistan after Biden withdrawal decision

The NATO alliance, which rushed to join the United States in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will depart the war-torn country alongside American forces in the months ahead, allies announced Wednesday.


Analysis

Putin’s Ukraine buildup leaves US and its allies in search of a strategy

Russia’s rapid military buildup in recent weeks has sparked fears that a large-scale invasion of Ukraine looms, but confusion over Moscow’s aim has the U.S. and its European allies grasping for a coherent strategy to avert a potential crisis.


US to add 500 new Wiesbaden-area soldiers in Germany, Austin says

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday announced plans to permanently base hundreds more U.S. troops in Germany, where the former Trump administration wanted to withdraw nearly 12,000 service members.


EUCOM boss confident Ukraine could blunt a new Russian offensive

The top U.S. commander in Europe on Tuesday said he is confident Ukraine could repel a new Russian invasion “over time” even though Moscow has massed a large force around the country.


Austin orders probe of attack that left three Americans dead in Kenya

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he wants a deeper look into a deadly 2020 ambush at the small Manda Bay outpost.


Austin heads to Europe where US troop presence in Germany is on the agenda

In Europe, Austin is slated to meet with commanders at U.S. European and Africa Command headquarters in Stuttgart and also hold talks with his German counterparts in Berlin.


Fort Hood-based commander fired for bullying his staff

Col. Michael Schoenfeldt, commander the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, has been reassigned and is now performing administrative duties, the division said.


Umami’s flavorful Japanese-style ramen adds to Stuttgart’s tasty takeout options

Miraculously, there are still chefs out there opening up when life in much of Germany is still locked down.


Combat readiness weakened after decades of conflict, government watchdog agency says

The Navy was especially hard hit, seeing declines in availability of resources and ship maintenance backlogs, the GAO said.


Army-developed COVID vaccine could ‘stop variants in their tracks,’ scientist says

The U.S. Army this week began testing a vaccine that could protect against “major variants” and new strains of the coronavirus, one of the vaccine's developers said.


Coronavirus concerns have Army looking at biometrics to replace plastic ID cards

The U.S. Army is looking for alternatives to traditional military identification cards, which are “known vectors of diseases,” a service bid announcement said.


Rise in military telework boosted productivity but added security risks, IG says

Nearly 50% of the roughly 50,000 military personnel surveyed reported higher levels of production while another 41% said their effectiveness remained the same, the Pentagon IG said.


EUCOM raises threat level for Ukraine as Russia builds up forces

U.S. European Command has raised its threat level over worries that Russia is massing forces around eastern Ukraine, where the Pentagon says tensions have escalated in recent weeks.


NATO planes shadow Russian bombers from Arctic to Black Sea

NATO fighter jets launched a flurry of intercepts Monday stretching from the Arctic to southern Europe as allies countered a “an unusual peak” of flights by Russian warplanes, the alliance said.


Polish general joins US Army’s reestablished V Corps

Maj. Gen. Adam Joks was appointed as deputy commander of the U.S. Army’s recently reestablished V Corps headquarters.


Fort Hood-based brigade commander under investigation after allegations of toxic leadership, flouting coronavirus rules

Col. Michael Schoenfeldt, who led the 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, until he departed Germany for Texas in February, faces numerous allegations by subordinate officers related to what they described as a bullying leadership style.


Dutch invest millions to expand US Army weapons depot in Europe

The Netherlands will spend more than $40 million to expand a U.S. Army weapons depot in the country, where gear is pre-positioned for soldiers to draw from in a crisis, defense officials said.


US pushes to revitalize NATO, but dispute persists with key ally Germany

Germany’s plan to open a new gas pipeline with Russia poses a threat to European security, America’s top diplomat said.


Flyer featuring three men for Women’s History Month event prompts Stuttgart garrison apology

The marketing of a virtual seminar dubbed: “Workplace Allies ... Partnering to Break the Glass Ceiling” raised concerns.


NATO enjoys strong public support among allies, but Americans less sure of benefits

NATO on Tuesday released its 2020 annual report, which included a poll commissioned by the alliance on attitudes toward the 30-member security pact.


US special operations forces train Mozambique troops to counter ISIS threat

U.S. special operations troops have launched a mission to assist counterterrorism forces in Mozambique, where there are growing concerns about escalating violence by Islamic State militants.


Germany spent far less than other major allies on cost-sharing for US bases last year

Germany spent $118 million last year on hosting foreign forces, a fraction of what other major allies spend on cost-sharing and far less than the billions the U.S. military pumps into the Germany economy.


American ‘irritation’ over taxing of US troops must be dealt with, Germany’s top diplomat says

Germany's top diplomat said he has become personally involved in the issue of some US troops in Germany being taxed by local authorities and that he will “stand up for a solution in this important question.”


Army in Europe starts new resume database to make it easier for spouses to get jobs

The EURCivJobs site aims to simplify how job seekers find work in the European theater.


US Special Forces train in Serbia, where China and Russia have strengthened military ties

A contingent of Green Berets arrived this week in Serbia, where U.S. military commanders are looking to strengthen ties even as Belgrade deepens its connections with rivals China and Russia.


AFRICOM needs White House approval for airstrikes, report says

The restrictions were applied while the White House examines former President Donald Trump’s policy, which delegated decision-making on strikes to combatant commanders, unnamed U.S. officials said.


Pentagon sends $125 million in arms aid to Ukraine

The most recent equipment included two Mark IV patrol boats, tactical gear, radars and other equipment to improve command and control capabilities, medical treatment and combat evacuation.


How an early promotion kept a young Black Marine on the path to become a general

Maj. Gen. Michael Langley said his decision to stick with the Marine Corps was based on trust won more than 30 years ago.


Global defense spending, led by US and China, hits new high

The U.S. and China led the growth in global defense spending, which hit a new high in 2020 despite the economic stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, a report said Thursday.


Merged US Army Europe-Africa command boosts crisis response, general says

The consolidation of U.S. Army Europe and Africa headquarters is a “very big advance” that will enable troops to move more rapidly between continents in times of crisis, the general in charge of Army missions on the two continents said Tuesday.


Army 4-star headquarters has new motto for Europe, Africa mission

“Stronger Together” is the new command slogan, replacing the nearly 7-year-old guiding mantra of “Strong Europe,” the Army said.