John Vandiver

‘Big Red One’ deploying division headquarters for Europe mission

A division-level headquarters from Fort Riley, Kansas will take over the day-to-day command of Army operations along NATO’s eastern flank in March, relieving a 4th Infantry Division team that has carried out the mission for the past three years.

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Russia closing gap with NATO, top US general in Europe warns

U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said Russia’s military modernization efforts are challenging allies in a range of areas such as cybersecurity.

Dunford: Changes needed to make troop rotations in Europe more effective

The general said he favors a U.S. military posture that utilizes rotational forces, even as the Pentagon studies alternative basing strategies to assure allies along Russia’s western border.

US Army howitzer shipment halted by German police

A small convoy carrying six U.S. Paladins near Germany’s border with Poland came to a halt after authorities found the shipment violated transportation rules, U.S. Army Europe said.

Army mulls reinstating WWII-era ‘pink and green’ uniforms

The U.S. Army will make a final decision in a matter of months on whether to switch back to its classic World War II-era “pink and green” dress uniform as part of an effort to more closely link troops to the service’s history, the Army said.

Senate Democrats criticize White House for lacking clear Russia strategy

Senate Democrats called on Wednesday for the Trump administration to adopt a set of tougher measures against Russia, although many of their suggestions about improving NATO cyber operations have already been adopted by the alliance.

Ignore the pejorative name and go for the food at Drei Mohren

In the little suburban Stuttgart town of Sindelfingen, there is a popular Turkish restaurant called Drei Mohren, which can be translated as a racial slur. If you can get past that, you'll likely enjoy the food.

US soldier dies while on mission in Kosovo

The Army is investigating the death of a U.S. soldier who died Saturday while serving as part of NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

Europe Quick Trips

A wooded walk in Stuttgart ends in cable car ride

A walk along the Blaustruemflerweg in Stuttgart offers a pleasant stroll that ends with a ride down an old-time cable car that delivers you back downtown.

Army mum on ‘administrative action’ taken against general accused of sexist comments

The U.S. Army says “appropriate administrative action” has been taken against a two-star general faulted for mistreating a congressional staffer, but the service refused to specify the steps it took against Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves.

Army general’s promotion pulled after calling congressional staffer 'sweetheart'

An anonymous complaint against Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves was made to the IG on July 20, days after Gonsalves’ nomination and one week after Stars and Stripes reported he was in contention to serve as the next commander of U.S. Army Europe.

Air Force looks at damage after intruder storms base, drives within feet of Osprey at Mildenhall

At least one aircraft sustained minor damage two days ago, when a 44-year-old British man stormed the base in his vehicle and sent security personnel on a chase across the facility.

British police confirm incident at RAF Mildenhall not terrorist-related; lockdown lifted

U.S. Air Force officials and local news outlets reported that the base was put in lockdown Monday afternoon after a man driving a car tried to force his way onto the facility.

AFRICOM seeks probe into civilian deaths in Somalia raid

The head of U.S. Africa Command has asked for an additional investigation into whether civilians were killed during a deadly August raid in Somalia involving American and Somali forces.

Uncertainty looms as Iraq looks at post-Islamic State future

A day after Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group, a sense of gloom about the country’s future hung over a security summit in Bahrain, as officials worried that age-old sectarian rifts could make the progress short lived.

Jerusalem decision dominates discussion at global security conference in Bahrain

Angst over the fallout from President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital dominated talks Saturday at a major security conference in Bahrain.

NATO, EU agree mobilizing troops faster is a priority

The U.S.-led NATO alliance and European Union endorsed a plan Tuesday to make military mobility across Europe a top priority, but terms on how to ensure convoys of American troops can quickly cross national borders still need to be worked out, officials said.

Budget watchdog: Trump’s military buildup plan would cost extra $683B

The military buildup proposed in the Trump administration’s 2018 budget would cost a total of $683 billion over the next 10 years, culminating in a Pentagon base budget a decade from now that would dwarf peak Cold War-era spending, a report said.

NATO, EU deal could quicken US Army convoys in Europe

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet Tuesday with allies in Brussels, where NATO is coordinating efforts to loosen regulations that slow down the transit of military convoys across Europe.

2-star to lead USAREUR as search continues for Hodges’ replacement

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.

US to arm drones flying in Niger

U.S. Africa Command will start flying armed drones from its base in Niger, adding more firepower in a country where four U.S. soldiers were killed in an ambush by militants.

AFRICOM offers details on controversial Somalia raid

American and Somalian troops acted in self-defense during a firefight in August that sparked accusations of civilian casualties, U.S. Africa Command said Friday.

Saffran in Stuttgart gets two thumbs up for Persian cuisine

I ordered one of the traditional Persian dishes at the downtown Stuttgart restaurant called Safran. The waitress offered a word of caution: “People either love it or hate it.”

AFRICOM refutes reports of civilian deaths in Somalia operation

An August operation by U.S. forces in Somalia that sparked allegations of civilian deaths at the time resulted only in casualties of “armed enemy combatants,” U.S. Africa Command said Wednesday.

Tillerson faces resistance from Europe over troop increase for Afghanistan

NATO allies will be under pressure to provide more troops for Afghanistan when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Europe next week, but his push may face resistance even as more U.S. troops deploy to the battlefield.

AFRICOM: Somalia’s new leaders are best hope to end the nation’s dysfunction

Somalia’s new government offers the country its best chance for “lasting peace in over a generation,” and the U.S. military will continue to build up local forces to fight Islamic militants rooted there, U.S. Africa Command said Wednesday.

Russian jet performs ‘unsafe’ intercept of US Navy plane

A Russian fighter crossed within 50 feet of a U.S. surveillance aircraft flying over the Black Sea, blasting its afterburners in a dangerous maneuver in front of the American aircraft, military officials said Tuesday.

Russia-wary Moldova seeks more US, NATO cooperation

The U.S.-led NATO alliance will open a new security cooperation center in neutral Moldova, a small Eastern European country locked in a territorial dispute with Russia.

Pentagon budget calls for $143 million buildup at Jordan air base

The Pentagon wants to pump $143 million into upgrades at a strategic air base in Jordan, more than any other overseas Air Force operational site, as the military moves to expand drone and fighter flights in the region.

Stuttgart area bomb defused without incident

Traffic around the U.S. Army’s Panzer Kaserne returned to normal Monday morning after a 500-pound World War II bomb was defused without incident.

Turkey yanks troops from NATO drill over alleged insult

Turkey has pulled its troops from a NATO exercise following an accusation from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday that he and the country’s founding father were named at an “enemies table” during a war game.

US escalates Somalia fight while Pentagon downplays buildup

There are now 500 U.S. troops in Somalia, where the military has carried out daily airstrikes in the past week, but the Pentagon refuses to call it a buildup.

Facilities near Stuttgart to be closed for WWII bomb disposal

Some U.S. military buildings will be closed Sunday so a 500-pound bomb found in a wooded area near the Army garrison here can be safely detonated.

More Europe-based troops considered in House budget

Lawmakers want the military to draw up a strategy for stationing more troops in Europe and to reconsider future base closures, given concerns about a more assertive Russia.

US strikes extremists in Somalia after attacks on troops

The United States launched an airstrike Monday in Somalia, continuing a flurry of attacks aimed at weakening extremist groups in the country ahead of a withdrawal by African troops.

No leadership shake-up so far in wake of Niger ambush

More than a month after four U.S. soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger, all military leaders involved in the planning of the mission remain on the job with no immediate plans to relieve any team members, U.S. Africa Command said.