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John Vandiver

AFRICOM denies Amnesty International claims that US airstrikes killed civilians in Somalia

A report released Wednesday found five incidents in which 14 civilians were killed and eight injured in U.S. strikes in Somalia, which could be in violation of international law.

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Fourth suspect arrested in attempted robbery of American family in Landstuhl that left one intruder dead

The fourth suspect, apprehended in the city of Darmstadt, is a 33-year-old French citizen. Two other suspects — both brothers of the man who died of stab wounds following the break-in — already are in custody.


Funds to deter Russia, build base schools in Europe could go to US-Mexico border wall

The U.S. military’s buildup along NATO’s eastern flank, stretching from the Baltics and Poland down to Romania and Bulgaria, could be curtailed if the Trump administration elects to delay or cancel scores of planned construction projects to fund a border wall.


Pentagon sends Fort Bliss troops on snap deployment to Europe

The sudden deployment is the latest sign of how the Pentagon’s “Dynamic Force Employment” strategy is altering how the Army operates in the U.S. European Command area.


Consolidation of commissaries and exchange stores gains Pentagon support

The measure still requires congressional backing since it would have to repeal a law that prohibits the consolidation of the military’s commissary and exchange systems.


Pentagon chief says there’s nothing to Trump’s 'cost plus 50' idea

Last week, reports emerged that President Donald Trump was interested in charging allies such as Japan, South Korea and Germany the full cost of basing troops in their respective countries.


Alliance unity 'more important than ever,' NATO chief says as defense spending rises

NATO defense spending rose for the fourth year in a row in 2018, but Germany continues to lag behind and is on track to miss an alliance deadline that calls for significant increases by 2024, according to data released Thursday.


Planning for a US base in Poland gains momentum

Discussions about a permanent U.S. military base in Poland are moving forward, with a top Pentagon official arriving in Warsaw this week to hammer out details on expanding the American military presence in the country, officials said.


US looks to trim budget for deterring Russia in Europe, increase ‘burden-sharing’ with allies

The Defense Department’s 2020 budget calls for $5.9 billion to fund the European Deterrent Initiative, down from $6.5 billion a year earlier. The funds support the rotation of U.S.-based troops into Europe to beef up NATO’s eastern flank, the prepositioning of weapons stockpiles and improvements in infrastructure.


Report: Trump wants Germany, Japan and others to pay full cost plus a premium for US troops

Called “Cost Plus 50,” the plan demands allies pick up the full cost of hosting U.S. troops in their countries, plus a 50 percent premium for the privilege of American protection, Bloomberg reported.


‘Rotting’ ships and aging tankers could compromise the military’s ability to get to the fight, lawmakers warn

The Pentagon emphasizes the need to boost the combat readiness and modernize weaponry in an era of “great power competition.” But with planes and ships that would be called upon in a crisis in disrepair, it’s not clear the military could get equipment and troops to combat zones, lawmakers said.


AFRICOM commander calls for diplomatic push in Africa as US pulls troops from continent

The United States needs higher level political engagement in Africa to counter China’s growing influence even as the military cuts back troop levels on the continent, U.S. Africa Command’s commander told lawmakers Thursday.


EUCOM commander requests two more Navy destroyers, extra ground troops for Europe

The top U.S. officer in Europe told lawmakers Tuesday he has insufficient military firepower on the Continent and wants two more Navy warships under his command along with more ground forces to counter Russia.


Pentagon sends THAAD missile defense system to Israel

The decision to send the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to Israel was part of a new Pentagon strategy that calls for the more rapid and unpredictable deployment of forces around the world.


‘Army Strong’ is weak when it comes to lobbying for dollars on Capitol Hill, report finds

On the bureaucratic battlefield for resources, the military’s largest branch is weaker than the other services in self-promotion, a new RAND report says.


Russia defense chief calls Baltic buildup a response to NATO

Russia will add new tank and missile defense units to its Baltic fleet this year along with more modern weaponry for forces positioned in the vicinity of NATO turf, the country’s defense minister said.


Army plans $31 billion budget cut in ‘dramatic shift’

A top service official said about $8 billion of the cut would come from cost avoidance measures and $22 billion would be from program reductions and terminations.


Six US soldiers injured in Poland crash

The injured troops, who are assigned to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command based out of Kaiserslautern, Germany, were taken to a local hospital for treatment.


Army elevates soldier’s Silver Star to second-highest valor medal

Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, whose unit led the 2003 offensive into Baghdad known as Thunder Run, will be awarded the nation’s second-highest valor medal posthumously, the military said.


Army’s training command in Europe to get new boss

Brig. Gen. Christopher Norrie, who led one of the first major tank unit rotations into Europe since the Cold War drawdown, was named the next head of the Army’s top training command on the Continent.


Trump warns Europe he will free ISIS fighters if allies won’t prosecute them

Comments come as global leaders wrap up three days of security talks in Munich, where the conflict in Syria was among the agenda items.


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Pence calls on allies to end dealings with Iran, increase defense spending

At the Munich Security Conference, remarks from Vice President Mike Pence credited allies for stepping up their investments but demanded that all 29 NATO members hit a 2024 deadline to meet agreed-upon spending targets. He also noted that “the time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal."


Shanahan calls for larger anti-ISIS coalition at start of Munich talks

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said Friday he wants coalition members in the fight against the Islamic State group to step up their support even as the U.S. prepares to pull out of northern Syria.


Shanahan calls on Europe to make public case for more defense spending

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said leaders in Europe must galvanize public support for more military spending, saying that recent increases in investment aren’t enough for the threats NATO now faces.


US prepares for larger military presence in Poland

The U.S. will deploy hundreds more troops to Poland in a push to further boost its military presence in a region where the Pentagon already has thousands of servicemembers conducting operations, America’s top diplomat in the country said.


Army civilian in Landstuhl says he 'fought like hell' during home invasion that left one intruder dead

The former Air Force major, who now works as an Army civilian employee, is being investigated by German prosecutors over whether he used excessive force in the fight.


Army civilian in Landstuhl says he ‘fought like hell’ during home invasion

HED: Army civilian in Landstuhl says he ‘fought like hell’ during home invasion


A new US base in Poland wouldn't mean troop cuts in Germany, US ambassador says

If the United States moves forward with a plan to set up a new military base in Poland, American forces won’t be pulled out of Germany to man the mission, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said Tuesday.


Army civilian in Germany faces investigation after fatally stabbing home invader

An Army civilian who fought off home invaders with a kitchen knife during an attempted robbery is facing an investigation into whether he acted in self-defense when he fatally stabbed one of the perpetrators, German authorities said Tuesday.


Army civilian in Landstuhl fends off home invaders with knife, German police say

Police said that four suspects attempted to force their way into the American’s home in Landstuhl, a community with a large U.S. military population.


Promotion rates improving for Air Force drone pilots, GAO says

Air Force fighter pilots continue to be promoted at higher rates than their counterparts who control drones, but the gap is closing as the demand for remotely piloted aircraft increases, a government watchdog said in a new report.


Effectiveness of US airstrikes in Somalia questioned by AFRICOM commander

AFRICOM has picked up the pace of its airstrikes in Somalia, going from 35 in 2017 to 47 last year. The command's top leader says that won't be enough to defeat the Islamic militants operating in the country.


NATO paves way for Macedonia’s membership after country changes name

Macedonia was formally invited Wednesday to join NATO and could become the alliance’s 30th member by year’s end, after recently resolving a long running dispute with neighboring Greece.


New retro-style Army Greens to hit the streets this year in phased rollout

The Army could begin issuing the first batch of its retro-style service uniforms this month in a push to get recruiters onto the streets of “hometown America” in the new duds, the Army’s top enlisted soldier said Monday.


USAREUR allows longer registrations for older cars

A new U.S. Army Europe policy means that owners of vehicles more than 10 years old can now register their cars every two years instead of annually.


Two Germans cause alarm after shooting blanks near Army base

Two German men were taken into custody Sunday after police swarmed near U.S. Army Europe’s Clay Kaserne headquarters in Wiesbaden in response to sounds of gun fire in the vicinity of the base.