John Vandiver

Pentagon to cut scores of US troops in Africa as mission changes

The U.S. has about 7,200 troops operating in Africa. The coming reductions, about 700 in all, will happen over the course of the “next several years” the Pentagon said.

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US base in Poland gets serious look as talks advance, Mattis says

Discussions are moving forward on Poland's offer of $2 billion to help fund an American base where troops and their families could be stationed on a permanent basis.

Microdrones and 3D printers help, but NATO wants more money to remain high-tech

Members of the 29-nation alliance will be expected to submit by the end of the year plans on how to boost military expenditures that fall short of NATO requirements, said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

For talks with Germany’s elite, US ambassador calls in enlisted Marines

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell's relationship with about 15 Marines who help secure the diplomatic compound has become a focal point for the 52-year-old ambassador, who attracted attention early in his tenure as President Donald Trump’s lightning rod in Germany.

NATO to continue training Afghan forces despite ‘challenges,’ alliance chief says

NATO’s reinforced mission will continue training Afghan forces, the alliance’s top official said Tuesday, even as government troops sustain higher numbers of casualties in a war now in its 18th year.

Islamic militant attacks up overall, but ISIS incidents down in Africa

Attacks by Islamic militants in Africa increased slightly in 2017, with violent incidents from groups in western Africa spiking and Islamic State actions waning, according to a new report.

CENTCOM apologizes for training manual with phrase ‘Negro blood’

The 69-page “Welcome Booklet,” which includes information ranging from base services to religious and cultural life in Saudi Arabia, delved into the country’s history with arcane language now regarded as offensive.

Air Force receives its largest ordnance shipment in Europe since Cold War

The Air Force has delivered its largest shipment of ordnance to Europe since NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign in the Balkans, a move that is part of a broader rearmament on the continent.

Mattis says killing of Saudi journalist threatens 'regional stability'

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday that the killing of a Saudi journalist in Turkey threatens “regional stability” and those responsible will be held accountable, but he stopped short of delivering a direct rebuke of Saudi Arabian leaders.

Snap mobilizations in store as Army readies troops for major conflict

A new U.S. Army strategy calls for more unpredictable deployments and emergency drills to ensure the service can quickly mobilize large combat formations for a major war.

Allies to meet over US plan to leave nuclear missile treaty

NATO ambassadors will meet later this week to discuss the U.S. plan to leave a key nuclear treaty with Russia, a move that has met with mixed reactions from members of the 29-nation military pact.

50,000 troops to drill for invasion in largest Europe exercise since Cold War

The U.S.-led NATO alliance will launch its largest war games since the end of the Cold War on Thursday, pulling together 50,000 troops, 65 warships and 250 planes for a mission that will test the ability of allies to free a member state.

Russia warns Sea of Azov off limits to US, NATO ship drills

Russia says it will block any attempt by Ukraine to host military drills in the Sea of Azov, a strategic waterway where Kiev could soon be operating two newly acquired American warships.

AFRICOM revamps strategy to empower Africa’s NCOs

U.S. Africa Command is pursuing a new strategy to empower the enlisted ranks across the continent as it concentrates efforts on developing regional training hubs where local forces, not American mentors, will be in the lead.

US soldiers under investigation after late-night brawl in Poland

The U.S. Army said it is cooperating with a Polish investigation into allegations that soldiers on Friday beat up a local dentist and two of his sons in the western Poland city of Skwierzyna.

Add Greece to the list of countries pressing for more US troops

Greece has invited the U.S. to set up new bases in the country, offering up coastal northeastern cities that would place American forces at the gateway to the Black Sea and in close proximity to the Balkans.

Largest NATO drill in 16 years brings carrier, US forces to Norway

The USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group and its 6,000 servicemembers will join NATO’s largest military drill since 2002 later this month as allies test their ability to defend a member state, the U.S. Navy’s top admiral in Europe said.

Army should change how it picks enlisted leaders to lower attrition, study says

NCOs who made E-6 faster actually had more soldiers fail to complete their initial service contract than their counterparts who moved slower up the ranks, according to the data.

Many Americans say US has mostly failed in Afghanistan, poll says

Nearly half of Americans think the U.S. has failed to achieve most of its goals in Afghanistan, 17 years after the start of what has become the nation’s longest war, according to a new poll.

Indulge in something sweet at Stuttgart’s Cafe Planie

Afternoon cake and coffee: It’s as German a thing as beer, brats and the population’s rigid adherence to pedestrian traffic lights. In Stuttgart, Grand Cafe Planie is perhaps the most obvious choice for a midday indulgence in something sweet.

Mattis says Russia must comply with missile treaty, will pay a price for cyberstrikes

Russia will face countermeasures from the United States if it continues to violate a 31-year old nuclear treaty, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Thursday, adding that Moscow will also have to “pay the piper” in connection with new allegations of cyberstrikes on U.S. allies.

US is ready to lend more cybertools to NATO

The U.S. will make cyberwarfare capabilities available to NATO to bolster the alliance’s efforts to counter Russian hacking and network espionage, a senior U.S. official said.

Truman carrier group emphasizes unpredictability during rare North Sea patrol

The USS Harry S. Truman Strike Group was conducting maneuvers Tuesday in the North Sea, a rare deployment in northern European waters as the Navy tests its ability to deploy on short notice and keep quiet about it.

US, NATO say that new Russian missile violates nuclear treaty

Russia must halt development of a nuclear-capable missile system or the U.S. will be forced to develop new weapon systems to counter the threat, the U.S. ambassador to NATO said Tuesday.

europe quick trips

Known for winter sports, Garmisch is much more than just a ski town

While the mountain town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, is a prime destination for winter sports, there is more to the area than just sliding down snow-packed slopes. Garmisch and the mountain villages around it make for great off-season long weekends. The views are spellbinding, and the hikes a refreshing escape from the daily grind.

Poland to gain Patriot missile defense radar

The U.S. Army awarded a contract worth more than $1.5 billion for the production of a Patriot missile defense radar to be purchased by Poland, adding another piece to that country’s emerging air defense system.

Half of Americans surveyed say all servicemembers are heroes

Fifty percent of Americans surveyed in a YouGov poll released Wednesday said that everyone in the military is a hero, while 33 percent said it depended on their service.

Mattis says US will look at possible base sites in Poland

The U.S. military is investigating sites for a potential base in Poland, a country that has offered up to $2 billion toward developing infrastructure for stationing a permanent American military force.

The Army in Europe is lifting some restrictions on housing allowances. But Big Army might add new ones.

U.S. Army Europe’s revised policy to allow more flexible housing allowances for civilian employees could be on a collision course with a Department of the Army review that seeks to add more restrictions.

Fort Trump? President says US base in Poland is under serious consideration

Poland has long lobbied for larger numbers of U.S. troops in its country, where American soldiers currently carry out missions on a rotational basis. President Donald Trump says he's now considering creating a more permanent American presence there. Polish President Andrzej Duda says he would like to name the base Fort Trump.

Will NATO name its $1.4 billion headquarters after McCain? Unlikely, NATO chief says

“NATO doesn’t have a tradition of naming buildings after politicians,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. After Sen. John McCain's death last month, there was a push to name the building after him.

Ukraine plans new naval base as US offers more weapons sales

Ukraine announced plans to establish a naval base along the Sea of Azov, a move that came a day after the U.S. said it is mulling more military assistance for Kiev to counter Russia’s actions.

US launches Somalia strike after troops come under attack

U.S. forces in Somalia came under attack earlier this week, prompting a defensive air strike against a militant group aligned with al-Qaida, U.S. Africa Command said Thursday.

If Russia ever acts against NATO, US soldiers at Suwalki Gap may be first to fight back

The Suwalki Gap is a vulnerable corridor along NATO’s eastern flank, and some military analysts fear that U.S. and allied soldiers are badly exposed as they operate near the 45-mile corridor as part of NATO Battle Group Poland.

Army to create new air defense, rocket units in Germany

The U.S. Army announced a plan Friday to add more firepower in Germany by creating new short-range air defense and rocket artillery units, in one of the largest troop boosts in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

New Senate committee leader supports AFRICOM during a time of cutback talks

Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe is known as a GOP company man, but the new head of the Senate Armed Services Committee had a mini-maverick moment back in 2011, and it was all about Africa.