John Vandiver

Navy's top officer visits Nimitz group in Gulf amid Iran tensions

The Navy’s top officer visited a warship in the Persian Gulf this week after ongoing tensions with Iran led the Pentagon to extend an aircraft carrier group’s deployment to the region.

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CENTCOM mission expands to include Israel

U.S. Central Command is now responsible for coordinating military activities with Israel, taking over a job that for decades was the task of U.S. European Command, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Two German lawmakers urge greater control of criminal cases involving US troops

Two German lawmakers are calling for changes in an international treaty that leaves most criminal cases involving U.S. troops in the hands of the military justice system, saying local authorities should have more say in such matters.

German lawmaker raises objections over attempts to tax US forces

A key German lawmaker says it is “legally problematic” for local authorities to levy tax bills on U.S. forces and that Berlin must end double income taxation, which has financially devastated some military families.

C1 restaurant in Stuttgart is just good, old-fashioned Korean food

With coronavirus cases climbing fast in early November and a second lockdown looming in Germany, there was no time to lose to try the newest Korean restaurant in Stuttgart.

‘Shocking scenes’: NATO chief voices alarm as rioters storm the US Capitol

Several diplomats and high-ranking military, government and NATO officials condemned the unrest at the Capitol.

Air Force moves drones, airmen to base in Romania

The Reapers will boost surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the Black Sea region, where the U.S. has regularly accused Russia of dangerous intercepts of aircraft, and other incidents have caused tensions to flare.

Remembering service members who died in combat zones in Africa, Kosovo, Arabian peninsula region in 2020

The most deadly incident for American forces overseas last year was a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula in November, in which five American troops died and one was injured.

Turkey takes command of NATO crisis response force

NATO touted the Turkish military’s ability to carry out the crisis response mission despite Ankara being at odds with members of the alliance, including the U.S., over its close ties to Russia.

NATO jets intercepted hundreds of Russian flights in 2020

NATO warplanes had to scramble more than 400 times across Europe in 2020, mostly to check Russian aircraft flying unannounced near allied air space, the U.S.-led alliance said Monday.

New Army cannon hits target 43 miles away in test

For the Army, extending the reach of its cannons is a priority as it seeks to counter advanced potential adversaries like Russia and China.

US naval armada sent to Somalia to relocate 700 troops and gear

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, which includes an array of support ships, joins the Navy’s USS Hershel “Woody” Williams off the coast of Somalia.

Former DOD official charged with taking kickbacks for work at US base in Djibouti

A former Defense Department official was charged in connection with allegations he received $34,000 in illegal gratuity from a private party while serving in a government position, the U.S. Attorney’s central district office in California said.

Army extends more benefits to reservists on overseas tours as lawsuit over housing allowances continues

Previously, permanent change of station entitlements weren’t offered to unaccompanied reservists “due to many factors, one being the traditional tour length of one year or less.”

Military in Europe to receive coronavirus vaccines soon; Germany stands up vaccination centers

The U.S. military could begin administering the coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and emergency responders in Europe within days, while German authorities are readying vaccination centers that could be open to military-affiliated Americans in some locations.

USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams helps get US troop withdrawal from Somalia underway

U.S. Africa Command, citing security concerns, declined to say Friday how many troops have already been moved or when the withdrawal will be completed.

Air Force in Europe seeks defense against Chinese drones and Russian cruise missiles

The Air Force wants help from the defense industry to maintain Ramstein Air Base’s defense system, and to develop and deploy air base defense systems for other locations in Europe.

US military exchanges, commissaries to stay open despite new German coronavirus restrictions

Shopping malls and other facilities at U.S. military bases in Germany will remain open in the coming weeks, even as many host nation retailers are forced to shut their doors starting Wednesday when tougher coronavirus rules take effect, officials said.

Army in Europe in search of new ‘mantra’ that includes Africa mission

The Army says it wants a slogan that captures the spirit of both its Europe and Africa missions.

Somalia strike killed eight expert bomb makers, AFRICOM says

U.S. airstrikes killed eight al-Shabab bomb makers this week in Somalia, marking the first such attack in the country since the Pentagon directed the military to withdraw its forces from the country by early next year.

New US military hospital in Germany takes a budget hit in defense bill

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act cuts more than $100 million from the Pentagon’s $200 million request, which was to be used for construction on a facility slated to replace the aging Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Army accidental deaths fall in 2020, likely due to pandemic

A reduction in accidental deaths for the Army was probably because of restrictions and possibly curtailed training activities brought on by the pandemic, a safety report said.

In a first, a Black woman takes command of Army reserve command in Europe

Brig. Gen. Wanda N. Williams, one of only three Black women now serving as a general officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, will lead more than 1,000 soldiers and civilian personnel spread out across nearly 20 countries.

AFRICOM set for budget boost; says troops pulled out of Somalia will stay in East Africa

U.S. Africa Command is slated to get almost $40 million more than the Pentagon sought for it after lawmakers added funds to the headquarters’ budget, citing concerns it lacks casualty evacuation capabilities.

Proposed cut to US troop levels in Germany halted under defense bill

The final version of the defense spending bill released by Congress says the defense secretary cannot reduce force levels in Germany below the current 34,500 number until 120 days after an analysis that examines possible security implications.

US B-52s take part in Barents Sea mission, one diverted for mechanical problem

A mission over the Barents Sea originally involved two bomber aircraft, but one aircraft safely diverted to RAF Fairford in England for a maintenance issue, EUCOM said.

New US special operations site activated in heart of the Baltics

A new special operations site that will allow elite U.S. troops to expand operations in the Baltic region is up and running in the Latvian capital of Riga, military officials said Thursday.

Army has big spending plans to improve housing in Europe

All seven Army garrisons in Europe will benefit from a program that involves construction on 1,300 new dwellings and improvements at 3,500 existing units.

NATO high-level panel recommends 'much more' focus on China

NATO needs an updated strategy to meet challenges posed by a rising China, which until now hasn’t been a major focus for the 30-nation Atlantic security pact, a new report commissioned by the alliance’s top official said.

‘We have a drug problem’: Camp Lejeune starts random LSD testing

A series of drug-related incidents involving Marines and sailors was behind the decision to test for LSD in random screenings, the Marine Corps said.

NATO preps for a Biden summit and decisions on Afghanistan in early 2021

At a summit early next year, NATO allies are expected to decide whether to continue their nearly 20-year-old mission in Afghanistan.

Gay veterans in Germany to be eligible for compensation as nation deals with past discrimination

There hasn’t been any indication that the U.S. intends to go in the direction of Germany by offering financial compensation to gay veterans who were discriminated against in years past.

‘Wild Bill’ platoon brings new electronic warfare skills to Army’s force in Europe

With the 'Wild Bill' platoon, the unit can see whenever an adversary emits a signal from a cell phone, smart watch or other wireless device.

V Corps takes up position at new Poland headquarters

About 200 V Corps troops will eventually be assigned to the forward element in Poland while an additional 400 will work from Kentucky.

US special operators and Army artillerymen flex muscles in groundbreaking Black Sea drill

The Rapid Falcon exercise showcased a new capability that gives conventional artillery units in Germany the ability to strike with the speed of a quick reaction force.

As UK ramps up defense spending, Pentagon tells other allies to follow suit

The U.K.'s $21.8 billion increase, doled out over four years, is the largest boost in defense spending since the end of the Cold War.