John Vandiver

Coronavirus cases soar to at least 69 in Stuttgart military community as Army struggles to contain virus

Expanded testing for the coronavirus at the Army’s garrison in Stuttgart has confirmed more infections there than in the military communities in Japan, South Korea and the rest of Germany combined, and found some unusual virus symptoms.

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Army raises health threat to its highest level for crisis response teams

The health threat level was also raised at Army bases around the world to the second highest level — “Charlie” — meaning only essential personnel will be granted access, the Army said.

Army in Stuttgart to restart limited coronavirus testing for people with no symptoms as cases jump to 33

Coronavirus testing at the Army garrison in Stuttgart, Germany briefly expanded to include symptom-free people who live in on-base apartment buildings or work in customer service, as the military tried a new strategy to stem the spread of the virus, officials said.

EUCOM planning for worst-case scenarios as coronavirus infects personnel, top officer says

“We don’t know exactly what the future holds,” said U.S. European Command’s Gen. Tod Wolters. “Can we do this in perpetuity? We would be challenged. But we are preparing for worst-case scenarios with respect to the potential spread.”

Russia to base hypersonic tracking radar in middle of NATO turf

Russia plans to deploy a next-generation radar to its military exclave of Kaliningrad and use it to counter emerging U.S. hypersonic weapons systems, state media reported.

US airstrikes in Somalia continue at blistering pace with a flurry of attacks on Al-Shabab militants

The U.S. launched five airstrikes over two days against Al-Shabab militants in Somalia who were preparing to battle American-backed troops in a city south of Mogadishu, U.S. Africa Command said.

Military life changes as number of coronavirus cases at Stuttgart Army garrison rises to 21

The number of coronavirus cases has surged in Stuttgart, where 21 members of the military community were infected as of Thursday night, garrison officials said. More than 230 other people are in isolation.

While everyone’s being told not to venture out, Die Alte Kanzlei in Stuttgart will come to you

I’ve long had a distaste for the comparatively cramped dining arrangements at many of Stuttgart’s restaurants.

AFRICOM cancels major exercise over coronavirus concerns

U.S. Africa Command said Monday that it has canceled one of its largest exercises on the continent over concerns about the coronavirus.

Coronavirus fears force Pentagon to curtail large Defender-Europe 20 exercise

The Pentagon has ordered a halt to the deployment of forces for Defender-Europe 20, which would have been the military’s largest exercise on the Continent in a generation, because of concerns about the coronavirus, U.S. European Command said Monday.

100 people in isolation as third case of coronavirus diagnosed in Stuttgart military community

A third person connected to the military community in Stuttgart has tested positive for the coronavirus, and about 100 people are in self-isolation awaiting virus test results, Stuttgart’s garrison commander said.

Stuttgart red-lights brothels amid coronavirus fears

Brothels in U.S. European Command’s hometown of Stuttgart were among a slew of sites that city officials have ordered to close their doors to help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Kunstmuseum Stuttgart’s ‘Vertigo’ exhibit designed to disorient its viewers

The title of the latest exhibition emblazoned across the glass cube art museum building caught my eye: “Vertigo.” It must be about Hitchcock, I figured.

Massive Army exercise in Europe is curtailed amid coronavirus angst

U.S. European Command said Wednesday that the training, which initially called for sending 20,000 U.S.-based soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean, would be downsized.

Troops involved in hunt for African warlord eligible for war on terror medal

Troops who were part of the hunt in central Africa for rebel warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army are eligible for medals awarded to those who served in the global war on terrorism, the Defense Department said.

AFRICOM scales back major exercise in Morocco over coronavirus fears

African Lion, which was set to start March 23 in Morocco, will now only include activities that do not require lodging troops in close quarters, AFRICOM said.

Marines’ Cold Response exercise in Norway is latest drill to be nixed over virus fears

A U.S.-led cold weather exercise in Norway has been cut short because of concerns over the new coronavirus, U.S. European Command announced Wednesday.

General potentially exposed to coronavirus at conference where preventing an outbreak was on the agenda 

Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli and several staff members are now in self-quarantine following last week’s meeting, U.S. Army Europe confirmed in a statement.

Al-Qaida, ISIS pose 'growing threat' in West Africa, AFRICOM head says

The Islamic state and al-Qaida are “on the march” in western Africa, where international efforts to counter extremists groups are insufficient, the head of U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.

B-2 strategic bombers land at Azores base at start of European deployment

U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bombers arrived at an air base in the Azores for the start of a series of operations in Europe, the military said.

USS Ross sailors aid Turkish vessel in flames

Sailors aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer on patrol near the Black Sea this week saved three mariners from a burning Turkish civilian vessel and recovered two others who died, the Navy said.

EUCOM cancels joint military exercise in Israel over new coronavirus

The decision to cancel Juniper Cobra 20, slated to run until March 13, was made in coordination with the Israeli Defense Force, EUCOM said.

Army readies plan to deal with coronavirus during Defender Europe exercise

The Army is “war-gaming” emergency plans that would be rolled out if the coronavirus afflicts troops taking part in Defender Europe 20, one of the largest military drills since the end of the Cold War, a top commander said Wednesday.

Navy SEALs train with Serbians as US works ‘toward a friendship’ in a Russian-influenced nation

U.S. Special Operations Command Europe is aiming to make inroads in a region where Russian influence remains strong.

Army requests millions to fix homes for high-ranking officers in the Washington area

The military is obligated to notify Congress when maintenance and repair costs for the homes of generals and flag officers exceeds $35,000.

Further facility closures at US bases in Europe possible as coronavirus spreads, Wolters says

In Vicenza, Italy, the Army has closed on-base schools, child care centers, gyms and churches after a spike in coronavirus cases in the broader region. Military personnel also have been told not to travel to areas where clusters of confirmed cases have emerged.

AFRICOM airstrike kills key planner of attack on US forces in Kenya

A U.S. airstrike has killed a key planner in January’s deadly attack on U.S. forces in Kenya, where three Americans were killed after al-Qaida-connected militants stormed a local base, U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.

Investigation ongoing after suspension of Army's top health officer in Europe

U.S. Army Europe is continuing to investigate the top medical commander in the region, who was suspended in connection with an ongoing probe, military officials said.

New customs form likely to mean longer waits at military post offices

Starting March 6, the U.S. Postal Service plans to require customers at post offices overseas to use an electronic customs form that needs to be typed and printed. U.S. Army Europe said it is working to delay the policy change.

US, China lead global defense spending to highest increase in 10 years

Annual military spending climbed worldwide in 2019 by the largest amount in a decade, with the U.S. far outpacing second-place China, a new study has found.

Esper tells Europe to ‘wake up’ to a China that seeks to dominate

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Saturday issued a stark warning that China threatens "long-standing international rules-based order."

Special ops forces gear up for large Africa drill as possible cutbacks loom

U.S. special operations forces begin large-scale exercises Monday in western Africa, where Pentagon leaders are mulling a troop cutback even as insurgent groups in the region gain ground.

US, Taliban agree in principle to reduction of violence in Afghanistan, Esper tells allies

The U.S. and Taliban have agreed in principle to a “seven-day reduction in violence” in Afghanistan, which could lead to a peace deal to end 18 years of war in the country, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday at the end of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

NATO allies agree to expand mission in Iraq

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said allies decided in principle during a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels to boost efforts aimed at training Iraqi security forces.

US Army wants $178 billion for FY 2021

The budget plan would be a slight reduction from the previous fiscal year’s budget of $180 billion. Still, the Army says it has realigned funds to ensure that its top priorities — modernization, combat readiness and personnel needs — are met.

Most in NATO countries say US would aid them against Russia, but they wouldn’t step up

Majorities in 16 member states surveyed said they believe the U.S. military would defend them if they were attacked, but only in five of the countries polled did majorities say their country should use force to defend an ally.