John Vandiver

Air Force sends F-35s, F-15s to Europe in combat readiness test

The U.S. Air Force sent a group of fighters and transport aircraft to Poland, Lithuania and Estonia Tuesday in a test of the service's ability to quickly deploy air power overseas, the military said.

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Proposed law calls on Pentagon to consider more troops, surveillance in Baltic region

The Baltic region has long been an area of concern for the U.S. military in Europe, and U.S. military and Western security analysts have warned that NATO allies may be outgunned by Russia in the Baltics.

Turkey takes shipment of Russian S-400 missile defense system despite US warnings

The first shipment of a sophisticated Russian missile defense system arrived in Turkey on Friday, as the prospect of U.S. sanctions looms over the NATO ally.

Supplements containing steroids found at Moody Air Force Base exchange

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service said 5 Star Nutrition has blocked the sale of the products, “Alpha Shredded” and “Trenatestin,” on military installations.

Army bill jumps by $1.2 million for noise reduction at Stuttgart area range

The U.S. Army has agreed to pay an additional $1.2 million to cover the costs of a project to lower noise levels at a suburban Stuttgart firing range, where frustrated locals have long complained about the crackle of gunfire.

In a first, Chinese military deploys for medical drill with German forces in Europe

The Chinese army for the first time has deployed armored medical vehicles and personnel to Europe to conduct training with the German military, marking a groundbreaking foray into NATO territory.

US drones make temporary move to Black Sea region

The shift south for a group of MQ-9 Reapers was prompted by construction at their main operating base in northwest Poland, U.S. Air Forces in Europe said.

New commander will oversee Marines from the Arctic to Africa

Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hermesmann will lead a mission that involves everything from countering Russia in the High North to improving the combat skills of allies involved in counterterrorism fights in Africa.

Ukraine seeks weapons through Pentagon foreign sales program for first time

America’s top diplomat in Ukraine said the U.S. is in the process of reviewing the request. While the West has offered various forms of support to Ukraine’s military since 2014, the U.S. only recently began providing lethal military gear.

NATO, Russia talks yield no progress as demise of key missile ban looms

High level talks between the U.S.-led NATO alliance and Russian officials Friday failed to produce a solution in a dispute over a new Russian missile system that is putting at risk a Cold War-era arms control treaty.

US Africa Command provided backup during deadly attack in Niger

The U.S. military provided surveillance support and helped with the evacuation of Niger forces during a battle with suspected Islamic militants last week, AFRICOM said.

Veterans' Stories

'He was so lonely': D-Day veteran who struggled in the US finds new home in Normandy

Charles Shay, an American veteran who just turned 95, now lives about 20 miles from the beach he stormed 75 years ago as a 19-year-old Army medic.

NATO ally Turkey rebuffs US, poised to receive Russian weapons system

For the U.S. military, deploying Russian-made air defenses inside a NATO country poses a technological security risk for the F-35.

Outgoing US special operations general warns of growing threat in Africa

Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks, who led U.S. special operations troops in Africa during a tumultuous two-year tenure, warned during a change of command Friday that security conditions are deteriorating in Western Africa, a region where four U.S. troops were killed at the start of his time in command.

New acting defense chief Esper wants allies to play bigger role in countering Iran

Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper urged NATO allies Thursday to create a new naval security mission to safeguard ships transiting the increasingly volatile Persian Gulf, following accusations that Iran has been behind multiple attacks on commercial shipping in the area.

Army reviewing air conditioning policies in Germany as temperatures soar

There is potentially good news for the Army in Europe: officials are looking at recent weather trends to see if policies that limit the use of air conditioning need to be modified.

US, allies warn Russia that missile defenses will be bolstered to counter new threat

The U.S.-led NATO alliance will consider bolstering its air and missile defense systems in Europe as well as enhancing its conventional forces if Russia doesn’t abolish a new missile system that poses a threat to the Continent, the alliance’s top official said Wednesday.

Allied spending up, Russian weapons on agenda as Esper meets NATO defense ministers

Allies in Europe and Canada boosted defense spending by a combined 3.9% this year, marking the fifth consecutive year defense budgets have increased among non-U.S. NATO allies, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday.

Marine jailed for 16 years for murder of Kenyan Olympic champion’s daughter

Cpl. Reuben Chebon Mwei, originally assigned to 2nd Maintenance Battalion, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was convicted of murder and false imprisonment Monday.

New Pentagon boss expected to bring burden-sharing message to NATO

Incoming Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper will head to Europe next week, where he is expected to press allies to increase spending while meeting with NATO defense ministers.

Canadian paratrooper killed, two US soldiers hurt during Bulgaria parachute jumps

A Canadian paratrooper was killed and three allied servicemembers, including two Americans, were injured during an Army-led training exercise in Bulgaria, officials said Thursday.

Pentagon to send more arms and equipment to Ukraine

The U.S. will deliver more sniper rifles, grenade launchers, counter-artillery radars and other gear to the Ukrainian military as part of an ongoing effort to bolster its defenses on land and at sea, the Pentagon announced.

Germans probe how US officer’s 13-year-old was permitted to fire sniper rifle at Bundeswehr range

While the incident happened in Oct. 2016, it only came to light last week when a formal complaint was made, Spiegel reported.

NATO greets Trump’s Poland troop plan warmly; effect on US bases in Germany uncertain

NATO and Baltic officials welcomed a decision by President Donald Trump to boost the number of U.S. troops in Poland, but Berlin was mum in the wake of an announcement that included the possibility of pulling forces from Germany.

Trump considers moving up to 2,000 troops to Poland as Polish president agrees to buy F-35s

Last year, Poland had proposed building a “Fort Trump” in hopes of luring the United States to base a larger American military force there.

Army extends single soldier tours in Europe, Japan to three years

According to the Army, the move to extend tours in Europe and Japan is designed to save money and boost the combat readiness of overseas units.

Iceland rift over NATO membership sidelined in Arctic security talks

NATO’s top official in Iceland on Tuesday downplayed worries about a potential rift with the small Arctic Council nation, whose leader has expressed interest in quitting the alliance.

US troops escape injury in Niger roadside bomb blast

U.S. Africa Command said Sunday that a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle activated the bomb while four servicemembers were entering a firing range in the vicinity of Ouallam, Niger.

US MRAP vehicle is damaged in Niger incident

A U.S. mine-resistant vehicle was damaged Saturday in Niger, and the military is investigating whether the incident was the result of hostile intent, U.S. Africa Command said.

Army secretary talks with US soldiers in Kosovo as mission continues into 20th year

Mark Esper said his focus during the trip was to get feedback from soldiers rather than delve into the fraught political situation in the country.

ISIS in Somalia recruiting up as US airstrikes continue

Since April, AFRICOM has launched about eight airstrikes against ISIS-Somalia, killing roughly 20 militants, including the group’s second-in-command. While some past estimates by security analysts have put the size of the militant group at between 100 and 200 fighters, military officials now say the group could be larger.

Blacks and Hispanics face military trials at disproportionate rates, GAO report to Congress says

The Government Accountability Office report also found that the services don’t record race and ethnic data in the same way, making it difficult to compare disparities among the military branches. Still, the report concluded that multiple racial disparities exist.

EUCOM sees larger role for US diplomats in military exercises

There is a push to bring U.S. embassy teams in Europe into the training fold, with military and civilian officials coordinating their actions in mock crisis management scenarios, according to the leader of EUCOM’s exercises and assessments division.

Strike kills two militants as US-backed forces push into ISIS territory in Somalia

The U.S. military said it killed two Islamic State fighters Wednesday in Somalia, where there has been an uptick in airstrikes against the militant group in the past month.

The runway is ready, but flights still on hold at new US drone site in Niger

The U.S. military has finally completed runway work at a new air base in Agadez, Niger, but Air Force officials said Wednesday it will still be several months before flight operations can begin at what is anticipated to be a major intelligence gathering hub in western Africa.

Islamic State group emerges as a political force in western Africa

ISIS-West Africa, which broke away from the militant group Boko Haram three years ago, continues to launch high profile attacks that have placed the Nigerian military “under tremendous strain,” according to U.S. Africa Command.