John Vandiver

US trains for attack in central Europe in Astral Knight drills

Hed: US trains for attack in central Europe in Astral Knight drills

Click photo for caption and to enlarge


NATO seeks to expand global political influence as China’s clout grows

China’s growing military and economic clout means NATO must forge ties with partners beyond Europe to expand its influence, the alliance’s top official said Monday.

NATO's new Atlantic Command tasked with countering an increasingly assertive Russia

Set up to help allies move forces across the ocean in a crisis, the Norfolk, Va.-based command has been under development since 2018, when NATO approved the concept.

Army launches probe as three coronavirus cases are connected to Edelweiss quarantine violation

Three of 56 active cases in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen district were traced directly to an Edelweiss Lodge and Resort employee’s night on the town after she was ordered into quarantine following a coronavirus test, district officials said.

Last week’s coronavirus case at military’s Edelweiss Lodge wasn’t the first, German officials say

A worker at the U.S. military’s vacation lodge in Bavaria who may have spread the coronavirus last week wasn’t the first case of the virus at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, German officials said.

Edelweiss to close for two weeks after getting blame for virus spread in Garmisch

U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria on Friday confirmed that it has experienced an outbreak inside the hotel, which will close Monday for at least two weeks as a precaution.

Air Force B-1 bombers fly over East Siberian Sea in latest US show of force

Three B-1 Lancer bombers flew above the East Siberian Sea near Russia on the eastern edge of U.S. European Command’s territory this week, the military said Friday.

US embassy to challenge Germany over attempts to tax American troops

Involvement of senior U.S. officials comes after Germany has threatened to impose hefty tax penalties — some in six figures — on troops and civilians who it says have special ties to the country.

B-52s and Marine Corps F-35s join North Sea drill for first time

F-16s of the 510th and 555th Fighter Squadrons from Aviano Air Base, Italy, are also participating in the exercise for the first time.

In show of force, B-52 bombers maneuver near European, African hotspots

Two long-range, eight-engine bombers headed from Britain to North Africa to train with warplanes from Tunisia, which borders war-torn Libya, U.S. Africa Command said.

V Corps to call Poznan in Poland home, Army says

The forward-based headquarters of the Army’s reactivated V Corps will be located in the Polish city of Poznan, where the first troops will start arriving next month, the service announced Wednesday.

NATO urges international response to ‘horrific’ poisoning of prominent Russian dissident

Alexei Navalny, a prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a longtime anti-corruption activist who has exposed numerous cases of graft among Russia’s elite, became sick on a flight to Moscow on Aug. 20.

Army gets first delivery of its newest armored vehicle

The Armored Multipurpose Vehicle will come in multiple variants to carry out missions ranging from command and control to medical evacuations and mortar carrying support, the military contractor BAE said.

Russian jet follows US B-52 into NATO airspace in 'significant violation,' allies say

The incident prompted Denmark to scramble quick reaction aircraft to counter a Russian fighter jet that took off from Russia’s military exclave in Kaliningrad, NATO said.

Russian jets fly within 100 feet of US bomber over Black Sea, Air Force says

Two Russian Su-27 Flankers intercepted the B-52 Stratofortress bomber while it conducted “routine operations” Saturday over international waters, U.S. Air Forces in Europe said.

$349 million in projects continue even as military prepares to draw down in Germany

The Army Corps of Engineers says it has 80 projects underway in Germany at a cost of $349 million for the current fiscal year. But any number of those projects could eventually prove to be a multimillion-dollar waste if the Pentagon puts into action its plan to pull nearly 12,000 troops in the country.

US mulls moving troops from Germany to Romania, Baltics and Poland, Esper says

Romania could get a U.S. troop boost and so might the Baltics as part of the plan to reduce force levels in Germany, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.

Marines to end continuous rotations to Norway

Instead of having up to 700 troops at a time in Norway on six-month rotations, the Marines will conduct periodic training and exercises with the Norwegian armed forces.

Ramstein personnel get green light for Belgium, Spain travel

Belgium and Spain are back as approved travel destinations for Air Force personnel in Germany.

Turkey still a major hub for ISIS militants, IG report says

U.S. European Command called Turkey a “major facilitation hub” for ISIS and said security at the country’s southern borders with Syria and Iraq continues to be a problem.

Military toughens rules on business travel to Belgium and Spain as coronavirus cases rise

Airmen can seek approval for leisure travel but the countries must be designated as “green,” according to coronavirus information on Ramstein Air Base’s website.

Special operations troops get a new boss in Stuttgart

Air Force Maj. Gen. David Tabor took command Monday of special operations forces in Europe, where he must begin planning to relocate his headquarters from Germany to a new home in Belgium.

Eight missing service members presumed dead after amphibious vehicle accident off Calif. coast

The Marine Corps said Sunday that it has called off the search for seven Marines and one sailor three days after an accident off the coast of southern California.

US troops could soon be heading to Poland under new agreement

The U.S. and Poland have agreed to a defense deal that will lead to more American troops deployed in the central European nation, a top U.S. diplomat said Friday.

AFRICOM begins search for new headquarters home

U.S. Africa Command has launched a search for a new headquarters home that could send the Germany-based unit somewhere else in Europe or to the United States.

What will it take to move 12,000 troops from Germany? Closures, time and lots of money

Removing 12,000 troops from Germany will likely mean several base closures and cost billions of dollars for an operation that could begin in weeks but take years to complete.

AFRICOM unit helps to rescue migrants from sinking raft in Mediterranean Sea

A U.S. Africa Command unit on a surveillance mission off the coast of Libya helped rescue 131 migrants after picking up their distress signal at sea, the military said this week.

‘Harassed’ by German tax offices, more US military families face financial threats

German towns that house U.S. troops have expanded efforts to impose income tax penalties on some military personnel, say affected families and an attorney warning that an assignment in Germany carries growing financial risk.

Air Force in Europe demonstrates its power in Black Sea joint drill

U.S. Air Forces in Europe led a large-scale show of force in the Black Sea that brought F-16s together with a Navy warship, drones and special operations aircraft to simulate the destruction of “well-defended targets.”

Plan to pull troops from Germany will take years, top Republican says

A Pentagon plan to reduce forces in Germany and send some to other parts of Europe has the backing of a top Republican senator, but he cautioned that the initiative will take years to put into action.

US airstrike kills seven ISIS fighters in Somalia

A U.S. airstrike in northern Somalia has killed seven fighters from the Islamic State group after they attacked an area where American troops were advising and assisting partner forces, U.S. Africa Command said Wednesday.

US, Ukraine launch Black Sea drills while Moscow puts its fleet on alert

The Navy destroyer USS Porter and submarine hunting aircraft joined a large-scale exercise that kicked off Monday in the Black Sea, where Russia recently ordered snap combat readiness drills involving thousands of troops.

German leaders appeal to US Congress to block troop cuts

The appeal, reported by Reuters and German news agencies, called U.S. troops in Germany “the backbone of U.S. presence in Europe and NATO’s ability to act.”

Military in Europe mandates virus quarantine for troops arriving from US, with no exceptions

Troops coming to Europe from the U.S. have to quarantine for 14 days and can no longer test out of it, military officials said Friday as they moved to contain a “significant spike” in coronavirus infections among incoming forces.

With eye on China and Russia, Foggo relinquishes Navy command with call for new Europe strategy

NATO needs a new maritime strategy to deal with the resurgence of Russia’s submarine force and China’s emergence as a military factor in Europe, the outgoing U.S. naval commander on the Continent said.

Russian-supported mercenaries planting land mines, booby traps in Libya, AFRICOM says

AFRICOM says it has “verified photographic evidence” showing mercenaries connected to the Russian state-sponsored Wagner Group placing booby traps and mines in the outskirts of Tripoli and other areas.