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John Vandiver

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.

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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.


US considers more troops and drills in Greece

The United States may increase drills and rotate more troops through bases in Greece, which offer logistic support for U.S. forces within range of hot spots in northern Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, America’s top military leader said.


US monitoring Russian ‘harassment’ of shipping near Ukraine

Russia has delayed the transit of hundreds of commercial ships near a key Ukrainian port, a move that some analysts say amounts to a de facto blockade in an increasingly volatile region.


NATO considers naming Brussels headquarters after McCain

NATO is considering a proposal to name the alliance’s new Brussels headquarters after the late U.S. Sen. John McCain, an idea that has support from three former leaders of the security pact.


Niger ambush prompts training changes for special operations in Africa

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the military will modify how special operations forces are prepared for missions in Africa because of a deadly ambush by extremists last year in Niger that revealed a lack of training for troops heading into hot spots.


Russia reportedly deploys largest naval force to Mediterranean since 2015

Russia is sending its largest naval task force into the eastern Mediterranean Sea since the country launched its military campaign in Syria three years ago, Russian media said Tuesday.


US will stay in Persian Gulf despite Iranian claim, Pompeo says

The U.S. military will continue to operate in the Persian Gulf, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, rejecting a claim by a top Iranian commander that his ships were in full control of the strategic waterway and that American warships have no place in the region.


Leader of group tied to Niger ambush killed in French attack

French warplanes and commandos struck a terrorist camp in Mali, killing the leader of a group that claimed responsibility for the deadly 2017 ambush on U.S. troops in Niger.


WWII bomb miles from US Army barracks defused without incident

Thousands of residents were evacuated Sunday while a half-ton World War II-era bomb was defused in the southwestern German city of Ludwigshafen, about about 10 miles from the U.S. Army’s Coleman Barracks in Mannheim.


NATO receives first lot of US precision-guided munitions

Precision-guided munitions, long in short supply among some NATO members, are being stockpiled in Europe in a move designed to reduce dependence on the U.S. in a crisis.


Long waits at Stuttgart vehicle registration office lead some troops to camp there overnight

The lines at the Army’s Stuttgart vehicle registration office have become so long that one person recently pitched a tent in hopes of guaranteeing a position at the front the following day. Others have arrived as early as 4:30 a.m. to find 20 personnel already in line at the makeshift campsite.


Canadian general tapped for NATO's new mission in Iraq

A two-star Canadian general has been chosen to lead NATO's upcoming Iraq mission, which will involve hundreds of trainers and could eventually reduce the demand for U.S. troops deployed to the country.


europe quick trips

Hoehenfreibad in Stuttgart is a relaxing, refreshing spot to spend a hot day

When the dog days of summer hit hard in Germany, Hoehenfreibad helps you escape the heat with a swim and some shade.


Damaged data lines cause billing confusion at Patch commissary

Damaged data lines at the Patch Barracks commissary meant thousands of debit and credit card transactions had to be manually processed last month, resulting in late bank postings and billing confusion for some customers.


Report: General wants to pull hundreds of US troops out of Africa

U.S. Africa Command wants to pull hundreds of troops from Africa and downsize special operations missions there in a move that coincides with the Pentagon’s shift to threats posed by Russia and China.


Lawmakers move to limit US military use of Russian gas in Germany

The Senate approved legislation Wednesday that would force the Pentagon to look for alternatives to Russian energy supplies in Germany, partly out of concern over a power source for a new U.S. military hospital that will receive aeromedical evacuees from combat zones.


US military watching closely as Iranian ships gather at key oil shipping route

The Iranian navy is increasing its presence at the Strait of Hormuz, sparking concerns that Tehran is showcasing its ability to block international access to the world’s most important oil transit point.


Heatwave causing power blips at US bases in Stuttgart

Sporadic city power outages connected to a heatwave in southern Germany have affected some operations at U.S. military installations in the Stuttgart area.


Oversight of Army’s 3 Europe-based brigades shifts to a one-star general

The change takes effect Wednesday when all three brigades begin reporting to Brig. Gen. Christopher LaNeve, whose Grafenwoehr headquarters is taking on higher-level responsibilities.


Army says workers in Germany exposed to toxic cadmium last year

Cadmium, which is used in batteries, can be dangerous when not handled properly. It is a cancer-causing agent and can cause damage to kidneys and lungs depending on dosage and frequency of contact.


Senators seek to prohibit Trump from quitting NATO

A group of U.S. senators worried about President Donald Trump’s commitment to NATO introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit a U.S. president from pulling out of the alliance.


NATO battles fake news, one video game at a time

At the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Latvia, a hub focused on countering misinformation campaigns, an online game has been launched to help citizens learn to identify fake news.


US drone, surveillance plane supporting fire response effort in Greece

U.S. military aircraft continue to search for hot spots in Greece, where wildfires tore through a coastal village earlier this week outside of Athens, U.S. European Command said Thursday.


Burger-focused Bellevue Bar & Grill adds food truck-like option in Stuttgart

The food truck trend hasn’t taken root in any meaningful way in Stuttgart, Germany, but a new burger-focused venture is giving it a go on the city’s north side. Bellevue Bar & Grill, near Killesberg Park, has a lot going for it. There’s seating with a view, a range of drink options and plenty of foot traffic.


USAFE chief: Military doing '360-degree' review of basing in Europe

Since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, the military has expanded missions in Eastern Europe, where U.S. troops rotations have steadily increased. USAFE has a year-round mission in Poland manned by a rotating group of troops.


DODEA must do more to protect students from sexual assaults, lawmakers say

U.S. lawmakers are demanding that Defense Department schools do a better job of protecting students from sexual harassment and assault, calling for a centralized database to track cases that critics say are frequently ignored.


Lawmakers prod Pentagon to consider more Europe-based troops

A House and Senate panel agreed on Monday to a reconciled version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which could come up for a vote in the House as early as this week. For Europe, the NDAA spells out steps to counter and “if necessary, defeat Russian aggression.”


Armed US drones up and running in Niger

Earlier this year, U.S. Africa Command quietly began armed unmanned surveillance flights in Niger, adding more firepower in the country where the Oct. 4 attack on a team of Green Berets raised questions about whether troops were carrying out dangerous missions without sufficient backup.


Trump: Supporting tiny NATO ally Montenegro could start WWIII

Last week, President Donald Trump gave his backing to NATO after a contentious meeting of heads of state in Brussels, where Trump reportedly threatened to go it alone if members didn’t spend 2 percent of their respective gross domestic products on defense.