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John Vandiver

Pentagon budget calls for $143 million buildup at Jordan air base

The Pentagon wants to pump $143 million into upgrades at a strategic air base in Jordan, more than any other overseas Air Force operational site, as the military moves to expand drone and fighter flights in the region.

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Stuttgart area bomb defused without incident

Traffic around the U.S. Army’s Panzer Kaserne returned to normal Monday morning after a 500-pound World War II bomb was defused without incident.


Turkey yanks troops from NATO drill over alleged insult

Turkey has pulled its troops from a NATO exercise following an accusation from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday that he and the country’s founding father were named at an “enemies table” during a war game.


US escalates Somalia fight while Pentagon downplays buildup

There are now 500 U.S. troops in Somalia, where the military has carried out daily airstrikes in the past week, but the Pentagon refuses to call it a buildup.


Facilities near Stuttgart to be closed for WWII bomb disposal

Some U.S. military buildings will be closed Sunday so a 500-pound bomb found in a wooded area near the Army garrison here can be safely detonated.


More Europe-based troops considered in House budget

Lawmakers want the military to draw up a strategy for stationing more troops in Europe and to reconsider future base closures, given concerns about a more assertive Russia.


US strikes extremists in Somalia after attacks on troops

The United States launched an airstrike Monday in Somalia, continuing a flurry of attacks aimed at weakening extremist groups in the country ahead of a withdrawal by African troops.


No leadership shake-up so far in wake of Niger ambush

More than a month after four U.S. soldiers were killed in an ambush in Niger, all military leaders involved in the planning of the mission remain on the job with no immediate plans to relieve any team members, U.S. Africa Command said.


US concerned about NATO filling troop commitment to Afghanistan

American servicemembers could be forced to pick up the slack in Afghanistan if NATO cannot reach its target for troop commitments from its members, officials in Brussels said Thursday.


NATO green lights plan to establish a new cyber command center

The new command center will allow NATO to incorporate electronic weaponry in its operational planning. The decision comes at a time of growing concern over Russian cyber intrusions and meddling such as a recent string of attacks on U.S. troops operating in Poland who had their smartphones hacked while on deployment.


General’s nomination stalls after Army finds he mistreated congressional staffer

Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves, who recently commanded the Fort Carson, Colo.-based 4th Infantry Division, is under review following an Army finding that he mistreated a congressional staffer.


US, Europe allies focus on faster troop movements and cyberwar

The U.S.-led NATO alliance will adopt a plan to reconstitute two Cold War-era commands aimed at ensuring American reinforcements can arrive and maneuver around Europe during a crisis.


Mattis in Finland as US-Nordic war games expand

The demand for U.S. troops to participate in missions in northern Europe could be on the rise as Finland and other Nordic countries plan larger war games due to concerns about a more assertive Russia.


US, Communists locked in a bloody stalemate, each looking for an edge

The year 1967 was a turning point in the war, a period of violent escalation when the U.S. military deployed larger troop formations, waged bigger battles and killed hundreds of enemy fighters. The Communists, meanwhile, learned from their losses, modifying their tactics to cope with vastly greater U.S. firepower and wear down American will.


Tough terrain delays opening of new US drone site in Niger

U.S. operations at a new base in Niger will be delayed a year as work crews battle dust storms and logistical obstacles to complete one of the Air Force’s largest troop labor projects in history, military officials said.


Watchdog: EUCOM did not intentionally mislead Congress on UK basing costs

The Defense Department and military officials in Europe provided inaccurate information to Congress about cost estimates for the planned relocation of a United Kingdom-based intelligence center, but those errors were not part of a plan to deceive lawmakers, the inspector general said in a report released Wednesday.


Report: 2 SEALs under investigation in homicide of Green Beret

Two Navy SEALs are under suspicion in connection with the death of a Green Beret operating in the western African nation of Mali, where authorities say Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar was strangled in a June 4 attack.


Meatery in Stuttgart serves gut-busting cuts of beef

The Meatery is a 4-year-old steakhouse in Stuttgart that boasts gut-busting cuts of beef, unpredictable side dishes and a swanky atmosphere that conjures a bygone era.


Former special ops commander: US troops engaged in Niger firefights for years

The U.S. military has a growing presence in Niger, where there are now 800 troops supporting a campaign to help local forces battle violent extremist groups. But the ambush of a 12-man U.S. special operations team, on patrol with a Nigerien contingent of 30 troops, shook the political establishment in Washington.


Mattis, allies eye faster military movement across Europe

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and military leaders from across NATO will consider command structure reforms to enable the more rapid deployment of forces in Europe when allies meet in Brussels next month.


Dunford: US soldiers ambushed in Niger fought for an hour before calling for help

Green Berets fought off an ambush by Islamic State militants in Niger for an hour before calling for help, a sign that the U.S. soldiers and their Nigerien counterparts might have believed they had the attack under control, the top U.S. general said Monday.


Pentagon: Troops never left battle space in Niger during nearly 2-day search for missing soldier

The U.S. military is searching for answers into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of four U.S. soldiers killed two weeks ago in an ambush in Niger as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis conceded Thursday that little about the attack is known, including how one soldier became separated from the rest of his unit.


US, allies grapple with countering Russia’s cyberoffensive

NATO’s long-standing tactical advantage on the battlefield could be at risk as cyber adversaries probe for weak points in the U.S.-led security pact’s networks, a top alliance official said.


europe quick trips

Merano, Italy, combines German precision with Italian flair

It’s easy to mistake Merano, Italy, for a German mountain town, where the buses run on time, the garbage is in a can and the miens of the locals tend toward the dour despite being surrounded by the spectacular. Here, you can have your pizza and your apple strudel, too.


US presence in Somalia surges as military mission turns more deadly

The number of U.S. servicemembers operating in Somalia has quadrupled since the beginning of the year to 400 troops, making it the biggest contingent deployed to the war-torn country in nearly 25 years.


How US Army Europe’s outgoing general got the Pentagon’s attention

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges’ three-year tenure at USAREUR has been arguably the most consequential in Europe since the end of the Cold War, with the Army serving as the centerpiece of the Pentagon’s efforts to energize what had been a languishing military mission.


AFRICOM at 10: Training partners is still the focus, but the fight has grown

The flurry of recent high-profile, hard-power measures in parts of Africa, where five servicemembers have been killed in combat in the past six months, raises questions about AFRICOM’s role as the Pentagon’s soft touch.


US, NATO grappling with intelligence rules in bid for more war games

Old rules that limit the sharing of intelligence among allies are challenging efforts by top NATO commanders to boost the alliance’s combat readiness.


Special operations takes on risk in growing Niger mission

The United States has quietly moved scores of additional troops in recent months into Niger, home to the second-largest contingent of American servicemembers on the African continent and an operational anchor for an increasingly dangerous counterterrorism mission.


Russia hacking phones, mining info from US troops on cruise tours

Moscow is apparently targeting rank-and-file U.S. military personnel for information while operating in Eastern Europe and while coming to Russia as tourists, according to military officials and media reports.


3 US soldiers killed, 2 wounded in Niger ambush

Three Green Berets were killed in an ambush Wednesday in Niger, and two injured servicemembers were transported to a military hospital in Germany for treatment, U.S. Africa Command said Thursday.


US airstrikes hit ISIS targets for 2nd time in a week

U.S. Africa Command said it has conducted its second round of airstrikes in Libya in less than a week, killing several Islamic State fighters in an attack that signals ongoing concern over the militant group’s efforts to gain a foothold in the oil-rich country.


Army maneuvers through hurricane havoc on way to Europe mission

Soldiers hurried the Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles onto the cargo ship, and out of Beaumont, Texas, in the nick of time, narrowly missing the eye of Hurricane Harvey and landing in Poland two weeks later.


US airstrikes hit Islamic State compound in Libya

A series of U.S. airstrikes hit an Islamic State hideout in Libya Friday, killing 17 militants in an attack on a remote desert compound used as a weapons warehouse and place to plot terrorist attacks, U.S. Africa Command said.


ANALYSIS

Proposal for looser US airstrike rules could allow expanded Africa counterterror fight

The Trump administration reportedly wants to loosen the criteria for carrying out airstrikes, a move that could open the door to conducting new drone attacks in parts of Africa and other nations.


After all the anxiety, Russia's Zapad exercise ends without provocation

The Russian military on Wednesday concluded its much-hyped Zapad exercise, which provoked months of hand-wringing among Western officials concerned about thousands of troops conducting war games near NATO territory.