John Vandiver

McMaster talks tough on Iran funding, Russia meddling

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster brought a hard-line message to global leaders here Saturday, saying the international community must do more to isolate North Korean and Iran and be prepared to take action against Syria for the continued use of chemical weapons.

Click photo for caption and to enlarge


AFRICOM sees growing threat from ISIS affiliate

An Islamic State affiliate operating under the radar in western Africa now poses a more significant threat to the region than the notorious Boko Haram terrorist group, U.S. military officials say.

Europe-US divisions on stage at Munich Security Conference

Germany’s defense minister opened a major security conference in Munich Friday by urging Europeans to rally together and become more independent of the United States.

General: US troops in Europe must adjust to 'changing character of war'

U.S. European Command has reshuffled its headquarters in the past year and complicated its training regime, and will tinker with its force mix to counter potential Russian aggression, the top American military commander in Europe said Thursday.

Landstuhl doctors say they want to unionize in bid for more staff, compensation

Civilian doctors at military hospitals and clinics in Europe are moving forward with an effort to unionize, citing low morale and compensation as well as staff shortages they say limit access to care.

Mattis again calls for more spending, troops from NATO allies

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged allies to boost their defense spending while also seeking more commitments for the war in Afghanistan, where NATO remains short on pledges for more troop contributions.

Defense alliance to launch new Iraq training mission

NATO will plan for a new training mission in Iraq, which comes after a request for more alliance support from the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition fighting there.

NATO still struggling to meet US spending demands

Nearly half of NATO allies are still not on track to meet defense spending goals, falling well short of an alliance pledge that also has become a U.S. demand for all 29 members.

Niger ambush probe to call for closer US mission scrutiny

A military investigation into an ambush last year in Niger in which four U.S. soldiers were killed is expected to recommend tighter oversight of elite forces on the ground and higher command approval for dangerous patrols in the region.

Special ops troops in Europe to get new boss

Air Force Brig. Gen. Kirk W. Smith has been tapped to serve as the next head of U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, bringing recent NATO experience to the Stuttgart headquarters.

Military in Europe returning to business as usual following brief shutdown

U.S. military facilities across Europe will soon return to business as usual following a brief government shutdown, after lawmakers passed a $400 billion spending bill to reopen the government and President Donald Trump signed the deal into law.

Army units in Europe first to get electronic warfare upgrade

U.S. ground units in Europe are the first in the Army to be outfitted with new sensors designed to protect troop formations from Russian cyber intrusion and better challenge adversaries in an increasingly contested electronic warfare battle space.

Qatar upgrading facilities for US families at Al Udeid

Qatar wants to make Al Udeid Air Base more family friendly for U.S. forces in the hopes that the strategic military hub will be counted as one of the Pentagon’s permanent overseas installations.


Russia says it won’t stop tailing US aircraft following 'unsafe' maneuver

U.S. Naval Forces Europe reported on Monday that a Russian fighter flew within 5 feet of an EP-3 reconnaissance plane, which was deemed an unsafe maneuver. The incident occurred over international airspace, the Navy said.

Angelina Jolie calls on NATO troops to confront sexual abuse

Angelina Jolie, who serves as the United Nations’ special envoy on refugees, said she would be working closely with NATO in the months ahead in a push to get the military alliance more involved in stemming violence against women and children.

Army offering $25K reward in search for weapons stolen from Stuttgart arms room

Several semi-automatic pistols, one small-caliber automatic rifle and a shotgun were among the items taken in the 2016 heist.


Russian jet comes within 5 feet of US Navy plane over Black Sea

A Russian fighter on Monday flew within 5 feet of a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane over the Black Sea, marking another close encounter that American military officials contend increases the risk of midair collisions.

AFRICOM investigates images depicting Niger ambush that killed four US soldiers

While AFRICOM has intensified operations in Somalia, positioned on the eastern Horn of Africa, Niger has become a focal point in the west. The United States maintains a drone site in Niger, which has emerged as the centerpiece for U.S. operations across a vast expanse of terrain.

US, Somalia raid frees 30 children, some child soldiers killed in battle

U.S. troops joined Somalian soldiers on the mission in the country’s Lower Shabelle region in an effort to free a group of children from an al-Shabab indoctrination camp, AFRICOM said.

Turkey targeting Syrian city with potential US troop presence

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that Turkey will expand its military campaign in Syria into an area where a small number of U.S. forces are known to operate.


Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurds risks greater tensions with US

Kurdish rebels in the the Syrian border town of Afrin have been tactically vital. They are now proving to be a long-term strategic liability, some experts argue. Eventually, the U.S. may need to decide: abandon them or come into conflict with NATO ally Turkey.

‘Big Red One’ deploying division headquarters for Europe mission

A division-level headquarters from Fort Riley, Kansas will take over the day-to-day command of Army operations along NATO’s eastern flank in March, relieving a 4th Infantry Division team that has carried out the mission for the past three years.

Russia closing gap with NATO, top US general in Europe warns

U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said Russia’s military modernization efforts are challenging allies in a range of areas such as cybersecurity.

Dunford: Changes needed to make troop rotations in Europe more effective

The general said he favors a U.S. military posture that utilizes rotational forces, even as the Pentagon studies alternative basing strategies to assure allies along Russia’s western border.

US Army howitzer shipment halted by German police

A small convoy carrying six U.S. Paladins near Germany’s border with Poland came to a halt after authorities found the shipment violated transportation rules, U.S. Army Europe said.

Army mulls reinstating WWII-era ‘pink and green’ uniforms

The U.S. Army will make a final decision in a matter of months on whether to switch back to its classic World War II-era “pink and green” dress uniform as part of an effort to more closely link troops to the service’s history, the Army said.

Senate Democrats criticize White House for lacking clear Russia strategy

Senate Democrats called on Wednesday for the Trump administration to adopt a set of tougher measures against Russia, although many of their suggestions about improving NATO cyber operations have already been adopted by the alliance.

Ignore the pejorative name and go for the food at Drei Mohren

In the little suburban Stuttgart town of Sindelfingen, there is a popular Turkish restaurant called Drei Mohren, which can be translated as a racial slur. If you can get past that, you'll likely enjoy the food.

US soldier dies while on mission in Kosovo

The Army is investigating the death of a U.S. soldier who died Saturday while serving as part of NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

Europe Quick Trips

A wooded walk in Stuttgart ends in cable car ride

A walk along the Blaustruemflerweg in Stuttgart offers a pleasant stroll that ends with a ride down an old-time cable car that delivers you back downtown.

Army mum on ‘administrative action’ taken against general accused of sexist comments

The U.S. Army says “appropriate administrative action” has been taken against a two-star general faulted for mistreating a congressional staffer, but the service refused to specify the steps it took against Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves.

Army general’s promotion pulled after calling congressional staffer 'sweetheart'

An anonymous complaint against Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves was made to the IG on July 20, days after Gonsalves’ nomination and one week after Stars and Stripes reported he was in contention to serve as the next commander of U.S. Army Europe.

Air Force looks at damage after intruder storms base, drives within feet of Osprey at Mildenhall

At least one aircraft sustained minor damage two days ago, when a 44-year-old British man stormed the base in his vehicle and sent security personnel on a chase across the facility.

British police confirm incident at RAF Mildenhall not terrorist-related; lockdown lifted

U.S. Air Force officials and local news outlets reported that the base was put in lockdown Monday afternoon after a man driving a car tried to force his way onto the facility.

AFRICOM seeks probe into civilian deaths in Somalia raid

The head of U.S. Africa Command has asked for an additional investigation into whether civilians were killed during a deadly August raid in Somalia involving American and Somali forces.

Uncertainty looms as Iraq looks at post-Islamic State future

A day after Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group, a sense of gloom about the country’s future hung over a security summit in Bahrain, as officials worried that age-old sectarian rifts could make the progress short lived.