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John Vandiver

THAAD anti-missile system to deploy to Romania

The deployment came at the request of NATO and is needed while maintenance is done on the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Romania, U.S. European Command said.

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WWII bomb leads to evacuations near Wiesbaden base housing area

A World War II-era bomb discovered near an Army housing area in Wiesbaden has prompted local evacuations, but base facilities are not affected, the military said Thursday.


Turkish president rejects US ultimatum, says missile deal with Moscow final

The president of Turkey said Wednesday that his country’s plan to acquire a Russian air defense system has been finalized, marking the latest rejection of a demand by Washington that the NATO ally abandon its deal with Moscow or face consequences.


AFRICOM evacuates US forces from Libya as fighting intensifies

U.S. forces in Libya have been evacuated for their safety in connection with the deteriorating security situation in the country, which now has U.S. Africa Command conducting “prudent military planning” as it assesses the situation, the military said Sunday.


Civilian deaths in Somalia airstrike weren’t reported properly, AFRICOM says

A U.S. counterterrorism unit inaccurately reported the deaths of two civilians in Somalia following an airstrike, U.S. Africa Command said Friday, marking the first public acknowledgement that noncombatants have been killed in the military’s expanded bombing campaign in the country.


US leaders say China is an emerging threat for NATO

The U.S.-led NATO pact must adapt to face an increased threat posed by China even as European allies work to counter Russia’s activities, America’s top diplomat said Thursday at a meeting of alliance foreign ministers.


With Lithuania pact, US signals increased military role near Russia

The United States will continue to deploy troops to Lithuania and help the country develop anti-tank and missile systems, according to a comprehensive defense agreement the two countries signed this week to boost cooperation in a region set on edge by Russia’s military resurgence.


Safer together: NATO chief tells Congress that pact must endure amid global threats

The United States is stronger with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization than it would be without it, the head of the 29-nation alliance said Wednesday in Washington, marking the first time the leader of the security pact addressed a joint session of Congress.


Trump praises NATO allies for spending but says Germany not contributing enough

President Donald Trump took credit Tuesday for an increase in defense spending among NATO members, suggesting that an alliance he has harshly criticized has turned a corner. But Germany did not escape criticism.


AFRICOM, EUCOM nominees eye Russia, China as major concerns

Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters and Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend faced questioning Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, following their nominations to head the European Command and Africa Command respectively.


ANALYSIS

NATO 70th anniversary comes with celebrations and an undercurrent of uncertainty

Even as NATO leaders tout generations of solidarity, analysts wonder whether the pact’s close ties will last.


Military relief efforts in Mozambique in full swing

U.S. Africa Command is delivering food and supplies after Cyclone Idai spurred widespread flooding in Mozambique, causing more than 700 deaths and displacing thousands of people.


NATO approves spending at US forces support site in Poland, eyes expanded presence in Black Sea

NATO said construction on the site near Powidz, Poland, will begin this summer and is expected to take about two years to complete.


US veterans face trial after peace protest in Ireland

The Irish Times reported that the two breached security in an effort to reach an aircraft they believed was used to transport U.S. troops. The men did not reach the aircraft and were detained by authorities.


Army Gen. Stephen Townsend is nominated to lead AFRICOM

For the past year, Gen. Stephen J. Townsend has been the commander in charge of Army training. If confirmed, he will replace Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who has commanded AFRICOM since 2016.


‘We got zero notice’: Army resumes Cold War-era snap deployments to Europe

The Army is relearning the art of snap deployments as it adapts to a new Pentagon strategy — known as Dynamic Force Employment — that calls upon the military as a whole to keep adversaries off balance with more unpredictable troop movements.


Pompeo wants NATO to take ‘actions’ to help Ukraine

The U.S. and its allies in Europe could agree at an upcoming NATO meeting to provide more support to Ukraine in its efforts to resist Russian aggression in the region, America’s top diplomat said Wednesday.


Airfield assessments underway as military readies for Mozambique mission

A U.S. military team dispatched to Mozambique to help with disaster relief efforts is assessing airfields in the country as it prepares to deliver supplies into areas where floods have forced thousands from their homes.


AFRICOM to aid Mozambique following deadly tropical storm

The Pentagon authorized AFRICOM to expend up to $6.5 million in relief funds to provide logistics support for up to 10 days.


US helps Somali commando force grow from battalion to brigade

U.S. Africa Command is aiding the buildup of a specialized commando brigade in Somalia that has emerged as a key force in the fight to reclaim territory held by al-Qaida-aligned insurgents.


AFRICOM denies Amnesty International claims that US airstrikes killed civilians in Somalia

A report released Wednesday found five incidents in which 14 civilians were killed and eight injured in U.S. strikes in Somalia, which could be in violation of international law.


Fourth suspect arrested in attempted robbery of American family in Landstuhl that left one intruder dead

The fourth suspect, apprehended in the city of Darmstadt, is a 33-year-old French citizen. Two other suspects — both brothers of the man who died of stab wounds following the break-in — already are in custody.


Funds to deter Russia, build base schools in Europe could go to US-Mexico border wall

The U.S. military’s buildup along NATO’s eastern flank, stretching from the Baltics and Poland down to Romania and Bulgaria, could be curtailed if the Trump administration elects to delay or cancel scores of planned construction projects to fund a border wall.


Pentagon sends Fort Bliss troops on snap deployment to Europe

The sudden deployment is the latest sign of how the Pentagon’s “Dynamic Force Employment” strategy is altering how the Army operates in the U.S. European Command area.


Consolidation of commissaries and exchange stores gains Pentagon support

The measure still requires congressional backing since it would have to repeal a law that prohibits the consolidation of the military’s commissary and exchange systems.


Pentagon chief says there’s nothing to Trump’s 'cost plus 50' idea

Last week, reports emerged that President Donald Trump was interested in charging allies such as Japan, South Korea and Germany the full cost of basing troops in their respective countries.


Alliance unity 'more important than ever,' NATO chief says as defense spending rises

NATO defense spending rose for the fourth year in a row in 2018, but Germany continues to lag behind and is on track to miss an alliance deadline that calls for significant increases by 2024, according to data released Thursday.


Planning for a US base in Poland gains momentum

Discussions about a permanent U.S. military base in Poland are moving forward, with a top Pentagon official arriving in Warsaw this week to hammer out details on expanding the American military presence in the country, officials said.


US looks to trim budget for deterring Russia in Europe, increase ‘burden-sharing’ with allies

The Defense Department’s 2020 budget calls for $5.9 billion to fund the European Deterrent Initiative, down from $6.5 billion a year earlier. The funds support the rotation of U.S.-based troops into Europe to beef up NATO’s eastern flank, the prepositioning of weapons stockpiles and improvements in infrastructure.


Report: Trump wants Germany, Japan and others to pay full cost plus a premium for US troops

Called “Cost Plus 50,” the plan demands allies pick up the full cost of hosting U.S. troops in their countries, plus a 50 percent premium for the privilege of American protection, Bloomberg reported.


‘Rotting’ ships and aging tankers could compromise the military’s ability to get to the fight, lawmakers warn

The Pentagon emphasizes the need to boost the combat readiness and modernize weaponry in an era of “great power competition.” But with planes and ships that would be called upon in a crisis in disrepair, it’s not clear the military could get equipment and troops to combat zones, lawmakers said.


AFRICOM commander calls for diplomatic push in Africa as US pulls troops from continent

The United States needs higher level political engagement in Africa to counter China’s growing influence even as the military cuts back troop levels on the continent, U.S. Africa Command’s commander told lawmakers Thursday.


EUCOM commander requests two more Navy destroyers, extra ground troops for Europe

The top U.S. officer in Europe told lawmakers Tuesday he has insufficient military firepower on the Continent and wants two more Navy warships under his command along with more ground forces to counter Russia.


Pentagon sends THAAD missile defense system to Israel

The decision to send the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to Israel was part of a new Pentagon strategy that calls for the more rapid and unpredictable deployment of forces around the world.


‘Army Strong’ is weak when it comes to lobbying for dollars on Capitol Hill, report finds

On the bureaucratic battlefield for resources, the military’s largest branch is weaker than the other services in self-promotion, a new RAND report says.


Russia defense chief calls Baltic buildup a response to NATO

Russia will add new tank and missile defense units to its Baltic fleet this year along with more modern weaponry for forces positioned in the vicinity of NATO turf, the country’s defense minister said.