John Vandiver

US Special Forces train in Serbia, where China and Russia have strengthened military ties

A contingent of Green Berets arrived this week in Serbia, where U.S. military commanders are looking to strengthen ties even as Belgrade deepens its connections with rivals China and Russia.

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AFRICOM needs White House approval for airstrikes, report says

The restrictions were applied while the White House examines former President Donald Trump’s policy, which delegated decision-making on strikes to combatant commanders, unnamed U.S. officials said.

Pentagon sends $125 million in arms aid to Ukraine

The most recent equipment included two Mark IV patrol boats, tactical gear, radars and other equipment to improve command and control capabilities, medical treatment and combat evacuation.

How an early promotion kept a young Black Marine on the path to become a general

Maj. Gen. Michael Langley said his decision to stick with the Marine Corps was based on trust won more than 30 years ago.

Global defense spending, led by US and China, hits new high

The U.S. and China led the growth in global defense spending, which hit a new high in 2020 despite the economic stress brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, a report said Thursday.

Merged US Army Europe-Africa command boosts crisis response, general says

The consolidation of U.S. Army Europe and Africa headquarters is a “very big advance” that will enable troops to move more rapidly between continents in times of crisis, the general in charge of Army missions on the two continents said Tuesday.

Army 4-star headquarters has new motto for Europe, Africa mission

“Stronger Together” is the new command slogan, replacing the nearly 7-year-old guiding mantra of “Strong Europe,” the Army said.

NATO allies plan expansion of Iraq mission, possibly easing US security burden

The non-U.S. NATO mission will grow from its current 500 service members to about 4,000, and its efforts will extend to regions beyond the greater Baghdad area, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Marines resume Arctic training in Norway

About 1,000 U.S. Marines left in limbo in Norway after Arctic drills were canceled because of coronavirus concerns will now be staying on until spring, the Corps said Thursday.

Austin aims for new tone in first US post-Trump NATO meeting

The next decisions on forces in both Afghanistan and Europe “will be made in close consultation with our allies and partners,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.

New drones at Sicily's Sigonella base extend NATO's surveillance reach

The addition of five Alliance Ground Surveillance aircraft based at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily has been a decade in the making for the U.S.-led alliance.

NATO chief wants to change who pays for key missions

Militaries shouldn’t have to foot the whole bill when they deploy troops for NATO missions, the alliance’s top official said Monday ahead of high-level talks that will include a debate about overhauling how operations are paid for.

‘No double taxation’: Berlin weighs in on local German practice targeting US troops

The treaty that allows U.S. forces to operate in Germany protects them from having to pay German income taxes, the Federal Finance Ministry said this week.

Ukraine plans Black Sea bases as US steps up presence in region

Ukraine is moving forward with plans to build two new naval bases in the Black Sea region, an area of tension with Russia that may see greater U.S. military and NATO involvement this year.

Service members in several minority groups more likely to attempt suicide, report finds

Although there were no widespread differences between races and ethnicities in terms of overall behavioral health, the disparities in attempted suicide rates warrant attention, the report said.

US needs to boost cyber, weapons capabilities in Europe to be able to win future conflicts, top general says

The U.S. military needs more long-range artillery and other advanced weaponry in Europe to be able to take on enemy forces in the event of a major conflict on the Continent, the top Army commander in Europe has said.

Same policy, different interpretations: Why some overseas bases share coronavirus data and others don't

A Pentagon policy that restricts what commands can share about coronavirus infection figures in their communities is causing confusion within U.S. base communities overseas.

Russian jet flies low past USS Donald Cook in Black Sea

Watch a video the Navy says shows a Sukhoi Su-24 fighter-bomber screeching past a U.S. destroyer while it was operating in international waters.

Navy sends three ships into Black Sea as Russia takes notice

The destroyer USS Porter began its transit into the Black Sea on Thursday in support of NATO efforts, joining two other Navy vessels.

Teachers in Stuttgart awaiting coronavirus vaccines as DODEA considers reopening

Military units in the area have higher priority to receive limited supplies of the vaccine.

US government takes action to stop American troops from having income taxed in Germany

The Pentagon, along with State and Treasury departments, have put the U.S. Embassy in Berlin in charge of leading efforts to resolve the issue.

Army plans new ‘Arctic brigade’ as sea levels and competition rise

The Army wants a new Arctic-focused brigade and other operational forces to bolster its position in the High North, the service’s top general said this week.

AFRICOM launches airstrike in Somalia shortly after troop pullout

AFRICOM said it bombed and destroyed an al-Shabab compound in southern Somalia on Monday, which came after attempts by the militants to target Somalia’s military leaders.

Navy's top officer visits Nimitz group in Gulf amid Iran tensions

The Navy’s top officer visited a warship in the Persian Gulf this week after ongoing tensions with Iran led the Pentagon to extend an aircraft carrier group’s deployment to the region.

CENTCOM mission expands to include Israel

U.S. Central Command is now responsible for coordinating military activities with Israel, taking over a job that for decades was the task of U.S. European Command, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Two German lawmakers urge greater control of criminal cases involving US troops

Two German lawmakers are calling for changes in an international treaty that leaves most criminal cases involving U.S. troops in the hands of the military justice system, saying local authorities should have more say in such matters.

German lawmaker raises objections over attempts to tax US forces

A key German lawmaker says it is “legally problematic” for local authorities to levy tax bills on U.S. forces and that Berlin must end double income taxation, which has financially devastated some military families.

C1 restaurant in Stuttgart is just good, old-fashioned Korean food

With coronavirus cases climbing fast in early November and a second lockdown looming in Germany, there was no time to lose to try the newest Korean restaurant in Stuttgart.

‘Shocking scenes’: NATO chief voices alarm as rioters storm the US Capitol

Several diplomats and high-ranking military, government and NATO officials condemned the unrest at the Capitol.

Air Force moves drones, airmen to base in Romania

The Reapers will boost surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the Black Sea region, where the U.S. has regularly accused Russia of dangerous intercepts of aircraft, and other incidents have caused tensions to flare.

Remembering service members who died in combat zones in Africa, Kosovo, Arabian peninsula region in 2020

The most deadly incident for American forces overseas last year was a helicopter crash in the Sinai Peninsula in November, in which five American troops died and one was injured.

Turkey takes command of NATO crisis response force

NATO touted the Turkish military’s ability to carry out the crisis response mission despite Ankara being at odds with members of the alliance, including the U.S., over its close ties to Russia.

NATO jets intercepted hundreds of Russian flights in 2020

NATO warplanes had to scramble more than 400 times across Europe in 2020, mostly to check Russian aircraft flying unannounced near allied air space, the U.S.-led alliance said Monday.

New Army cannon hits target 43 miles away in test

For the Army, extending the reach of its cannons is a priority as it seeks to counter advanced potential adversaries like Russia and China.

US naval armada sent to Somalia to relocate 700 troops and gear

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, which includes an array of support ships, joins the Navy’s USS Hershel “Woody” Williams off the coast of Somalia.

Former DOD official charged with taking kickbacks for work at US base in Djibouti

A former Defense Department official was charged in connection with allegations he received $34,000 in illegal gratuity from a private party while serving in a government position, the U.S. Attorney’s central district office in California said.