Engage

T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
Facebook
1,980,747
Like Us
Twitter
398,645
Follow Us
YouTube Google+ Blog RSS Instagram

European partnerships vital to global security, Breedlove says

WASHINGTON (AFNS) --

It makes fiscal and strategic sense for the United States to continue to base troops in Europe, the officer who serves as NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command said Oct. 28.

Together, the United States and Europe make up half of the world economy, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said in a discussion with reporters at the Pentagon. And even as force structures change due to shifting economic climates, he said, the transatlantic bond will remain strong.

“We're absolutely connected to these nations militarily,” he said. “After 12 years of fighting together in Afghanistan, we are at the pinnacle of our cohesiveness -- at the pinnacle of our interconnectedness.

“Our ability to work together -- our tactics, techniques and procedures -- are all the same and forged around what is NATO-standard,” Breedlove continued. “And therefore, it is very easy for us to take the field together and do those missions that our nations want them to do.”

The general noted that between 2007 and 2011, EUCOM trained 42,000 NATO and NATO-partner troops to deploy to Afghanistan.

“That’s 42,000 Americans that didn’t have to go to Afghanistan,” he said. “Our ability to remain connected to these armies and these air forces (is) directly related to our force structure in Europe.”

The United States has sharply reduced the number of U.S. forces and facilities in Europe, Breedlove said, noting that EUCOM has shed about 75 percent of its infrastructure since the Cold War ended.

“I believe there is more infrastructure that can be cut,” he added.

However, he said, he doesn’t think there’s more room to cut EUCOM’s force structure.

“We are down now to the point where I believe we are at the right size for the mission that we are being asked to do currently in Europe,” Breedlove said. “If we come down too much more (in) Army structure, that will give us some challenges on the connections that we have to our European partners.”

Those connections have forged longstanding relationships built on trust, he said. Such relationships are essential to guaranteeing that NATO forces can respond rapidly to a crisis, he noted.

“(Those) relationships add up to access," Breedlove said. "The bottom line is you cannot surge trust. You cannot surge relationships. These are things that are built over time.”

Recent conflicts have reinforced the critical global security role played by European partnerships, Breedlove said. During the intervention in Libya, for example, NATO nations, who have been fighting and training together for years, were able to quickly become operational, he said.

“It took a little longer to assimilate some of our other partners,” the general added.

The access that the United States enjoys in Europe should not be taken for granted, he said. Breedlove noted that in a crisis, all of the forces that operate in North Africa will first come from bases in Europe. Most of the forces that would eventually deploy in such a crisis are shared between EUCOM and U.S. Africa Command, he said, but they are housed on EUCOM bases in EUCOM nations.

“You cannot get to the Middle East without using the lens of the bases and infrastructure in Europe,” he said. “Everything I do, and everything European (that) EUCOM forces do in Europe to support (U.S. Central Command) relies on these bases.”

And the United States has begun asking more of its European allies, Breedlove said. Support of North Africa requires that the U.S. be able to move and base forces “in different ways and places,” he added.

Moving forces around inside sovereign nations is not a trivial matter, the general noted.

“It’s those relationships … that allow us to quickly go to an ally and say, ‘We need to move this special purpose (Marine air-ground task force) to this location to be more responsive to something that’s going on. Can you accommodate?’”

NATO’s imminent challenge is to hold on to these hard-fought gains in cohesiveness as force structures change and the mission in Afghanistan draws to a close, Breedlove said. The United States will deploy with its NATO partners for the foreseeable future, he said, and withdrawing from Europe could weaken transatlantic ties.

“I think Europe is incredibly important to America,” Breedlove said, “and I think that … the long-standing trust relationships in Europe that allow us to project force into Africa (and) that allow us to project force into the Middle East are absolutely key to the future.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
comments powered by Disqus