Europe

The geography of the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility demonstrates why the region matters. The 51 countries in that area include approximately one-fifth of the world’s population inside 10.7 million square miles of land and 13 million square miles of ocean. EUCOM’s area  has physical borders with Russia, the Arctic, Iran, Asia Minor, the Caspian Sea, and North Africa. Most of these areas have long histories of instability and a potential for future instability that could directly affect the security interests and economic well-being of the United States.

This region matters to the United States. Some of America’s oldest and closest allies are found here. The U.S. shares with this region a strong commitment to the rule of law, human rights, free-markets, and democracy. Many of these ideas, the foundations upon which America was built, were brought over by the millions of immigrants from Europe in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. During the course of the 20th century, millions of Americans have fought for a free and secure Europe.

The economic ties are important too. A stable, secure, and economically viable Europe is in America’s economic interest. Regional security means economic viability and prosperity. For more than 70 years, the U.S. military presence in Europe has contributed to European stability, which has economically benefited both Europeans and Americans. The economies of the 28 member states of the European Union, along with the United States, account for approximately half of the global economy. The U.S. and the members of the European Union (EU) are each other’s principal trading partners.

Geographical Proximity. One of the most obvious reasons why Europe is important to the U.S. is its geographical proximity to some of the most dangerous and contested regions of the world. To the south of Europe, from the eastern Atlantic Ocean to the Middle East and up to the Caucasus through Russia and into the Arctic, is an arc of instability. This region is experiencing increasing instability from demographic pressures, increased commodity prices, interstate and intrastate conflict, tribal politics, competition over water and other natural resources, religious tension, revolutionary tendencies, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and “frozen conflicts” (i.e., conflicts in which active combat has ended, but disputes and hostile attitudes remain). This region also has some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes, energy resources, and trade choke points.

The basing of U.S. forces in Europe generates benefits outside of Europe, too. Recent instability in North Africa has shown the utility of basing robust U.S. military capabilities near potential global hot spots. For example, when ordered to intervene in Libya, U.S. commanders in Europe were able to act effectively and promptly because of the well-established and mature U.S. military footprint in southern Europe.

The same can be said of the Baltic region in light of the crisis in Ukraine. The 600 U.S. soldiers who rapidly deployed to the Baltics and Poland deployed from U.S. bases in Italy. The F-15s and F-16s (including their crews, maintenance staff, fuel, spare parts, etc.) the U.S. Air Force sent to the region deployed to Eastern Europe from U.S. air bases in the United Kingdom and Italy, respectively. Without this forward presence in Europe, these deployments would have been costlier and slower.

In spite of generally peaceful conditions in Europe over the past decade, there remain latent security concerns that further highlight the utility of a strong and proximate U.S. military presence in the region. Consider that in addition to a resurgent Russia flexing its muscles on NATO’s eastern flank, the Balkans continue to be an area of potential instability for Europe. Although security has improved dramatically in this region since the 1990s, there is still potential for more violence resulting from sectarian division based on religious and ethnic differences. These tensions are exacerbated by sluggish economies, high unemployment, and political corruption. In 2014, Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced some of the most violent anti-government riots in 20 years. On a positive note, Albania and Croatia have joined NATO and Macedonia,1 Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are official aspirant countries. The first two have made great progress toward joining the alliance. However, the situation in Kosovo remains fragile, even though there has been an EU-led rapprochement between Pristina and Belgrade that has seen modest success.

Perhaps one of the biggest political and security challenges in the region is found in Republika Srpska, one of two sub-state entities inside Bosnia and Herzegovina that emerged from that country’s civil war in the 1990s. The leader of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, has long been an advocate of independence for Republika Srpska and has been courted by Moscow.2 Recent events in Crimea have inspired more separatist rhetoric in Republika Srpska. Added to this is a general dissatisfaction among huge swaths of the population. Unemployment, a dire economic situation, and perceived political corruption led to a number of public protests in early 2014. The EU has a skeleton force of 600 troops left in Bosnia. NATO still maintains a sizable force of more than 4,555 troops, including 734 Americans, in Kosovo.3 The security situation in the Balkans is far from settled.

The Arctic. Another area of focus for Europe is the Arctic. The Arctic region, commonly referred to as the High North, is becoming more contested than ever before. The Arctic region encompasses the lands and territorial waters of eight countries (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States) spread across three continents. Unlike in the Antarctic, there is no Arctic landmass covering the North Pole—just ocean. The region is home to some of the world’s roughest terrain and waters and some of its harshest weather. The Arctic region is rich in minerals, wildlife, fish, and other natural resources, and, according to some estimates, contains up to 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and almost one-third of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves.

The region represents one of the least populated areas in the world, with sparse nomadic communities and very few large cities and towns. Approximately half of the Arctic population lives in Russia, which is ranked 140th out of 178 countries in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.

The melting of Arctic ice during the summer months presents challenges for the U.S. in terms of Arctic security, but it also provides new opportunities for economic development. A decrease of ice will mean new shipping lanes, increased tourism, and further natural resource exploration. Many of the shipping lanes currently used in the Arctic are a considerable distance from search and rescue facilities, and natural resource exploration that would be considered routine in other locations in the world is complex, costly, and dangerous in the Arctic.

However, the economic incentives for exploiting these lanes are substantial and will drive Arctic nations to press their interests in the region. For example, using the Northeast Passage along the Russian coast shortens a trip from Hamburg to Shanghai by almost 4,000 miles, cuts a week off of delivery times, and saves approximately $650,000 in fuel costs per ship. Unlike in the Gulf of Aden, there are no pirates operating in the Arctic currently, and they are unlikely to be a problem in the future.

Of course, the U.S. has an interest in stability and security in the Arctic because the U.S. is an Arctic nation, too. The American commitment to NATO is also relevant because four of the five Arctic littoral powers are in NATO.4

Economic Turmoil. In recent years, the economic situation in Europe has brought turmoil and instability. Taken as a whole, the European region is undergoing a tumultuous and uncertain period epitomized by the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe’s south. Europe’s overall economic freedom is undermined by excessive government spending in support of elaborate welfare-state policies that are hindering productivity, growth, and job creation, causing economic stagnation, encouraging low birth rates, and rapidly increasing levels of public debt. Many European countries have been slow to implement the austerity measures required to reduce public spending. Many among Europe’s elite appear to believe that European integration, not prudent economic policies, is the answer to Europe’s problem. However, there has been public backlash to deeper political and economic integration across much of Europe. As a result, nationalism is on the rise: In 2014, extreme left-wing and right-wing parties have done well in local and European parliamentary elections.

Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain have received multi-billion euro aid packages financed by their eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). European leaders are desperately seeking a way to keep the eurozone together without addressing the root causes of the crisis. The aid recipients have adopted stringent austerity measures in exchange for the aid, but their populations are opposed to any spending cuts.

Although the eurozone grew enough to exit its recession by the second quarter of 2013, economic activity is still well below the 2008 peak. Nor has 2013’s meager economic growth translated into more jobs. Unemployment across the 18-country bloc stands at 12 percent. At nearly 27 percent, Greece has the highest unemployment rate in the EU, and youth unemployment is nearly 57 percent. Spain’s unemployment numbers are nearly identical to those of Greece. Cyprus—a major offshore banking center for Russian cash—is still reeling from the effects of its 2013 bank solvency crisis. Some members of the eurozone, such as Greece, are still on the verge of a sovereign default, while a few, such as the three Baltic States, have bucked the trend and are enjoying vibrant economic growth.

The potential impact of the current eurozone crisis on the U.S. makes European economic stability more important than ever. The eurozone crisis could turn into a security crisis. For example, any instability or civil unrest resulting from Greece defaulting or leaving the eurozone could spill over into the Balkans. While nobody can predict the security effects of the current eurozone crisis, the very real potential for such a scenario highlights the importance of regional security matters and the potential impact such crises would have on broader U.S. national interests.

The economic case also illustrates the importance of the greater European region to energy security and the free flow of trade. Some of the most important energy security and trade corridors are on the periphery of Europe—as are some of the world’s most dangerous and unstable regions. European economies depend on oil and gas transported through the volatile Caucasus and several maritime choke points.

Located in the southern Caucasus, Georgia sits at a crucial geographical and cultural crossroads that for centuries has proven strategically important for military and economic reasons. Today, Georgia’s strategic location is also important to the U.S.

In 2010, the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan forced the U.S. and NATO to look toward Russia for transit options to keep U.S. and NATO forces sustained in Afghanistan. As a result of Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, Moscow might not be willing to maintain these transit routes. Georgia has offered its territory, infrastructure, and logistical capabilities for the transit of NATO forces and cargo as a substitute for the Russian route. Georgia is also modernizing key airports and port facilities, and a major railway project, Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia, is due to be completed later in 2015.5 The transit route through Georgia provides one of the shortest and potentially most cost-effective routes to Afghanistan and has the potential to play a crucial role in NATO’s eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan. Most important, it would reduce NATO’s dependence on Russia with regard to resource movement in and out of Afghanistan.

Important Alliances and Bilateral Relations in Europe

The United States has a number of important multilateral and bilateral relationships in Europe. First and foremost among these relationships is NATO, the most important, and arguably the most successful, defense alliance in the world. There are other relationships, however, that also have a strong impact on the U.S.’s ability to operate in and through the European region.

United Kingdom. America’s most important bilateral relationship in Europe is with the United Kingdom. Culturally, both countries value liberal democracy, a free-market economy, and human rights at a time when many nations around the world are rejecting those values. The U.S. and the U.K. also face the same global security challenges: a resurgent Russia, continued international terrorism, increasing cyber attacks, nuclear proliferation in Iran, and growing instability in the Middle East resulting from 2011’s popular uprisings throughout the region.

Winston Churchill, in his famous 1946 “Sinews of Peace” speech—now better known as his Iron Curtain speech—described the Anglo–American relationship as one that is based, first and foremost, on defense and military cooperation. From intelligence sharing to the transfer of nuclear technology, a high degree of military cooperation has helped make the Special Relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. unique.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization. NATO is an intergovernmental, multilateral security organization originally designed to defend Western Europe from the Soviet Union. It is the organization that anchored the U.S. firmly in Europe, solidified Western resolve during the Cold War, and rallied European support following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. During the Cold War, the threat from the Soviet Union meant that NATO had a clearly defined mission. Today, NATO is still trying to determine its precise role in the post–Cold War world. The 1990s saw NATO launch security and peacekeeping operations in the Balkans when the European Union was unable to act. Since 2002, NATO has been engaged in Afghanistan, counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa, and an intervention in Libya that led to the toppling of Muammar Qadhafi.

Since its creation in 1949, NATO has remained the bedrock of transatlantic security cooperation, and it is likely to remain this way for the foreseeable future. As the NATO-led combat mission in Afghanistan winds down, there is a concern that the organization will lose its way. Despite this concern, there is growing recognition that NATO must return to its raison d’être: collective security.

Even with the Afghan mission ending, there is still plenty for NATO to do in order to defend against 21st-century threats in the North Atlantic region, including preventing nuclear proliferation, defending against cyber-attacks, ensuring energy security, and establishing a comprehensive missile defense system.

Then there is the continuing challenge of Russia. The Russian threat is discussed in more detail in the next chapter; however, it is worth noting that many in NATO view Moscow as a threat. In a way that seemed inconceivable to those in Western Europe in 2013, some Eastern European NATO members now face legitimate security concerns from their neighbor. For those NATO members who lived under the iron fist of the Warsaw Pact or who were outright absorbed into the Soviet Union after World War II, Russia’s bellicose behavior today is seen as a threat to their existence.

Given the broad threat that Russia poses to Europe’s common interests, military-to-military cooperation, interoperability, and overall preparedness for joint warfighting is not uniformly implemented in Europe. For example, day-to-day interaction between U.S. and allied officer corps as well as joint preparedness exercises is far more regular with Western European militaries than with frontier allies in Central Europe. In the event of a national security crisis in Europe, first contact with an adversary is likely to expose America’s lack of fluency with allied warfighting capabilities, doctrines, and operational methods.

Furthermore, NATO needs to shift training in Europe from counterinsurgency operations to collective security operations. For the past several years, training has focused on NATO’s counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan—and rightly so. As the NATO-led combat mission in Afghanistan winds down, NATO should also get back to carrying out regular training exercises for its NATO Treaty Article 5 mission of collective self-defense against an attack on any NATO member. Regular training exercises are a key element of collective security and ensuring continued defense cooperation.

There are also threats to the territorial integrity of NATO countries of a non-military nature for which the alliance is completely unprepared. The biggest threat to the Baltic States, for example, may not come from Russian tanks rolling into the country but from Russian money, propaganda, establishment of NGOs, and other advocacy groups—all of which undermine the state. Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine have proven how effective these asymmetrical methods can be at creating instability, especially when coupled with conventional power projection.

Regular training exercises with allies in Europe are a vital component of bilateral military-to-military relations with key nations. Additionally, these exercises assure the interoperability and readiness of NATO forces. During the height of the operation in Afghanistan, from 2007–2011, the U.S. trained over 42,000 service members from allied nations using training facilities located in Europe. The contribution of European allies should not be understated. Between 2003 and 2013, more than 250,000 Europeans fought in Afghanistan, and since 2007, 90 percent of non-U.S. forces in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been European.

Today, the combat training center at Hohenfels, Germany, is one of a very few located outside of the continental United States, and more than 60,000 U.S. and allied personnel train there annually. U.S.–European training exercises further advance U.S. interests by developing links between U.S. allies in Europe and National Guard units back home. In a time when most American service members do not recall World War II or the Cold War, cementing bonds with America’s allies in Europe becomes a vital task. Currently, 21 nations in Europe have a state partner in the U.S. National Guard.

Yet, despite the importance of training with European partners, there is a concern that defense cuts are having a detrimental effect on such exercises. In early 2013, then-commander of European Command, Admiral James Stavridis, told Congress that he was cancelling about 140 security assistance programs with European allies due to sequestration.6 His successor, General Philip Breedlove, told The Army Times that the U.S. has canceled 45 percent of military-to-military training events with European partners.7

In fall 2013, NATO held its Steadfast Jazz 2013 exercise. This was one of the largest NATO joint exercises since the end of the Cold War, and the largest live-fire exercise since 2006. It included over 6,000 personnel from NATO members and non-NATO partners. The U.S. only sent 200 soldiers.

These cuts to training come at a very inopportune time. General Breedlove has described NATO forces as being “at a pinnacle of interoperability.” He further states that sustaining these levels of interoperability requires that NATO “continue to build the capabilities and capacities to be a credible and effective Alliance and we need to sustain our interoperability through rigorous and sustained training, education and exercises.”8

In June 2014, the U.S. announced a $1 billion European Reassurance Initiative that is meant to bolster transatlantic security. A portion of the funding will “increase exercises, training, and rotational presence across Europe but especially on the territory of our newer allies.”9 While the additional funding is a step in the right direction, it is not a long-term solution; the need to sufficiently fund training programs remains unresolved. In fact, funding for this initiative was included in the Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) budget—generally considered to be a budget for temporary, not permanent, priorities—a fact that did not escape the attention of NATO allies, with the Poles referring to it as “insufficient.”10

Quality of Allied Armed Forces in the Region: A Declining Europe Means a Declining NATO

Adequate funding by the U.S. for American forces, and in support of Allied training, is only part of the story. When it comes to effective combined operations, the investments of U.S. partners matter just as much, and it is clear that Europe is not pulling its weight. Spending and investment in defense across Europe has declined since the end of the Cold War. For most EU countries, the political will to deploy troops into harm’s way when doing so is in the national interest has all but evaporated. Indeed, during the recent Libya operation, European countries were running out of munitions.11 In Mali and the Central African Republic, European countries were having difficulty scraping together mere hundreds of soldiers for training missions and static security operations in a semi-permissive operating environment.

As an intergovernmental security alliance, NATO is only as strong as its member states. Of NATO’s 28 members, 26 are European. European countries collectively have more than two million men and women in uniform, yet by some estimates, only 100,000 of them—a mere 5 percent—have the capability to deploy outside national borders.12

Russian actions in Ukraine have spurred a reassessment of spending priorities among some NATO member states. The Czech Republic announced plans to boost defense spending from the current 1.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 1.4 percent of GDP.13 Poland, which currently spends 1.95 percent of GDP on defense, is undergoing a $42.7 billion military modernization program to be completed by 2022. In the wake of Russian aggression, Poland announced new spending to finance the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles on an accelerated timetable for procurement (2016), which should boost the nation past the 2.0 percent benchmark.14 Norway’s defense budget grew in 2014 by $370 million.15

The Baltic States have increased spending as well. Latvia’s Defense Minister Raimonds Vējonis has confirmed plans to boost defense spending from its current 0.9 percent to 2.0 percent by 2020. Lithuania, which currently spends 0.8 percent of GDP on defense, plans to increase defense spending by 0.1 percent a year until the 2.0 percent threshold is met.16 In Estonia, which already meets the 2.0 percent threshold for NATO member state defense spending, Parliament signed off on plans to increase the defense budget from $524 million in 2014 to $665 million in 2018.17

Article 3 of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, NATO’s founding document, states that members will, at a minimum, “maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.”18 Only a handful of NATO members can say they are living up to their Article 3 commitment. Defense spending has been decreasing over the years to the point that New York City spends more on policing than 14 NATO members each spend on national defense. Since 2008, Russian defense spending has increased 31 percent while defense spending in Europe has decreased 15 percent.

In 2013, just four of the 28 NATO members—the United States, Estonia, Britain, and Greece—spent the NATO-required 2 percent of GDP on defense. France fell below the 2 percent mark in 2011.19 Poland is at 1.95 percent. The U.K. is meeting the 2 percent benchmark because of expenditures on combat operations in Afghanistan. However, the current government has committed to the 2 percent benchmark only through the end of the current Parliament, and it is possible that even America’s number one ally will not meet the NATO threshold in 2015.

The lack of defense investment by Europeans has had a direct impact on recent overseas operations. At the height of the combat operations in Afghanistan, many European NATO members were having difficulties deploying just dozens of troops at a time. Many non-NATO EU members barely deployed troops at all. Currently, Ireland has seven troops in Afghanistan, and Austria has three.20 When Europeans do send troops, many are often restricted by numerous “caveats,” such as no flying at night or no combat patrols beyond a certain distance from a base, that limit their usefulness to the NATO commander.21

As a result of this lack of investment, even smaller campaigns like the 2011 operation in Libya floundered. Indeed, what began as a French–U.K.-inspired military operation had to be quickly absorbed into a NATO operation because the Europeans had neither the political will nor the military capability (without the U.S.) to complete the mission. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates summed up Europe’s contribution to the Libya operation:

However, while every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission. Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t. The military capabilities simply aren’t there.22

This lack of capability is mainly the result of a decrease in defense investment by the members of NATO since the end of the Cold War and a lack of political will to use military capability when and where it is needed.

Germany. German defense spending as a percentage of GDP rose from 1.2 percent to 1.3 percent in 2013, but an increase in personnel costs and building rents meant a real decline in money for capabilities.23 In 2013, Germany announced plans to cut its active duty military to 185,000,24 down from 205,000 in 2011.25 With the end of conscription in 2011, maintaining an active duty military of 185,000 may prove difficult moving forward. Furthermore, Germany lacks key capabilities such as tactical and strategic airlift.26 Germany will spend 240 million euros27 to keep dual-capable Tornado aircraft flying until 2024, an important piece of NATO’s nuclear deterrent. Germany plans to cut procurement and decommission certain specific capabilities, a reality that will fall primarily on its Army and Air Force. Tight defense procurement budgets will not allow for much flexibility in the redesign of existing projects.28

The German Bundeswehr is being rebuilt to transform into a smaller, more flexible, and more professional army from a conscription-based army meant to repulse any attack on the homeland. Former German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière summed up the rationale behind the changes: “It is more likely the Bundeswehr will in the future be employed in areas of crisis and conflict around the world than in defending the country.”29 Although they are ISAF’s third largest troop contributor to the mission to Afghanistan, Germany has played only a modest role in addressing global security issues.

Notably, the German military did not participate in the mission in Libya, abstaining from a U.N. vote authorizing a no-fly zone over the country. Germany is reluctant to use its armed forces overseas and only does so after rigorous internal debate.

New German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has called publicly for German participation in future peacekeeping missions and has suggested that she believes Germany’s 2011 vote on the Libya no-fly zone was wrong.30 Although Germany may enter into more military engagements abroad, it will do so gingerly, punching well below its weight as the economic powerhouse of Europe.

France. France has long been one of the most militarily able NATO members, spending an anticipated 1.9 percent of GDP on defense in 2013. France retains 211 troops in Afghanistan31 and has 1,600 troops32 in Mali as a residual force from operations there that began in January 2013. However, a sputtering economy and an enormous debt are having a large impact on French defense. French military spending from 2014–2019 is fixed at 31.5 billion euros a year33 or approximately 1.5 percent of GDP, according to a military budget law passed at the end of 2013.34 However, in January 2014, President François Hollande announced plans to cut an additional 50 billion euros from the national budget in 2015–2017.35 As a result, defense may take an additional 1–2 billion euro annual budget reduction,36 the threat of which led the chiefs of the French armed forces to jointly threaten to resign in May 2014.37

While France remains politically and militarily dedicated to retaining an independent nuclear deterrent, cuts in military personnel and extension of aging equipment will be a reality. A 2013 French white paper on defense calls for reductions in forces, including the elimination of 24,000 jobs from the Ministry of Defense.38 However, the political and economic importance of the defense industry in France serves as a strong impediment to even deeper cuts though the government is finding ways to reduce defense spending. While the government has demurred from cancelling key procurements, it has cut orders, delayed payments, and renegotiated contracts on equipment.39

The United Kingdom. In 2010, the U.K. held its first defense review in 12 years. Due to the dire economic situation inherited by the conservative-led coalition government, the U.K. announced defense cuts of close to 7.5 percent. Consequently, the British are cutting the size of their regular Army by 20,000 personnel to 82,000, less than half the size of the U.S. Marine Corps. In addition the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy are each cutting an additional 5,000 personnel from their rolls.

In spite of all these cuts, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United Kingdom has, without a doubt, proven itself to be America’s number one military partner. For example, Britain provided 46,000 troops for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At the height of their commitment, the U.K. deployed 10,000 troops to one of the deadliest parts of Afghanistan—an area that, at its peak, accounted for 20 percent of the country’s total violence—while many other NATO allies operated in the relative safety of the north.

Even with recent defense cuts, the U.K. still maintains the most effective armed forces in European NATO. In recent years, it increased its funding for its highly respected Special Forces. By 2020, the RAF will operate a fleet of F-35s and Typhoons—the latter being upgraded to carry out ground attacks. The RAF recently brought into service a new fleet of air-to-air refuelers, which is particularly noteworthy because of the severe shortage of this capability in Europe. With the U.K., the U.S. produced and jointly operated an intelligence gathering platform, the RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft, which has already seen service in Mali, Nigeria, and Iraq and is now part of the RAF fleet. The U.K. recently purchased their seventh U.S.-built C-17, but the European A400M is still fraught with delays. It has been reported that the decision to cut C-130s from the force structure might be delayed due to the niche capability this rugged and combat-proven cargo aircraft brings to special operations. The Sentinel R1, an airborne battlefield and ground surveillance aircraft, was originally due to be removed from the force structure in 2015 but will see its service extended.

The Royal Navy’s surface fleet is based on the new Type-45 Destroyer and the older Type 23 Frigate. The latter is expected to be replaced by the Global Combat Ship sometime in the 2020s. In total, the U.K. operates only 19 frigates and destroyers, which most experts agree is dangerously low for the commitment asked of the Royal Navy. Nevertheless, the Royal Navy still delivers a formidable capability.

The U.K. won’t have an aircraft carrier in service until around 2020 when the first Queen Elizabeth Class carrier enters service. This will be the largest carrier operated in Europe. In total, two of her class will be built, although there is a political debate in the U.K. as to whether the second one will be brought into service, placed into extended readiness, or sold upon completion. Additionally, the Royal Navy is introducing seven Astute-class attack submarines as it phases out its older Trafalgar-class. Crucially, the U.K. maintains a fleet of 13 Mine Counter Measure Vessels (MCMV) that deliver world-leading capability and play an important role in Persian Gulf security contingency planning.

Perhaps the Royal Navy’s most important contribution is its continuous-at-sea, submarine-based nuclear deterrent based on the Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarine and the Trident missile. Currently, there are plans to replace the aging Vanguard-class boats although the final decision will be made after the next general election in 2015.

Current U.S. Military Presence in Europe

At its peak in 1953, the U.S. had approximately 450,000 troops in Europe operating across 1,200 sites due to the Soviet threat to Western Europe. During the early 1990s, as part of the so-called peace dividend following the end of the Cold War, U.S. troop numbers in Europe were slashed. Between 1990 and 1993, the number of U.S. soldiers in Europe decreased from 213,000 to 122,000, but their use actually increased. During that same period, from 1990 to 1993, the U.S. Army in Europe supported 42 deployments that required 95,579 personnel.

Until 2013, the U.S. Army had two heavy BCTs (Brigade Combat Teams) in Europe, the 170th and 172nd BCTs in Germany; one airborne Infantry BCT, the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy; and, one Stryker BCT, the 2nd Armored Calvary Regiment in Germany, permanently based in Europe. The deactivation of the 170th BCT took place in October 2012—slightly earlier than the planned date of 2013—marking the end of 50 years of having U.S. combat soldiers in Baumholder, Germany. The deactivation of the 172nd BCT took place in October of 2013. In all, this meant that more than 10,000 soldiers were removed from Europe. These two heavy brigades constituted Europe’s primary armored force. Their deactivation left a significant capability gap not only in the U.S. ground forces committed to Europe but in NATO’s capabilities too, a concern noted by the 2005 Overseas Basing Commission, which warned against removing a heavy BCT from Europe.

When the decision was announced in 2012 to bring two brigade combat teams home, the Obama Administration said that the reduction in capability would be offset with a U.S.-based BCT that would, when necessary, rotate forces, normally at the battalion level, to Europe for training missions. This decision unsettled America’s allies because a rotational battalion does not offer the same capability as two BCTs permanently based in Europe. Today, only 67,000 U.S. troops remain permanently based in Europe.40

The U.S. is on pace to have only 17 main operating bases left on the continent,41 primarily in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Spain. The number of U.S. installations in Europe has declined steadily since the Cold War when, for example, in 1990, the U.S. Army alone had more than 850 sites in Europe. Today, the total number for all services is approximately 350. The U.S. has three different types of military installations in the EUCOM area of responsibility:

  • Main operating bases are the large U.S. military installations with a relatively large number of permanently based troops and well-established infrastructure.
  • Forward-operating sites are intended for rotational forces rather than permanently based forces. These installations tend to be scalable and adaptable depending on the circumstances.
  • Cooperative security locations have little or no permanent U.S. military presence and are usually maintained by contractor or host-nation support.

EUCOM’s stated mission is to conduct military operations, international military partnering, and interagency partnering to enhance transatlantic security and defend the United States as part of a forward defensive posture. This mission statement is supported by a number of focus area objectives. According to the 2014 EUCOM Posture Statement submitted to Congress, the seven focus areas strive to:

  • Ensure high readiness and strategic access to execute EUCOM’s contingency plans;
  • Preserve strategic partnerships and capabilities forged over the last decade of combat operations;
  • Fully support and enable the NATO alliance;
  • Work with the interagency partners to counter transnational threats;
  • Further develop and strengthen key relationships in the Levant and Mediterranean;
  • Rethink strategy decisions in light of recent Russia aggression; and
  • Broaden relationships with Central and Eastern alliance members and partners.

EUCOM is supported by four service component commands and one subordinate unified command: U.S. Naval Forces Europe (NAVEUR), U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR), U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), U.S. Marine Forces Europe (MARFOREUR), and U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR).

  • U.S. Naval Forces Europe. NAVEUR is responsible for providing overall command, operational control, and coordination for maritime assets in the EUCOM and AFRICOM areas of responsibility. This includes more than 20 million square nautical miles of ocean and more than 67 percent of the Earth’s coastline.

This command is currently provided by the U.S. Sixth Fleet based in Naples and brings critical U.S. maritime combat capability to an important region of the world. Some of the more notable U.S. naval bases in Europe include the Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Italy; the Naval Support Activity Base in Souda Bay, Greece; and the Naval Station at Rota, Spain. Naval Station Rota will soon be home to four capable Aegis-equipped destroyers. In addition, the USS Mount Whitney, a Blue Ridge-class command ship, is permanently based in the region. This ship provides a key command-and-control platform, which was successfully employed during the early days of the recent Libyan operation.

The U.S. Navy also keeps a number of submarines in the area, which contribute to EUCOM’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capacities. The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, for example, frequently hosts U.S. nuclear powered submarines. The U.S. cannot dock nuclear powered submarines in Spain making access to Gibraltar’s Z berths vital. Gibraltar is the best place in the Mediterranean to carry out repair work. Strong U.S.–U.K. military cooperation assists the U.S. in keeping submarine assets integrated into the European theater. Admiral Stavridis has pointed out, “These [submarine] capabilities are increasingly important as the Russian Federation Navy increases the pace, scope and sophistication of its submarine fleet.”42 The U.S. Navy also has a fleet of P-3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and EP-3 Reconnaissance Aircraft operating from U.S. bases in Italy, Greece, Spain, and Turkey. They complement the ISR capabilities of U.S. submarines.

  • U.S. Army Europe. USAREUR was established in 1952. Then, like today, the U.S. Army formed the bulk of U.S. forces in Europe. At the height of the Cold War, 277,000 soldiers and thousands of tanks, armored personnel carriers, and tactical nuclear weapons were positioned at the Army’s European bases. USAREUR also contributed to U.S. operations in the broader region, such as the U.S. intervention in Lebanon in 1985, when it deployed 8,000 soldiers for four months from bases in Europe. In the 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, USAREUR continued to play a vital role in promoting U.S. interests in the region, especially in the Balkans.

USAREUR was headquartered in Heidelberg but completed the process of moving to Wiesbaden, Germany, in October 2014.43 The core of USAREUR is formed around two brigade combat teams and an aviation brigade located in Germany and Italy. In addition, the U.S. Army’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command has helped the U.S. military presence in Europe become an important logistics hub in support of Central Command. In 2012, 20 percent of USAREUR’s forces were deployed to support U.S. Central Command and ISAF.44

  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe. USAFE provides a forward-based air capability that can support a wide range of contingency operations ranging from direct combat operations in Afghanistan and Libya to humanitarian assistance in Tunisia and Israel. USAFE originated as the 8th Air Force in 1942 and flew strategic bombing missions over the European continent during World War II. In August 1945, the 8th Air Force was redesignated USAFE with 17,000 airplanes and 450,000 personnel. Today, USAFE has eight main operating bases along with 114 geographically separated locations. The main operating bases are the RAF bases Lakenheath, Mildenhall, and Alconbury in the U.K.; Ramstein and Spangdahlem Air Bases in Germany; Lajes Field in the Azores; Incirlik Air Base in Turkey; and Aviano Air Base in Italy. Approximately 39,00045 active-duty, reserve, and civilian personnel are assigned to USAFE.

USAFE supports operations around the world. In fiscal year 2012, elements of USAFE flew more than 37,500 hours in support of ongoing military operations in the European theater and globally.46 The airbases in Europe were particularly effective in enabling a timely response to the Libya crisis. The forward presence of U.S. Air Force assets in Europe also allows U.S. leaders to respond quickly to emerging humanitarian crises. For example, in 2011, USAFE delivered nine tons of aid to Tunisia within 48 hours and rapidly provided aid to Turkey after the devastating magnitude 7.2 earthquake in October 2011.

  • U.S. Marine Forces Europe. MARFOREUR was established in 1980. It was originally a “designate” component command, meaning that it was only a shell during peacetime, but could bolster its forces during wartime. Its initial staff was 40 personnel based in London. By 1989, it had more than 180 Marines in 45 separate locations in 19 countries throughout the European theater. Today, the command is based in Boeblingen, Germany, and has approximately 1,500 Marines47 assigned to support EUCOM, NATO, and other operations, such as Operation Enduring Freedom. It was also dual-hatted as the Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) under Africa Command in 2008.

In the past, MARFOREUR has supported U.S. Marine units deployed in the Balkans and the Middle East. MARFOREUR also supports the Norway Air Landed Marine Air Ground Task Force, the Marine Corps’ only land-based pre-positioned stock. The Marine Corps has enough pre-positioned stock in Norway to support a force of 13,000 marines for 30 days, and the Norwegian government covers half of the costs of the pre-positioned storage. The pre-positioned stock’s proximity to the Arctic region makes it of particular geostrategic importance.

  • U.S. Special Operations Command Europe. SOCEUR is the only subordinate unified command under EUCOM. Its origins are in the Support Operations Command Europe, and it was initially based in Paris. This headquarters provided peacetime planning and operational control of special operations forces during unconventional warfare in EUCOM’s area of responsibility. In 1955, the headquarters was reconfigured as a joint task force, and it was renamed Support Operations Task Force Europe (SOTFE) and later Special Operations Task Force Europe. When French President Charles de Gaulle forced American troops out of France in 1966, SOTFE relocated to its current headquarters in Panzer Kaserne near Stuttgart, Germany, in 1967. It also operates out of RAF Mildenhall. In 1982, it was redesignated for a fourth time as U.S. Special Operations Command Europe.

Due to the sensitive nature of special operations, publicly available information is scarce. However, it has been documented that SOCEUR elements participated in various capacity-building missions and civilian evacuation operations in Africa; took an active role in the Balkans in the mid-1990s and in combat operations in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and, most recently, supported AFRICOM’s Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. SOCEUR also plays an important role in joint training with European allies. In 2011, during the height of operations in Afghanistan, SOCEUR carried out 67 training events with European allies on various degrees and scales. This scale of training with European allies could not be replicated by rotational forces.

Perhaps resulting more from geography than its shared history, EUCOM has played an important role in supporting other combatant commands, such as CENTCOM and AFRICOM. Admiral James Stavridis, then EUCOM’s commander, recently told the Senate:

I think there is still good value in a presence in Europe because of the geographic importance. It’s not just Europe. It supports Carter Ham in Africa. It supports Jim Mattis in CENTCOM. It’s a strategic platform that allows us access in and around the region.48

In addition to CENTCOM and AFRICOM, U.S. troops in Europe have also worked closely with U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) to implement Department of Defense cyber policy in Europe and to bolster the cyber defense capabilities of America’s European partners. This work has included hosting a number of cyber-related conferences and joint exercises with European partners. Furthermore, EUCOM has supported CYBERCOM’s work inside NATO by becoming a full member in the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia.

NATO’s cyber defense capability is only as strong as its weakest member state. Considering that NATO members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and NATO ally Georgia have been targeted by cyber attacks, U.S. interests are best served by ensuring that EUCOM and CYBERCOM work closely with NATO on this issue.

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe

In addition to the French and British nuclear capabilities, the U.S. maintains tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. Until the end of the Cold War, the U.S. is believed to have maintained around 2,500 nuclear warheads in Europe. Unofficial estimates put the current figure at between 150 and 200 warheads, based in Italy, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands.49 All of these weapons are free-fall gravity bombs designed for use with U.S. and allied dual-capable aircraft.

Russia remains a potent nuclear weapons power, which should concern both the U.S. and Europe. Encouraged by the Obama Administration’s policy of reducing the U.S. nuclear weapons inventory, some in NATO have suggested that American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are a Cold War anachronism and should be removed from the continent. Inside the alliance, there has been an ongoing debate on the future of these weapons. This debate has been carried out under the auspices of NATO’s Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR).

The U.S. needs to ensure that tactical nuclear weapons remain part of the alliance’s nuclear strategy—an important and often overlooked part of alliance burden sharing. NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept stated that “the supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance.”50 NATO should remain a nuclear alliance.

Most U.S. equipment and bases in Europe remain in Western Europe. This historical legacy is problematic, as American military assets in Europe would have a greater deterrence impact if they were stationed further east. Furthermore, moving U.S. military assets east in any potential future altercation in NATO’s east will present logistical challenges.

Key Infrastructure and Warfighting Capabilities

Perhaps one of the major advantages to having U.S. forces in Europe is the access it provides to logistical infrastructure. For example, EUCOM supports the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) with its array of airbases and access to ports throughout Europe.

EUCOM supports TRANSCOM with work on the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), which supplies U.S. troops in Afghanistan. In 2011, when the security situation in Pakistan did not allow passage for NATO supplies, EUCOM’s Deployment and Distribution Operations Center moved 21,574 containers and 32,206 tons of equipment through Europe to Afghanistan over the NDN. The NDN’s success was a game changer in Afghanistan. EUCOM could not support these TRANSCOM initiatives without the infrastructure and relationships established by the permanent U.S. military presence in Europe.

Europe is a mature and advanced operating environment. America’s decades-long presence in Europe means that the U.S. has tried and tested systems that involve moving large numbers of materiel and personnel into, inside, and out of the continent. This offers an operating environment second to none in terms of logistical capability. For example, there are more than 166,000 miles of rail line in Europe (not including Russia) and an estimated 90 percent of roads in Europe are paved. The U.S. enjoys access to a wide array of airfields and ports. Major ports the U.S. military uses in Europe include Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Bremerhaven, Germany; and Livorno, Italy. The Rhine River also offers access into the heartland of Europe. As mentioned earlier, the U.S. also operates, or has access to, a number of key airfields across the continent.

Europe is now more important than ever for U.S. operations in Afghanistan. More than 95 percent of U.S.-based units moving to Iraq and Afghanistan transit the U.S. EUCOM area of responsibility (AOR).51 In 2013, the government in Kyrgyzstan decided not to renew a U.S. lease on Manas Air Force base, which served as a logistical hub for the war in Afghanistan.52 The U.S. found a replacement with Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania, which is now the primary hub for U.S. forces entering and exiting the Afghan theater.

More often than not, the security interests of the United States will coincide with that of its European allies. This means that access to bases and logistical infrastructure is usually guaranteed. However, there were times when certain European countries did not allow access to their territory for U.S. military operations.

In 1986, U.S. intelligence connected the terrorist bombing of a nightclub in West Germany to the Libyan government and responded with an air strike. Consequently, on April 15, 1986, the U.S. Air Force in Europe struck a number of Libyan military assets in retaliation. Because France, Spain, and Italy prohibited use of their airspace due to domestic political concerns, the U.S. aircraft flew around the Iberian Peninsula, which required multiple in-flight refuelings.53

In 2003, on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Turkish Parliament voted to prevent the U.S. from using Turkish territory to open a northern front. Thankfully, the U.S. had access to excellent logistical infrastructure in Italy. The 173rd Airborne Brigade had moved all its equipment by rail to the port of Livorno for movement to Kuwait by sea. Despite the Turkish decision to refuse use of its country for offensive operations, the brigade was still able to rapidly move it all back by rail to Aviano Air Base so that it could be parachuted into Northern Iraq.

Some of the world’s most important shipping lanes are also in the region. In fact, the world’s busiest shipping lane is the English Channel, which sees 500 ships a day transit through, not including small boats and pleasure craft.54 Approximately 90 percent of the world’s trade travels by sea. With the high volume of maritime traffic in the European region, no U.S. or NATO military operation can be undertaken without consideration of how these shipping lanes offer opportunity—and risk—to America and her allies. In addition to the English Channel, other important shipping routes in Europe include the Strait of Gibraltar, the Turkish Straits (including the Dardanelles and the Bosporus), the Northern Sea Route, and the Danish Straits.

Strait of Gibraltar. The Strait of Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean and separates North Africa from Gibraltar and Spain on the southernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. The strait is about 40 miles long and at its narrowest point approximately 8 miles wide. More than 200 cargo vessels pass through the Strait of Gibraltar every day carrying cargoes between Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Its proximity to North Africa, combined with the narrowness of the strait, has presented security challenges for U.S. and allied warships. In 2002, Moroccan security forces foiled a plot by al-Qaeda to attack U.S. and U.K. naval ships in the Strait of Gibraltar using the same tactics that had been used in the USS Cole attack.

The Turkish Straits (including the Dardanelles and the Bosporus). These straits are long and narrow, 40 and 16 miles long, respectively, with the narrowest point in the Bosporus, which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, only 765 yards in width. Approximately 46,000 ships each year transit the strait, including more than 5,600 tankers.55 The 1936 Montreux Convention gave Turkey control over the Bosporus and placed limitations on the number, transit time, and tonnage of naval ships from non-Black Sea countries that can use the strait and operate in the Black Sea.56 This places limitations on U.S. Navy operation in the Black Sea.

The Northern Sea Route. As ice dissipates during the summer months, new shipping lanes offer additional trade opportunities in the Arctic. As mentioned earlier, the Northern Sea Route along the Russian coast reduces a trip from Hamburg to Shanghai by almost 4,000 miles, cuts a week off delivery times, and saves approximately $650,000 in fuel costs per ship. However, the full potential of the Northern Sea Route is far into the future. In 2013, only 71 ships made the journey.57

The Danish Straits. Consisting of three channels connecting the Baltic Sea to the North Sea via the Kattegat and Skagerrak seas the Danish Straits are particularly important to the Baltic Sea nations as a way to import and export goods. This is especially true for Russia, which has increasingly been shifting its crude oil exports to Europe through its Baltic ports.58 Approximately 125,000 ships per year transit these straits.59

The biggest danger to infrastructure assets in Europe pertains to any potential NATO conflict with Russia in one or more of NATO’s eastern states. In such a scenario, infrastructure would be heavily targeted in order to deny or delay the alliance’s ability to move significant manpower, materiel, and equipment necessary to retake any territory lost during an initial attack. In such a scenario, the shortcomings of NATO’s force posture would become obvious.

Conclusion

For the most part the European region is a stable, mature, and friendly operating environment. The main security and political challenges in the region lay with the unfinished business in the Balkans or on Europe’s periphery in the Southern Caucasus and Russia. The Arctic remains peaceful and the threat of armed conflict is low, but Russian designs on the region might someday threaten its stability.

America’s closest and oldest allies are located in Europe. The region is incredibly important to the U.S. for economic reasons. Perhaps most important, the U.S. has treaty obligations, through NATO, to defend the 26 European members of that alliance. This is especially important as Russia becomes more assertive in Central and Eastern Europe.

The biggest challenges facing the U.S. in the European region do not come from inside Europe but from around Europe. From North Africa, across the Levant, through the Caucasus and Russia, and into the Arctic, there is a region of unpredictability if not instability. If the U.S. needs to act in the region, or use the region to act nearby, there is a history of interoperability with allies and access to key logistical infrastructure that places the operating environment in Europe in more favorable terms than other regions in which U.S. forces might have to operate. However, the European nations’ diminishment of their military forces poses a substantial threat to all of this. The U.S. must continue to press its partners in Europe to invest properly in defense. Although there is nothing the U.S. can say or do to force Europeans to spend more on defense, silence from Washington, D.C., on this issue might be perceived as tacit approval to decrease defense spending.

Endnotes
  1. The Republic of Macedonia completed its membership action plan to join the alliance in 2008, but Greece has repeatedly vetoed its membership over a dispute regarding Macedonia’s constitutional name. []
  2. Kurt Bassuener, “Deny Moscow a New Front in Bosnia,” EuropeanVoice.com, March 26, 2014, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  3. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “Troop Numbers & Contribution Nations,” December 1, 2013, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  4. U.S., Canada, Norway, and Denmark (Greenland). The non-NATO Arctic sea power is Russia. []
  5. Railway to Link Kars, Tbilisi, Baku in 2015,” Hurriyet Daily News (Istanbul), February 24, 2014, 
(accessed December 2, 2014). []
  6. Transcript, “Hearing to Receive Testimony on U.S. European Command, U.S. Northern Command, and U.S. Southern Command in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2014 and the Future Years Defense Program,” Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, March 19, 2013, (accessed December 2, 2014). []
  7. Andrew Tilghman, “NATO Bases Critical for U.S., Leader Says,” Military Times, August 19, 2013, (accessed December 2, 2014). []
  8. General Philip Breedlove, “EUCOM 2014 Congressional Posture Statement,” prepared statement for the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, April 1, 2014, p. 30, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  9. News release, “Fact Sheet: European Reassurance Initiative and Other U.S. Efforts in Support of NATO Allies and Partners,” The White House, June 3, 2014, (accessed August 22, 2014). []
  10. Editorial, “Reassuring Eastern Europe,” The New York Times, June 11, 2014, (accessed August 22, 2014). []
  11. Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe, “NATO Runs Short on Some Munitions in Libya,” The Washington Post, April 15, 2011, 
(accessed April 3, 2013). []
  12. Nick Whitney, “Re-Energising Europe’s Security and Defence Policy,” European Council on Foreign Relations Policy Paper, July 2008, p. 20, (accessed April 3, 2013). []
  13. Gerard O’Dwyer and Jaroslaw Adamowski, “Ukraine Crisis Revives Spending from Nordics to E. Europe,” Defense News, June 14, 2014, 
(accessed August 22, 2014). []
  14. Ibid. 13 []
  15. Ibid. 13 []
  16. Richard Milne, “Baltic States Pledge More Defence Spending as U.S. Presses Allies,Financial Times, March 27, 2014,  (accessed August 22, 2014). []
  17. O’Dwyer and Adamowski, “Ukraine Crisis Revives Spending.” []
  18. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “North Atlantic Treaty,” April 4, 1949, (accessed December 2, 2014). []
  19. Furthermore, NATO uses a very generous definition to calculate the 2 percent benchmark. It includes the core defense budget, extra expenditures on operations, and expenditures on military pensions. Even so, only a handful of countries meet the benchmark. []
  20. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Afghanistan International Security Assistance Force, “Troop Numbers and Contributions,” June 1, 2014, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  21. Deutsche Welle, “Germany’s Non-Combat Caveats to Be Reviewed by NATO,” November 28, 2006 (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  22. Robert M. Gates, “The Security and Defense Agenda (Future of NATO),” speech delivered in Brussels, Belgium, June 10, 2011, (accessed April 3, 2013). []
  23. Patrick Keller, “German Hard Power: Is There a There There?” American Enterprise Institute National Security Outlook No. 4, October 8, 2013, 
(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  24. Opinion, “NATO’s Military Decline,The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2014, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  25. Keller, “German Hard Power.” []
  26. Ibid. 25 []
  27. The Local, “US Nuclear Bombs Will Remain in Germany,” September 5, 2012, 
(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  28. Keller, “German Hard Power.” []
  29. Richard Fuchs, “Germany Prepares Its Military for the 21st Century,” Deutsche Welle, May 16, 2013, (accessed October 24, 2014). []
  30. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, “Germany’s New Defense Minister: More Peacekeeping Missions Welcome,” NPR, February 1, 2014, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  31. Afghanistan International Security Assistance Force, “Troop Numbers and Contributions.” []
  32. BBC, “Mali: Tuareg Rebels ‘Defeat Government Army in Kidal,’” May 21, 2014, 
(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  33. Pierre Tran, “French Minister Asked to Clarify Budget-Cut Reports,” Defense News, May 14, 2014, 

(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  34. Steven Erlanger, “Grim Economics Shape France’s Military Spending,The New York Times, April 29, 2013, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  35. Nicholas Vinocur, Alexandria Sage, and Jean-Baptiste Vey, “France to Cut 50 Billion Euros in Spending in 2015-17: Hollande,” Reuters, 
January 14, 2014, 
(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  36. Tran, “French Minister Asked to Clarify Budget-Cut Reports.” []
  37. Jamey Keaten, “French Military Chiefs Denounce Budget-Cut Plans,” Associated Press, May 23, 2014, (accessed August 22, 2014). []
  38. Dorothée Fouchaux, “French Hard Power: Living on the Strategic Edge,” American Enterprise Institute National Security Outlook No. 1, 
February 4, 2014, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  39. Ibid. 38 []
  40. Andrew Tilghman, “Spotlight Back on US European Command,Defense News, March 27, 2014, 
(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  41. Breedlove, “EUCOM 2014 Congressional Posture Statement,” p. 25. []
  42. Admiral James G. Stavridis, Testimony before the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, March 1, 2012, 
(accessed December 2, 2014). []
  43. Bruce Anderson, “USAREUR Transformation: DoD Announces Base Closures, Force Structure Changes,” U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs Office, July 8, 2010, 
(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  44. Admiral James Stavridis, “U.S. European Command, U.S. Northern Command, and U.S. Southern Command,” testimony before the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services, March 19, 2013, p. USAREUR i, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  45. U.S. Air Forces in Europe, “Units,” (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  46. Stavridis, “U.S. European Command, U.S. Northern Command, and U.S. Southern Command,” p. USAFE i. []
  47. Marine Forces Europe and Africa, “History of United States Marine Corps Forces, Europe,” (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  48. Transcript: U.S. AFRICOM, EUCOM Commanders Testify Before Senate Armed Services Committee,” U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs, 
March 1, 2012, 
(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  49. Malcolm Chalmers and Simon Lunn, “NATO’s Tactical Nuclear Dilemma,” Royal United Services Institute Occasional Paper, March 2010, p. 1, (accessed March 23, 2012). []
  50. North Atlantic Treaty Organization, “Active Engagement, Modern Defence,” November 19, 2010, (accessed April 30, 2012). []
  51. Lieutenant Colonel David R. McClean and Captain Phillip E. Henson, “Moving the Force Across Europe: EUCOM’s Joint Movement Center,” Army Logistician, September–October 2004, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  52. Ninety-seven percent of troops heading to Afghanistan passed through Manas at least once. See Morgan Hartley and Chris Walker, “The US Spent Billions in Kyrgyzstan, but Is Leaving Without a Trace,” Forbes, September 25, 2013, 

(accessed September 16, 2014). []
  53. Jaglavak Military, “Operation El Dorado Canyon 1986 Libya,” YouTube video, September 16, 2008, (accessed April 13, 2012). []
  54. Atika Shubert and Eoghan Macguire, “Channel Hopping: Keeping the World’s Busiest Maritime Motorway Moving,” CNN, September 5, 2013, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  55. Bosphorus Strait News, “Yearly Ship Statistics of Bosphorus Strait—2013,” March 13, 2014, (accessed November 15, 2014). []
  56. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “World Oil Transit Chokepoints,” August 22, 2012, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  57. Trude Petterson, “Fifty Percent Increase on Northern Sea Route,” Barents Observer, December 3, 2013, (accessed September 16, 2014). []
  58. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “World Oil Transit Chokepoints.” []
  59. Danish Defence, “Facts & Figures,” September 18, 2014, (accessed October 24, 2014). []

Assessing America's Ability to Provide for the Common Defense