Reconfiguring the American Military Presence in Europe

Author: LTC Raymond A Millen

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The author examines America’s options regarding the basing of ground troops in Europe and considers three major options available to the United States–complete withdrawal, annual rotations, and restructuring the Alliance to accommodate a smaller U.S. presence. While weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each option, he does not lose sight of the ultimate objective of NATO–to provide credible land power for the full spectrum of operations. He introduces a NATO 3-3 Force Structure concept that rests on a smaller NATO ground force adaptive to the capabilities and wealth of member states; increases interoperability (technologically and procedurally); and supports the expeditionary force structure already in progress by the formal establishment of three standing combined joint task forces (CJTF). Additionally, he recommends the adoption of nine division-sized bases in Europe located at key geostrategic points for greater access to the Middle East and Africa.