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The Drawdown in Europe -- Too Much, Too Soon

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Research paper

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The United States has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO since its creation 60 years ago. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago the United States Army has dramatically reduced its footprint in Western Europe. The planned endstate of the latest reduction will leave two combat brigades stationed in Europe -- the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. The strategic implications of the reductions are numerous. Must we maintain a strong role in the NATO alliance as the world flattens and we continue to face emerging threats to our security The purpose of this paper is to discuss the strategic implications of drawing down our forces in Europe, specifically, the impact that the drawdown will have on our role within the NATO alliance. The paper examines why the United States needs to continue its membership in the NATO alliance and the advantages and disadvantages of its presence in Europe. The author recommends that the current United States Army force structure in Europe, which includes four brigade combat teams and logistical units, should be maintained. A strong United States presence in Europe represents a commitment to the NATO alliance. The current force structure offers the United States several strategic advantages i.e., forward-deployed forces to maintain an active NATO partnership and forces with logistical infrastructure that can effectively support operations in the USEUCOM, USCENTCOM, and USAFRICOM combatant command areas of responsibility. A presence of four brigade combat teams allows the Army to support current operations in the Global War on Terrorism with one or two of these forward-deployed brigades, while having the other brigade combat teams available to support NATO operations, such as partnership exercises with new NATO partners in Eastern Europe.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Geography
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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