US Army Europe will start receiving continuous troop rotations of US-based armored brigade combat teams to Europe, and will start storing equipment in the region for contingency operations, as part of an increased focus? on the European Reassurance Initiative, according to a press release. “This is a big step in enhancing the Army’s rotational presence and increasing their combat equipment in Europe,” European Command boss Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said. “This Army implementation plan continues to demonstrate our strong and balanced approach to reassuring our NATO allies and partners in the wake of an aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. This means our allies and partners will see more capability—they will see a more frequent presence of an armored brigade with more modernized equipment in their countries.” Defense Secretary Ash Carter in February announced that the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2017 budget request quadruples the funding for the ERI. US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Commander Gen. Frank Gorenc has said the command has a “whole slew” of ways it plans to spend its portion? of the money, including building airfield capability in Eastern Europe. (See also: Forward and Ready, East and South, from the September issue of Air Force Magazine.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.