Anyone looking to cut US military facilities in Europe as a billpayer to keep bases open back home in the United States should be aware that “we’ve been doing the equivalent of a BRAC for 10 years,” said Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, commanding general of US Army Europe. US European Command has trimmed more than $9.5 billion from its basing and operating budget over the last decade, Hertling told defense reporters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23. That figure is more than the Defense Department saved stateside during the 2005 BRAC process, he said. Moreover, Hertling said EUCOM made the reductions “on our own terms,” meaning the military, and not a blue-ribbon panel, got to choose what to keep and what to shed, according to its needs and national strategy. The basing structure is now at the minimum necessary to carry out the mission, said Hertling. However, when asked if he’s under pressure to continue reducing the number of US facilities in Europe, he replied: “Hell, yes.”
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.