The Air Force will get “roughly” $300 million of the nearly $1 billion set aside in the Fiscal 2016 budget for the European Reassurance Initiative, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa Commander Gen. Frank Gorenc told Air Force Magazine on Thursday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando. The funding will be used to improve airfields in the Baltics, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria, said Gorenc. “Those projects are modest, but [they are] directly designed to be able to allow that airfield to support an increased sortie generation capability, so we’re very, very excited about that,” he said. The funding also will be used for maintenance “that will accommodate training” as well as participation in NATO exercises. “That money was timely. That money was focused, and that money will allow us to contribute air into the reassurance effort,” said Gorenc.
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.