Reconfiguring the American Military Presence in Europe

  • February 01, 2004
  • LTC Raymond A Millen

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.