China releases video suggesting mock attack on Guam as U.S. admiral again warns of Beijing advantagesBy Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — The Chinese air force has released a video showing a simulated attack on a U.S. Air Force base on Guam amid increased tensions between Beijing and Washington — and continued bravura by the Chinese military. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s Weibo account released the video asRead more
China further increases threat as it erases “line” in the water and air that separates it from TaiwanBy Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — China’s military announced it would no longer recognize the unofficial air and sea median line in the Taiwan Strait that marks the border of Taiwan, an escalation and threat that dramatically increases the risk for accidental or planned confrontation. The announcement came as 19 Chinese warplanes enteredRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has ramped up its proactive and defensive activities in northeast Syria to ward off increased provocations to the U.S force in the security zone patrolled by Army troops, Pentagon officials said. Returning to the security zone are at least six Bradley Fighting Vehicles, along withRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — The military considered unleashing a never-used before heat ray to clear a park near the White House of demonstrators on June 1 — a weapon who use was eschewed for deployment in Afghanistan and overridden by the former head of Homeland Security when sought to be unleashedRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — A multi-nation eight-ship fleet of more than 1500 sailors today ends surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, live-fire exercises, and joint maneuvers in the waters off Guam in the latest US-led effort to counter Chinese naval expansion in the South China Sea. The ships from the U.S., Japan, SouthRead more
China now has world’s biggest navy, while equal or passing US military in other areas, Pentagon saysBy Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — China is steadily moving ahead with stronger confidence and a stronger military to ensure control over the South China Sea, deal with India on its border, take back Taiwan, and be as powerful if not powerful than any military in the world. It appears on track toRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — This weekend, it is Russia’s turn to test and torment the Pentagon, with the U.S. military intercepting six Russian military jets off the coast of Alaska and Moscow’s provocations elsewhere. U.S. F-22 fighter jets, supported by KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, intercepted three groups of two Russian Tu-142Read more
Pentagon says it will stand at ease and not take any role in securing a democratic election or transitionBy Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON – The nation’s top soldier said the military would play no role in the upcoming election, a position that would include standing by if President Trump refused to leave the White House if he lost the election. Gen. Mark Milley, who was selected as chair of the JointRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON— With COVID-19 as justification, the Chinese government is increasing its efforts to meld facial recognition and contact tracing into a potential powerful new tool to reign in the personal privacy of its citizens. Some at the Pentagon and elsewhere in the U.S. government have taken notice and areRead more
- By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News WASHINGTON — When the first B-52 bomber was rolled out in 1954, then Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan Twining had what he thought was merely a timely observation. On that March day Twining said, “the long rifle was the great weapon of its day. Today this B-52Read more
Some German-based US troops will head east to Poland, Pentagon says, even though question remain on infrastructure needsWASHINGTON — The Pentagon said U.S. forces are bound for Poland after negotiations with Warsaw have been successfully concluded and that a new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement will provide “the required legal framework, infrastructure and equitable burden-sharing essential to deepening our defense cooperation.” Under the agreement, which has yet to be foamily signed, Poland willRead more
- WASHINGTON — The Pentagon delivered on President Trump’s threat to punish Germany, announcing Wednesday the removal of 11,900 troops from the NATO ally, as well as air wings and command headquarters. The decision, which had bubbled for several weeks, has attracted significant bipartisan opposition and upset allies who see it as Trump’s way to weakenRead more
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon delivered on President Trump’s threat to punish Germany, announcing Wednesday the removal of 11,900 troops from the NATO ally, as well as air wings and command headquarters.
The decision, which had bubbled for several weeks, has attracted significant bipartisan opposition and upset allies who see it as Trump’s way to weaken NATO.
“Champagne must be flowing freely this evening at the Kremlin,” Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ., said.
According to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the changes will take years to complete and cost billions of dollars to implement, including the price tags for new military construction required in Europe and the U.S. to house the additional troops.
Esper told reporters that moving the headquarters west from Germany to Belgium would increase the deference factor against Russia as well as improve communications between the U.S. and commands.
He did not cite any communication issues between NATO and US commands that needed to be repaired.
Although Esper said the decision was part of his review of all combatant commands that he announced last summer, the scope of the planned changes aligns with the threat by Trump to pull troops from Germany, a vow he reiterated in June.
The president said then that Germany has failed to meet the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on defense, spending only about 1.38%, incorrectly saying that it has refused to pay.
“One of the only countries that hasn’t agreed to pay what they’re supposed to pay (on NATO) is Germany. So, I said until they pay, we’re removing our soldiers, a number of our soldiers, by about half. Then when we get down to about 25,000, we’ll see where we’re going,” Trump said last month.
Esper said the moves come at “another one of those inflections points in NATO history” and would enhance deterrence of Russia, strengthen NATO, reassure allies, increase US strategic flexibility and make it easier on service families.
The overview is that the U.S. will “reposition” 11, 900 U.S. troops from Germany, with 5,600 going to other NATO countries and the rest return to the U.S, Esper said.
Some Germany headquarters closed, with some joining existing locations in Italy and Belgium. Some troops may move closer to Black Sea region, such as locations in Italy — but not, apparently, in newer NATO members in eastern Europe, with the exception of Poland. Italy which spends 1.22 percent of its GDP on defense and Belgium, 0.93 percent.
Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said the change includes moving EUCOM headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany, to Mons, Belgium, as part of an effort to co-locate the command with the NATO military command headquarters that is based there.
He also said that U.S. Africa Command headquarters, also in Stuttgart, could also be moving to a location not yet determined.
“We also intend to reposition three brigade-size headquarters, an air defense artillery battalion, and an engineering battalion to Belgium from Germany, and two smaller support and contracting organizations to Italy,” Wolters told Pentagon reporters.
He said an F-16 fighter squadron and two battalions would be moved from Germany to Italy.
Esper said Trump approved the plan in late June — but he insisted there was no political pressure to enact the president’s desire to punish Germany.
— by Tom Squitieri