An exclusive Interview with the Spokesperson of U.S. European Command conducted by Editor in Chief (Part-1)
Sir, we are greatly honored to have the occasion of this interview with you. Thank you very much for your time.
Q 1: With your permission I would like to start with an overview of the U.S European Command, and the vital role it plays in European stability, security, and defense.
- Can you please tell us about USEUCOM, its mission, the strategic interests it represents? And the most recent developments in the status of its force posture.
U.S. European Command is one of 11 U.S. Department of Defense combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, USEUCOM’s mission is to execute a full range of multi-domain operations in coordination with Allies and partners to support NATO, deter Russia, assist in the defense of Israel, enable global operations and counter trans-national threats to defend the U.S. homeland and fortify Euro-Atlantic security.
USEUCOM plays an important role to meet the emergent challenges and opportunities in an era of great power competition as the U.S.’ principal military instrument in Europe. Our presence in Europe provides the U.S. military with the strategic access vital to meet our NATO commitment to respond to threats against our Allies. With both permanent and rotational forces in Europe, we are better positioned to deter current and potential threats, assure our Allies and respond in a timely way should deterrence fail.
Our rotational forces allows for more flexibility to deter threats when and where they arise, and are deliberate and defensive in nature. We have established a joint, persistent rotational presence of air, land and sea assets in the region to support our Allies and deter Russia from aggressive actions in the European theater.
An example of our rotational force posture is the Marine Corps Rotational Force – Europe, which focuses on regional engagements throughout Europe by conducting various exercises, arctic cold-weather and mountain warfare training and military-to-military engagements, which enhance overall interoperability of the U.S. Marine Corps with our Allies and partners. Another example of our rotational forces is the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine (JMTG-U), which is the name given to the mission of training, equipping, training center development and doctrinal assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces.
In regards to our force posture in Europe, the U.S. Secretary of Defense recently announced that the U.S. will base an additional 500 U.S. Soldiers in Wiesbaden, Germany as part of two new units, a Multi-Domain Task Force and a Theater Fires Command. The Multi-Domain Task Force-Europe, expected to activate Sept.16, 2021, will be comprised of field artillery; composite air and missile defense; intelligence, cyberspace, electronic warfare and space; aviation and a brigade support element. The Theater Fires Command, expected to active Oct. 16, 2021, will improve readiness and multi-national interoperability by integrating joint and multi-national fires in exercises and operations, in support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa.
Additionally, the U.S. Army announced in February 2020 the reactivation of an additional corps headquarters, the historic V Corps, to be located in the United States at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with a forward command post in Europe. The V Corps Headquarters (Forward) was officially established in Poznan, Poland, Nov. 20, 2020. The primary mission of the new forward headquarters is to conduct operational planning, mission command and oversight of the rotational forces in Europe. It will also provide additional capability to support Allies and partners in the region.
- Q 2: With respect to building closer partnerships and strengthening NATO, what new complementary steps has USEUCOM envisioned to implement in the frame of its strategic planning for 2021 and beyond?
USEUCOM is deeply rooted in the common values and strong relationships between our European partners and NATO Allies. Our commitment to the NATO alliance is ironclad. We are committed to standing side-by-side with our Allies to ensure the independence, sovereign territory and security of NATO members.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, is dual-hatted as the USEUCOM commander and as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), one of NATO’s two strategic commanders. SACEUR is the head of Allied Command Operations and, as such, is responsible to the NATO Military Committee for the conduct of all NATO operations. Though these are two separate positions with distinct responsibilities, the fact that they are led by the same commander ensures that USEUCOM and NATO priorities are closely aligned.
USEUCOM contributes to NATO’s success in a number of ways, and exercises are one of our more visible activities. Exercising with NATO and non-NATO partners demonstrates readiness, interoperability and capability. These exercises ultimately contribute to deterring our adversaries from threatening European security and the homeland. Additionally, NATO elements often participate in U.S.-led multinational exercises, such as Defender Europe and leaders from the two organizations regularly meet to ensure efforts are synchronized. One example of regular coordination is the yearly USEUCOM and NATO staff talks, which began in 2018 and strengthens transparency and understanding between the two organizations. Throughout 2021, we will continue to work alongside NATO and our Allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of the Euro-Atlantic.
Q 3: “DEFENDER-Europe 21” is considered as one of the most robust military exercises in the history of the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe and its NATO allies.
- Could you please elaborate on the significance of this exercise and its key central aspects?
DEFENDER-Europe 21 is a U.S. Army Europe and Africa-planned and executed multinational exercise. It demonstrates USAREUR’s ability to command and control large-scale ground operations across more than a dozen nations simultaneously.
Although DEFENDER-Europe 21 is a U.S. Army exercise, it will include significant involvement of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. Key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia and Africa will be utilized. Other high-end capabilities will be exercised, such as the new U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades, air and missile defense assets and the recently reactivated V Corps.
In March, equipment and personnel began moving from the United States. In April, participating units will draw Army Prepositioned Stock from sites in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The bulk of training activities will occur in May and the exercise will conclude in June with the redeployment of U.S.-based forces and equipment.
The exercise will build readiness and interoperability by exercising the command’s ability to integrate approximately 28,000 U.S., Allied and partner forces from 26 nations conducting concurrent exercises across more than 30 training areas.
DEFENDER-Europe 21 will demonstrate our ability to serve as a strategic security partner in the western Balkans and Black Sea regions, while sustaining our abilities in northern Europe, the Caucasus, Ukraine and Africa.
To be continued in part-2 on Wednesday May 5th
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Acknowledgments: Image-1 U.S flag ©U.S Air Forces Europe-Africa 2016. Image-2 ©U.S Army Europe and Africa April 4, 2021. The Interview is subject to Copyright Law. ©U.S. European Command/U.S. Army Europe and Africa /U.S Army/ U.S Europe World Affairs.