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US Bases in Romania

Romania hosts a small American base and training facilities. The December 2005 implementation of the “Agreement Between Romania and the United States of America Regarding the Activities of United States Forces Located on the Territory of Romania” referred to as the “Access Agreement” (AA), governs the presence of American troops on Romanian territory. Russia did not react strongly to signing in December of the U.S.-Romania bilateral agreement to allow U.S. access to Romanian military facilities.

The new garrisons in Romania came under the American “lily pad” basing concept, taking into account the new security and defense challenges in the Southeastern European area and its glacis. The reorganization of U.S. bases in Europe was given powerful, new energy by the post 11 September 2001 transformation of U.S. forces, which included the increasing abandonment of the kinds of garrisons as still found in the Federal Republic of Germany in favor of the kinds of bases and facilities connected with U.S. forces in the Pacific realm, i.e. the so-called “lily pad” concept of a stripped down infrastructure.

As described by David C. Chandler, "As the Army transforms to an expeditionary force, a new concept called “lily-pad” basing is being developed for basing troops overseas. Under this concept, the United States would not have permanent, large-scale military installations in another country. Instead of building its own bases as it has in the past, the Army would use other countries’ existing facilities. It would have only a skeletal staff and an agreement with the host country that the base could be used as a forward operating base in a time of crisis. These “lily-pad” bases would be austere training and deployment sites often in areas not previously used for U.S. bases."

Secretary Rice and Foreign Minister Razvan-Mihai Ungureanu signed the agreement to permit U.S. forces "access to and use of" Romanian military facilities for a broad range of activities, including training, transit, staging and deploying of forces and materiel, and prepositioning of defense equipment. The DCA is based upon "reciprocal consultation, not unilateral action" and that the military facilities "remain the property of the Romanian state, respective facilities will be used by (the U.S.) on the basis of prior understanding with the Romanian authorities."

During a nationally televised interview on 16 April 2006, President Traian Basescu stated that the U.S. would not be able to launch an attack from Romanian territory without prior GOR approval. He characterized as "exaggerated" press reports that the U.S. could attack a third country from Romanian territory without GOR approval, pursuant to the U.S.-Romanian Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), then awaiting parliamentary ratification. Basescu stressed during the interview that Romania will have "command" of the Romanian military facilities used by American troops, which "are on Romanian territory." Responding to a question from the interviewer about whether he would agree to the "placement of nuclear arms on Romanian territory," Basescu rejoined that he categorically "excluded" this possibility. Basescu also underscored in response to a question that the presence of U.S. troops in Romania near the Black Sea coast would not harm Romania-Russia bilateral relations.

Romania had been a continuous supporter of U.S. led operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Romania made its military facilities and airspace fully available to US forces. Romanian officials reaffirmed strong support for a U.S. military facilities presence on Romanian soil, which they equated with a boost in Black Sea regional security. President Basescu repeatedly underscored the centrality of Romania's strategic alliance with the U.S. and senior Romanian leaders, including the President and Prime Minister Calin-Popescu Tariceanu, fully supported a U.S. military presence on Romanian soil.

In July 2006 the Romanian parliament ratified the historic agreement that allowed U.S. troops to deploy to Romanian military facilities for training and other purposes, part of the larger U.S. Global Defense Posture Review. The new agreement remained strongly popular in Romania, although Basescu and the Foreign Ministry had taken some domestic political heat regarding what is wrongly perceived as a failure to achieve the best terms possible.

A joint session of Parliament on 02 May 2007 passed a decision that not only approved the entry and stationing of U.S. military forces on Romanian territory but unexpectedly also capped at 3,000 the total number of U.S. troops for the ten-year duration of the December 2005 U.S.-Romanian Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA). The decision did give the President of Romania discretion to permit an additional 500 U.S. troops for a period no greater than 90 days, "at the request of the Prime Minister." The legislative decision was characterized as a "formality" in the press, and hailed as an example of Romania's support for its bilateral relations with the US.

the 3,000 troop &cap8 was derived from a March 2006 USAFE power point brief on the proposed size of US forces to be stationed in Constanta. They acknowledged that although the new law puts limits on the size and thus the prospects for U.S. training exercises at JTF-East, the intent was to address quickly the requirement for legislative approval for U.S. troops "to enter and transit" Romania, vice the "access" granted under the DCA. Some lawyers had argued that an agreement granting access did not address entry and transit as required under the 1994 National Defense Law Number 45, Article 5. It was not their intention to limit U.S. troops in Romania.

In October 2009, two former communist countries, Poland and Romania, have opened negotiations on the stationing of American troops on their territories. Polish and Romanian officials say they are ready to host American military bases, and that further negotiations with Washington are expected shortly. Both former Soviet satellite states supported the U.S.-led war in Iraq, unlike Germany and France.

Romania, which was due to become a NATO member later in 2009, made clear it would welcome American soldiers. Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase said they would be well-placed strategically because of Romania's access to the Black Sea and proximity to the Middle East. Romania and its neighbor, Bulgaria, already helped Washington by opening their airspace to U.S. aircraft heading to the war in Iraq.

The presence of the U.S. military in Romania may have both negative and positive effects, and while the positive consequences will generate mutual benefits and shared security, the negative ones may cause bi-lateral discordance and opposition from the Romanian population and its political actors. From a U.S. perspective, the basing in Romania might not be as welcome, by a part of the civil society, as the Department of Defense has heretofore expected and such a disappointment and even backlash would hurt U.S. and NATO military effectiveness in a time of crisis.

Teo Peter, one of Romania's best known and most beloved rock musicians, was killed on December 4, 2004, in a Bucharest car accident involving the taxi he was riding in and the official Embassy vehicle being driven in the early morning hours by former Bucharest Marine detachment commander Staff Sgt. Christopher Van Goethem. Van Goethem departed Romania within a few hours after the accident, under the terms of his diplomatic immunity, but many Romanians viewed his abrupt departure before local investigators had the opportunity to question him and conduct tests on his blood alcohol level as a slap in the face and an effort to shield the Marine from justice. Teo Peter's survivors reportedly initially requested a multi-million dollar settlement. The Romanian media reacted with shock and outrage to news of the 31 January 2006 acquittal on negligent homicide charges by a U.S. court martial of Van Goethem. The media also focused on what was universally seen by Romanians as a derisory sentence -- a letter of reprimand -- for the two charges of obstructing justice and making false statements for which VanGoethem was found guilty. Comments from Teo Peter's son and brother expressed both cold rage and confusion at the verdict, and their comments were played over and over again on Romanian media.

The Romania Resident Office, located on Mihail Kogalniceanu Forward Operating Site near Constanta, Romania provides construction oversight for the Black Sea Area Support Team, U.S. Army Europe and Missile Defense Agency customers. Before the Permanent Forward Operation Site was built, the office provided Quality Assurance for the construction of the Temporary Forward Operation Site situated on the nearby Romanian airbase. Starting in 2007, this office completed the TFOS, PFOS and several Job Order Contract projects. These facilities include barracks, a small Post Exchange, physical fitness center, dining facility, company operations, vehicle maintenance, and headquarters buildings.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Romania's Minister of Defense Mircea Dusa Oct. 18, 2013 at the Pentagon, a meeting that produced a number of significant agreements. Among the agreements reached Little said, is for Romania to support logistics in and out of Afghanistan, including both personnel and cargo movement. Hagel thanked Romania for its decision to host the Aegis Ashore missile defense system, emphasizing that the agreement reaffirms and strengthens the collective defense upon which NATO was founded. 'This system represents an important component of the larger European Phased Adaptive Approach and is expected to be operational in 2015.' At Hagel's direction, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Dr. James N. Miller will attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Aegis Ashore system at Deveselu later this month.

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Page last modified: 22-10-2013 13:54:01 ZULU