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US Army Chief Insists on More Troops, Arms to Europe to 'Cope With Russia'

Sputnik News

10:05 11.07.2015

US Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno is relying on Russophobic scaremongering to urge America to put an "additional brigade's worth of heavy equipment, including tanks and armored-personnel carriers, in Germany"; the move will therefore mitigate the cuts to US forces in Europe.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gen. Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the US Army, has called for putting the "larger stockpile of heavy equipment in Germany" in position, including tanks and armored personnel carriers.

"That would allow a heavy brigade of some 3,500 [US] soldiers to fly quickly to Europe," he added.

Gen. Odierno also voiced his intention "to designate the entire Colorado-based 4th Infantry Division as a so-called regionally aligned force for Europe. Such a designation would mean the division's brigades, helicopters and logistics specialists would regularly deploy to Europe to conduct security exercises."

He specified that the military units "would more likely be used for a crisis". By "the crisis" the general apparently meant "a rising threat from Russia in Ukraine".

The 'rising Russian threat" card is being played yet again, as the US Army is dealing "with cuts required by the failure to reach a long-term agreement in Congress to end mandatory spending reductions."

"Gen. Odierno has fought to halt cuts to the Army, but Democrats and Republicans have failed to agree on any measure that would increase long-term spending on the military," according to The Wall Street Journal.

Gen. Odierno said that if the Army is forced to cut further, reducing its forces below 450,000 soldiers, it would have to curb overseas deployments.

"I am very concerned about the size of the force – we cannot go any lower than 450,000," Gen. Odierno said. "If we do, we will have to stop doing something. We are not going to meet our requirements in the Middle East, plus our requirements in Europe, plus our requirements in Korea and around the Pacific. Something is going to have to give."

Gen. Odierno said adding tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other equipment would allow the US to send forces quickly to assist NATO member countries, should a conflict with Russia erupt.

In the event of a military crisis between Moscow and a NATO member, Gen. Odierno said, the US focus wouldn't be on pulling out the small companies of soldiers it has in Poland and the Baltic states. Instead, it would use troops from the U.S. and its pre-positioned equipment in Europe to reinforce forces nearest the crisis.

"We hope that the Russians wouldn't [create a crisis], but we always must be prepared," Gen. Odierno said. "We have to figure out how to reinforce those companies that are forward."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the US Army currently has one brigade based in the US state of Georgia that is aligned to Europe. The new plan, which would be implemented over the next two years, would allow more soldiers to be available for operations and exercises in Europe. It would also allow the division's intelligence experts to focus on the threat from Russia and its planners to become experts on allied capabilities.


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