Defense Issues: Volume 11, Number 41-- European Command's Strategy of Engagement and Preparedness U.S. European Command has adapted to the challenges of post-Cold War Europe. The force of 100,000 forward-deployed troops is trained and ready to deter war and preserve the peace.
Volume 11, Number 41
European Command's Strategy of Engagement and Preparedness
Prepared statement of Gen. George A. Joulwan, USA, commander-in-chief, U.S. European Command, to the Appropriations Subcommittee, House National Security Committee, March 19, 1996.
Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, I am privileged to appear before you today to discuss the United States European Command. Once again, I welcome the opportunity to share my perspective on what has continued to be a theater in transition and conflict. While Europe has changed dramatically with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, those changes are not complete and continue to evolve. In the USEUCOM area of responsibility, where totalitarianism once ruled, democratic governments are gaining strength and maturity.
The Cold War is over. But the U.S. and NATO missions did not end with the collapse of a wall or the defeat of an ideology. A stable and secure Europe remains a vital interest to America. The need for a strong and flexible NATO with U.S. involvement remains because there is still a great deal of uncertainty and instability.
In countries impoverished by communism, fragile democracies struggle to maintain stability within their borders. Although Russia retains thousands of nuclear weapons, all but a handful have been returned from the other republics of the former Soviet Union. Thanks in part to the Nunn-Lugar Program, these remaining weapons should be safely shipped to Russia in the near future. Even more immediate is the ethnic and religious conflict that has laid waste to large areas of the former Yugoslavia. Said another way, USEUCOM continues to be a theater in transition.
Throughout this transition, United States leadership in the region, demonstrated by our national strategy of peacetime engagement and military preparedness, provided the guiding principles upon which emerging democratic nations could focus. A few short years ago, no one could have envisioned that today the U.S., as part of NATO, would be working side by side with Russia and other former adversaries in out-of-area peace enforcement operations.
While I reported impressive accomplishments in Europe last year, over the last 12 months our efforts have borne fruit of historic proportions, as today the men and women of U.S. European Command are engaged in the largest, most complex operational movement of military forces in Europe since World War II. Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia-Herzegovina illustrates the success we can achieve through America's National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. As the United States, NATO and the international community mission continues, we will have shown our resolve and provided Bosnia with an opportunity to take hold of their own future and break the cycle of violence.
Our success in operation Joint Endeavor is not by chance. It is the product of focused effort over the last two years by USEUCOM and NATO. USEUCOM's strategy of engagement and preparedness, based on the objectives in the National Security Strategy and NATO's Partnership for Peace Program are the center pieces of this effort.
Together we developed an operational concept to exercise with our new partners in order to train to common standards, procedures and doctrine, and to be prepared to operate under NATO command. Two years later, we are doing just that in Bosnia under the auspices of Operation Joint Endeavor. Many of our partner nations' forces who trained in the PfP program have joined us in Joint Endeavor.
Our continued leadership in NATO and engagement throughout the region made possible the deployment of the Bosnia implementation force. We have met our goal of closing and setting the force at D+60. In total, there have been over 2,500 flights, 350 trains with 6,800 rail cars and 50 ships supporting IFOR's deployment.
Joint Endeavor now has 30 maneuver battalions within the three multinational divisions backed up by artillery, aviation, engineers, military police, combat support and combat service support assets. This would not have been possible without the relationships nurtured through years of engagement. Over 30 nations, including non-NATO partners such as Russia, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Hungary, have deployed forces, provided basing rights and transit agreements or promised economic aid to this historic peace support operation.
Forward presence and available infrastructure in the theater provide a platform from which the U.S. can execute regional operations. Readiness of these forward-based forces was the linchpin that allowed the rapid deployment of the U.S. airborne battalion combat team from its base in Italy to Bosnia-Herzegovina. That deployment demonstrated the flexibility and responsiveness that a forward-based force provides.
In addition, the lst Armored Division's deployment was primarily by rail and truck convoy from its bases in Germany. This cut days off the deployment time and was significantly less costly than it would have been for a similarly equipped CONUS-based [continental United States-based] unit requiring strategic airlift and sealift.
Additionally, the Mediterranean Amphibious Ready Group and Marine expeditionary unit maintained a continual forward-based presence off the coast of Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the U.S. contribution to the IFOR reserve. Peacetime engagement and military preparedness coupled with the military capabilities inherent in forward-based forces were key elements to meeting our U.S. objectives.
This truly unique moment in history, this new security paradigm, was made possible because you, our elected leaders, support our forward-looking strategy of engagement and preparedness. Congress provided USEUCOM the resources to accomplish our mission and ensured our forces were properly equipped and trained. We must continue to build on these successes.
With that overview, I would like to focus my remarks on three main themes. First, I must emphasize that our success is largely a result of the forward-based, overseas presence directed by the president's National Security Strategy. This forward-based presence reaps the substantial benefits obtained through engagement with the region's nations. America's continued presence in this theater helped create a new security environment based on international cooperation and will provide the opportunity to extend stability to all of Europe.
Secondly, while USEUCOM's forward-based force is the primary tool with which we pursue our regional objectives, they cannot do it alone. The reserve components and select units from other unified commands are the special teams that provide critical augmentation support, allowing USEUCOM to execute a reasonable personnel tempo and sustain an adequate quality of life. USEUCOM's theater strategy is a total force strategy.
Finally, our forward basing requires resources to maintain preparedness, infrastructure and quality of life while also continuing our force modernization. The nation's past investment in the USEUCOM theater made Joint Endeavor possible. At this critical point in the history of our nation and Europe's, we cannot afford to back away from these vital commitments.
The National Security Strategy of the United States provides the framework from which we derived the USEUCOM theater strategy. From its three primary objectives -- enhance our security, promote prosperity at home and promote democracy -- come the military objectives of the National Military Strategy and the USEUCOM theater strategy of engagement and preparedness -- promoting stability and thwarting aggression.
The National Security Strategy goes on to define the importance of permanently stationed forces and pre-positioned equipment, deployments and combined exercises, port calls and other force visits, as well as military-to-military contacts in achieving these objectives. These forward-based forces:
- Promote an international security environment of trust, cooperation, peace and stability;
- Facilitate regional integration, since nations that may not be willing to work together in our absence may be willing to coalesce around us in a crisis;
- Enhance the effectiveness of coalition operations, including peace operations, by improving our ability to operate with other nations;
- Allow the United States to use its position of trust to prevent the development of power vacuums and dangerous arms races, thereby underwriting regional stability by precluding threats to regional security;
- Demonstrate our determination to defend U.S. and allied interest in critical regions, deterring hostile nations from acting contrary to those interests;
- Provide forward elements for rapid response in crises as well as the bases, ports and other infrastructure essential for deployment of U.S.-based forces by air, sea and land;
- Give form and substance to our bilateral and multilateral security commitments.
These themes will surface repeatedly as I discuss the USEUCOM theater in terms of our strategy of engagement and preparedness.
USEUCOM's forward-based forces promote trust, cooperation, peace and stability through a number of avenues. U.S. leadership of NATO is absolutely essential to promoting a viable security environment. Numerous U.S. and NATO initiatives such as Partnership for Peace, the USEUCOM Joint Contact Team Program and the Reserve Component State Partnership Program facilitate regional integration and enhance the effectiveness of coalition operations. The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies [in Garmisch, Germany] also promotes an international security environment of trust and cooperation. Finally, security assistance programs provide form and substance to our bilateral and multilateral security commitments.
Through its leadership of NATO, America promotes a collective security environment based on trust and cooperation, a relationship that fosters peace and stability. This is fundamental to the vitality of developing democracies and free-market economies. Forward presence reinforces our strong commitment to the trans-Atlantic link and makes us a European power, but one that is uniquely unencumbered by historical anxieties and territorial ambitions.
USEUCOM uses its position of trust to prevent the development of power vacuums and dangerous arms races, thereby precluding threats to regional security. This leadership is especially important as NATO grows from a solely defensive alliance to a regional security organization.
USEUCOM builds regional cooperation and security through Partnership for Peace and bilateral exercises that facilitate integration throughout the region. On Nov. 13, 1995, the former republic of Macedonia became the 27th partnership country. Eighteen nations now have full-time representatives assigned to the Partnership Coordination Cell at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Our forces have participated in over 36 NATO- or U.S.-sponsored exercises, including two with Russia. By working and exercising with each other, these nations develop common procedures through PfP that will enhance interoperability and help overcome ancient animosities and distrust. These initiatives enhance the effectiveness of coalition operations, including peace operations, by improving our ability to operate with other nations.
The Joint Contact Team Program is a uniquely American program successful beyond all expectations. JCTP's in-country military liaison teams help host nations to implement human rights guarantees, military legal codes based on the rights of the citizen-soldier, professionalization of noncommissioned officer and chaplain corps, and governmental structures that ensure militaries remain subordinate to civilian control. The teams provide information on how we Americans handle a whole range of challenges in nonlethal subjects associated with military organizations in a democratic society. As evidence of JCTP's success, host-nation requests for JCTP events have increased sixfold in the last two years.
No other nation possesses our unique capability to conduct the JCTP. To begin with, despite our significant military power, we are welcome in Central Europe because we carry no historical baggage and clearly have no territorial aspirations on the Continent. In addition, because we are a nation of federated states, we understand the advantages and the challenges of diverse governments working together. Finally, coming from a nation rich in ethnic diversity, we have demonstrated this diversity can be a strength rather than a weakness. The United States brings unique qualities to the JCTP.
Our American reserve components are an essential and unique part of the Joint Contact Team Program, conducting one-fifth of the JCTP events. These citizen-soldiers embody America's democratic ideals and reinforce the concept of a military subordinate to civilian authority. By drawing on soldiers from specific states, USEUCOM has been able to set the stage for enduring long-term relationships.
In addition to the 13 JCTP countries, state National Guards have "adopted" eight other regional countries under the State Partnership Program. This program establishes close relations with a total of 21 nations, including countries of the former Soviet Union. This further encourages the development of long-term institutional and personal relationships between military and civic leaders and allows more Americans to become involved directly in helping countries transition to democracy.
As the state partnership relationships mature, they are able to contribute effectively in many ways. Exercise Uje Kristal illustrates how many of the engagement programs can successfully come together in a single exercise. This exercise, which upgraded an Albanian regional hospital and offered Albanians clean water and improved sanitation, was a joint-combined interoperability exercise conducted in the spirit of PfP, with active component Seabees and reserve components participating through the State Partnership Program: South Carolina Army National Guard and Marine Corps Reserves from Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The low-cost, high payoff results of this exercise included valuable training, improved interoperabililty and enhanced relationships with the people of Albania. Together, Americans and Albanians satisfied an urgent need while simultaneously helping to build the foundation for the future security architecture of Europe.
The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies contributes to regional stability by educating foreign government officials, specifically Central Europeans, in democratic processes and ideals. Its mission is to help educate future leaders in security affairs and defense management principles that are harmonious with democracy and civilian oversight of the military.
Established in June 1993, it has gained an exemplary reputation among PfP countries and established itself as a unique institution focused on fostering and teaching democratic ideals. In December, the Marshall Center graduated its third class of 75 mid- to senior-level officers and civilians from 23 Central and East European nations. This brings the total number of graduates to 233. The center also holds conferences and sponsors research on defense procedures and organizations appropriate to democratic states with free market economies. This is a very cost-effective means of influencing future generations of regional defense leaders and for promoting a course of development that reduces future threats.
Security assistance programs continue to facilitate regional integration, enhance the effectiveness of coalition operations and give form and substance to our bilateral and multilateral security commitments. They also demonstrate our determination to defend U.S. and allied interests in critical regions. Foreign Military Financing, Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales and International Military Education and Training enable selected friends and allies to improve their defense capabilities. While all of these programs are important, the IMET program is worth particular note.
IMET, a premier component of the Security Assistance Program, promotes military-to-military relations and exposes international military and civilian officials to U.S. values and democratic processes. In 1995, IMET sent 985 international students from the USEUCOM theater to schools in the United States. IMET also paid for 11 English language laboratories for eight Central European countries to assist their efforts to establish a solid foundation in English -- all this at a cost of only $14 million. In 1996, 27 African nations and 23 Central European countries will participate in the U.S. IMET program, and IMET will continue to fund English language laboratories throughout Central Europe and countries of the Former Soviet Union.
IMET has a direct impact on most countries in this theater. Nearly all countries have sent members to America for professional military training. As an example, the IMET program trained 20 percent of all flag officers in Turkey, 80 percent of the senior leadership in Portugal and more than 500 senior civilian and military leaders throughout the USEUCOM theater. IMET provides these nations familiarity with U.S. ideology, doctrine and equipment. It leads to closer military-to-military relationships, favorable basing negotiations and repeat equipment orders. Simply put, IMET serves as the centerpiece of security assistance.
USEUCOM faces all the challenges outlined in the National Military Strategy: regional instability, dangers to democracy and reform, weapons of mass destruction and transnational dangers that threaten the emerging democracies. It is a theater in transition, as the economic, political, judicial and military institutions that make democracy work continue to evolve in the former communist nations of Europe and in many former autocratic regimes in Africa.
Still, USEUCOM must remain prepared to protect and defend U.S. interests. The high state of readiness of USEUCOM forces serves to deter aggression that might threaten U.S. national interests in Europe. USEUCOM forces provide forward elements for rapid response in crises as well as the bases, ports and other infrastructure essential for deployment of U.S.-based forces. Combined exercises with regional nations not only contribute to engagement and foster an atmosphere of regional cooperation, but ensure that our forces are prepared for potential security challenges.
Joint and combined exercises, including PfP and in the spirit of PfP events, help us maintain the preparedness necessary to help preserve the peace. Despite the rigorous demands of IFOR, we have been able, through careful planning, to sustain a robust training schedule for 1996, with 71 planned USEUCOM exercises. This ensures that forces not deploying to Joint Endeavor will remain ready to fulfill national tasking.
Our preparedness also allows the United States to use its position of trust to prevent the development of power vacuums and dangerous arms races, thereby precluding threats to regional security. By backing our commitments with ready forces positioned forward, the United States sends a clear warning of deterrence to nations that are inclined to pursue their aims through the destructive use of force. We also assure nations that might otherwise seek weapons of mass destruction that their security is better safeguarded through collective and cooperative mechanisms.
U.S. leadership, manifested through USEUCOM's engagement and preparedness, paved the way for dramatic successes in improved security and cooperation. Joint Endeavor, Deny Flight, Sharp Guard and Provide Promise were possible only because of our long history of positive engagement with our traditional allies, which yielded the requisite support opportunities.
Nontraditional allies have also recently supported our efforts. Albania provided basing for our Predator unmanned aerial reconnaissance flights. In addition to providing bases for U.S. forces at Kaposvar and Taszar, Hungary permitted USAF [U.S. Air Force] AWACS [Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft] overflight in support of Operation Deny Flight. Our peacetime engagement, and the resultant trust and cooperative spirit it engenders, built regional cooperation and helped guarantee these successes.
U.S. forces in NATO also benefit from this strong relationship in that many nations equitably share the risks and burdens of protecting common interests. NATO proved that it can adapt to the new security environment and remain cost effective by sharing responsibilities across a broad spectrum of operations.
The new NATO, born out of the 1991 Rome Declaration's new Alliance Strategic Concept, not only provides an organization capable of defending the territory of its member states, but also fosters the emergence of a safer and more stable Europe. Last year, when the Bosnian Serbs ignored our demarche by shelling Sarajevo, NATO executed Operation Deliberate Force. This precise, robust use of airpower clearly fulfilled our political objectives and led directly to the successful Dayton peace negotiations and Operation Joint Endeavor.
The burden of these operations did not fall upon any single nation, but were instead spread across the entire alliance and beyond. Operation Joint Endeavor quickly evolved well beyond a U.S.-led NATO operation. U.S. leadership, made possible through active engagement, pulled virtually all the nations of the region together to achieve a common security goal. This facilitated rapid access to lines of communication, permission for basing and flexible transit agreements. Thirty nations now contribute ground troops, basing rights, transit agreements and economic aid to the war-torn Balkan countries. Nearly half these nations are not NATO members, but are members of Partnership for Peace.
In addition to IFOR, we have had other strategic successes, brought about by our active engagement and sustained readiness. On Jan. 9, the air bridge to Sarajevo under Operation Provide Promise concluded. The United States led five coalition nations in this 3 1/2-year humanitarian airlift operation. Operation Provide Promise lasted almost three times as long as the Berlin Airlift of 1948 and at times provided 95 percent of Sarajevo's sustenance requirements: nearly 13,000 sorties -- over 4,500 of them flown by the U.S. Air Force -- and delivered over 165,000 tons of supplies to Sarajevo residents. Task Force Able Sentry, which deployed from Germany to Macedonia, has also been a major stabilizing influence in the region, helping prevent the spread of the Balkan conflict.
Our relationship with Turkey provides another excellent illustration. U.S. engagement encouraged Turkey to enforce domestically expensive economic sanctions against Iraq. Because of our close military relations, the Turkish general staff has supported Operation Provide Promise. This multinational operation in southern Turkey and northern Iraq enters its sixth year in April.
A recent operational assessment concluded that Provide Comfort is fulfilling all of its objectives: preventing suffering in northern Iraq, preventing further repression, weakening Saddam Hussein's regime and preserving the territorial integrity of northern Iraq. Furthermore, the multinational coordination procedures that developed from this operation, such as the combined joint task force concept, and other lessons learned from Operation Provide Comfort, will serve us well in IFOR and future coalition operations.
American engagement in Turkey also ensures ready access to bases that are critical for executing our Major Regional Conflict-East contingency plans. It is significant that Turkey, one of the few modern, secular, Moslem democracies, placed first priority on deploying and serving in the U.S. area of responsibility in Operation Joint Endeavor.
Furthermore, for the first time since World War II, Russian and U.S. forces are working together in a military operation. Our relations with Russia's military grow closer and more cooperative each day. As the operators work side by side in Bosnia, there is a clear demonstration of U.S. capability and goodwill.
Col. Gen. L.P. Shevtsov, commander of the Russian forces in Bosnia, has his office in the IFOR Coordination at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. This practical collocation offers great possibilities and a concrete example of security cooperation. It represents an opportunity to remove some of the Russian suspicion toward the West while building confidence in our good intentions. I believe PfP has been our most valuable tool in remaining engaged with Russia and in consolidating democratic gains.
Arms control illustrates success in another area of engagement. Significant reductions in weapons have yielded corresponding reductions in tensions. For the past nine years, USEUCOM has been actively involved in arms control efforts. Nowhere in the world does the level or spectrum of activity in arms control match what is taking place in the USEUCOM theater of operations.
Our daily efforts supporting compliance with the protocols and confidence-building measures of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty and Vienna Document 1994 set the highest example for the international community on how to responsibly participate in the international security process. These arms control examples have implications far beyond the boundaries of USEUCOM's area of responsibility. Nations in the Middle East, Asia and South America, have looked to the United States, and hence USEUCOM, as a role model for how to responsibly implement arms control regimes.
I intend to remain fully engaged and supportive of arms control initiatives before us today and on the future horizon, including START I [Strategic Arms Reduction Talks] and START II, the Chemical Weapons Convention, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and entry-into-force of the Open Skies Treaty. I will continue to monitor these developments closely and carefully examine their effect on the capabilities of my command.
USEUCOM remains engaged in several critical operations that enhance national security. Our successes are made possible through sustained overseas presence. U.S. leadership and NATO provide a regional security structure that fosters cooperation and coordination. That structure pools the resources of many nations and has established forward-based infrastructure and materiel that enable us to respond quickly to protect U.S. interests in this region. The result has been increased security for our citizens.
U.S. forces in Europe now have a higher operational tempo than during the Cold War. The absence of a major regional conflict does not mean USEUCOM forces are not actively engaged. On the contrary, USEUCOM-assigned forces from all services are involved in major operations in the Balkans (Joint Endeavor), northern Iraq and Turkey (Provide Promise) and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia (Task Force Able Sentry).
In addition to these major operations, USEUCOM-assigned forces participate in numerous smaller operations on a daily basis and are prepared to execute potential missions throughout the theater. As a result, forward-based USEUCOM forces work in concert with augmentation forces from other unified commands, the reserve components and allied forces. We must maintain overseas presence and the Bottom-up Review force levels to ensure successful engagement and preparedness.
The current USEUCOM force structure provides the essential elements necessary to support our efforts. Downsizing from Cold War levels in our area of responsibility is complete.
The current force structure of approximately 100,000 makes it possible for us to fulfill our commitments to the National Command Authority, to meet NATO requirements, to train at the international level and to be reinforced quickly. This structure provides inherent flexibility and responsiveness necessary for regional missions. It also provides critical in-theater capabilities not readily available from the United States, such as intelligence and surveillance, communications, theater missile defense and other vital capabilities. However, its relatively small size places great demands on our service members.
The key to reducing USEUCOM's personnel tempo to reasonable levels lies in the Total Force Concept. USEUCOM relies on reservists and guardsmen, along with forces from other unified commands, to support operations such as Provide Comfort and Deny Flight.
Reserve components perform highly specialized and critical functions throughout this theater. Virtually all the Army's water production specialists, helicopter heavy lift units, chemical brigades and civil affairs specialists are in the Army reserve component, making augmentation a prerequisite for many contingencies.
As the chairman of the Reserve Forces Policy Board observed during a recent visit, USEUCOM is already using the reserve components in a way that matches his vision for the future. The Total Force Concept is a way of life in USEUCOM.
Our allies also fully contribute to regional security. The U.S.-NATO relationship can be best characterized as responsibility sharing. But in the past few years, well-intentioned burdensharing legislation initiatives have threatened to undermine American overseas presence and put at risk U.S. regional objectives.
The apparent appeal to fiscal considerations understates NATO's contribution to European security, masks the threat to U.S. interests in the USEUCOM area of responsibility, potentially degrades U.S. leadership, marginalizes U.S. influence and reduces America's access to the pooled resources of other nations. We must avoid the temptation to underestimate the European contribution to our common security.
I remain concerned about the depth in Army forces. We must not go below 10 well-equipped, manned and trained active divisions. To do so would subject the U.S. to unacceptable risks. We must remember that it is service members on the ground executing the flexible engagement strategy overseas that actively mold the future security environment and prevent conflict.
We need to guard against a purely CONUS-based projection force. For the third time this century, America could find itself in another extended conflict that might have been averted had we remained engaged through overseas presence.
Adequate force structure is the bedrock upon which rests the preservation of America's regional interest. We have completed the post-Cold War downsizing and are now at a force level that permits us to implement the theater strategy. This reduced force level requires us to use our forces efficiently, employing active duty and reserve augmentation forces to fill critical operational needs, enabling theater forces to fulfill operational requirements. We must also ensure we continue our successful efforts to fully leverage the contributions made by our allies.
For engagement and preparedness to remain successful and to ensure we are prepared for present and future missions, we must balance near-term readiness with infrastructure, quality of life and modernization.
First, readiness requires proper resourcing. Joint and combined training exercises are the basis for promoting stability and thwarting aggression. Through these, we ensure our people -- soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians -- are trained and ready to support immediate deployment to crisis situations in our area of responsibility or anywhere in the world to meet national security objectives -- as we did when we deployed approximately 25,000 personnel in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.
Secondly, infrastructure in our theater must support the full range of our operational requirements while also providing military members and their families facilities in which to live and work. The NATO Security Investment Program has fully transitioned to the new security environment. It provides America access to infrastructure and other resources at a dramatically reduced cost by allowing us to leverage the pooled contributions of 15 other nations.
Finally, modernization is the key to our future capability. We must ensure that we maintain short-term readiness while preserving the modernization required for long-term readiness.
We must preserve readiness to be able to execute missions concurrently while supporting ongoing operations. Throughout last year, USEUCOM forces were continually engaged in contingency operations such as Joint Endeavor, Deliberate Force, Provide Promise, Deny Flight, Able Sentry and Provide Comfort.
In the past, these operations would have seriously threatened readiness and training. However, this year's line-item funding for Operation Provide Comfort sets an extremely important precedent for warfighting CinCs [commanders in chief]. Along with Congress' timely supplemental appropriation last year, these measures helped USEUCOM maintain the high operational tempo while minimizing the fiscal impact on operations and maintenance readiness accounts.
Operations and maintenance dollars maintain readiness by funding training and exercises for our forces, and sustain our busy pace of operations. This funding allowed us to continue joint and combined training in important exercises such as Trailblazer, 48 Hours, Poised Eagle, Atlantic Resolve and African Eagle. These exercises train forces to exploit the synergistic effect of employing air, land and sea forces in a coordinated effort.
Without funding for contingency operations, we would be forced to pay for operations with our scarce training dollars. Your initiatives helped preserve readiness by providing funds that in the past were siphoned away from operation and maintenance accounts to pay for unscheduled contingency operations.
Infrastructure throughout the theater supports our people and our ability to perform the assigned mission. Our facilities drawdown is virtually complete and leaves USEUCOM at less than half of its Cold War infrastructure level. While the drawdown has forced us to make tough choices on which facilities would remain open, we believe we have retained the capability to meet all requirements and allow for future consolidation and flexibility.
This does not mean, however, that we have escaped the responsibility and requirement to continue facility upgrades and some new construction. We must continue to invest in our military installations both to maintain quality of life and ensure infrastructure is in place to support our national interests. Fewer facilities make those that remain even more important to our continued mission readiness.
Our European infrastructure and bases provide the U.S. with access to this area of responsibility and nearby regions that are vital to our influence abroad. It is central to sustaining supply lines and the ability to reinforce forward-deployed forces. Given the age and condition of our facilities, it is imperative that we continue to maintain, and in some cases upgrade, the remaining infrastructure to ensure it can meet increased demands.
I want to stress the importance of the NATO Security Investment Program in supporting U.S. interests. As a revitalized program, NSIP supports more than just construction. It supports our regional engagement by providing explicit mission capabilities. Our allies fund 72 percent of this vital program; about 28 cents of U.S. investment buys one dollar's worth of infrastructure.
The return we receive on this investment is impressive. Over the last five years, U.S. industries have received more than $1.7 billion in high-tech contracts, including more than $100 million in military construction contracts within the continental United States. Recent projects include $12.4 million for runway overlay projects at Lakenheath Air Base, England, and $25.6 million for parallel taxiway projects at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. With the recent approval of the Aviano AB [Air Base], Italy, capabilities package, NSIP will provide $215 million (U.S. share approximately $69 million) for construction of beddown facilities for two U.S. F-16 squadrons. NSIP is also expected to fund the $30 million Army War Reserve Package South warehouse construction in Livorno, Italy. This facility will store pre-positioned, ready-to-use materiel for U.S. forces.
However, funding shortfalls for the U.S. contribution to NATO resulting from the fiscal year 95 rescission and a $18 million reduction in the fiscal year 96 appropriation have delayed funding for U.S. embarkation projects in CONUS and other needed projects that support power projection to the European Theater. I appreciate the support in Congress for the fiscal year 96 funding at $161 million, but I need your assistance to prevent rescissions that will erode our warfighting capability and U.S. credibility.
I place a high priority on five quality of life issues. Military construction is one of the key factors in maintaining an acceptable quality of life for our people. Affordable and suitable housing for personnel overseas is especially problematic. Last year, you approved all quality of life military construction in USEUCOM. This helped our commanders provide the troops and their families with the living conditions necessary to sustain our high operational tempo. We must maintain our commitment to our people by investing in the infrastructure necessary to meet our mission and quality of life needs.
Second, our military and civilian personnel deserve adequate and fair compensation that keeps pace with the private sector. Related to compensation is the third issue, retirement. We must preserve a stable retirement system that does not break faith with our people by seeking fiscal savings through the retirement system. This would constitute a betrayal of our people's trust and may risk serious damage to our force structure.
Next, we must provide our personnel a steady and dependable level of medical benefits. This is particularly challenging in the overseas environment where significant language and cultural differences exist.
Finally, overseas service members and their families deserve the same quality education their counterparts receive in the U.S. Fully funded service tuition assistance programs are required for a professional force. Department of Defense Dependent Schools schools are also essential to USEUCOM as it is unique in terms of needs and requirements. In this theater, DoDDS provides logistical support for 123 DoDDS schools and 48,000 students. Some of our small schools are more costly to operate, but are essential to our readiness posture. We must continue to support our overseas schools with both operating funds and construction money.
We must also continue to modernize our forces to meet the diverse requirements of this complex environment, but only within the context of a viable national and theater strategy. As a warfighting CinC, I rely on the services to provide modern equipment. I make my equipment modernization needs and their significance to my area of responsibility known to the services, Joint Staff and the Joint Requirements Oversight Council.
Mobility is a high priority, vital to supporting our engagement strategy. It is even more significant considering the drawdown in Europe. Strategic lift, combined with pre-positioned materiel, is critical to fighting or supporting any major regional conflict or contingency operation in or near the USEUCOM area of responsibility.
I fully support the secretary of defense's decision to buy 120 C-17s. The C-17 delivers critically important outsized equipment directly to the battle front and has already proven itself in Operation Joint Endeavor. We are also improving our strategic sealift capability to provide heavy reinforcement and sustain theater logistics. We require sufficient amphibious lift to support a forced-entry capability and a medium-lift replacement helicopter for the Marines and special operations forces.
Capabilities derived from C4I [command, control, communications, computers and intelligence] improvements will increase operational effectiveness through digitization of the battlefield, thereby improving commanders' situational awareness. The Joint Tactical Information Distribution System will improve combat identification, reduce fratricide and increase operational efficiency. But we should not acquire enhanced C4I with the expectation that it will enable us to reduce overseas presence. Only forward-based forces are capable of promoting stability, thwarting aggression and providing regional stability, thereby preventing possible conflicts. However, modernized information flow will enable joint task force commanders to optimize highly mobile future systems such as the V-22 Osprey, RAH-66 Comanche, F-22, F-18E/F, DDG-51, the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle and the next generation of armored vehicles, tactical trucks and helicopter fleets. JSTARS [Joint Surveillance and Targeting Attack Radar System aircraft], for instance, has already proven both its capability and deterrent value in Joint Endeavor.
Air superiority plays a crucial role in sustaining USEUCOM's warfighting credibility and its ability to project influence and power, when and where required. Control of the air is vital as an essential element of the fighting force and when responding to crisis situations, providing the flexibility to restore order. The F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter are critical investments in our future warfighting and peacekeeping capability. We must also continue to upgrade the multimission aircraft that filled the gap left by our retiring specialized systems such as EF-111, RF-4 and F-4G aircraft.
In USEUCOM, we face a challenging theater missile threat, particularly in the southern region. Presently, our theater missile defense systems are limited in protection capability and force deployability. Just over the horizon are several new systems in the final stages of development that address the theater missile defense threat. We must work with and leverage our allies toward common systems, such as Medium Extended Air Defense System, to field these systems in the near future.
We must continue to make wise choices that preserve current readiness, maintain infrastructure and modernize our forces. Because of increased peace support operations and crisis response contingencies, I conduct many operations that cannot be foreseen. Contingency operations are often funded at the expense of readiness and training, but I am optimistic about recent initiatives that specifically fund these types of operations.
Infrastructure is something we must continue to maintain and also provides an example of the successes we can achieve by leveraging the pooled resources of many nations. Finally, modernization affects the long-term readiness of our forces, and I am concerned that in many cases we are paying for readiness and force structure with funds which were originally earmarked for modernization. Funding for modernization of key weapon systems ensures we can achieve our long-term strategic objectives.
The U.S. European Command is on the cutting edge of America's national security policy today and in the future. The U.S. forward-deployed and stationed force of about 100,000 has demonstrated its importance in actual operations from the Balkans to Beirut and from northern Iraq to Rwanda. The U.S. troops in Europe are well-trained, well-equipped and well-led. Although operations tempo is high, readiness of the force is also at a high level.
The high professionalism of the force plus USEUCOM's policy of engagement and preparedness have paid off. The engagement strategy with former Warsaw Pact nations is creating stability in Europe as well as developing mutual trust and confidence between former adversaries and now new partners. Russia has joined NATO and the United States in Bosnia and is effectively integrated into the command structure and operations.
Twenty-seven nations have joined NATO's Partnership for Peace Program, and the USEUCOM-run George C. Marshall Center is actively engaged in educating future leaders of former communist countries. Already many of its graduates are assuming positions of responsibility in the military establishments of their nations.
The NATO alliance has demonstrated a new vigor and vitality in planning, organizing and executing operation Joint Endeavor -- an operation to bring peace to the people of Bosnia who have suffered so much through four years of war. And it is USEUCOM that is providing the important support to the Bosnian operation -- not only in troops but also intelligence, communications, logistics and strategic lift. By the forward deployment of U.S. troops in Europe, we are leveraging our allies to do more in their own defense and creating more stable conditions in an area of the world that has known two world wars in this century and which remains critical to our national security.
As a result of steady and sure U.S. engagement in Europe, the world is indeed a safer place. Peace has come to Bosnia. The Palestine Liberation Organization, Jordan and Israel are moving toward a peaceful settlement of their decades long struggle, and Syria may soon join them. NATO has made overtures for cooperation with Middle East countries and several in North Africa. Clearly NATO's engagement strategy is consistent with the United States foreign policy and national interest. And clearly, USEUCOM's strategy of engagement and preparedness is absolutely on track with U.S. policy and vision.
In 1996 and through the remainder of this century, the United States, as the leader of NATO, has the historic opportunity to help create, from the Atlantic to the Urals, a Europe whole and free, democratic, stable and prosperous, with justice and respect for the rights of individual citizens. We have an opportunity to promote fundamental ideals and values as fragile democracies emerge. We not only can deter war but also preserve the peace. To do so is in the vital interests of the United States. To do so requires a focused, engaged, active, forward-deployed and stationed U.S. military force of 100,000 troops called USEUCOM. That force now exists.
USEUCOM has adapted to the challenges of the new Europe. We must keep it trained and ready and provide adequate quality of life for the troops and their families. I am extremely grateful for the support of the Congress in the past, and I know you will continue to do so in the future. One team -- one fight.
Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/index.html.