Breedlove Supports Returning European Sites to Host Nations
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
DEAUVILLE, France, June 8, 2014 The Defense Department will save money, but will not reduce military readiness, when it returns more than 20 sites across Europe to host nations, the top U.S. military commander in Europe said.
In an interview with American Forces Press Service during events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, said cutting excess infrastructure will produce DOD savings.
“What I have said ever since I’ve taken command -- even now, after we are beginning to look at how do we respond to Russia -- I still believe that we have excess infrastructure here in Europe, just like we do in the United States,” he said. “We’re having to pay to maintain some of that infrastructure. We need to 'skinny down' and get rid of it.”
The Defense Department announced May 23 it will fully return 21 sites to their host nations in Europe, saving the U.S. government about $60 million annually. Military officials have said that neither existing force structure nor military capabilities will be affected.
Breedlove emphasized the cuts are intended to reduce excess infrastructure only.
“Infrastructure -- not force structure,” he said. “I believe we’ve probably gone too far in drawing down our force structure in Europe. We need to re-look at that as well. But in the meantime, giving back infrastructure saves us money, and it returns these lands and properties to their nations.”
(Follow Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallAFPS)