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Russia, China Pose Security Challenges to Europe, General Says

NATO's importance in deterring aggression and misbehavior by Russia and China in Europe cannot be overstated, Army Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who are considering him to be commander of U.S. European Command and supreme allied commander of Europe. 

An Army general stands and speaks with a soldier outside.
Leader Chat
Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, speaks with 1st Lt. Kelsey Krauss, the Army’s first Maneuver Short Range Air Defense Stryker platoon leader, in Adazi, Latvia, March 5, 2022.
Photo By: Army Maj. Robert Fellingham
VIRIN: 220305-A-KM584-222Y

Cavoli said today that, in response to the illegal and unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. military has deployed significant combat power on short notice to Eucom, including: the V Corps headquarters; an armored brigade combat team that drew prepositioned stocks; and the XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters with a brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division, a carrier strike group, fifth generation fighters and additional destroyers. 

Over the years, the European Deterrence Initiative has been vital to building the military readiness necessary to deter Russia and respond in times of crisis, he said. 

"If confirmed, I look forward to continuing to build on this vital work [of] ensuring that Eucom remains ready to respond, along with our allies and partners, to any threat to our national security," Cavoli told the senators.  

Two Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft arrive at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania.
Joint Mission
Two Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, arrive at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, Feb. 27, 2022, in support of NATO’s collective defense. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa’s ability to support and integrate with NATO’s air policing missions continually hardens the alliance’s solidarity, collective resolve and ability to adapt to a dynamic warfighting environment.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman John R. Wright
VIRIN: 220227-F-KY598-3091A
One soldier fires a FIM-92 Stinger while two other soldiers look on.
Exercise Shield 22
(From left to right) Army Staff Sgt. Surya Laller, assigned to the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Army Capt. Mitchel Hess assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade and Croatian Army 2nd Lt. Jure Brkic, Croatian Air Defense Regiment, fire an FIM-92 Stinger as part of Exercise Shield 22 in Pula, Croatia, April 8, 2022. Exercise Shield is an annual Croatian air defense exercise that aims at strengthening the execution of the Air Defense tasks against low and medium altitude moving targets. During the exercise, the 173rd Airborne Brigade and Croatian Air Defense Regiment jointly trained on air defense tactics, techniques and procedures to include air-space control, deconfliction and surveillance as well as targeting and live-fire engagement against flying objects on low- and medium-level altitudes. The 173rd Airborne Brigade is the U.S. Army's contingency response force in Europe, providing rapidly deployable forces to the United States European, African, and Central Command areas of responsibility. Forward deployed across Italy and Germany, the brigade routinely trains alongside NATO allies and partners to build partnerships and strengthen the alliance.
Photo By: Army Capt. Robyn Haake
VIRIN: 220408-A-JX242-580

"Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine ushers in a new era in European security. NATO is more energized and unified than I have ever seen in years," he said. Allies and partners have rushed security assistance to Ukraine in an effort to keep it free and independent, he said. 

But Cavoli told the group that Russia is not the only challenge facing Europe. 

China's growing influence is also a huge concern, as are terrorism, migration, cybersecurity and climate change, he said. 

"We cannot be a one-problem alliance. We must maintain vigilance across 360 degrees, ready to respond to any and all threats. We're in a time when unity in the alliance is of the greatest importance," he said. 

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