As part of the U.S. commitment to increased assurance and deterrence, U.S. Army Europe will begin receiving continuous troop rotations of U.S.-based armored brigade combat teams to the European theater in February, bringing the total Army presence in Europe up to three fully-manned Army brigades, U.S. European Command officials said.
As discussed during the announcement of the fiscal year 2017 European Reassurance Initiative budget proposal, officials said, the Army has decided to begin storing static equipment, known as Army pre-positioned stocks, within Europe for contingency operations.
"This is a big step in enhancing the Army's rotational presence and increasing their combat equipment in Europe,” Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Eucom commander, said. “This Army implementation plan continues to demonstrate our strong and balanced approach to reassuring our NATO allies and partners in the wake of an aggressive Russia in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. This means our allies and partners will see more capability -- they will see a more frequent presence of an armored brigade with more modernized equipment in their countries."
The armored brigade combat teams will be on nine-month rotations from the United States and will bring their own modern equipment to conduct exercises across Atlantic Resolve countries, officials said.
The rotations will demonstrate the ability to rapidly deploy equipment and forces to Europe by sending U.S.-based rotational forces with their currently assigned equipment, they added. This equipment will be the most modern the Army has to offer, officials noted, and over the next year will replace the current training equipment in Europe.
When the first rotational armored brigade combat team arrives early next year, the equipment currently used by rotational forces, known as the European activity sets, will remain in Europe, be repaired, upgraded, and converted into the core of the Army pre-positioned stocks announced in February, officials said. The pre-positioned equipment will be stored in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Will Enable Rapid Deployment
The equipment will enable rapid deployment of ground forces and additional combat power in response to contingencies throughout the region, Eucom officials said.
By the end of 2017, there will be a continuous presence of three fully equipped Army brigade combat teams -- one armored, one airborne one Stryker brigade – as well as one pre-positioned set of combat-ready equipment sufficient to support another armored brigade combat team and division-level enablers in Europe, officials said.
Breedlove is attending the Northern European Chiefs of Defense Conference in Riga, Latvia, this week, where he is meeting with regional counterparts to reassure allies of Eucom's commitment and support to regional security, they added.