Congress intends to reconsider the Pentagon’s plan to downsize its European footprint in light of Russia’s aggressive stance toward the West. The final version of the fiscal 2018 defense authorization bill calls for DOD to craft a strategy for stationing more troops in Europe on a permanent basis, an effort that will require officials to assess the capacity of existing locations and potential new sites, and to reevaluate locations slated to be divested under the European Infrastructure Consolidation initiative. The plan for the European Deterrence Initiative would be due four months after the measure becomes law and address FY 2018 through 2022.
The provision, section 1273 in the conference report accompanying H.R. 2810, also would require DOD to suspend divestment of any remaining sites under the consolidation initiative until the required plan is submitted to Congress. In addition, before divesting any specific facility, the department would need to certify that no military requirement for its future use is foreseeable.
DOD began consolidating its European facilities in 2015, although some closures in England have encountered delays, reported Stars and Stripes.