• Defense Bill Would Impose Limits on European Infrastructure Consolidation0

    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 …

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  • Overseas Bases Remain a Good Value, O’Hanlon Responds0

    To the extent that DOD’s overseas bases provide deterrence and, in some regions, a quick-response capability in the event of a foreign crisis, the nation’s overseas bases are a bargain, says Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. O’Hanlon’s blog post came in response to an op-ed from American University Professor David Vine earlier this week claiming the Defense Department maintains a vast array of overseas bases that waste money and harm the nation’s interests. Only a small fraction of DOD’s 600 military bases located abroad are major operational bases. For instance, the Air Force has only 16 overseas bases with major runways and associated infrastructure, O’Hanlon notes. And the cost of maintaining the nation’s overseas bases is an order of magnitude less expensive than the $85 billion figure cited by Vine …

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  • House Republicans Continue Support for Base in Azores0

    House Republicans are reviewing a DOD decision to build an intelligence center in the United Kingdom as part of an ongoing effort to maintain the U.S. presence at Lajes Air Force Base, located on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requested DOD documents used in making the decision to build the intelligence center at Royal Air Force Base Croughton, located outside of London, to find out why the military chose the U.K. location over Lajes, a Portuguese Air Force installation …

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  • Pentagon Unveils Consolidation Plan for European Basing4

    The Defense Department will close a major U.S. Air Force base in the United Kingdom and 14 other European facilities as part of an infrastructure consolidation expected to save $500 million annually. Thursday’s announcement by senior defense officials represented the culmination of the European Infrastructure Consolidation process, a two-year effort designed to improve the efficiency of the U.S. presence in Europe by eliminating excess infrastructure. “[The] bottom line for us was that we wanted to preserve our operational capability, while reducing the cost of supporting it,” said John Conger …

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  • BRAC Lurks below Surface of European Infrastructure Initiative0

    The European Infrastructure Consolidation announced Thursday should help DOD make its case to Congress for a new BRAC round, according to the Pentagon’s top installations official. Since the Obama administration first asked permission three years ago to conduct additional base closures, one of the most popular reasons cited by lawmakers for ignoring the request was that the department still needed to streamline its overseas footprint. On Thursday, John Conger, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, acknowledged the effort to pare excess infrastructure partially was intended to respond to lawmakers’ concerns …

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  • Planned Cuts to Air Force Units in Europe May Be Postponed0

    Planned cuts to Air Force units based in Europe may be delayed over concerns about Russia’s intentions toward Ukraine and Eastern Europe, defense officials said Tuesday. “I see this building now moving towards a review of those decisions,” Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command, told reporters at the Pentagon. The department had intended to retire 21 overseas F-15C fighter jets — believed to be located at RAF Lakenheath, England — in fiscal 2015, but Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said she would like to keep that unit in place for the time being …

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