SECDEF comments on revision to USAREUR structure

Jan. 13, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- In comments to a Defense Department reporter while traveling to Fort Bliss, Texas Jan. 12, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the U.S. will withdraw two brigade combat teams from Europe, while keeping a strong presence here via rotational units.

“I've read the article concerning Secretary Panetta's comments to remove an additional Brigade Combat Team from Europe,” said Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, U.S. Army Europe’s commanding general.

“USAREUR has been involved in the discussions, and has made recommendations regarding specific units and the timing of the actions as well as the initiative to incorporate additional forces rotating from the United States,” Hertling said. “But until those plans mature and are formally approved, we can provide no further information regarding specific units or communities involved, or the methods of rotating units.”

Hertling also expressed his commitment to maintaining close consultations with Host Nation partners regarding planned changes and to keep USAREUR Soldiers, Civilian Staff and their Family members informed of the details linked to the strategy as this process proceeds.

USAREUR has experience in facilitating the kind of rotation to which Panetta referred, most recently during a Full Spectrum Training Environment exercise in October, and has been in conversation with US Army units stationed in the United States about the potential for expanding their training opportunities with allies in Europe.

“We are optimistic about increasing those opportunities for forces to train and exercise with our Allies,” Hertling said.

“Preparing for global employment in unified land operations, strengthening alliances and building partner capacity are consistent with our mission, and US Army in Europe continues to lead in innovative training and partnering approaches,” Hertling said. “We have suggested many of these ideas to the Department of Defense and European Command, and we are excited about the possibility of new approaches to strengthening alliances and building strong forces.”

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.