Gertrud Zach via Wikimedia Commons

In a move intended to show both NATO allies and the Kremlin the U.S. commitment to the Atlantic Alliance, as well as the seriousness of Africa, the U.S. Army has combined both its commands and elevated the commander to four-star rank.

This now places Europe and Africa on par with the U.S. Army Pacific, the only other Army component command with a four-star billet.

According to Defense News, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said elevating U.S. Army Europe to a four-star command is “necessary,” adding:

That’s why we advocated and pushed hard and got that done because, in his capacity, as U.S. Army Europe commander he is the joint force land component commander, and in that capacity if war breaks out on the continent, this is the officer leading all of those NATO elements under that umbrella.

U.S. Army Europe is based in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Army Africa is based in Vincenza, Italy. “Merging” Army Europe and Army Africa, McCarthy said, is “largely administrative.”

It’s a merger of two entities, so you look at where do you find synergies and where do you find redundancies, and you make those adjustments accordingly.

The move comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s plan to redeploy 12,000 U.S. troops out of Germany, and sending almost half of them forward to Poland on Russia’s border. It is unclear whether the headquarters will be consolidated or moved, but McCarthy noted he believed the physical headquarters would remain in Germany.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former U.S. Army Europe commander, told Defense News, “Restoring the commanding general of U.S. Army Europe to the rank of general, with four stars, is an important signal to our allies of American commitment and how important Europe is in our strategic thinking,”

Gen. Hodges added, “It is therefore also a clear signal to the Kremlin of our resolve.”

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Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Jamina
Jamina
1 year ago

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kxb99522
kxb99522
1 year ago

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Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Makes sense to combine commands & cut overhead & duplication where NOT needed, now apply other commands as well.
CUT costs, budgets, BUT maintain readiness

Paul
Paul
1 year ago

When I retired in 2007 Africa was the responsibility of EUCOM and they were forming AFRICOM which broke out in 2008. So it looks like what’s old is new again.

David
David
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul

Although I did not recall the details, I believe that AFRICOM was responsible for Bengazi and that when are consulate came under attack that Obama gave a Stand Down order until it was too late to come to their rescue and that after that disaster, he made changes in the command, which changes have now been reversed. It is a shame that at this time, apparently, there is nowhere in Africa where there is a secure enough place for AFRICOM to be headquartered. Perhaps the Canary Islands!